In today’s competitive talent acquisition market, businesses have to focus on candidate engagement in order to recruit the very best talent – but what exactly is Candidate Engagement?

Candidate engagement is the experience a candidate has at each point of the recruitment  process and starts as soon as they apply for a job.

Currently it’s a candidates market as vacant jobs are on the increase, although competition for those jobs is also on the rise. Top talent know that its a ‘buyers market’ for vacancies and according to research 80% of candidates use what happens in the recruitment process to determine how a company will treat its employees. To make sure you attract and successfully recruit this top talent you need to make a good impression at the start and all of the way through your hiring steps by delivering expert candidate engagement. Candidate engagement is about building a relationship with a job seeker. The more they hear from you, the more invested in the role they become.

Robust Recruitment Process

The best candidates won’t waste time chasing employers that don’t come back to them or take too long to respond. A long recruitment pipeline, poor communication and negative first impressions create bad candidate experiences that they will share with others, damaging your reputation as an employer of choice. Firstly, analyse and investigate your application and recruitment process and look at how much time is spent at each stage. Also assess conversion rates; how many people drop out of the process and when, how many do not arrive at interview or decline job offers? This will help you work out if candidate engagement, or the lack of it, is the problem.

Understanding What Good Candidate Engagement Looks Like.

Once you have worked out what the issues are you need to address the problems. Do you need more communication points during the hiring process? It could be that the online application you use is too complicated and takes too long to complete. This may mean you need to take a look at the technology you are using. Technology can help you handle applications more quickly and efficiently, enabling you to make contact with the best candidates quickly. Good technology will also help you communicate efficiently with candidates you need to reject so they too feel as if they have had a positive engagement experience.

Do you let job seekers know that their application has been received and when they will hear back from you? It’s important to let them know not just if they have secured an interview but also if they haven’t. The lack of feedback is one of the biggest frustrations candidates have when job searching and apply for vacancies. However, don’t just rely on automation, making things more human at the right time will support and improve your candidate engagement and it’s something top talent will expect.

Make your recruitment process clear and communicate it to the job seekers you plan to interview, ensuring you set aside time to manage that process and work as quickly as you can. The most talented and active job seekers make several applications and have more than one option to consider. Job role and salary is important but if they experience poor candidate engagement they will judge your business and whats it’s like to work there to be just as bad.

A recent survey found that when job seekers have a bad candidate experience, 42% of them would never apply to that company again and 22% said they would tell other people about their experience and advise then not to apply or work in that business either.