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Why communication and engagement should be your #1 focus during these times

Posted by
Alexandra Kane
November 16, 2021

There’s certainly no shortage of candidate engagement content here on the Sense blog (44 posts tagged “candidate engagement,” in fact). As the recruiting industry moved into a more candidate-centric model (🙌), seeing the impact on recruiting, retention, productivity and more from simply creating more positive candidate experiences, tips, tools and technologies to help facilitate engagement became a priority. 

Then, the world changed. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. The world of recruiting, which had talent in the strongest seat for seemingly forever, suddenly flipped.

Or did it? 

While there has most certainly been a massive shift in recruiting, with furloughs and layoffs affecting just about every industry, the fundamentals of what succeeded pre-COVID are still just as important, relevant and successful now. 

Let me explain…

Candidate expectations are not going backwards

Without a doubt, the market is flooded with talent right now. With a situation not seen since the Great Depression, tens of millions of Americans are currently looking for work. 

But, candidates still recognize their value, what they can contribute to your organization and what they expect from you as a potential employer. The days of radio silence, treating candidates like resumes and facilitating transactions rather than building relationships are from a long-ago era. 

Your staffing firm doesn’t treat candidates like that -- why would that change? This is a time to differentiate your brand from the crowd and create experiences that talent will remember, when the time is right.

Candidates don’t forget how they’re treated

Your employer brand is essential and can be fragile. Treating candidates like valued assets -- and especially like human beings -- during such a stressful time can have a tremendous impact on your employer brand in the short- and long-term. 

When things rebound, your candidates will absolutely remember the communications and experiences you delivered for them during quarantine. And the resulting loyalty can help you improve key metrics like redeployment, retention and referrals. 

Landing top talent remains a challenge

While there are many more candidates looking for work right now, truly exceptional candidates will always be in demand. They will expect you to bring your ‘A’ game, and at the heart of that is strong engagement. 

What does top talent expect as far as candidate engagement? 

Here’s are two of the most important elements: 

> Sounding like a human and not a machine in your communications (especially texts!).

> A consistent experience with your staffing firm, whether it’s via text, email, social or on the phone.

Your network is counting on your help

If anything, now’s the time for more communication. From communication about changes in social distancing and other COVID-era policies that will affect their placements, to reassuring messages that you are simply there and working to match them to great jobs, staying in touch when people are feeling uncertainty and even fear is always the right call. 

Although there is so much uncertainty right now for many people, about many things, reassuring messages from your firm can not only help your candidates feel less uneasy, they can help boost retention and even help core metrics like redeployment and referrals down the line once we start to rebound. 

Yes, that means that focusing on candidate engagement now is the right thing to do, AND it’s good for business. 

Need help re-energizing your candidate engagement strategy? 

If your candidate engagement strategy fell by the wayside when “coronavirus” became a household phrase, you’re not alone. And it’s okay. But now is definitely the time to get things back on track. Here is some advice that can help you focus your energy in the right direction:

Reach out to your marketing department

Marketers have their fingers on the pulse of all your major stakeholders right now. It’s their job to help you best reach and engage them. If you’re struggling with what to include in communications, or how often to communicate, bring them in and ask to pick their brains a bit. 

In fact, talking to your marketing department more often can be super beneficial to you both in the long run!

Don’t just focus on business

Did you catch any of the Some Good News episodes? Millions of people tuned in each Sunday as John Krasinski shared good news from around the globe. While there’s a lot of heaviness in the world right now, there is always something to make us smile and warm our hearts. 

Your candidates need that feeling too. So while you should be keeping them up to date on policies, regulations and of course, jobs, don’t forget to throw in a little bonus material too! 

That includes communications that pertain to current events in the world. Your candidates may expect you to take a stand on social issues. While that’s a larger decision for your business, it is something to consider. At a minimum, you’ll want to avoid any content that seems inappropriate or tone deaf in the current landscape. 

Think like a human

This piece of advice will always ring true. But right now, the best thing you can consider when mapping out a candidate engagement strategy is what would make YOU smile, click, read, feel better? We’re all going through the same things, some of us in different ways. But we’re all experiencing worry, uncertainty and fear. If something makes you smile, chances are it will make your candidates smile too.

Use the right tools

As I mentioned earlier, creating a consistent candidate experience is essential to a successful candidate engagement strategy. Your candidates may be at home on their computers, maybe they’re on their mobile devices. Reading emails, texts and social posts -- they could be interacting with your messages in any number of ways. At Sense, our texting customers are seeing response rates over 50% and usage doubling since before COVID hit. With all this automation, we’ve also seen data of higher connectivity over the phone, automation of lower-touch communication frees your recruiters to make these higher touch connections.

Taking an omni-channel approach and creating that consistent experience across all channels requires the right tools to ensure candidates get your message(s) at the right time. Manually ensuring that the correct messages go out on the right platforms at the right times can seem overwhelming, at the very least. 

And with teams already maxed out and stressed, the thought of writing, coordinating and publishing more communications can take that stress to the next level. 

Stop. Breathe. And don’t worry. We’re here to help. At Sense, our engagement platform works with your ATS to maximize your time, effort and budget while keeping your candidates engaged. To learn more and see Sense in action, just schedule a demo with our team.

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