The Candidate Experience is one of the biggest, most talked about topics in recruiting today and for good reason. With more candidates looking for work, companies are dealing with increased levels of potential employees for every job position they recruit for. This leaves them with more time needed to screen and interview candidates and less time to have one on one engagement with these candidates.
Obviously, one on one engagement with candidates would be preferable in the recruiting process but with the increase in overall volume of candidates, it’s something that isn’t feasible for many organizations. Add onto that all the candidates that opt-in to your Talent Network and you have a whole new group of candidates that your recruiting organization should be engaging with to keep them warm while positions that fit their skill-set open up.
While we hear a lot about the need to engage with candidates, very rarely do we really break down what this engagement is and the different levels of engagement we have with candidates. Not all engagement needs to be one on one with candidates but it will differ based on the goal and platform that you are using to engage (whether that’s opt-in emails, social networks or in the interview process.)
Here are the different levels of engagement that you may have with candidates:
Information Gathering: This refers to all the recruiting content you produce and put online. From job distribution campaigns to Career Site messaging to your Glassdoor profile, candidates are engaging with your recruiting brand and collecting information on your organization. This is a one way level of engagement that the candidate initiates. The only thing you can control is the information you provide for candidates to engage with.
This level of engagement is the least powerful but still can be valuable. In most cases, this can lead candidates to engage with you further and will lead to better more powerful engagement in the future. You can tell how good your organization is doing with this engagement through capturing recruitment metrics on all this content.
Introduction: The platform for this type of engagement may differ. It can be the candidate reaching out to a recruiter on a social network, through a IM chat, on LinkedIn, opting in to your Talent Network or just simply applying for a position. In any case, the candidate is initiating the next level of engagement with your organization. They want to speak with your recruiters and get one on one engagement. The key here is to make sure that you set a reasonable expectation for the candidate. This can be sending an email confirmation on receiving the inquiry and what they should expect from an interaction perspective. Setting realistic expectations is key.
Personal: The most important engagement step in the process is one on one engagement between candidates and recruiters (as well as hiring managers). This is important during every step of the screening and interview phases of the process and is where you really build a relationship with a candidate. The key is to make sure that the relationship is not lost with qualified candidates that don’t get the job and that you communicate with them directly no matter if it’s good or bad news about the hiring decision.
Reminder: I also like to refer to this as the “I’m still here” phase. Basically this is how you engage with candidates that have showed interest in your organization but have yet to find the right fit. These can be candidates that opted into your Talent Network or potentially the silver medalists from job positions you hired for. This level of engagement can differ depending on your organizations approach. For highly qualified individuals that you have already screened, recruiters may be reaching out to them every once in a while to gauge interest and speak to them about their career. This is optimal but time consuming.
For candidates that you have yet to screen but have expressed interest, you may use email or SMS to remain top of mind with them. From email newsletters to targeted job listings, you provide them with the chance to engage on a more intimate level. The key here is providing value in the communications you send to these targeted candidate populations. Your main goal here is for them to take the next step to more personal engagement.
The important thing when thinking about engagement in your recruitment marketing strategy is to determine the needed level of engagement for the different steps in the process. Not all engagement needs to be the highest level (one on one) but you need to make sure to have appropriate level of interaction and communication when candidates choose to engage with your recruiting brand.
Use all the tools at your disposal to ensure that you are not leaving candidates in the dark and ensure that they satisfied with the level of engagement and responsiveness with your organization. Not every interaction can be a one on one engagement, the key is to make sure the right moments are.