use cases | 4 min read

How to Engage Candidates Who Apply at your Organization?

Published by Khyati Badiyani on 24-Sep-2021

Recruiting is not easy. 

Sourcing the right candidate for a job posting is a collaborative process and a time-consuming one too. So if you’re recruiting, you want to get it right to fill the vacancy in a minimum time frame.

There’s never really a ‘right’ recruitment strategy to speak of. A company’s culture, location, and industry play an essential role in hiring new talent. But regardless of process, a common mistake most companies make is they fail to engage the customer in the hiring process. 44% of the candidates feel that poor candidate engagement in recruitment is a major reason for their frustration and eventual back-out. On the other hand, candidates are 3.5 times more likely to consider joining a company that keeps them engaged. 

Reasons for a bad engagement experience can range from delays in assessment to other communication gaps. But most of the reasons are those that can be worked upon. All that the HR team needs to do is have a candidate engagement strategy in place. Organizations often don’t consider engagement as a must-have in recruitment. But a highly talented candidate is also targeted by competitors. So it is your job to motivate these candidates to choose you so that you don’t have to settle for the second-best. Listed below are some of the best candidate engagement techniques to hire the right candidates for your organization. 

Generate Excitement and Curiosity using Social Media

64% of candidates are going to search about you before applying for a job posting. If that’s the case, why not just make this part a little fun? Get your prospective candidates excited to apply to your company. Start by using your social media to garner interest from prospective employees. 49% of all candidates are following companies on social media to stay aware of the job openings. And, this isn’t just LinkedIn that I’m talking about. 83% of job seekers also prefer Facebook for sourcing new roles. 

So you have multiple platforms. You can use this opportunity to spark conversations and share resources, all the while representing your brand in the best way possible and building an online reputation. Actively participate in other discussions and build a community of talented individuals, those whom you can pitch and connect with when you have a vacancy.  

For example, Salesforce highlighted their ‘Best places to work Award’ on their Instagram Handle and subtly captioned it that they’re hiring too. This way, they’re providing social proof along with a sneak peek into the company culture can make a great first impression on your candidates and would eventually make them excited about applying for a job role in your company.

Source: Dominion Systems

Social Media can become a great place to actually showcase your culture, and you have every opportunity to get creative at it. Most companies miss out on providing value to the members on social media while recruiting. You need to realize that Social Media is always a whole package where you can’t ever just do marketing or just do recruiting. The whole point is to be social. So put out quality content, bring originality, and be consistent. Don’t just post when you want to promote or hire. To utilize the platform to the fullest, you need to stay true to the value of the medium, which is to engage with a community and post something worth sharing.

Communicate Consistently for Candidate Engagement 

One of the primary concerns candidates have is that companies don’t reply; regardless of their application outcome. Candidate Engagement doesn’t just mean to engage them while sourcing them. It means engaging them throughout the screening process, interviews, and onboarding, and in doing so, you need constant communication. HR experts believe that a continuous follow-up can not just keep them interested but rather have them appreciate the integrity of your organization. 58% of job seekers regard recruitee-recruiter communication as the topmost contributing factor for a positive candidate experience. Some top to-dos while designing your communication strategy with candidates are:

Engage with Candidates on their term

When you’re hiring, you’re already aware of how much experience the candidate needs to have and what will be their approximate age bracket. Use this information to understand your candidate’s demography and their preferred mode of communication. 7 in 10 millennials use social media to look for jobs. But the same cannot be said for Gen X candidates since they prefer the traditional calls or emails to get constant updates. To engage them, you need to follow their preferences and make it easier for them to apply for your posting. 

Encourage two-way Dialogue

A candidate will only be able to build a rapport and trust with your brand if they are given a chance to interact and talk. So don’t you think it’s wiser to go beyond and encourage candidates to participate in the interaction to engage them? This also gives you valuable insights into your talent pool and understanding their thought process. Right from the pre-application process to the interviews, the interaction shouldn’t just be about what you’re expecting from them, but rather what they are looking for in the job role, whether they’ll get training, and so on. 

Provide Quick Assessment

39% of the candidates think that a delayed response from the potential employer is one of the major reasons for their lack of interest in joining the company. And rightfully so. It’s always beneficial to nurture relationships, whether it’s with the selected candidates or with second-place candidates. A recruitment process is also subject to mishaps or uncertainties. In this case, it is always advisable to be transparent with the candidates and tell them why there was a delay in their assessment.

Ever considered a Chatbot?

I mentioned having clear communication with all the candidates at every stage of the recruitment process. But practically, it’s easier said than done. While doing high-volume hiring, it becomes cumbersome to acknowledge and personalize every candidate’s experience. In such situations, how do you still root for candidate engagement? 

The answer is automation. 

There are many manual and time-consuming tasks in the recruitment process that can be automated so the team can dedicate more time to areas that require human interaction. Artificial Intelligence helps organizations screen and filter potential candidates according to the job description and reduces the overall hiring time. AI is also helping with improving candidate conversion rates from website visitors. 

According to a study, only 8.57% fulfilled job applications on the career site. This means that sites are missing out on a significant chunk of potential candidates. This is where AI chatbots are helping. For example, almost every prospective candidate will have various questions about the company. To ensure their engagement, Intel deployed an FAQ chatbot on its site that pop-ups when a candidate lands on the career page. It asks visitors what they’d like to know about the company and responds to them accordingly, as shown below.

Source: Builtin.com

A study revealed that more than 60% of candidates are comfortable with interacting with bots in their recruitment processes. Although companies are picking up on recruitment technology, some of the top reasons to have an HR Chatbot are 

Personalized Experience

A chatbot provides tailor-made responses to its visitor. AI Chatbots can recognize the visitor’s intent and provide accurate replies based on intent recognition. Every candidate's onboarding experience will differ. Some will want to know the company policies; others will want to know about their teams, etc. While you can communicate through emails and calls, a chatbot can answer faster, maintain a human touch, and ensure a personalized experience for each visitor. 

Efficient Hiring

Your HR team is constantly answering the same thing to all the candidates. This can become mundane and tiring for them. Having a chatbot, in this case, can take over the first-level queries and scale the recruitment process. It frees up your HR team’s time and allows them to focus on more value-driven conversations with candidates. 

Scalable Hiring

I’ve time and again used the word ‘high-volume hiring.’ For larger organizations that deal with thousands of job applicants monthly or quarterly, it calls for a streamlined hiring process where you can manage the volume without compromising on their engagement. Chatbots can filter candidates and perform the initial screening process at scale, reducing the work of your HR team significantly. 

Give and Take Feedback 

Candidates will 4x more likely consider your company for future opportunities if they receive constructive feedback. And the feedback is critical regardless of whether you hire the candidate or not. Again, the feedback needs to work both ways. You providing feedback to the candidate can help them realize their strengths and weaknesses. And you requesting feedback shows you care about their recruiting experience and are willing to improve wherever needed. 

One of the most common feedback methods is through recruitment surveys on a Likert scale where candidates are asked about their experience- whether the recruiter was professional, friendly, whether applying for the job was easy or not, whether their questions were answered promptly, etc. When asked for feedback, there’s a 33% increase in the positive candidate experience. However, despite this, only 34% of US companies practice taking feedback from their candidates. So if you’re striving for customer engagement, you need to welcome feedback, which can ultimately aid in modifying your overall recruitment strategy. 

Even while giving feedback, the process needs to be as authentic as possible. If the candidate isn’t hired, send a genuine rejection email explaining the reason and ensure an empathetic tone. For the hired candidates, give them the answer as soon as you finalize the decision so that they don’t slip away. In fact, if the candidates are given feedback on the same day they are interviewed, they are 52% more likely to have a good relationship with the company. 

Final Thoughts 

Improving candidate engagement may come with its challenges, but you can always face them seamlessly with the right approach to automation and communication. Whether you have 5 applicants or 500, you need to provide a pleasant applicant experience to reach the high-quality milestone in candidate engagement. 

More than a compulsory obligation, I’d say candidate engagement is a moral one. It ultimately shows what kind of a brand you strive to be and the community you aim to build for not just your potential employees but also your current ones. When you’re confident of your engagement strategy, you’re assured of your potential employee’s willingness to work with you. Next time, they wouldn’t prefer your competitors’ over you or have second thoughts about the employee treatment. They’d just know, and you wouldn’t have to settle for the second-best.

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