The wall in front of the oasis (Employer Branding)

Written by Theo Smith

Theo is a Welsh Wizard. After leaving his Celtic land he set out on a journey to help organisations attract more talent. This has included global executive search, RPO, in-house and recruitment marketing. He now talks on a wide variety of recruitment related subjects. He is also the podcast host for Neurodiversity – Eliminating Kryptonite & Enabling Superheroes

Employer branding brought to life!

There are unicorns and pots of gold over them there hills, at the end of that rainbow, but the journey is too difficult, so we won’t bother telling anybody about it!

I’m currently on a journey to lift the blinds and open the curtains to life at NICE. Or a #NICElife ( I didn’t pay an agency for that one :oD ). I probably won’t use it either!

Part of what I’m struggling with is due to a number of reasons; like budget, outsourced recruitment administration, tech issues… I sound like I’m making excuses.

Maybe I am! The way I see it is that some things can be fixed now and other things, well, we’ve got more chance of making global diversity change, really meaningful, rather than just a #hashtag.

The reality is, that our candidate experience is…? We don’t ask, so clearly on that basis it can’t be bad!

Our process is a little bumpy in places

We do a lot of things well; like assessing every single applicant by a panel of 2-3 members against a robust scoring criteria 😉

What’s that you say? Candidates don’t like lengthy processes! Even if it does mean it’s fair, transparent and they can match their skills to our essential criteria.

Well what do candidates know anyway!

World democracy is not convincing me that humans know what’s best for them, so maybe the sooner AI can come in and take over the world, the better we’ll all be; including candidates and the application process.

So while I’m trying to fix world problems over here and I’ve got processes, tech and vendors killing me.

Something dawns on me


I’m actually thinking this is a pretty great place to work! It has #NICEpeople, #NICEfacilities and #NICEbenefits (I could do this all day!!!)

But seriously, do I just give up and say we are 12-24 months away from any significant recruitment process change?

Let’s not bother telling people about what it’s like to work here and the fact we’re a lovely place to be, because…

There may be a few hot coals to get here

The reality is, having an imperfect candidate journey is not unusual. Not being able to communicate in person at every stage is not unusual.

Enter stage left: The Bot 🙂

What is unusual is the ability to be open, honest and transparent about what’s ahead of the candidate and then to follow up with a meaningful response after interviews; now that is unusual.

All I’m seeing from candidates is them complaining, and rightly so, about not hearing back from employers, having to go through a painful process and that almost everything is broken.

Why don’t we better inform those candidates of the improvements we’re working towards and why they may want to challenge themselves across the coals and up the mountains?

So as I spend the next 6+ months dependent how successful I am! Trying to change and transform our recruitment process. I’m not going to put the employer brand to one side and say;

We’re not going to tell anybody about why NICE is a great place to work.

We’re not going to promote our flexible working or the fact there a lots of really genuine caring colleagues (at the very minimum in my department) to share your day with, who are intelligent, experienced and can add value to your work and life.

We’re not even going to say we have amazing benefits.


Because our candidate journey still needs a lot of work and who cares what’s at the end of the rainbow because you’ll have to walk through the mud to get there.

I didn’t walk to the top of Snowdon umpteen times in my life because it was easy

I walked to the top because I knew what was waiting there for me. I’d read plenty of information and knew what I was letting myself in for. On the cold icy, snowy days, I’d checked with the mountain ranger at the bottom. I knew the risks, but came fully prepared for the journey ahead and basked in the glory of reaching the summit.

So whether you agree with me or not, (I’ll die by my own sword thank you very much!) I’m going to look to let candidates know that the route to apply is a work in progress. But give them enough information , support and guidance so that they can make the decision to apply or not to apply.

I’ll look to apologise in advance where I can, and highlight the bumps rather than hide them hoping nobody will notice. Or even worse hide them because I’m so ashamed I’m hoping nobody will travel down them, which equals no candidates. So that seems a bit dumb :o/

Instead I’ll make sure what they find once they have overcome that hurdle, is an environment that I feel pretty privileged to be a part of. For all its quirks, idiosyncrasies and challenges it’s a great place to work.

And by the way, the work we do, actually does transform lives!

If that’s not enough of a reason to get you up in the morning…


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