Optometry Practice Brand Strength and the Impact on the Job Offer

With the national unemployment rate hovering at just 3.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s safe to say a version of the following phrase has been uttered with a tremendous amount of frequency lately: “You’re hired.”

When optometry candidates are formally given an offer to join your practice, it’s not necessarily an indication that they’ll take it. After all, a job offer is just that – a proposal to a candidate, typically with terms attached, that they’re free to accept or turn down. In other words, the evaluation period of a hiring practice’s employer brand doesn’t stop when the interview ends. It continues all the way through the offer stage.

3 in 4 take employer brand strength into account after job offer

According to figures from the 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study, 69 percent of candidates point to employer brand strength as a key component of the process when evaluating a job offer and their decisions regarding whether to accept it. There are many avenues through which practice culture manifests itself, and chief among them are the doctors and staff who already work there. Indeed, when respondents in the Reputation Management Study were asked about the methods they use to gauge a potential workplace’s brand, referrals from current employees was referenced as the most important one.

Thanks to online search engines, “about us” and “what we do” sections on practice websites and word of mouth, there’s no denying candidates have plenty of means by which to evaluate employer brand strength, but the results of the MRINetwork Study demonstrate that employee referrals serve as an effective, traditional method for recruiting highly skilled workers. Top talent – especially those in the managerial and professional labor market – are harder to come by, given the jobless rate in this workforce group has been around 2 percent for some time.

Employer brand familiarity can make recruitment easier

Once a job offer has been presented, how the candidates evaluates the employer brand, at least in part, may influence the assumptions he or she made prior to the interview. Brand awareness can help in this regard, something that a majority of hiring managers struggle with. A recent Glassdoor poll found 60 percent of HR departments describe brand awareness as a challenge to both attracting and hiring individuals to fill open positions. Yet when candidates recognize brands or are familiar with what a company stands for prior to applying, 75 percent of respondents said that this made the recruitment process simpler.

However, what the candidate takes away from the interview ultimately has the most influential effect, which is why it’s so important for current staff members to bring their “A” game. Recognition of the practice’s brand may happen pre-interview, but an optometry practice’s brand – your workplace’s day-in, day-out culture and values – is what’s noticed during the interview itself.

This can start with demonstrating the type of reputation your practice seeks to epitomize, like upward mobility.
Julie Coucoules, head of talent acquisition at Glassdoor, noted the importance of building and nurturing a good reputation, given the mixed messages with which candidates are often bombarded.

“Job seekers today are more informed than ever, researching the ins and outs of specific jobs and companies, so employers should take advantage of this by engaging with prospective talent and showcasing what they have to offer,” Coucoules explained. “With one-third of hiring managers reporting that employer brand is one of the factors that influences people most when weighing a job offer, it is worth getting right.”

Practice brand strength may be furthered when candidates are comfortable with the terms of the job offer and contract. Both employers and candidates polled in the MRINetwork Study said competitive compensation packages affected employer branding positively, as did opportunities for advancement within the company. Conversely, respondents pointed to high turnover rates and off-kilter work-life balances as negative brand influencers.

A practice brand during the interview process that projects a good work-life balance can be the difference between a candidate accepting or turning down a job offer. In a Gallup poll of Millennials, 57 percent said work-life balance was very important to them, meaning they wanted jobs that promoted their well- being.

The practice brand and its employer brand must work together – they are like muscles that are both connected and reliant on each other. When each are exercised on a regular basis they grow stronger, both individually and collectively. Make sure to keep this in mind in your recruitment and interview process, to more effectively attract and retain the best associates and staff.


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