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Worrying about wrong things in candidate engagement?

Posted by
Alexandra Kane
July 27, 2023

Candidate engagement is certainly one of the most buzzworthy topics floating around the staffing industry at the moment. But while most buzzworthy terms are fleeting or hollow in their actual impact, candidate engagement is here to stay.

Some staffing firms look at candidate engagement as a tactic, while others (those who tend to maximize their results) believe candidate engagement is core to all their business strategies.

Today’s talent is smarter and more discerning than ever. Those staffing firms who invest in candidate engagement throughout the candidate lifecycle decrease “ghosting”, increase redeployment and ultimately, increase growth of the bottom line.


The distractions that will prevent you from moving the needle for candidate engagement.


Whether candidate engagement is a component of your business strategy or it is a new center of your attention, it’s important to recognize where your candidate engagement investment should be focused. Spend time worrying about the wrong things, and it could mean the difference between engaged talent with loyalty to your firm and candidates who look elsewhere for their next job.

It’s time to change your candidate engagement focus and stop worrying about these elements:


You’re using an outdated hiring funnel.

Traditionally (and for many firms, still today), staffing firms focused on candidate engagement only between the time a resume is submitted and when the candidate is placed. Follow up calls and emails to check in and offer advice come fast and furious to help candidates land their next gigs. Then, communication drops off precipitously.


This aligns to a traditional hiring funnel, which follows the shape and path of the traditional marketing funnel. It uses the standard funnel shape (that looks like an upside down triangle) with the largest section on top (typically resumes received), funneled down to the narrowest: Placed candidates. Drop off is a given and the bottom of the funnel is where the journey ends for most candidates.

Smart staffing firms know that the traditional hiring funnel has been usurped by the new Candidate Engagement Cycle. Rather than a funnel shape, the new candidate journey is cyclical. In this model, engagement begins once candidates become aware of your brand, and continues up until and through placement, then beyond. This strategy increases redeployment rates and referrals, keeping a steady stream of proven top talent filling the top of your pipeline (and at your fingertips).


Tools like Sense facilitate the Candidate Engagement Cycle by automating candidate engagement to create and disseminate personalized communications to candidates at specific touchpoints.

The reality is that candidate engagement begins well before a resume is submitted. Candidate engagement begins when candidates are exposed to and interacting with your brand, whether it’s on social media, stumbling across your website or being forwarded an email by a friend. Adjust your candidate engagement strategy accordingly and invest in the right tools to facilitate that strategy, and you’ll rise above the pack.


You are focused on the wrong term.

As mentioned above, there is no shortage of buzzworthy language in our industry today. Keeping up with the latest terms can be dizzying! As a result of this barrage of fleeting terminology, many staffing firms use the terms “candidate experience” and “candidate engagement” interchangeably.

Candidate experience and candidate engagement are two separate, but important, terms.

The candidate experience is a big picture, overall perception of how candidates are treated and what they experience throughout your hiring process (and beyond). It can be explained as the feeling or impression you leave on candidates. There are many factors that can influence candidate experience, like:

  • An extremely long application process
  • A drawn-out hiring process
  • How candidates are treated when they visit your office
  • Inability to get a hold of recruiters
  • Zero follow up if they are overlooked for positions


Another element that impacts candidate experience is candidate engagement. Candidate engagement is one strategy used to shape that impression. It encompasses creating intentional touch points and adjusting for multiple communication preferences throughout the candidate engagement lifecycle to establish rapport, build trust and loyalty.


You’ve been overinvesting in the wrong communication methods.

When thinking about candidate communications, many staffing firms only leverage two channels: Phone and email.

Of course, most of us are glued to our smartphones nowadays. But it’s unlikely we’re actually talking on the phone!

We are on email during our 9 to 5s, but more and more people are shutting it down once they leave work. Or they are unable to access outside email while on the job.

In other words, most of us have other forms of communication that we prefer. Forms like:

  • Text messaging
  • Facebook messaging
  • Skype
  • Slack


To name a few.

Those staffing firms who are communicating with candidates regularly, with personalized messages, using the methods candidates prefer, are standing out from the competition. And they are standing out dramatically. Top talent today is bombarded by eager recruiters through generic templated emails and standard voicemails.

Imagine the impression you’ll make on candidates when you send them a personalized text or Facebook message.

Sense works together with multiple communication technologies to craft personalized messages using pre-set parameters. Then, it automatically disseminates those messages at intervals throughout the Candidate Engagement Cycle. It helps you put your existing engagement data to work to create a better experience for your candidates while saving you time, increasing productivity and ultimately, reducing costs.


Now’s the time to invest in candidate engagement.

Candidate engagement is one of the not-so-secret core competencies that is transforming our industry. Has it transformed your business yet?

For more on candidate engagement and how to put it to work for your firm, download our whitepaper (crafted together with ClearEdge Marketing). Then, contact us to schedule some time to walk through Sense and see firsthand how it will fit into your business.



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