How important is company culture to candidates?

How important is company culture to candidates?

Your company culture is your personality and it’s something candidates want to learn about during the recruitment process. But how can your candidates experience your culture first hand?

LinkedIn recently surveyed over 14,000 professionals worldwide to find out their favourite methods to discover and experience company culture.

Participants were given the option to choose their top three from the following;

  • Office Visit
  • Hiring Manager
  • Other Employees
  • Company Website
  • Recruiters
Visiting your office

Whilst video or phone interviews might be easier, they don’t give candidates the same glimpse into your culture as onsite interviews do. Making office visits part of your interview process is simple with anything such as tours or open houses, even walking the candidate around the office before an interview will give them a quick introduction to the culture.

Hiring Managers

Many candidates see hiring managers as having more authority, so they’re more likely to reply to them. US candidates in particular are more interested in hearing about culture from the hiring manager rather than other employees within the business. Utilise their power to influence by having them talk specifically about company culture during the face-to-face interview.

Hearing from employees

Current employees are the ones on the front line as they have experienced the company culture first hand. So, make sure candidates have the opportunity to speak with existing employees, whether it is during interviews or career fairs.

By developing your employees into brand ambassadors, you encourage them to share what life is like at your company.

Using the company website

Candidates will conduct research before applying for jobs and your website is normally the first place they will look. Pictures and videos which reflect your company values will give them a gateway into your culture.

Hearing from the recruiter

In order for recruiters to give candidates a glimpse into the company culture they can talk about a variety of things for example, they can give candidates an overview of a typical day in the office or speak about their genuine reasons for enjoying working there. Again, this is where your employees become brand ambassadors.

8 Social Media Statistics you need to know if you’re in Recruitment – infographic

LinkedIn has long been known as the social media network for recruitment – but should we be including the likes of Twitter and Facebook into our social media recruitment strategy? We’ve collated our top 8 social media statistics you need to know if you’re in recruitment or talent acquisition.

social media recruitment advertising

67% of candidates use Facebook compared to just 35% on Twitter

Although you’ll often see companies tweeting about live vacancies Facebook actually has more active candidates.  Recently Facebook has released the ability for company pages to post job vacancies and subsequently review the application they receive, all within Facebook.

59% of candidates use social media to research companies they are interested in

As well as reviewing information on company careers pages 59% of candidates will also check out company social channels to gain an insight into company culture and the work environment.

48% of candidates used social media in the search for their most recent job

In a study conducted by Jobvite, nearly half of candidates reported that they use social media when searching for their most recent job.

69% of active candidates are more likely to apply for a job at a company which manages its employer brand

By having a presence on social media, candidates will be more trusting of your brand. Make sure you are responding to reviews on your social media pages and Glassdoor, regularly posting and sharing updates that reflect your company values.

Facebook has more than double the number of active candidates compared to LinkedIn and Twitter

83% of candidates are active on Facebook. This is compared to 40% on Twitter and 36% on LinkedIn.

Job posts get 36% more applications if accompanied by a recruiting video

The type of content you share affects who you reach and how many applications you receive for instance, job posts get 36% more applications if accompanied by a video.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn

There are more job seekers on Facebook than on LinkedIn. However, unless you have a paid strategy, your posts are more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn compared to Facebook. Having said that, due to Facebook’s algorithm, your job postings will feature on the news feeds of people you engage with the most. By creating a loyal following and engaging with your fans your job postings have a greater chance of being viewed by people interested in your brand.

87% of recruiters use LinkedIn but only 55% use Facebook

There’s no denying that LinkedIn is saturated with recruiters going after the same candidates. On the other hand, only 55% of recruiters utilise Facebook for sourcing.

Companies with an integrated approach to talent management have an 87% greater ability to hire the best talent

**The most important statistic in this post**

There can be varying reasons as to why one social network may work more effectively than another when recruiting. An example of this is that the majority of users on Facebook are active during non-working hours, the opposite to LinkedIn. By posting on multiple social channels and having an integrated social media recruitment strategy your chances of hiring quality candidates significantly increases.

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Jobvite – Job Seeker Nation Survey 

Hirewell – Hiring? Recruiting Stats you need to know for 2017

Jobcast – 26 Social Recruiting Stats

The Recruitment Network Club – Facebook V Linkedin

Are we doing enough to help employers track their cool credentials?

Recently I found myself pondering the latest CoolBrands survey – an annual survey into the coolest brands in Britain – and whilst looking over the Top 20 coolest brands for 2016/17 it dawned on me that employer brand managers could take more notice of ‘cool’. It’s a pretty safe bet that being cool and being a desirable employer is closely related. There are strong indications that people often want to work for the brands that make them feel good about themselves, enhance their social status and help them build a positive identity.

The body behind the CoolBrands survey – the centre for brand analysis –canvasses the opinions of independent experts and 2,500 members of the British public to identify the UK’s coolest brands. They’ve been announcing the coolest brands every September since 2001. It will be interesting to see how many in the 2016/17 CoolBrands Top 20 retain their Top 20 status next month.

The CoolBrands Top 20 for 2016/17 is as follows

1. Apple

2. Glastonbury

3. Netflix

4. Aston Martin

5. Nike

6. Instagram

7. Spotify

8. Adidas

9. PlayStation

10. YouTube

11. Google

12. Airbnb

13. Alexander McQueen

14. Bose

15. M.A.C

16. Sonos

17. Harley-Davidson

18. Gopro


20. Ray-Ban

Coolness is subjective and dynamic: What consumers consider cool changes over time and across consumers. What millennial candidates think is cool is likely to be different from what a candidate over fifty thinks is cool. The talent management and employer branding industry ought to be doing more to provide client firms with the means to regularly track their cool credentials, in the same way that we help them keep tabs on their brand consideration ratings or willingness to recommend scores (NPS). I’m thinking a dedicated cool tracker.

And we should not just track their coolness ratings. Consumers find it easy to say what brands are cool, but it’s much more difficult for them to say what features make a brand cool. Consumers know what is cool when they see it but they can’t always explain why. We should do more to help employers get to grips with what makes a brand appealing; how that might vary by business sector and whether you need to possess all of those things to be a cool brand.

Evidence suggests the following may be central to what makes a brand cool and so would need to be reflected in any dedicated cool tracker:

  • At the forefront of technological innovation
  • A deep understanding of the audience through immersion in their world
  • An understanding of how the target audience feels (cool is an emotion)
  • A disruptive vision
  • Originality
  • Unmistakeable quality
  • A strong (social) mission
  • An emotional connection with consumers – a brand they can love
  • Opportunities for consumers to engage with the product or service
  • Opportunities for consumers to express their individuality
  • In touch with the evolving lives of consumers
  • In touch with the consumer agenda
  • Faithful to the brand’s roots but in a contemporary, relevant way
  • Connected with the wider culture

Interestingly, celebrity endorsements are not key to being cool. At best, they will buy you some cool by association but it won’t be real. Simon Massey, of The Gild consultancy, once summed up coolness as a well-maintained combination of the zeitgeist, how you want consumers to feel, the brand’s roots, a strong stance, and stylish execution.

With our vast experience of building and managing employer brands based on real insight and intelligence via market watch reporting, competitor benchmarking and candidate insight, we in the talent management and employer branding industry are well positioned to help client firms track their cool credentials and better understand the drivers of coolness, through a dedicated cool tracker.

I’m confident there would be a strong appetite amongst employers for such a tracker.

A cool employer brands survey would mark a significant evolution in the way we build and manage employer brands. It would also go a long way towards syncing the consumer brand and the employer brand.

To quote Martina Alexander, marketing manager at Wonderbra: “cool is a perception”. So, let’s get tracking it.

Want to track your cool credentials?

More information on the CoolBrands Survey can be found at:

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. For more information, contact:

Is your careers site user friendly?

To target the right talent, first you have to understand what your candidates are looking for.

People look for ease and convenience in every aspect of their lives and finding a new job opportunity is no different. When candidates are applying for positions it is crucial that the process is clear, efficient and easy to use. If not, it can have a substantial impact on the amount of applications received, as candidates can drop off at different stages of the process.

To ensure your candidate journey is a positive one, here are the 4 main points of a careers site you need to get right:

Simple Navigation

Your careers website is a key area for prospective candidates to find out more about your company. To ensure you capture job seekers’ attentions you should ensure that key information is readily available and easy to find.

We recommend using a one-click application button where candidates can upload their CV easily on either a desktop or mobile device. As well as this if you have an online chat facility on your web page already it’s a great idea for a pop up message to appear after a short period of time that encourages candidates to apply. Furthermore, having predictive search on your job search bar will help candidates to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

Red Bull Careers website – Predictive Search Bar

Optimised for mobile

Studies show that 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job hunting process It is critical that if a candidate visits your website on their mobile they need to have the same positive experience they would do if they were on a desktop. To ensure this happens we recommend making sure your website is optimised for mobile or building a mobile design.

People spend less time viewing web pages when on a mobile device so we suggest using limited but attractive visual content, readable text, user friendly forms and concise language to keep candidates engaged.

Pinterest mobile careers page – focuses on visual content


Candidates want answers to their questions quickly and with the availability of live chat, they have a direct line at their fingertips. More and more companies are adding a chat facility to their careers page which adds a personal feel and can be monitored 24/7.

As well as using live chat we recommend putting all available contact channels on the website. Many large organisations have a Twitter account dedicated to careers so candidates can follow the dedicated page for the latest vacancy updates.

Spotify have a dedicated Twitter account to promote their vacancies

Keep it clear

The main objective for a careers site is to convert visitors to applicants. Making the application process as simple as possible is the key to success.

We recommend making the application as short as possible as studies show, 60% of potential candidates have quit a job application process because it was too lengthy. Single page applications may not work for every organisation but research has shown that the lowest number of applicant drop offs occur from the shortest application processes.

Spending time to look at how user friendly your careers site is will help greatly reduce the frustrations users may face and, in turn, reduce drop offs.

Interested in making your careers site more user friendly? Take a look at a site we made for Sage for inspiration.

How to improve your employer brand with Glassdoor

Glassdoor is changing the way candidates search for jobs and how companies recruit the best talent.

With 32 million unique monthly users worldwide, Glassdoor is one of the key components for building and maintaining an employer brand.

We all use online reviews, whether we’re buying a new car or looking for a holiday, so why not when looking for a new job?

Glassdoor is easy to use and gives current and past employees the freedom to review their company experience, whilst offering the transparency job seekers crave, and giving them an insight into organisations.

But how can Glassdoor help your employer brand?

Glassdoor allows companies to let their employees do the talking and tell their story, they can anonymously review their interview experience, employee experience and their salary and benefits package.

A strong employer brand promotes everything the company has to offer to a candidate, not just the salary and benefits but the company culture and values too. Candidates need to have a reason to want to work for you, and a strong employer can promote these reasons.

Enhance your profile

An employer’s profile should be consistentith existing brand guidelines and it should promote a clean, compelling message that candidates can easily understand.

The ‘why work for us’ section should be utilised to promote and inform candidates about a company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP), it is important to tailor this to potential candidates. Tell them what your company is all About and why you stand out from the competition. By tailoring this section to the candidate and using ‘you’ heavily, you can assist candidates envision where they fit in the structure of the organisation. See where they could have an impact.  Be inspired to apply.

Make the most of your reviews

Encourage your current workforce to become influencers and review their time at the company. Your employee’s reviews go along away, and without them your Glassdoor profile will lack impact. If your employees don’t back your employer brand then no-one will. This is the place to start.

3 in 4 Glassdoor users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand ( US Site Survey, August 2016). By responding to reviews companies are building trust amongst employees and candidates, thank employees for reviews whether they are critical or not, show your engagement and willingness to take criticism on board and use this feedback to make changes within the company. The best actions come from inside the business, and they, in turn, frame people’s perception. Get them right and you’re half way there.

Advertise your jobs

By pairing rich insights with the latest vacancies, Glassdoor is the perfect place to advertise.

Your profile should influence candidates enough to look at any open vacancies at your company, and if these are easily accessible on the same site then it is a huge convenience for them. Cutting out the hassle and giving them the information they are searching for.

If you promote your employer brand with complete transparency and consistency you will be able to attract the right talent through Glassdoor.

Looking to improve your employer brand? Find out more about our Brand & Insight services here.

Creating an award-winning employer brand is simple…or is it?

You’re a winner. You’ve done it. You not only built the business case for developing your global employer brand and employer value proposition, you had the budget signed off and you’ve actually gone and delivered it. It has been a long slog but my goodness you’ve achieved. Kudos, credit and props to you.

Your journey possibly went a bit like this:

Let’s keep it simple…if only!

You gathered together all of those people who you just had an inkling would suddenly have a pernickety but limelight-stealing hand in the ‘project’ near its conclusion despite never showing a glimmer of interest previously. You even had the decency to include them as part of a steering group. And you made a pact that you wouldn’t mention the word ‘brand’ or the acronym ‘EVP’ from that point forwards in order to keep it simple and not confuse ‘your people’. You even rolled with the punches that for some inexplicable reason, Canada and Puerto Rico refused to be involved in your ‘global project’.

Research is key and so is segmentation

You researched inside and outside the business; you surveyed; you spoke to loads of people in focus groups and 1-2-1 interviews; you segmented your audiences to include HiPos, HiPers, new joiners, people who’ve been about for years, people who have left, people you didn’t know were about to leave, employee resource groups, people in far flung countries and in inconvenient time zones, Geeks, Wizards, Ninjas and Procurement.

Authenticity comes from within

You found out lots you already knew about your business: car parking is a nightmare; technology for new joiners doesn’t work; communication is poor; departments operate in silos. Some of the stuff you found, you could never share with the ‘leadership team’ unless it was dipped in a little coat of sugar and packaged in a wrapper with a disclaimer on every surface. But at least on the flip side, everyone recognises you’re like one big happy family sharing 3 of the 7 values they can actually remember – a family, albeit one that’s just a little dysfunctional at times. You discovered what people know or think they know it’s really like to work for your company. You achieved authenticity in abundance.

Dilute the proposition at your peril

After much analysis and reporting you derived a fabulously clever model that has pillars, values, reasons to believe, selling points, big ideas and links to your consumer brand and proposition. Better still, and in the interests of simplicity (remember everyone signed up to that at the beginning), you contrived a segmentation matrix with a hierarchy of messaging that covered all 16 segmented audiences in 18 different countries. You negotiated the peace settlement resulting from the circular debate of “that’s just not us – it’s too aspirational” to “if you take our name off it, aren’t we like everyone else?” and your slightly diluted model was excitedly gifted to the ‘activation magicians’ – the creative team – to bring the whole thing to life; to tell your story in a compelling and award-winning way.

Seamlessly, your toolkit of attraction, engagement and retention communication materials (see what happens if we can’t say employer brand) along with the launch collateral and playbook were delivered as you reached your final milestone on the project plan. Job done. Aced it.

The reality

Much of this journey may be an all too real experience for many of you. And it’s the last part that probably seems the most fictional. That’s because it just doesn’t happen like that. Turning all that has gone before into something tangible, meaningful and effective is a major hurdle and often a significant stumbling block to success.

Creativity is the connection to the candidate, to your employees and the world at large. It’s where the emotional engagement happens and the real sense of purpose is communicated. It’s where we open the consciousness to possibilities and opportunities. The process to create that activation that lies in the proposition or brand is challenging. For creativity to flourish, it needs time, information, license to explore and most of all it needs simplicity. Yet for many reasons that’s rarely the case:

  • The brief has become more and more complex as we’ve gone on
  • The expectation and anticipation of the final output has been built up during the course of the project – living up to that is hard
  • Creative is subjective and means different things to different people – one of the key reasons we segment audiences is to ensure relevance of message
  • Over-segmentation of our audiences adds multiple layers of complexity and scope for misunderstanding
  • Inclusion of a multi-discipline steering group to avoid hurdles later in the process is sensible but has the potential for decision by committee and watering down of key differentiators
  • The clamour to find and apply innovation is not necessarily sustainable in recruitment – although we’re trying hard to do so
  • The degree of creativity is frequently governed by the confines of the consumer brand

So, the next time you’re managing, implementing or even just involved in an Employer Brand or EVP initiative, think about the journey you’ve been on and how complicated it may have become. Keep it as simple as you can because landing it successfully is anything but simple. Particularly if you’re looking to pick up awards and recognition along the way.

Simon Thomas is Brand and Strategy Director at Talent Works International. TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams.

Beyond the Purple Unicorn

The Purple Unicorn used to be how Talent Acquisition leaders described the unique challenges they faced in finding talent. It’s no longer simply the case that talent is rare. More and more companies know how to find those purple unicorns – and many of them are deploying incredibly sophisticated search, tracking and selection systems to get to them first!

So, if it feels harder to hire good people today, that’s because it is! Organizations globally need to adjust their hiring strategy to sustain their advantage. Many are already doing so. As Talent Acquisition becomes a more complex picture, the most forward-thinking employers are looking beyond traditional talent pools. The Rainbow Unicorn? Trust me, there’s Diversity teams out there already searching hard every day.

Building a proactive talent strategy

The secret is having a realistic understanding around your organization and the positions you need to fill. Competitive insight allows you to understand how you can differentiate your business to the right candidate. By looking at direct competitors and those companies in your zip code, you know how your proposition competes. If you are not paying the best salary, but the culture is amazing, message that first so you can be honest and informed as to what a candidate will gain when they join.

You can’t control the job market, but you can put some effort and resource behind a few key strategies including:

1. Role validation

Whether you have a newly created position or not, the right job title is key. An initial overview of the role, competencies and attributes required helps to determine the right level, the right title and the potential pool in the local market

2. Target the competition

‘Post and pray’ isn’t working anymore. The number of roles is overwhelming.  Candidates can apply with a quick click on their phone, so they don’t read the job description or location carefully. Busy Talent Acquisition teams don’t have the time to sift through the clutter or respond to the best candidates quickly enough.

Sourcing depends on identifying those companies you admire, as well as those you compete with. Once again, it is time well spent. Think beyond your industry, beyond your traditional talent communities, beyond conventional job descriptions and challenge your own idea of what good looks like. If you can avoid limiting yourself, the appeal for top talent to make a move is even greater if a candidate has the chance to transition into another industry and broaden their own knowledge.

3. Tell your story authentically

Developing an EVP (Employer Value Proposition) showcasing what it is really like to work for your company is a key step in finding the right people to join your organization. It also helps the right people who just wouldn’t fit into your company culture to de-select themselves out of the process at an earlier stage.

Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’ also means thinking about how best to bring it to life. Words, imagery, video, animation, online presence? These elements work together to elevate the job description to another level. Providing a clear destination to see the message is important and to do that effectively you need a campaign.

4. Campaign Solutions

Once a segmented attraction message has been created, it is important to create a destination where individuals can be directed to – where you can share the compelling reasons as to why individuals should want to work for your company.

Campaigns can be built on job boards, but  programmatic advertising can be more effective. Programmatic offers the opportunity to deliver a deeper story which will result in more brand engagement and appropriate applicants. It will open up opportunities outside of the limited markets accessed through job boards. All channels will work in combination to ensure the audience is reached, captured and engaged, wherever they are, on whatever device they are using.

Regardless of the budget, role or timelines it pays to be prepared and informed.  Whether you insource or outsource, knowing what you need and where you think you can find the right talent is key:

  • Research and review with free tools to understand the competitive landscape.
  • Understanding your reputation in the market and that of your competitors will allow for you to be prepared to connect with passive and active candidates.
  • Sourcing and building talent pipelines saves time and money in the future as your business grows.

You start building relationships before you need them and ultimately position your organization as an employer of choice for the right talent.

The market is competitive and the outlook can be overwhelming, but knowing the attributes of your business and the places to look will help you find the best talent first.

Jody Robie is the Senior Vice President North America for Talent Works International (TWI). Talent Works International is a global talent communications firm that helps organizations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. Please contact  for more information.

Multi-gen workplaces: A blessing or a curse?

We were recently featured in Impact, the magazine for the largest community of research, insight, analytics and marketing sciences professionals. Our Gen Up research was spotted and we were contacted to share our findings and feature in the magazine. Below is an excerpt from the featured article. 

A workplace with employees ranging from 18-to 67-year-olds- and in some instances, older – creates challenges for managers. It’s a new workplace dynamic, but is each generation really as different as we think?

We specialise in helping clients to craft their employer brand, giving employers the insight, creativity and adaptability to engage, motivate and inspire different generations. As part of our research, we aimed to debunk some of the stereotypes gaining traction across professional social media platforms, including LinkedIn. We carried out research using 1,200 participants across different industries and locations. To give our research credibility and make it representative we used a large sample of 300 for each generation. All four generations were covered, from the youngest group, Generation Z, born 1995 to 2009; Generation Y, born 1982 to 1994; Generation X, born 1966 to 1981, right through to Baby Boomers, born postwar.

Our Head of Insight, Katharine Newton said ‘we’d seen research looking at one or two of the generations but struggled to find any looking at all four simultaneously – yet that is the reality; lots of workplaces have that.’ This is where the Gen Up project came to life. It is where we could uncover whether it is possible to have an employer brand that speaks to all four generations at once, or if separate strategies would be required for each group. We wanted to dispel the assumption that different generations equals different pages, and that multi-gen doesn’t translate into conflict and disconnect.

During the process we found there to be a lot of common ground between the generations, dispelling the idea that generations are on different pages. ‘There is scope for an over-arching employer brand and recruitment strategy, but there are key areas where employers would be advised to dial up their messaging and proposition appropriately’, Katharine said. Our research draws attention to the older generation, who felt they were being overlooked in terms of training and development opportunities. Where younger employees receive abundant opportunities to develop, older colleagues feel these opportunities were not in their reach. It all stems back to ‘that assumption that when you hit 50 you’ve nothing more to learn – that you know it all. But our research suggests over 50s don’t feel that way and there’s a strong appetite for training’, says Katharine. In order to successfully meet young generations’ requirements, our research revealed that employers increase the frequency of their reward and recognition programme. But this unfortunately wasn’t prevalent amongst older groups.

The importance of communication is one of the most important findings from the research. ‘All four generations are looking for more communication than they are receiving. The elder generation was receiving even less than the younger ones. It backs up the misconception that they are considered as not needing those updates; is that generation being seen as a waste of time?’ This needs to change in order for the elder generation to feel equally valued in the workplace.

Another stereotype explored through this research was the idea that younger generations don’t have a strong work ethic. However, when we asked younger respondents what it meant to add value and go the extra mile in the workplace, their answers demonstrated a lot of thought and they were well equipped to articulate their answer. This finding also indicated that employers do not always communicate their expectations of how going the extra mile translates to their business. Altering this and making it clear to all parties would ensure cohesion towards goals. Becky Grove, one of our Lead Consultants, considers the old-fashioned idea of what the workplace is as one of the biggest challenges for employers and their employees. Our attitudes about the workplace need to be a truer reflection of the current climate.

We need to adapt our views surrounding older generations in the workplace, providing the same opportunities for training and growth that younger employees have access to. ‘Even though state pension age is getting higher and higher, people are working longer but we’re still acting like they’re not – that they don’t need to learn past 50 because they are coming up to retirement age.’ The figures on this one speak a lot louder than words. Business in the Community did a report on age in the workplace and looked at how many people are receiving work-related training. ‘11% over the age of 60 received some form of training’, whereas the figure for ‘under 50s was 30%’, Becky reports. The gap here is far too wide and for a multi-gen workplace to thrive, this needs to change.

Moving forward there needs to be a re-levelling. The shortfall in training opportunities for the older generations need to be addressed – but this needs to be done without being at the younger generation’s expense. Striking a balance here is the biggest challenge. Katharine said one of the biggest positives that came out of this study was the level of willingness across all generations to work collaboratively and learn from each other.

The workplace is certainly changing; young grads are reaching managerial level positions and having older colleagues reporting into them. Years ago this would have proved an issue, but today our research found that people of all generations were actually very comfortable with this new hierarchy. This is a real positive for the future. The cohesion across generations shows that employers need to maximise on the similarities between generations, rather than trying to distinguish each group from one another.

Want to see more about our Gen-Up project? Click here.