Employees are the most important resource for any business and that’s why companies must get the right ones from the very start. However, this is easier said than done. It’s hard to find the best candidates for specific roles in an organization.
But there is one way that businesses can encourage more and more candidates to apply for the job themselves and take more interest in the role and that is candidate engagement.
Keep reading to learn what candidate engagement is, the importance of candidate engagement, and 7 ways to improve it.
What is Candidate Engagement?
In simple terms, candidate engagement is basically the process of communicating with the candidates, physically or virtually, and measuring how well they were treated during the entire recruitment process.
Also sometimes referred to as candidate experience, it aims to provide a better and smoother hiring process for candidates, and ultimately, for the staffing company as well by eliminating the need for sourcing. For recruiters, the goal of candidate engagement can be to achieve more open emails, job applications, or even job acceptances.
Importance of Candidate Engagement
According to IBM, candidates who have had a positive recruiting experience through better engagement and communication are 38% more likely to accept a job offer from the company.
With the current labor market conditions, it is now the candidates who usually hold more power than the organizations. There is no more a shortage of skilled and talented individuals, and it now falls on companies to somehow convince potential candidates to consider their company.
So, then how do businesses convince candidates to invest their time and energy in their company? Through candidate engagement.
Through candidate engagement, companies can build a better one-on-one relationship with the candidate. This means that even if they don’t accept that specific job offer at the time, they will be more willing to accept another one in the future.
As a result, candidate engagement helps companies develop a talent pipeline which makes recruiting and hiring much easier when the need arises. Similarly, when companies don’t engage with their candidates, they are essentially providing them with a negative experience.
In such cases, 72% of candidates tell others about their negative experience with the company which can result in undesirable publicity and affects their hiring process in the future.
For many companies, the recruitment process is also a race against time. Most candidates stay on the job market for a limited amount of time, and this gives companies a very short window to convince and recruit top talent.
With constant candidate engagement and a reputation for positive candidate experience, companies can fill their positions much faster and even gain a competitive advantage in the market as a result.
7 Ways to Improve Candidate Engagement
Just like how candidates are likely to talk about their negative experiences, they are also going to talk about their positive experiences.
In fact, they are more likely to do so as 81% of candidates share a positive experience with a recruiting company in their direct circle.
Considering all the short and long-term benefits it offers, better candidate engagement needs to be every staffing company’s goal. Here are 7 ways to improve candidate engagement for a better candidate experience.
1. Get Candidates Excited About Your Company
Just like you market your products and services to potential customers, you need to market your company to potential candidates as well to help build that initial interest and get them to invest some time in your recruitment process.
You need to get them actually excited about working with you as this will automatically improve their perception and experience during the hiring process. Now, there are several ways to do this.
- Invest in your careers page: The careers page is usually where you first interact with the candidate so if you want to give off a good first impression, this is it. Make sure the page has all the relevant information about the company as well as the open positions.
- Promote the company culture and working environment: The company’s culture and working environment are always major factors that influence a candidate’s decision. After all, no one wants to work in a toxic or growth-inhibiting environment. So, show the company culture and the kind of environment candidates can expect to work in.
- Feature current employees’ views: Interview your existing employees about their favorite part about working with the organization and perhaps even a message for future candidates.
- Show a day in the office: Shoot a video of what a typical day at the office looks like so that candidates know what to expect and can proceed accordingly.
2. Keep Communication Open and Clear
The hiring process can be an anxious time for candidates as well as companies. One way to relieve this and provide a better experience for candidates is through open and honest communication. Whether it’s about the next stage of hiring, their application status, a rejection offer, etc., candidates prefer to be kept in the loop rather than kept waiting in the dark.
63% of candidates complain that most companies don’t communicate enough with them.
This alone can have a huge impact on the candidate experience and consequently, candidate engagement. Communication is important for any kind of relationship and this holds true for a company-candidate relationship as well.
So, maintain open and consistent communication to keep candidates informed of their progress. You can use a simple applicant tracking system (ATS) where it can display the application status, such as ‘submitted’ or in-progress,’ to let candidates know where they stand.
3. Stick to a Timeline
It is also crucial to stick to a timeline. As mentioned earlier, recruiters don’t have months and months to drag on the recruiting process. By establishing and sticking to a timeline, companies can fulfill their staffing needs much quicker and provide a positive experience to candidates as well where they don’t have to wait for months to hear back from the employer.
Set a clear deadline for each stage of hiring and communicate it to the candidates as well so they know what to expect. You can even utilize technology, such as artificial intelligence and automated email responders, to filter and select ideal candidates and inform the rest instantly.
4. Ask for FeedbackAnother way to engage with the candidates is to ask for feedback. Most companies have exit interviews to take feedback from employees leaving the organization. Well, similarly, they need to take feedback during the initial hiring process as well.
If a certain candidate reaches the final rounds of the recruitment process and refuses the offer, this is a good opportunity to take their feedback and figure out what the company is lacking. This feedback can help identify where the recruitment process needs some improvement and even where you might be doing things perfectly.
5. Provide Feedback
While many companies do ask for feedback, they rarely provide feedback to the candidates.
This is also quite crucial for building a strong relationship with the candidate. For instance, if a certain candidate does not meet requirements, most companies simply send out a standard rejection email.
While this does satisfy some candidates, it also leaves some candidates frustrated as they don’t know why they were rejected. Therefore, taking the time to provide some feedback on where they displayed excellent skills and where they fell short is a great way to engage with the candidate and provide them valuable feedback.
6. Be Flexible with The Interview
Another effective way to engage with candidates is by giving them some control over the recruitment process. For instance, one area where you can empower them is when scheduling interviews.
By recognizing the fact that many candidates may have other jobs, job interviews, and other commitments, you can offer the candidates to schedule the interview date and time themselves. This way, they can pick a time that is most suitable for them and have a better experience with the company.
It also allows them to perform better on interviews and reduces the chances of them cancelling or rescheduling the interview.
7. Avoid Long Applications
60% of candidates tend to drop out of the recruitment process due to lengthy applications.
Most candidates already have multiple positions to consider and they may have a busy life. Amidst all that, long applications or application processes can only frustrate them further, causing them to leave them altogether.
This can contribute towards a negative experience of your company as well. Therefore, you should try to keep your applications short or even utilize artificial intelligence to screen candidates beforehand and only allow qualified candidates to proceed further.