How to Improve Candidate Engagement at Your Company

Imagine, for a moment, a neighbor on the hill sent out an invitation across the land for a party he was throwing the next day. Thousands of people were talking about it in the streets. Suits were being pressed, shoes were being polished, and hair and nails were being done. And everyone went to bed that night excited about the party.

The next evening, hundreds of people walked up the hill and stood waiting at the front door of the neighbor’s house. After a few moments, the door opened and the host walked outside to greet everyone. He looked around, and then extended his hand to a single person standing directly in front of him. Together, hand in hand, they both turned and walked back into the house.

The door slammed shut and everyone else was left outside without so much as a “goodbye”.

We can probably guess what the person who was chosen must have been thinking. But what about the rest of them? Every single person left standing outside had invested time and effort, and possibly money, in preparation for the party.

How would you feel if you were one of the people left standing outside? Our own research shows that less than 5 percent of candidates rate their experience as “good” to “excellent”, and well over 70 percent of job applicants receive no feedback after applying for a position.

This is a HUGE missed opportunity to strengthen an employer brand, show appreciation, improve engagement and enlist others in the sharing of open jobs, and even expand networks and future candidate pipelines.

A recent CareerBuilder survey shows that 56 percent of employers who recruited new employees in the last year had a candidate reject their offer. In addition, 44 percent of candidates who received no feedback or communication after applying for a job had a worse opinion of that employer.

Want to improve how candidates perceive your organization? Here are a few candidate engagement tips that work:

Get candidate feedback

The position might not be right for one candidate, but if treated with respect and kindness, most of us will consider sharing the opportunity with others. If you haven’t done this already, take the time to set up a way to solicit feedback from applicants to improve your processes. There are lots of ways to do this, and the simplest is to send an email (or poll or survey) asking candidates about the overall experience.

Improve candidate experiences

Let’s not make the effort to attract talent only to push people away with a bad experience later. To understand the real impact, consider all of the interactions (or touch-points) a candidate might have with your organization. You might start with good marketing and recruiting, but it shouldn’t stop there.

If your career website talks about how much you care about your employees, and it’s pitch black where they get into their cars, your words might be saying that you care, but your actions are showing that you don’t.

Most good candidate experiences also include hiring and on-boarding – and include what people hear in the lobby, the long wait before the interview, a nervous and unprepared manager, and more.

The full experience includes all of the big things, but it also includes the very small. Think about the smell of the kitchen, the guy sleeping in the cube across the hall, and even the negative vibe because someone is yelling at their spouse on the phone. The job of attracting good talent is hard enough. Don’t push away qualified candidates with bad candidate experiences.

Words + action = the true employer brand

You can spend a lot of time and money telling everyone how awesome your organization is, but you need to use more than the words coming out of your mouth. To connect best, back up words with actions.

If your career website talks about how much you care about your employees, and it’s pitch black where they get into their cars, your words might be saying that you care, but your actions are showing that you don’t.

Use social to connect

What happens when a highly-qualified candidate, stumbles across your site to check out an open job opportunity, but then leaves empty-handed? Nothing happens. At the very least, provide a few social media channels for them to visit and connect to. Over time, this will help you expand your talent network and will help to keep people connected to your organization – even well after they leave your site. If you can, make your social media channels visible on your job postings, and on blog pages, promotional videos, testimonial pages, employee stories, and upcoming events.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you capturing the right candidate feedback to improve your processes?
  • Do you provide a way for candidates to engage, even if they don’t apply for a job?
  • Is your brand speaking to right-fit candidates and do your actions truly back it up?
  • Are you following up with candidate in a way that is dignified and courteous?
  • Are you holding the organization back with too many bad candidate experiences?

PS: Check out our services and employer options, and please share this with anyone looking to a build a thriving organization. We’re currently seeking qualified BETA / Pilot customers. A typical pilot will last between 4-6 months long and starts at only $3,000 per month.


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