How To Increase Candidate Engagement

GILES HECKSTALL-SMITH • 10 Sep 2020

There’s much discussion and debate around the importance of candidate engagement and what that should look like as we execute our hiring strategy. There are many touch-points we could explore but here are a few areas and tips that can reap significant benefits.

What is candidate engagement?

To frame this article about Candidate Engagement, we should kick it off with applying a clear definition to focus the attention on what we are looking to achieve by engaging candidates.

Reaching and attracting the right people to your organisation; to inform, communicate, inspire and emotionally connect talent to your company, its values, mission / goals and principles.

Why is engagement so important?

In today's world, we are bombarded with content covering every area of our lives – just look at the infographic below! This means, as recruiters, we have a new challenge on our hands, and that has become a battle for visibility and attention with potential hires throughout the hiring process.

The average job seeker is applying for 6 jobs per week. We are no longer choosing the talent, the talent is choosing us!

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Use video and rich media to build your employer brand

You only need to glance at the infographic above and think about what you consume online to see that we live in an age of visual media, whether that’s images on Instagram or YouTube videos.

Images and video convey so much more information than text alone; if you’re not creating video content to attract candidates, then you are missing out on a golden opportunity.

Video job adverts and workplace stories are shared 20x more than text-based adverts. Job seekers and potential hires want to see authentic videos of colleagues too, and these are 10x more effective than videos of recruiters. The best bit is that you only need a phone to start creating video content and a good ATS will support rich media job adverts.

Create ‘Brand Ambassadors’ to super-charge your reach

So, you have created some great video content to inspire and engage potential hires but how do you get it in front of your audience? The answer is very simple; harness the power of your people. On average we have about 400 social network connections - multiply that by the number of people that work for your organisation and you’ll see why your people are your most powerful marketing asset!

Create content which they’d want to share or instil the confidence for them to create their own. Find new and imaginative ways to incentivise and reward people for sharing content with their own networks. You’ll achieve huge reach to a wide and diverse group of potential hires!

Test, measure and refine your process

On the basis that what gets measured gets managed, have you tested your candidate journey from job search, to advert, to application, interviews and offers, etc? So often this is overlooked but it’s essential you do this to understand what works well, and, if there are barriers or areas where the process is inconsistent or lets candidates down. Does the data suggest high levels of candidate abandonment at certain stages of the application process which you can then refine/improve? Are you reviewing the process for accessibility to support D&I strategy? How is the process and experience on a mobile device? Are the email communications personalised, and do you set expectations and convey the right tone of voice?

It’s worth considering implementing NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys for candidates to understand what’s working and where there might be gaps in the candidate experience.

Automation is your friend if you use an applicant tracking system, but it should support and show human consideration and personalisation too.

On-boarding and pre-boarding - solve the black hole

Engagement of new hires is more important now than ever. Get this right and the results are powerful:

  • You can decrease time to settle and perform by 30%
  • Improve new hire retention by 82%
  • Increase productivity from day one by 70%

Source: Brandon Hall Group

The best candidates will be receiving other job offers even after accepting yours, 30% of new hires continue to look for new roles after accepting an offer, and 10% accept offers elsewhere before starting. It’s essential you provide new hires with a sense of connection, culture and belonging, even before they join you.

The best applicant tracking system will also include a ‘Green Room’ as part of the on-boarding process. A dedicated portal for new hires, it contains video introductions from their new manager, an ability to connect with their new team, and answers to all those questions that new hires have ahead of their first day. However, you can still achieve this using personalised messaging and send welcome videos or pictures using WhatsApp.

Final thoughts

There's so much opportunity to enhance and improve candidate engagement and many elements don’t require additional investment, only your time. Placing yourself in the candidates' position, whether it’s following their path from job search to application, through to on-boarding or creating video content that will resonate, is all about showing consideration. Keep this front of mind while you measure, refine and improve the experience regularly and you can be confident of delivering a killer candidate experience!

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