Recruitment Strategy

How to Keep Candidates Engaged During the Hiring Process

In the fierce competition for talent today - especially so in verticals that demand specialized skills - it has become paramount for companies to not only attract the attention of candidates, but also retain their interest throughout the hiring process. 

So, what is candidate engagement, exactly? What does it constitute and at what intervals of the hiring process do you identify opportunities to engage with candidates?

Well, quite simple. Candidate engagement refers to the interaction between candidates and the hiring organization during the recruitment process. 

It is the process of building and maintaining a relationship between the candidate and the employer, which helps to attract and retain top talent. 

We’ll walk you through the importance of candidate engagement during the hiring process and provide insights on how to keep candidates engaged. We will also look into the best practices, tools, and strategies that organizations can use to create a positive candidate experience and improve their hiring process. 

Plus, we will cover the metrics used to measure candidate engagement and the importance of using candidate feedback to improve the hiring process. 

Without further ado, let’s get started with the first part, which is:  

Understanding Candidate Engagement

a. Definition Of Candidate Engagement

Candidate engagement is the process of creating and maintaining a positive relationship between a job candidate and an organization throughout the hiring process. It involves keeping candidates informed, communicating with them, and providing them with a positive experience. 

Candidate engagement is critical to attracting and retaining top talent. Why? Because it shows candidates that the organization values their time and effort and sees them as individuals, not just applicants. 

b. Why It Matters During the Hiring Process

In today's job market, the tide has turned as candidates have more options than ever before. They are not only looking for job opportunities but also evaluating the employer and the hiring process. The way organizations treat candidates during the recruitment process can influence their perception of the company's culture, values, and overall work environment. 

By creating a positive candidate experience, companies can attract top talent and reinforce their employer brand at the same time. 

On the other hand, a negative candidate experience can damage a company's reputation and hinder its ability to attract and retain top talent.

c. Challenges in Keeping Candidates Engaged

One of the biggest challenges in keeping candidates engaged during the hiring process is the length of time it takes to complete. In some cases, the hiring process can take weeks or even months to complete, leaving candidates feeling frustrated and disengaged. 

Moreover, candidates may be juggling multiple job opportunities simultaneously, making it difficult for organizations or recruiters to maintain their attention and interest. 

Other challenges include a lack of communication, unclear expectations, and unresponsive recruiters or hiring managers. These issues can all contribute to a negative candidate experience, making it difficult for organizations to attract and retain top talent.

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Best Practices for Candidate Engagement

a. Providing Timely Feedback to Candidates

One of the most critical aspects of candidate engagement is providing timely feedback to candidates throughout the hiring process. 

Candidates want to know where they stand in the process, and the longer they go without hearing anything, the more likely they are to lose interest in the position or even the organization altogether. 

Providing prompt and specific feedback helps candidates stay engaged, and it also demonstrates to them that the organization values their time and effort.

b. Personalizing Communication with Candidates

Another best practice for candidate engagement is personalizing communication with candidates. Candidates want to feel that they are being treated as individuals, not just as another applicant. Personalizing communication can include addressing candidates by name, referencing specific experiences or skills mentioned in their application, and tailoring messages to their specific interests and needs.

This can help you build a positive relationship with the candidate while increasing the likelihood that they will remain engaged with your organization throughout the hiring process.

c. Keeping Candidates Informed About The Hiring Process

Organizations should also keep candidates informed about the hiring process. 

This can include providing a timeline for the hiring process, updating candidates on the status of their applications, and letting them know what to expect next. 

Keeping candidates informed helps to reduce uncertainty and anxiety, which can contribute to a positive candidate experience.

d. Engaging Candidates Through Social Media and Other Channels

Recruiters and companies can also engage candidates through social media and other channels. 86% of job seekers are searching for open positions on social media platforms. 

It goes without saying that social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be effective tools for communicating with candidates and promoting job openings.

You can also use email marketing campaigns, blogs, and other content marketing strategies to engage with candidates and provide them with valuable information about the organization and the hiring process.

e. Offering a Positive Candidate Experience

Finally, offering a positive candidate experience is essential for candidate engagement. This includes creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, providing clear and concise job descriptions, and offering a competitive salary and benefits package. 

To spice it up, you can also offer perks such as flexible work hours, professional development opportunities, and other incentives that demonstrate a commitment to employee satisfaction. Keep in mind that a positive candidate experience can go a long way in attracting and retaining top talent.

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Tools and Strategies for Candidate Engagement

a. Use of Technology and Automation

One tool that organizations can use to keep candidates engaged during the hiring process is technology and automation. 

This can include using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage candidate applications and streamline the recruitment pipeline, scheduling software to sort out the interview scheduling, and chatbots to provide candidates with immediate responses to common questions.

Technology and automation can help organizations communicate and connect with candidates seamlessly while reducing delays and keeping candidates engaged throughout the process. 

b. Leveraging Employee Ambassadors for Candidate Engagement

Another effective strategy for candidate engagement is leveraging employee ambassadors. 

But who are they? The answer is not far from you. Employee ambassadors are employees who are passionate about their work and their organization and who can help promote the organization and its culture to potential candidates. 

Employee ambassadors can participate in events, speak with candidates, and provide them with an authentic and positive perspective on the organization. This can build trust with candidates and improve the overall candidate experience.

c. Creating a Candidate Engagement Plan

Finally, creating a candidate engagement plan can help companies and recruitment agencies establish a clear strategy for engaging with candidates throughout the hiring process. 

A candidate engagement plan should include a timeline for communication with candidates, specific goals and objectives for candidate engagement, and a clear understanding of the organization's values and culture. 

By creating a candidate engagement plan, organizations can ensure that all candidates are treated consistently and fairly and that they receive the information and support they need to stay engaged throughout the hiring process.

There are many tools and strategies that organizations can use to keep candidates engaged during the hiring process. 

Importance of Measuring Candidate Engagement

When you reach the end of the hiring process, it’s just time to wrap things up and get ready for the next recruitment cycle, right? Why do you need to look back and measure your candidate engagement? Well, it is important for several reasons. 

First, it provides insight into how well your company is doing in terms of attracting and retaining top talent. High levels of candidate engagement can indicate that you are doing a good job at communicating with candidates, providing a positive candidate experience, and building a strong employer brand. 

Low levels of candidate engagement, on the contrary, can be a red flag, indicating that your team needs to improve its recruitment and selection processes.

Next, measuring candidate engagement can help organizations identify areas for improvement in the hiring process.  Gathering feedback from candidates lets you learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your recruitment game and make changes to improve the candidate experience.

Metrics For Measuring Candidate Engagement

There are several metrics that organizations can use to measure candidate engagement, such as: 

Application completion rate: The percentage of candidates who complete the application process.

Time to hire: The time it takes to fill a position from the time it is posted to the time an offer is accepted.

Offer acceptance rate: The percentage of candidates who accept job offers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): A metric that measures how likely candidates are to recommend the organization to others.

By tracking these metrics, organizations can gain a better understanding of how well they are engaging with candidates and identify areas for improvement.

LEARN MORE: What is continuous candidate engagement?

Using Candidate Feedback to Improve the Hiring Process

One of the most effective ways to improve candidate engagement is by collecting feedback from candidates about their experience with the hiring process. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. 

As mentioned earlier, gathering feedback is important to close the loop. This data will help you pinpoint the spots that you do well and know where you need to improve in order to provide the perfect candidate experience in your future recruitment.

For example, if candidates are complaining about a lack of communication during the hiring process, then you might have to implement a more structured communication plan to keep candidates informed at every step of the way. If candidates are frustrated by a lengthy application process, then you might need to streamline the process to make it easier and more user-friendly.

To put it plainly, measuring candidate engagement is an important part of the hiring process. 

PODCAST: EP3: UB Source - Creating a Memorable Candidate Experience (with Mark Laothavornwong)

Build a Solid Candidate Engagement with Manatal

As mentioned above, technology and automation are crucial aspects of building a strong candidate engagement. An Applicant Tracking System or ATS is one of the powerful tools that can guide you through the recruitment pipeline smoothly while strengthening candidate engagement. 

Among Applicant Tracking Systems available on the market right now, Manatal is one of the fine-tuned ATS that you should look into. Why? Let us break down the reasons for you.

First of all, Manatal is a cloud-based recruitment solution that consolidates all of the recruitment processes into a single platform, allowing you to manage the hiring pipeline within a few clicks. 

Packing with many innovative features such as Collaboration and Activities, users will be able to efficiently manage interviews, ensure no overlapping appointments and provide a smooth experience to the candidates. 

At the same time, Manatal’s mass emailing feature allows recruiters to keep in touch with candidates and inform them about where they are in the hiring pipeline, as well as advertise your job campaigns to prospective candidates within a single click. 

Moreover, Manatal also provides detailed reports that cover all of the important metrics throughout the recruitment process. 

The Candidates Report allows you to access candidates' data by source, from your recruitment team, your career page, employee referrals, etc., as well as track the number of candidates sorted by different types of channels over time. 

The Hiring Performance Report provides users with full visibility of the total number of hires made in a given period of time. You’ll be able to see the performance in a recruitment pipeline based on your hiring process stages. 

Our Leaderboard Report meanwhile, allows you to track the performance of each team member from end to end, this enables you to see exactly which member of the  team falls short in specific stages of the funnel.     

LEARN MORE: Manatal’s Reports & Analytics


Wrapping Up 

Candidate engagement isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a crucial piece of the hiring process and organizations that prioritize it have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. 

With the above best practices, you will be able to optimize the candidate experience and create a positive employer brand that attracts the right talent your way.

And by investing in the resources and tools needed to support a seamless and positive candidate experience, such as ATS, propelling toward the frontline in the recruitment race can be simply done in a few clicks.  

Start a 14-day free trial with Manatal today and find out why our recruitment platform can streamline your process while strengthening your candidate engagement within a few simple taps. 

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