Candidate engagement can be the difference between successful recruitment and failure. In a jobs market where there are currently far more opportunities than interested candidates, keeping applicants interested and excited about the roles you have available is more important than ever if you want to keep clients happy and establish a reputation as a brilliant recruitment agency to work with.
Both the application and recruitment process and your general marketing efforts affect candidate engagement, and in this post, we are going to be focusing on the latter to give you advice on some of the best ways to use engagement in your recruitment marketing strategy to help attract and retain more candidates and improve the success of your recruitment process.
What Is Candidate Engagement?
Candidate engagement in recruitment refers to the continual contact and communication you keep up with potential candidates. It may also involve how interested and supported candidates feel during the recruitment process, and is linked to the people, processes and technology that is used during recruitment.
The definition of candidate engagement tends to change depending on who you ask, but it generally covers all of the interactions you have with candidates in person and digitally. When a candidate is engaged, your brand will be frequently on their mind, they’ll be eager to speak with you and respond to any communication, and they’ll be satisfied with the contact they have with you.
Candidate engagement is also one of the key goals of most inbound recruitment strategies. Crafting an appealing brand image and producing interesting and valuable content attracts the attention of potential candidates and keeps them interested in an agency until they (hopefully) use your services, so candidate engagement really begins right at the start of the recruitment process.
Why Is Candidate Engagement Important?
Keeping candidates engaged is the key to successful recruitment and building a positive reputation as a recruiter or recruitment agency. But it’s also one of the biggest challenges faced by those in the industry, particularly at a time when there are fewer and fewer candidates on the job market dealing with numerous recruiters clamouring for their attention.
One of the most significant reasons that candidate engagement is so important is that it is a key part of candidate experience. Applicants that remain engaged throughout the recruitment process are more likely to have an enjoyable experience, gain a positive impression of your business and transition into a new role with more ease, all of which have many benefits.
Another key reason is that high candidate engagement leads to greater retention throughout the recruitment process. There are several reasons why an applicant might drop out of the process mid-way, some of which are outside of a recruiter’s control, but the likelihood of this is much smaller if you’re keeping in regular contact with your candidates and ensuring that they’re interested and engaged at every stage.
Candidate engagement is also important because it helps you build strong relationships with your candidate pool, even if they don’t end up accepting or getting offered the role. Successful recruitment is a long game, and by ensuring continual engagement you’ll create more trust and help your candidates feel more supported, so they’re more likely to work with you in the future.
Finally, candidate engagement is important for recruitment agencies because it reduces time to fill. Processes that are engaging tend to happen faster and get quick responses from the candidates involved, meaning that everyone saves time and isn’t left sitting around waiting.
How to Improve Candidate Engagement
Failing to keep your candidates engaged can have quite a significant impact on your business. The good news is, there are many simple changes you can make that quickly improve candidate engagement, starting with the suggestions below.
A lack of communication is one of the biggest complaints that candidates have when sharing their thoughts on poor engagement during the recruitment process. There’s nothing worse than waiting for updates on the progress of a job application and being left completely in the dark about where you are, so it’s really important to keep your candidates informed about their progress and let them know when they can next expect to hear from you. Whether you do this by sending regular follow-up emails, scheduling calls after each interview stage or using automation software to allow applicants to track their progress themselves, ensuring candidates know what’s happening and what to expect is a very effective way to improve engagement.
Make it Personal
Good engagement in recruitment is all about making candidates feel as though they’re receiving a bespoke service and treating them like individuals instead of as just another applicant. Personalising all of the communication you send candidates is a simple way to immediately improve engagement, starting with using each candidate’s name in a greeting at the start of every email and tailoring the information you send them.
You can take this further by personalising the outreach you send to candidates as well, which will not only improve engagement but also increase the chances of a response. Take the time to research a candidate’s background to find out their interests, job history and any notable achievements or projects, and then be sure to reference these when you speak and use this insight to personalise the advice or opportunities you send their way.
This research can also be used to add value by helping them solve challenges related to their role or sharing advice on something that will help them progress their career or upskill.
Ask for Feedback
As well as identifying and making changes to your recruitment process yourself, if you want to make a tangible difference to candidate engagement then the best thing to do is ask for feedback. Use this to identify what you’re already doing well to keep people engaged during the recruitment process and also to highlight the areas where candidates weren’t satisfied or feel that you can do better. Asking for suggestions on how to help candidates feel more engaged here is also a great way to get actionable advice and ideas that you can quickly implement, confident that you’re doing something that candidates have said they would respond well to.
Looking at the data of which of your candidates are most engaged is a great way to boost this engagement further and make sure that you profit from it as much as possible. This engagement may look like frequent interaction with your content, always opening your emails or getting in contact with your regularly and always responding to messages quickly. This indicates that a candidate may be looking for new roles or is in need of specific recruitment help, and presents a great opportunity to outreach to them personally and reference their interest in certain types of content and other engagement points.
5 Candidate Engagement Ideas for your Recruitment Marketing Strategy
There’s plenty of advice out there (some of it written by us!) about how to improve candidate engagement during your recruitment process, focusing on how you can keep applicants interested and excited about working for your company as they go through the recruitment process. But candidate engagement begins by catching potential applicants’ attention before they’ve even thought about applying for a role, which you can do through your recruitment marketing strategy.
Here are five effective candidate engagement practices that you can implement into your marketing strategy to start improving engagement right from the outset.
Create Targeted Careers Pages
We’ve already talked about how personalisation is a major part of effective candidate engagement, and you can implement this into your marketing strategy by creating targeted careers or jobs pages for different kinds of candidates on your website.
Instead of just having a solitary page on your site for candidates, create landing pages for each of the kinds of roles you recruit for and produce personalised content for all of these. By listing the kind of skills and values that candidates require for each role, as well as the typical responsibilities involved, you’ll target a more specific part of your audience and help these readers to feel much more engaged with the opportunities.
Having targeted role or career pages will also improve the quality of traffic that arrives on your website, as instead of just searching for generic job opportunities you’ll get web users looking for particular roles who are much more likely to then apply or enquire.
Use Video to Illustrate Company Culture
Video is another of the most engaging formats to use in a marketing strategy, and you can utilise this to improve engagement in the recruitment process by showcasing company culture. This is an effective way of helping your clients to clearly illustrate what working at their company is like, either by sharing this content on your own website or including a link in each job advert.
Instead of summing up values and culture with text on a landing page, you can take up much less space and illustrate what working somewhere is like with a video. Whether this is just a guided tour of a workspace, an introduction to a company’s history and aspirations or stories from current employees, you’ll engage the viewer instantly because of the format and (hopefully) get them excited about joining the organisation, leading to great engagement throughout the recruitment process.
You can also use these processes later on in the recruitment process to help keep candidates engaged and continue to sell the experience of a potential role to them, which can be useful to prolong interest if an application has to go through several stages.
Keep Social Media Updated
Posting regularly on social media is essential to any successful marketing strategy. In recruitment, this links directly with candidate engagement for several reasons.
Firstly, keeping your social media profiles updated increases the number of people that will potentially view your content, boosting your reach and meaning that more of your followers are likely to keep engaging with your content. Regular posting also keeps your business front of mind, so your followers are more likely to instantly think of you when they consider looking for a job or working with a recruitment agency.
During the recruitment process, keeping your social media profiles updated with new posts will also keep candidates more engaged, as seeing your content will keep them thinking about their application and ensure that they still feel connected to your agency.
If you struggle with finding content for your social media channels, it’s worth setting aside time to create a big batch of content in bulk that you can then automatically schedule to upload over a couple of weeks. This free up the rest of your time to focus on other marketing approaches and means that your followers will always get new content on time.
Failing to communicate with candidates and answer their queries during the recruitment process is one of the biggest obstacles to effective engagement. Whilst each candidate should ideally have a touchpoint either in the recruitment agency or the company they are applying to work at, you can tackle many of these queries by creating an FAQ resource or section of your website and directing candidates to it throughout the application process so that they always have a reference point for questions.
It’s worth sharing the answers to your most frequently asked questions on your social media channels, blog and email newsletters, or creating content delving into these answers more thoroughly which can then be distributed as part of other marketing strategies.
Focus on Email Marketing
Our final suggestion for effective candidate engagement strategies is to focus on your email marketing strategy. Whether you’re only just starting this kind of marketing or already have a newsletter set up, email is one of the best ways to keep candidates engaged both during the recruitment process and before or whilst they’re just part of your candidate pool.
Email marketing is great for engagement as it provides you with a direct channel for regular communication with your candidates, which will help to keep them engaged with your agency offering and keep your front of mind. Many pieces of email marketing software also allow you to personalise the content you share with each of your recipients, further improving engagement and making your emails more valuable, which is great for your image and overall reputation.
Candidate engagement is influenced by many factors, and we’ve only really scratched the surface of how you can use your marketing strategy to improve it. The key thing you should focus on is providing a positive candidate experience, and because engagement feeds so well into this, you’ll likely find that you’re improving engagement simply by refining what your candidates experience when working with you.
If you’re a recruitment agency looking for help with your marketing strategy and candidate engagement, Growth Recruits are a team of experienced marketers providing specialist services for businesses in the recruitment agency. Get in touch and speak to us about the services we offer and how we can help make a difference.