With a tight labour market, the balance of power has shifted from organisations to talented candidates. Recruiters will agree that it is not tough to discover the right talent. The real challenge is in drawing the interest and time from these applicants. In the current scenario, candidate engagement is that magic word which can turn things around.
What is candidate engagement?
If there is one thing that all recruiters will agree upon, it is that recruitment depends a lot on relationships. As the connection between a candidate and the recruiter strengthens, it becomes easier to hire and onboard.
Candidate engagement is the process through which recruiters can initiate and nurture these relationships. It is what prevents promising candidates from dropping out of the hiring process.
Candidate engagement is not about sending a one-off text message to the applicant. It is about being consistent in your interaction with the candidates.
Is candidate engagement the same as candidate experience?
Although it may seem similar, engagement is a small part of the experience. Candidate engagement is how you interact with the applicants. On the other hand, the experience is how they feel about the hiring process as a whole.
Why does candidate engagement matter?
Gallup found in a survey that 51% of the talent pool is looking for a new job. In this scenario, the opportunity to hire new employees is enormous. However, the window is short as most talented candidates stay in the market for 10 days.
The traditional way of sourcing is not always the best way to tap this talent pool. If the recruiters have to source from square one, it slows them down.
Besides, engagement drives a good candidate experience. 22% of the candidates say they will inform their circle if the hiring process wasn’t satisfactory. It is the last thing that organisations want – undesirable publicity.
A more successful method is when recruiters identify the right talent and initiate an engagement process. As they build a one-on-one connection with these candidates, they develop a talent pipeline. It becomes easier to hire them when the time comes.
Apart from this, it sets apart the organisation as an employer that invests deeply in finding the right talent. It helps the organisation in creating a proactive recruitment model instead of a reactive one. As it does so, it can hire on time and win competitive advantage.
What is the best strategy for successful candidate engagement?
A successful candidate strategy is the one that fosters continuous interaction with the candidates. It doesn’t imply calling the candidates daily. Instead, it means using a variety of ways to engage with the talent at all the right times.
Recruiters are an essential part of this strategy. They can contribute by becoming the gate-keepers of the plan and streamlining it. They can also add value by dividing the candidates into different buckets. It helps in creating more targeted and value-adding touch-points.
Technology is the next resource that organisations can leverage. It allows them to create workflows and automate emails and texts. Moreover, AI-powered tools can help organisations in understanding candidate behaviours. It can also help in pulling new and passive candidates.
Finally, organisations need to design a process with the end goal in mind. For instance, the purpose could be to engage the qualified candidates who have applied in the past. Organisations can send them newsletters or thought leadership blogs to stay in touch. Recruiters can automate and send emails for new job openings. Such emails will allow them the chance to apply again. It can significantly reduce the sourcing effort and accelerate hiring.
What are the best practices for candidate engagement?
Invest in your careers website
For most candidates, your careers page is the first touch-point. In fact, 53% of them will first visit the page before they apply. It is where they go to seek information and know more about the company. There are multiple ways to leverage it to excite the applicants for a possible career with you.
If you haven’t worked on it for a long time, it may time to revamp it. Use videos to show the company culture and the working environment. If possible, throw light on some exciting projects that are happening currently.
You can also have a feature on your current employees. The first step would be to interview your employees and ask the best part about working with your organisation. You can also shoot a day in office in their lives. As you do it, you give a preview to the candidates about how life will look like, in your company.
Use social media
In today’s digital world, if you are not on social media, you could be losing a huge opportunity. These channels can become a great platform to build your brand and engage talented candidates.
The talent pool in the market consists of both active as well as passive candidates. You can publish the current job openings to attract the applicants looking for a job. However, you will need to do more to engage with passive candidates.
Your content strategy should be around showcasing your organisation as an ideal place to work. You can share thought leadership blogs or insightful videos to engage with this section of candidates.
AI is that reliable friend that can engage potential employees in your absence. Not only can it provide all the right information, but it can also evaluate them for the current openings.
Firstly, an AI-powered chatbot on the careers page can engage the visitors. After understanding if the visitor is a potential candidate, it can show the current job openings as per their interest.
Secondly, the chatbot can mimic human conversations and answer their queries. It can handle a variety of questions related to culture, perks and benefits, job description etc.
If the candidates are interested in applying to a job, AI-powered chatbot can help them in completing their application. It can also tell them if they have missed any piece of information.
The chatbot offered by Impress does all this and more. It can conduct the first round of the interview and give them scores. The recruiters can look at the results and take it ahead from there.
Share status updates
Candidates find it disappointing when they apply for a job position and don’t hear from the organisation. They would like to know if the organisation received their application and considered it for the job position.
Companies can tackle this easily by automating status updates. By sending an automated email and text after the candidate applies, organisations can solve a significant part of the problem.
As the process advances, organisations can send similar updates to keep the engagement high. If the candidate is unable to make it to the next round, it will do more good to send communication about it. You don’t have to mention the reason or detailed feedback. It will suffice to say that the organisation won’t be able to move ahead with the application. However, they are welcome to apply again in the future.
The most critical point here to personalise these emails. You can use AI for this purpose. The tool offered by Impress allows the recruiters to send such status emails.
Communicate a clear hiring timeline
Changing a job and picking an organisation is a crucial decision for the candidates. When they are in the market, they are good chances that they are interviewing at other places.
They will appreciate it if you can share a hiring timeline with them. Tell the candidates if they should expect any personality or aptitude tests. Also, inform them about the number of interview rounds that are likely to happen. It is easy to send out this email when they reach a significant stage in your recruitment process.
As they will remain informed, they won’t feel lost during the interview process.
Automated interview scheduling
When the recruiters have to call and schedule the interviews, the process becomes ineffective. Firstly, it becomes an operational task with many chances of error. Secondly, rescheduling takes a lot of effort.
The tool offered by Impress allows the candidates to schedule their interviews as per their convenience. They can see the available interview slots and select a suitable time. The tool integrates with the calendar of the recruiters and hiring managers for a streamlined process.
When the control is with the candidates, they will be better engaged.
One to one conversation
When the candidates reach an advanced level in the interview process, it is time for more personal conversations. It is when recruiters need to step in and engage the candidates with one to one emails, texts and phone calls.
In some organisations, it may require making a tactical or mindset change. However, personalised communication can make a whole lot of difference. As the interaction becomes frequent, the candidates will know that the organisation is keen on hiring them.
Moreover, it gives recruiters a chance to understand if they are interviewing elsewhere. It will allow them to move quickly and make an offer at the right time.
In today’s time of talent war, organisations need to put themselves out there. Candidate engagement is the key to ensuring that candidates choose you above the others.