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Two Critical Moments Define Your Employer Brand

Employers spend efforts creating a positive employer brand to the external world. In spite of the effort spent, the brand can be damaged immediately in two particular moments: job interview and employee separation.

Job Interview

The way how candidates are treated in job interviews and interviewers’ behaviours send messages to the candidates unknowingly.

In job interviews, do candidates need to wait for a long time before the interviewers show up? Do hiring managers show bad manners or ask inappropriate questions? Are job interviewers fully aware of them representing their organisations?

Let me share a recent job interview experience of a client.

Jolly waited half an hour in a dark meeting room before a HR member went to tell her that the hiring manager was stuck in a meeting. Jolly asked if it would be better to reschedule the interview to another date. The HR member asked Jolly to wait for another 10 minutes as the hiring manager would finish the meeting shortly. Finally the hiring manager was late for the interview for 50 minutes.

Jolly talked about her profile while the hiring manager was distracted by the messages on her phone. After 10 minutes, the hiring manager was called to an urgent meeting. The hiring manager asked Jolly to wait for 10 minutes as she believed that the urgent meeting would be fast. Jolly waited, and another 20 minutes passed. The hiring manager returned and rushed to ask Jolly any questions for her. The actual interview lasted for 20 minutes in total.

After that day, Jolly did not receive any follow-up call from the HR team to apologise for the unpleasant experience.

If you were Jolly, what do you think of this organisation? Jolly may have seen many advertisements and social posts of activities of this organisation. However, her encounter with the hiring manager immediately turned her off and was doubtful whether it is the type of organisation that she wants to join. More importantly, did Jolly want to work with a leader with this style?

I once read an article that talks about interviewers using different ways of assessing candidates’ suitability for a job. Asking candidates to wait is cited as one of the examples. While there may be a rationale of assessing the reaction of candidates under such circumstance, there are other ways of assessing candidates than leaving your potential employees idle for a long time.

Candidates are upset with frustrating interview experience and bad behaviours of the people whom they interact with. If leaders seriously consider building employer brand, job interview experience tells candidates their leadership style and the culture of the organisation.

3 small actions can make a difference of the candidate’s terrible experience:

  1. Be on time and respect the time commitment.

  2. Clear your diary before a job interview.

  3. Most importantly, be congruent with your verbal and body language.

Employee Separation

Leavers are generally not on the radar screen when it comes to employer branding.

People may ask, “Why do we bother with the leaving employees? They or we choose to part our ways.”

Have we thought about what employee experience are left with leavers? What emotions do leavers carry with them when they leave the organisation? Can employers imagine how leavers describe their experience with their previous employers?

When employees leave an organisation, how do leaders treat their employees in the final period? Are employees being isolated until they leave quietly? Do leaders stop talking to the leaving employees or pushing them to complete all the work before they leave? If leaders turn the face away since an employee decides to go, the employee may feel disheartened. The negative emotions associated with the experience are strong and long lasting.

Leavers seldom talk badly about their former organisations. Equally, they won’t be ambassadors of promoting their previous employers if they are treated badly. It is better to turn leavers into ambassadors to sustain the employer brand.

When you think about leaving employees, bear in mind the following:

  1. Understand why employees choose to leave the organization.

  2. Remember and appreciate their contribution in the team and organization.

  3. Treat the leaving employees with respect. Be human to them.

Building employer brand is not only about hosting events or showing corporate activities in social media. Think about these two particular moments deeply. Try to help leaders understand and treat employees with humanity. Day-to-day leader’s behaviours that foster employer brand is much more effective and authentic to employees.

Share with me other moments that are crucial for building and keeping a good employer brand.


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Norris Wong is an independent Human Resources consultant who supports employers & Human Resources leaders to solve people issues with a people centric approach. If you would like to get support on your people issues, drop me an email at to start a conversation.

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Photo credit: @Unsplash


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