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Employers, Don’t Squander All That Advocate Love!

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a buyer’s market out there—and I’m not referring to the stock market. I’m talking about the job market.

According to recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more open jobs (6.7 million) than there are unemployed job seekers (6.1 million). That means the competition for talent is fierce, and employers who deliver the best candidate experiences have a distinct competitive advantage.

The importance of this advantage is highlighted by 2017 Talent Board research (2018 research is in progress), which reveals that 77 percent of North American job candidates share their positive candidate experiences with their inner circles (colleagues, peers and friends) and 51 percent share their positive experiences publicly via social media and sites such as Glassdoor.

That’s great. That’s definitely what you want out there.

However, 61 percent of North American candidates share their negative candidate experiences with their inner circles and 35 percent share their negative experiences publicly online.

That’s not great. That’s definitely not what you want out there.

In other words, the quality of your candidate experience isn’t exactly a closely guarded secret. The thing is, if you’ve worked hard on your candidate experience and you’re proud of it, you’ll naturally want turn up the volume on the positive reviews you receive. And you can—by launching an advocacy program.

In fact, if your company offers a great candidate experience and employee experience (the two usually go hand in hand, as you’re constantly having to re-recruit to retain) and you don’t launch an advocacy program, you’re letting a whole lotta employee, candidate and influencer love and good will go to waste!

Why Advocacy … and Why It Works

An advocacy program leverages the online voices, opinions and reviews of a company’s advocates and amplifies them to help promote the company, its values and its products—or, in this case, its jobs and employment brand. These advocates can be external people (such as job candidates and other influencers), internal people (such as employees), or all of the above.

The reason advocacy works so well, especially in in relation to your employment brand and candidate experience, is because people trust the opinions and recommendations of others far more than they do the word of companies and brands. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people trust what employees have to say about their company’s culture and values three times more than they trust the CEO’s words on those issues. (There are some other compelling stats around the topic of advocacy and trust here, here and here, if you’re interested.)

As consumers, we all understand the power of online research. We investigate the products and the companies we’re interested in, and we carefully check out the reviews and opinions of other buyers. The same is true in the job market. Candidates research jobs and employers online, paying close attention to what others have to say about a company’s candidate experience, its culture, what day-to-day life is like as an employee, etc. And job candidates put a lot of stock in what they read from other candidates and from a company’s current employees, as noted above.

I recently spoke about the power of advocacy programs with Mark Willaman, president of HRmarketer, during a webcast on HR.com titled, “How to Turn the Candidate Experience into an Employer Branding Strategy.” (You can still view the webcast here.)

One of the things we spoke about was the type of content that candidates are interested in and gets them talking about your employment brand. When it comes to your open jobs, the top three job-specific content types in descending order are:

  1. Job descriptions (including video-based descriptions).
  2. Salary ranges/structures.
  3. Details about benefits.

When it comes to other types of employment marketing content (not related to specific jobs), the top three types preferred by candidates in descending order are:

  1. Content about your company’s values.
  2. Content about your company’s culture.
  3. Employee testimonials.

Clearly, then, developing these kinds of assets is a great way to get your external advocates sharing your employment content with their networks. Also be sure to develop content that answers the questions, “Why do people want to work for this company?” and “Why do employees stay with this company?” Those are questions every candidate wants answered.

Other Effective Advocacy Tactics

Another way to get advocacy working for your employment brand is to nurture internal advocates within your company’s Marketing team. At the end of the day, you’re all trying to achieve the same goal: to market your company to the outside world. So it benefits you to develop strong relationships with the Marketing team, as they’ll often have access to tools, resources and even expertise that they can share and allow you to leverage. This is especially true in midsize and large organizations. Many Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards-winning companies have become partners with their corporate marketing counterparts.

You can also use an advocacy software solution to help generate momentum for your brand. As a matter of fact, here at Talent Board, we’re such firm believers in the power of advocacy programs that we decided to use HRmarketer’s outstanding Advocacy Software and, in turn, they’re also a new, proud sponsor of the CandEs.

Shameless plugs, but hey, that’s advocacy marketing!

In the months ahead, our internal advocates will be using it to more easily share articles, videos, podcasts and other content that furthers our mission of elevating and promoting a quality candidate experience.

Bottom line, don’t squander all that love and good will being generated by your great candidate experience! Develop an advocacy program and let the voices of your brand champions ring loud and clear.

–Kevin W. Grossman, President, Talent Board

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