The Jefferson Group

How to manage your brand reputation when recruiting

Tom Howe, managing partner at The Jefferson Group, emphasises the importance of building positive relationships with candidates throughout the hiring process.

Tom Howe, managing partner, The Jefferson Group
Tom Howe, managing partner, The Jefferson Group

In today’s market, how we attract and engage with potential talent has broadened. Ranging from internal recruitment teams, referral schemes, owner networks to social sites and maintaining partnerships with recruitment or executive search firms to name but a few.

Whatever your preferred approach, more so now than perhaps ever before, businesses are being judged not just by what they do but also by what they don’t do within the hiring process. And this applies to recruiters as well.

Give a great first impression

Whenever a candidate applies for a role and has that first touch experience with the hiring manager or recruiter and the company has been revealed, this is when the first seeds of an opinion are formed about your brand. And all too often it’s where businesses let themselves down when it comes to managing the hiring process.

Treat all candidates well

For the candidates that have a seamless experience from start to finish and secures that all important role then it’s golden. However, to every person who gets the job there are a large number of candidates who obviously didn’t. It’s these candidates that feel, more often than not, that they had a negative experience when going through the application process and this isn’t just down to not securing the role. It’s this part that has a knock on effect on your brand.

Don’t leave a sour taste

You see you may celebrate when you find that right hire but if in doing so you’ve been lazy with the hiring process or partnered with the wrong recruitment or search firm then the chances are you’ve left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths. It’s this experience that they will share with colleagues or industry friends.

In a world where we like to air our grievances...

We live In a world where we are actively encouraged to write reviews or vocalize opinions through whatever media channels that are available to us. More so now than ever, if we are being honest with ourselves, as a society we like to rant or air our grievances with ease as it’s not in our nature to praise without being prompted. Sad but true.

To avoid harming your own brand, here are some key pointers to remember when hiring:


Ensure that if you engage with a recruitment or search firm that they are reputable, operate and specialise within your field and ideally you have met with the consultant who is going to represent your business. (Believe me, if you invest the time at the beginning it will pay off in the long run).

It is vital that your recruitment consultants understand your business, your brand and your culture. Remember, as soon as you give the green light they are effectively representing your brand to a very wide audience and it can be all too easy to misrepresent you.


We all like low fees or no fees at all, as clearly, we all think recruitment is a piece a cake, when in reality it isn’t. However, don’t necessarily put fees in front of service.

By all means negotiate but considering the talent you employ distinguishes you between your competitors, as well as your ability to grow, you may want to ensure the talent you see is the best on the market and you’re not being left in the standing section only.

Also a good recruitment firm who understands brand value and PR is worth their weight in gold.


If you’re going to brief someone on a role, brief them properly. It doesn’t have to be war and peace but make sure they understand the opportunity as well as the benefits and culture of the agency.

Ultimately, what you tell them is what they will share with their audience. If you give a halfhearted effort then what can you expect in return?


This is a big one! If you’ve interviewed someone and they’ve taken the time to prepare and meet with you, have the decency to ensure you give clear feedback. Nothing worse than keeping someone hanging or not feeding back at all. Be constructive and remember we’ve all been a candidate at some point so try to remember how you’d like to be treated, rather than perhaps how you were treated. (This also applies to recruiters).

If you’ve employed the services of a recruitment or search firm then make sure that they acknowledge and feedback to each application as part of their hiring programme. Especially if they’ve revealed your brand. Nothing worse than briefing a candidate on a role at your agency and the recruiter never getting back to them. It makes both businesses look lazy and uncaring.

Being human

Invest a little more time into explaining the culture of your business and the people behind it no matter how big or small you are. Remember, in today’s world we buy into people, ideas and culture more so now than ever before. We want to belong and believe in something.

Recruitment doesn’t have to be a painful experience unless you get it wrong. And in a time where we all struggle to find those superstars perhaps it’s now we should all remember that 'relationships' isn’t just a word to be used lightly and that how we treat one another does have a real impact.

Have a look at the latest job vacancies from The Jefferson Group