Engaging your candidates throughout your hiring process is so important; you could have the best talent attraction strategy in the world but if your candidate engagement is poor, you’ll likely lose all of your top applicants.
Between application and onboarding, there could be a gap of between 1-3 months, once you factor in interviews, offer negotiations and notice periods. That’s a lot of time for a candidate to change their mind about working for you.
To avoid this, you need to engage your candidates as much as possible at every stage of the recruitment process. A successful candidate engagement strategy nurtures your candidates and keeps them interested and excited about the opportunity to reduce the chance of them dropping out of the process.
What steps can you take to increase candidate engagement and lower this risk? Read Webrecruit’s tips below:
1. Keep your job advert clear and your application process simple
Think of your job advert as your ‘shop window’, where you draw candidates in to want to learn more about the opportunity on offer. It should provide an accurate summary of the job but also pique candidates’ interest to make them want to learn more about your company.
Your application process is probably the first real interaction a candidate will have with your company. This is why it’s important to provide clear instructions about what the candidate is required to do and make things as easy as possible for them. A long, confusing process will likely deter candidates from completing their application and will possibly leave a negative impression of your company.
When candidates submit their application, whether it’s via an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or email attachment, make sure they receive an email confirming that their application has been received. This means that they can rest easy knowing they’ve successfully completed this stage of the process.
2. Follow-up applications as soon as possible
Don’t wait until the closing date of your vacancy to assess all your applicants. Try to keep on top of new applications, assessing them every 2-3 days as they are submitted. This way, candidates will never have to wait too long for a response and it keeps them engaged with the prospect of joining your business. Remember, if you leave it for weeks there’s a good chance that the best applicants will already be interviewing with other companies or might not even remember submitting their application to you!
Responding quickly also creates a positive impression of your business; it shows that you’re organised and on top of things. Think back to any frustration you’ve experienced when you’ve applied for roles and never heard back from the company; it doesn’t create a great first impression.
If you operate as part of a lean HR or recruitment function and struggle to keep up with candidate comms, it’s worth investing in recruitment technology that can assist you with this by automating update emails that are sent to candidates.
3. Check in with candidates before their interview
Don’t just go quiet after scheduling an interview with a candidate, especially if the interview is arranged quite far in advance. Email them to say you’re looking forward to meeting with them and make sure they have all the supporting information they need; you could even include links to online interview guides to help them prepare and refine their interview technique.
SMS reminders are also good to reduce the chance of candidates missing their interview. This is particularly important when hiring in volume, as maximum participation is often needed for interviews and assessment days to hire the number of candidates required. Remember, reminders sent to a mobile phone are more difficult to miss than an email reminder.
4. Set expectations after the interview
At the end of your interview, give the candidate a timeline of when you are expecting to make a decision. If you have other interviews booked, let the candidate know that your final decision will likely be announced after these interviews and you will be in touch on a specific date. This way, the candidate will know when they can expect to hear from you.
However, don’t just go quiet until then. Send an email the next day re-iterating the timeline to your candidate and thanking them for their time. Whatever the outcome and whether you choose to make an offer or not, make sure that you stick to the timeframes laid out and if there are any delays in decision making, communicate them rather than going silent.
If the candidate isn’t successful, always provide feedback; they’ll appreciate it and can use it for future opportunities (potentially with your company!)
5. Keep in contact throughout their notice period
Just because a candidate has accepted your offer, don’t just assume the hard work is done. Chances are that they will have to serve at least a month’s notice if they’re currently employed. Make sure you check in with them two weeks before their start date just to make sure they’ve received all the documentation and are in the process of getting it back to you. Re-affirm how pleased you are they’ve accepted your offer.
A week before they’re due to start, drop them an email to check in and try to share some good news about your company or information of upcoming socials to get them excited about joining the team. Finally, check in a couple of days before they’re due to start to make sure they have everything they need for their first day and re-iterate how excited you are to have them – after all, everyone wants to feel wanted!
The key to engagement is great communication throughout the entire recruitment process, and helping candidates to succeed. Don’t make applicants jump through hoops unnecessarily and utilise technology at every opportunity to keep communications manageable for you.