Why Everyone’s Talking About Candidate Engagement Right Now

Published on 9/30/2019 by Heidi Green


Back in the “olden days” of staffing and recruiting, the process was simpler: post jobs, candidates apply and you place them. Rinse and repeat. As the years have gone by, the process remains the same at its heart, but the variables are vastly different. 

While we used to focus solely on metrics like placement rate and time to fill, recruiters are increasingly considering more advanced metrics to better position themselves to win the oft-referred “war on talent.” 

Without a doubt, the market today is tighter than ever. Retention is a huge issue, and candidates know they are in demand. They want to build strong relationships with organizations (and in the case of contractors, they want to be redeployed and have a long-term relationship with their staffing firm), but they want you to earn that relationship.

Enter, candidate engagement. 

There are potentially dozens of touchpoints for candidates with your organization today. From job boards (third party and internal) to social media, podcasts to blogs, email newsletters to white papers, talent is interacting with your brand across technologies and platforms. Then, they’re coming in and engaging with your team in person (either in your office or through video). 

Candidate experience is the sum of all parts (based on the feedback of individual ones). It’s the big picture of what a candidate goes through when interacting with your business.

Candidate engagement is your ability to communicate and keep your talent engaged throughout the hiring process and beyond. It’s using all those components of your candidate experience (and all of those touchpoints I just mentioned) to build strong relationships where your talent feels important, valued and engaged

Let’s take a look at two vastly different candidate engagement scenarios to illustrate its importance:

Scenario 1

A staffing firm posts its job online and shares it on social media. Within a few days, they receive some resumes. They spend a few days reviewing the resumes and decide to follow up with the top candidates. Their recruiters make some calls and send some emails to get a hold of the talent, playing phone tag with several for a few days, and without hearing back from the emails. 

Eventually, nearly a week after they originally submitted their resume, one candidate has accepted another position. Another finally schedules an interview, and the others have “ghosted” the recruiter. The candidate is interviewed by a recruiter, and after waiting to hear back for a few days, finally schedules an interview with the client/organization. After a week without follow up, the candidate moves on to another role, without notifying the recruiter. The next day, the staffing firm reaches out -- their client has made an offer! Except...the candidate has fallen completely off the radar, moving on to another company. 

Back to the drawing board…

Let’s compare that to the second scenario:

Scenario 2

After posting their opening to both the internal and select third-party job boards, a staffing firm sets up automatic emails in their ATS to notify each applicant that they will be in touch within 48 hours. The next day, their recruiter logs into their ATS to see which resumes meet their criteria. They batch send follow up messages to schedule interviews, and set up automatic notifications for regular follow-ups. Several candidates are currently employed and requested communication via text, so the recruiter schedules text reminders to keep the candidates informed throughout the process. No candidate goes for more than a few days without some sort of communication. After their first meeting, several candidates go on to meet with the client, who is thrilled. The recruiter texts each candidate a “👍” with important feedback from the interviews, and keeps them posted as the employer makes his decision. Ultimately, the recruiter notifies each candidate about the decision. One candidate is thrilled -- she got the job! The other candidate is disappointed but asks about the other opportunities they have available. 

See the difference some candidate engagement can make? Of course, there are some considerable variables, but when you communicate regularly and through preferred platforms, your talent feels connected to you -- they feel important. In today’s marketplace, it can mean dramatic differences in your revenue. 

The best part? Choosing the right ATS can empower your recruiters to implement a candidate engagement strategy while maximizing their time. With BrightMove, you can quickly refine resumes and candidates, set reminders and create automatic messages. It integrates effortlessly with many of your other recruiting technology to create a hassle-free, seamless experience. To see BrightMove in action and learn more, schedule a demo with our team today

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