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Gather data from all candidates when building employer brand

HR professionals share their experiences of hiring gone wrong at a TREC 2016 panel

Hiring managers should remember to check with unsuccessful candidates as well as successful ones when measuring the impact of their employer brand, according to Graeme Johnson, head of resourcing at Virgin Media.

Speaking at the Talent, Recruitment and Employment Conference 2016 (TREC), Johnson described one case that backfired. “We had one woman who hadn’t had a job interview in 10 years, and we invited her for a three-hour assessment,” he said. “She bought a new suit and made childcare arrangements, and her family helped her practise for interviews.

“Once she arrived the hiring manager took a phone call during her assessment, then sent her home after half an hour in floods of tears. She was a customer of ours, as were her sister and parents, and they all switched providers as a result of her bad experience.”

Johnson also stressed the importance of data when establishing the impact of an employer brand. “We are obsessed with the figures,” he said. “When we ask people if they would recommend us we split the findings into what successful candidates say, what unsuccessful ones say, and an overall figure to get the full picture.”

Speaking at the same panel Katherine Lamb, talent acquisition lead, Europe for Kellogg’s, quoted poet Maya Angelou. “People won’t remember what you said; they will remember how you made them feel,” she said.

She described when a candidate pulled out of a senior position because of a negative experience during the hiring process. “The hiring manager shared some things that put them off, possibly because they were having a bad day,” she said. “During this stage of recruitment the hiring manager is the face of Kellogg’s, and can make or break a successful hire. Sometimes they underestimate their own importance in the process; they are crucial.”