< Back to Hiring Blog

 Make your candidates brand ambassadors: Positive candidate experiences are good for business

January 6, 2022
iCIMS Staff
8 min read

In the digital age, it’s all about the experience. From ordering a pizza to choosing a healthcare provider to buying a pair of sneakers online, consumers expect a positive, seamless transaction. If a buyer encounters any type of friction trying to make that purchase, they assign blame to the seller and chalk it up to a bad experience and find someplace else to do business.  

That can also hold true in the world of talent. 

As TA pros scramble to fill open positions amidst a labor shortage, they might do well to consider taking a page from consumer marketers and start treating their candidates as customers. They’ll not only end up creating brand loyalty but hiring teams will have a whole talent network to dip into to fill open positions. 

“Over the last several years, it’s become clear that people are your competitive edge,” observed iCIMS Chief Customer Officer Charles Mah. “Your talent powers your frontline and transforms innovation.” 

Download our infographic to get the tips and tactics you need to build an engaged pool of candidates (and loyal brand ambassadors).  


The power of brand ambassadors in talent acquisition 

Now that we all have a digital megaphone in our pocket, we don’t just have to sit and stew when we’re not happy with a customer experience. We can share our ire on any number of social media platforms. But the reverse is also true. Companies should provide such an awesome consumer experience that customers want to sing their praises from the digital rooftops. 

 These are your brand ambassadors, and they’re not exclusive to consumer marketers either.  

 The American Heart Association makes a strong investment in its candidate relationships. The non-profit draws in more than 225,000 job candidates a year, many of whom are also volunteers, survivors, and donors. However, fewer than 1% will be hired. For AHA, success depends on choosing the right talent for the role while creating an exceptional experience for all candidates, whether they’re hired or not.  

 This sort of interest results from a unique and compelling employer value proposition, which AHA promotes at events, on its career sites, and across social media.  

 Prospective applicants are invited to be part of the #TheAHALife, a culture that goes beyond the workplace and represents the mission and lifestyle that the American Heart Association is built on. Heart health and healthy living for all are front and center, along with what it means to be a part of the AHA team.  


Positive candidate experience is good for business 

Keeping your job candidates engaged and happy doesn’t just boost your applicant pool. It can also help improve your bottom line. 

One study reported that seventy-one percent of job seekers who have a good candidate experience are more likely to purchase from the company. According to the same survey, it can also result in positive word-of-mouth, with 66% of job seekers who have a good candidate experience being more likely to tell others to purchase that company’s products or services.  

See how employee-generated video testimonials can showcase your employer brand 


Beware the Waterfall Effect 

In an age where almost everything is at our fingertips – we can book a flight to the other side of the world with just a few clicks or have an order of French fries delivered at 2 a.m. – consumers expect easy. And when there’s friction, those negative experiences can have trickle-down effects, even in the realm of talent acquisition.  

According to one study, 66% of job seekers will reject a job offer because of a bad experience, and 72% will tell a friend. Interestingly, 64% of that group said they would not purchase from that employer following a negative candidate experience.  

As Amazon founder and former CEO, Jeff Bezos observed, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”  

Just as brands are focused on improving customer experience, hiring teams might consider creating delightful experiences for their job candidates to keep them engaged and fans of the company.  


Keep your candidates engaged 

Creating ongoing emotional connections between the candidate and your brand establishes a more integrated and interactive experience while building a valuable talent network.  

“Talent acquisition has an opportunity to help connect companies with talent and, in turn, engage talent through incredible experiences,” said Mah. “These incredible experiences not only build diverse, highly-skilled workforces but a community of customers as well.” 

When you build a model that creates continuous engagement with your talent network, you develop active and engaged potential candidates and brand ambassadors.  

Here are four steps for a continuous candidate engagement model: 

  1. Help your talent network learn about your company. Keep candidates in the know by regularly sending out newsletters, blogs, or podcasts. The focus shouldn’t be on specific jobs, but on ideas candidates are interested in, helping them align with your organization.  
  2. Create a little face time. Consider hosting a hackathon or thought leadership conference, which would attract top performers from the industry and give back to the community. 
  3.  Offer networking opportunities. Connect candidates with one-on-one networking opportunities with ERG members to create genuine connections. 
  4. Interview highly engaged candidates. They have been pre-vetted, and soft skills have been assessed and deemed potentially good fits for open positions.  

 If a candidate doesn’t make it through to the hiring stage, they can return to the talent network and continue the engagement cycle.  

 Hooray, they said ‘yes.’ Now what? Here’s your new hire checklist. 


Tactics to help grow and engage your talent network 

Now that you understand the value of creating a robust and engaged talent network, you need the tools to help make it happen and a framework for action.  

Here are five tactics you can deploy for creating your own talent network: 

  1. Offer forms on your career sites that make it easy for new candidates to join talent communities relevant to their skills and experience. Evaluate the effectiveness of these forms with talent community analytics in your CRM 
  2. Set up an email series using employee videos to show career growth at the company – from intern to recent hire to an employee who’s advanced at the company. Each employee can address a specific topic, all from different perspectives. 
  3. Digital assistants on career sites can help answer quick questions from candidates (like: “What are health benefits like?” Or “What’s your back-to-office plan?”) to help boost conversions and make sites “stickier.”  
  4. Use text engagement to tell candidates about upcoming ERG events, webinars, and new blog posts to keep candidates in the loop about what’s going on at your organization.  
  5. Promote your brand externally with ERG events that allow talent already in your CRM to elect into programs. This will enable you to expand your pool for diversity and nurture your starting lineup of candidates.  

Ready to create your own talent network? You can download our infographic to get the tips and tactics you need to build an engaged pool of candidates (and loyal brand ambassadors). 

Join our growing community

and receive free tips on how to attract, engage, hire, & advance the best talent.

privacy notice

Explore categories

Explore categories

Back to top

Learn how iCIMS can help you attract, engage, hire, and advance the best talent

Read more about Candidate experience

The most revealing career site analytics

Read more

Capture more candidates with a career site built for consumers

Read more

What we learned at Unleash, the world’s most influential HR tech conference

Read more