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How to improve candidate engagement (the easy way)

Posted by
Diana Mitchell
July 27, 2023

You can expect candidate engagement to remain a priority for employers despite a recession or continued economic downturn. As CEO Anil Dharni has been observing in respected HR and business publications recently, the traditional definitions of a “candidate’s” or “employer’s” market have faded, and the new normal for talent experience has arrived. Whether you’re recruiting for 10 or 100 roles, top talent will continue to demand a strong candidate experience from employers.

But, the realities of an economic downturn are affecting talent acquisition teams already, so the ability to maximize lean teams and limited resources while boosting candidate engagement is essential. Which leads us to the question, “How do you improve candidate engagement?”

How to improve candidate engagement without adding significantly more work

Top talent expects a strong candidate experience – and exceptional talent engagement is essential. Here’s how your organization can improve candidate engagement and deliver exceptional candidate experiences without overburdening your recruiting team:

Provide a clear hiring timeline upfront for a transparent candidate experience

This isn’t necessarily a “step” as it is a part of the process that should be ingrained in talent acquisition teams. Open communication and setting clear expectations is essential in every industry and with every level of talent.

Candidates want to know how long the hiring process will take, and how many steps are involved. Even if your hiring process is a bit bloated, setting that expectation up front – rather than keeping quiet and hoping that candidates don’t mind later – can prevent drop-off and keep talent engaged throughout the hiring process.

Read more: The Definitive Guide to Talent Engagement

And candidates understand that things can change and delays can happen. While there’s never any guarantee a candidate won’t drop off and pursue other opportunities, communicating a timeline up front, and then updating if and when things change, shows respect for candidates’ time and keeps them informed. And really, that’s all anyone can ask for.

Improve candidate engagement by communicating clearly throughout the process

To that end, communication truly is key – at every step along the way, and even when there’s nothing to report. Speaking to the notion of timeline and what the hiring process entails above, going radio silent and/or leaving things vague when setting expectations about timelines does everyone a disservice. Frustrated candidates who drop off waste significantly more time and money for recruiting teams than taking a few minutes to outline the process and potential timeline up front.

Candidates understand that engaging with a prospective employer and going through the hiring process will require time and effort on their part; however, there is an expectation that the prospective employer will respect that time and communicate clearly throughout the process. The good news? With today’s recruiting technology, keeping talent engaged and informed throughout the process has never been easier or more time efficient.

Answer candidate questions quickly to keep them engaged in the process

While over a quarter of candidates in our recent candidate research study said that the job search/application process has become more complicated, faster response times from recruiters was by far the top way candidates cited to improve candidate experiences.

Responding to messages and keeping candidates in the loop matters, even when there isn’t much to say. It’s the simplest way to reduce candidate drop-off and improve time to hire while building better relationships with talent (including those who aren’t hired right away). It’s the biggest no-brainer in recruiting today, and yet so many employers still fall short. In that same study, we found that fewer than 1 in 5 recruiters respond to candidates within 24 hours 😱

Automate interview scheduling to improve talent engagement

Candidates are the most excited about your company and job when they hit the “submit” button on their job application. And yet, many employers go radio silent for days (or longer) at this critical juncture.

Today’s most successful companies are leveraging automation to schedule interviews and even prescreen candidates to keep them engaged, but also to maximize recruiters’ and candidates’ time by screening out poor-fit candidates early in the process.

Traditionally, a candidate applies to your job, a recruiter looks at the resume in the next few days, and then they either call, email, or text to try and schedule an interview. The back and forth trying to schedule an interview can take a few days (or longer!). For today’s talent, those days are critical. In the days of back and forth, many candidates are talking to other employers and applying to other jobs. Capturing and keeping the attention and excitement of top talent is essential.

With today’s cutting-edge talent engagement technology (like, you guessed it, Sense), fast-moving companies are automating prescreening and interview scheduling leveraging tools like our AI chatbot to prescreen, schedule interviews within minutes of candidates applying to your jobs, and send an interview confirmation email automatically. And in many instances, this is happening while your recruiters are sleeping, or on the weekend – 24/7/365.

The level of efficiency is honestly mind blowing when you look back on recruiting even 3 or 4 years ago. Our ability to quickly and efficiently automate core recruiting tasks, empowering recruiters to spend the bulk of their time on meaningful 1:1 conversations instead of repetitive administrative tasks (and poor-fit candidates) is game changing. I recognized this while I was VP of marketing at an IT and engineering staffing firm that worked largely in MSP – dealing with high-volume hiring where time to fill was the lifeblood of our organization. That’s why I engaged Sense to come in and provide a key functionality our recruiting team was missing.

And of course, I became so excited about Sense and its ability to serve as a game changer for recruiting teams, I joined the team here! 😉

Take your candidate engagement to the next level

Here at Sense, we are committed to helping you deliver exceptional talent experiences at every stage of the talent engagement flywheel. To take a deeper dive into talent engagement and devise or revise your talent engagement strategy for maximum results, check out our Definitive Guide to Talent Engagement for Modern Talent Leaders.

Read more