19 April 2017

Six things applicants want from your organisation


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention


Do you know what brand qualities the candidates you’re trying to attract, engage with and recruit are looking for? This knowledge should form the cornerstone of any brand’s talent acquisition strategy, yet many still don’t promote their best qualities.

1. A vision

Businesswomen Corporate Marketing Working ConceptCandidates actively seek out companies who’s vision is aligned with their own and offers tangible benefits and purpose.
Individuals naturally work better together when they have a common goal, this is no different in the working environment.

If your employees believe in what your brand stands for and works towards then they’ll have greater motivation to achieve this with you and will be much more likely to enjoy doing it.
Employees who have a strong belief in what the business is striving for will advocate the brand mission on social media and via word of mouth, both great (and free) marketing.

According to PeterStark.com there are 6 steps to effectively communicating your company vision to employees:

  1. Make sure the vision is more than a framed document hanging on the wall. …
  2. Meet often. …
  3. Plan a positive delivery. …
  4. Place a high value on two-way communication. …
  5. Over-communicate. …
  6. Choose your words carefully.

2. Genuine company culture

Who wants to work in an unfriendly or over-stressed environment? Traditionally individuals spend a large part of their life in the office, if it’s not a nice place to be then they’re not likely to want to be there.

If your company culture is one of strict rules, pressurised working practices and unpleasant cut-throat colleagues then it’s highly unlikely that top talent will make the choice to include themselves in it. If they do find themselves working in such an office then they’ll not be there long.

A culture of engagement, collaboration, cohesiveness and motivation is a very attractive prospect to candidates. Getting the best out of existing employee’s shows that the brand leaders are doing their job well and prioritise employee wellbeing. Why wouldn’t top talent want to work in such an environment?!

Company culture is an ongoing strategy, responsibility of monitoring and nurturing the wellbeing and morale of employees falls to business leaders primarily.

“Experts in organizational change say it can be hard to make sweeping changes in workplace culture, especially for large organizations with complex office dynamics and multiple offices scattered around the globe. What’s more, a company’s culture can vary across different departments.”

The Wall Street Journal

If your employees are sharing brand stories online in their own circles, enjoy working for the business and are aligned to the core company values then promote this for candidates to see.

3. Purpose

People working with purpose will enjoy their jobs more, be more engaged and potentially become valuable brand advocates.

We all want a direction in life and have clearly defined goals. This enables us to distinguish between what’s important and what’s unimportant. This is something that prospective candidates also look for in an employer.

Without direction a company is simply adrift and not really achieving anything of great value. Talent would rather be part of a business that knows where it’s going, can communicate this with passion and works hard to achieve it.

Three-quarters of U.S. respondents believe that companies whose C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose are more trustworthy.

– The Global Social CEO Survey 2014, Brandfog

Having a sense of purpose encourages passion in all those involved which, in turn, breeds motivation and inspiration – and a great place to work.

A clear purpose will also enable talent to establish if their own beliefs, skills and competencies match that of the brand. Overall a candidate will want to establish whether they’ll fit in with the culture and enjoy their time as an employee.

4. Security

happy employeeUnless they’re a professional temp, most candidates will be looking at a position within a brand for the long term.
Confidence in a structured future and investment from their employer are two important elements people will look for in any brand they approach for a position.

A solid future also offers a level of security and safety when it comes to long term plans such as mortgages or starting a family, something many candidates will be contemplating or already committed to.
There’s nothing worse than sleepless nights worrying about where next month’s pay cheque’s coming from. Job security and a future with a brand enables employees to concentrate on doing a great job and being successful.

A clear progression path within the business will reaffirm to an applicant that they’re making the right choice when applying for a role within your brand.

5. Life balance

According to the 2007 study by Duxbury and Higgins, 1 in 4 Canadians report that their work responsibilities interfere with their home life and personal responsibilities.
Employees who work long hours and are expected to remain connected 24/7  are beginning to demand changes from their employers.

Talent no longer wants to ‘live to work’ and will choose those brands that promote a more ‘work to live’ ethic. With full, happy and active private lives employees will be healthier and in a better frame of mind to give 100% while at work.

It’s also important in our ever-connected world to spend time away from screens and devices.

“A  2016 survey from Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their phones 8 billion times per day. The average for individual Americans was 46 checks per day, including during leisure time—watching TV, spending time with friends, eating dinner.”


6. Flexibility

working from homeAll employees with 26 weeks or more service are now allowed to request flexible working, which employers in turn must address in a “reasonable manner”.

In a survey by Jobsite 66% of employees said that given the opportunity they would request flexible working.

Flexible working, both in terms of hours and location, are now considered a standard part of most roles within a business.
Talent no longer considers the ability to work from home, or adjust their hours to better make use of productive periods, a luxury, it’s now expected.

Everyone has responsibilities and extracurricular activities that could potentially require flexibility on behalf of their employer. Whether this is on a regular basis or just from time to time.
The knowledge and confidence that personal commitments (within reason) won’t pose a problem reassures candidates that they’re making the right choice when applying for a role within your business.

Supplying the tools required for remote working, online collaboration or any other modern day necessity should be the standard offering from brands looking to attract the best talent.