When it comes to creating a positive company brand, nothing turns your candidates into fans or haters faster than the hiring process. Every step in the hiring process is key, not only to building the best team you can but to leaving a great impression with every candidate. Here are 4 hiring moments that matter the most: 1. The 1st Impression Will Rogers was dead on when he said, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” When you recruit, focus on your company culture when deciding where and how you recruit candidates. Spend some time in social media groups that identify with your brand. Find out where your best employees spend their time online. When advertising on social, make sure you are interacting and engaging with potential candidates – strike up conversations, answer questions, and make inquiries organically. Optimize your Facebook page to include job postings by interest/location. When you recruit make sure the job description and messaging is clear for your applicants. 43% of applicants say that the job description that originally grabbed their attention does not match the job to which they applied. Be clear in your descriptions and show the enthusiasm and cultural tone your company wants to portray; it will translate to applicants before they take the time to apply. Thinking like the candidate will help you write a description that really grabs the attention of the candidate – if you were a top candidate interested in a position at your company what impression would you have if you encountered a current job description? 2. The Application Update your company career page – you would be amazed how many career pages are outdated or incomplete. In fact, only 59% of companies actually leverage their own website for recruiting purposes. Make sure it is easy to navigate and configure a mobile application as well – 70% of candidates access information via mobile and apply for jobs on their mobile phones. More importantly, 38% of candidates are less likely to be brand advocates of a company as a consumer if they have an unpleasant experience in applying for a job. Digital interviewing improves the candidate experience by giving each person a voice in the recruiting process. No longer limited by a paper resume in a stack of other applicants, they can explain why they are qualified for a job – with their own personality and story to fit company culture. Companies can precede each interview with a video explaining what it takes to become a team member and can brand their digital career pages – leaving a great first impression on candidates before taking the interview. Asking candidates to take a survey after completing their digital interview gives a company immediate feedback about their recruiting process and helps them improve the candidate experience and brand impression from the beginning. 3. The Once-Over Using an online application allows you to sort candidates using specific criteria for your open positions. Standardizing the application process allows you to better track applicants, screen candidates for background and I-9 issues, and assess eligibility for tax benefits for employers. Hiring mistakes can cost you a lot more than you think – make sure you are looking over every detail before making a hire – gut feelings don’t cut it anymore. HR technology platforms like PeopleMatter can ensure you intelligently hire talent, making it easy to track data and comply with HR rules/regulations. 4. The Follow-Up Have you ever applied for a job without any knowledge of what happened to your application or even if it went through because it was never acknowledged? Well, you probably applied to one of the 70% of companies that are guilty of letting applications fall into the “Black Hole”. Even if you are passing on a candidate, a courteous e-mail letting them know you are passing on their application goes a long way in creating a positive experience for the applicant. If you decide to move forward with the candidate, clearly outline the next steps in the process and track everything with an online software tool so nothing slips through the cracks. These are the 4 hiring moments that matter the most – the first application, the interview, the once-over, and the follow-up. Make the most of each to build greater brand loyalty from candidates and a smoother recruiting process. For a link to a recording on the PeopleMatter/HireVue webinar on “The 4 Hiring Moments That Matter Most” visit http://www.peoplematter.com/hr-resources/webinars/time-to-hire?p=follow-up .