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Best Practices for Effective Candidate Management and Nurturing

Posted by
Nupura Ughade
May 19, 2023

The average candidate drop-off is 37%, according to our research.

Finding the right candidate for a job is a tough task, but it's only half the battle. Building a relationship with your potential employee and making them feel valued throughout the entire hiring process is critical. An occasional email or phone call won't cut it.

But that’s easier said than done. Recruiters are busy, and following up with hundreds of candidates is not an easy feat. Thankfully, automation can help recruiters build successful candidate nurture campaigns and avoid candidate ghosting and drop-offs.

In this blog post, I’m particularly exploring actionable strategies for candidate management and nurturing them through the hiring funnel using automation.

Understanding candidate management and nurturing

Candidate management is the process of building deep candidate relationships and nudging candidates through the hiring funnel. You can nurture candidates while delivering a memorable candidate experience with consistent communication and engaging personalized content.

What does all this add up to? Effective candidate nurturing positively impacts your bottom line, particularly on these core hiring metrics:

Time-to-hire: Nurturing candidates helps to reduce the time-to-hire by keeping candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process.

Cost-per-hire: Candidate nurturing reduces drop-offs, and helps engage passive candidates already in your database, reducing cost-per-hire and improving your ROI.

Offer acceptance rate: Building relationships with potential employees improves the offer acceptance rate.

Retention rate: Personalized experiences make candidates feel valued and improve retention rate.

Strategies for candidate nurturing throughout the talent lifecycle

Today’s most successful recruiters quickly progress candidates through each stage — and keep them engaged along the way. Let’s explore key stages in the talent lifecycle and how you can effectively nurture candidates throughout.

Pre- and post-interview candidate nurturing

Candidates are applying to 12 jobs at once under the assumption that most won’t respond to their applications and the ones that do will take weeks to get back to them. Respond quickly and keep them interested throughout the interview process, by sharing insight into the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks, team culture, and more.

Here are some tips to nurture candidates at this stage:

  • Look closely at candidate preferences in communication. About 75% of millennials, for instance, say they prefer text messages over calls.
  • Send an interview confirmation email to confirm the details and provide any necessary information.
  • Proactively communicate about any gaps between interview rounds.
  • Use automated workflows to send messages/regular check-ins.

Explore our ready-to-use interview appointment confirmation email templates

Continuous engagement pre-hire

Pre-hires have accepted a job offer but have not yet started working. Some may use your offer to negotiate a higher salary with their current employer or other companies. Others may second-guess their decision and decide to stay where they are comfortable. This stage is a significant drop-off point in the talent lifecycle.

Here are some tips to continuously engage with candidates in this stage to ensure they do not drop off:

  • Leverage a recruiting chatbot to engage with candidates and answer their questions during irregular hours. Chatbots can provide quick responses and keep candidates engaged even outside of normal business hours.
  • Send messages to build up excitement as they wait to join (e.g., “Everyone is looking forward to you joining next week”)
  • With a talent engagement platform like Sense, you can set up automated sequences to engage pre-hire candidates. For example, set up automated reminders for joining dates, a first-day checklist, etc.

Onboarding and beyond:

You should continue nurturing your new employees to ensure they’re happy and have the resources needed to succeed in their new roles. This boosts retention rates and enhances the chances of generating referrals from your employees.

Here’s an example of a typical automated workflow you can implement to keep your employees engaged:

  • Pre-start check-in: A pre-start check-in can help to build excitement and reduce anxiety before the first day.
  • First-day communication: A welcome message or call, along with easy links to all necessary resources, can help to create a positive first impression and build a relationship with the new employee.
  • One-week survey: A survey after the first week can give you early feedback and an opportunity to address any issues or concerns the employee may have.
  • Two-month check-in: A check-in after two months ensures that the employee is settling in well and is on track to achieve their goals.
  • Six-month check-in: A six-month check-in keeps the employee engaged and motivated by discussing their progress and providing feedback.
  • Referral request: Requesting referrals from satisfied employees is a great way to attract high-quality candidates who are already familiar with your company's culture.
  • Engage with alumni: Engaging with alumni helps build a strong talent community and potentially attract future hires. Stay in touch with former employees and keep them informed of company news, events, and job openings.

Explore our detailed guide to implementing automated talent journeys.

Feedback surveys and continuous improvement

Feedback surveys are an essential part of candidate nurturing, as they show that you care about the candidate's experience and are committed to continuous improvement. Candidates are evaluating your company just as much as you are evaluating them, so it's crucial to show them that you value their feedback.

Annual NPS surveys may not be enough to demonstrate your brand's commitment to candidates, but it can provide valuable insights into what's working and what's not in your recruitment process. Using an automated message that acknowledges the candidate's time and emphasizes the value of their feedback can encourage more candid responses.

Read more about collecting candidate feedback and NPS surveys

Fix your leaky hiring funnel with automation

Effective candidate management and nurturing require a holistic approach that spans the entire talent lifecycle. Want to upgrade your talent engagement strategy and create first-class candidate experiences? Explore our Definitive Guide to Talent Engagement for actionable tips and strategies.

Read more