Recruiting, Talent

Perception Matters

Like it or not, how people perceive you is, in part, who you are. This uncomfortable truth contains valuable lessons when it comes to employment branding efforts.

Source: BrianAJackson / iStock / Getty

Is your corporate image indicative of your culture? Does your marketing material effectively articulate your brand?

Take the Pulse

You may think your company is a great place to work, and this may be your message to prospective employees. But if this isn’t the reality, you’re recruiting with blinders on.
How do you know what employees and job seekers think of you?
Glassdoor, Indeed, and Fairygodboss, among other sites, feature employee reviews. If you’re not monitoring review sites, you’re missing out on valuable feedback.
Have you asked your employees what they think of the company?
Some employers are reluctant to ask for employee feedback for fear that it will be negative. Smart companies, however, want negative as well as positive feedback – because they know you can’t fix something unless you know it’s broken.
In this regard, formal employee surveys can prove insightful. So too can stay interviews.
Proponents of stay interviews point to their effectiveness, from the standpoint of employee retention. However, stay interviews, when conducted properly, may also uncover culture issues. Dick Finnegan, author of the book The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention, recommends asking five questions, all of which will clue you in to an employee’s perception of the company.
Similarly, exit interviews give you an opportunity to find out what employees think.
Don’t overlook less formal methods, including candid conversations, as they provide opportunities, too. Answers to simple questions, such as, what is your favorite thing about working here and what is your least favorite thing about working here, may give you new and valuable information. These kinds of questions can be asked of individual employees or in a group meeting.

Align the Message

Once you truly know how your company is perceived, take a look at your marketing material – all of it, from your website to job ads. Does it accurately reflect your company?
If not, it’s time for a makeover. Yours may not be a fun company with an entrepreneurial spirit. Instead, it may be a place where important work gets done and dedicated employees are rewarded. That’s very different, but in its own way it’s just as enticing. More important, it’s authentic, and authenticity will help you attract the right candidates.
An earlier Recruiting Daily Advisor article references a tweet from Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce: “Your culture is your brand.”
While this certainly rings true, it’s worth remembering that brand is also perception.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.