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  • Michelle Coy

3 Ways to Drive Candidate Engagement

As a recruiter, engaging candidates is one of the best ways to retain top talent while you focus on the interview or hiring process. When prospective employees aren’t engaged, they have a better chance of dropping off while applying, meaning you could miss out on the perfect candidate.

Before we get into how to engage candidates, first it’s important to look at why engagement is so important when building relationships with job seekers. Check out these statistics about the candidate experience that reinforce the necessity of engagement:

  • Candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if they have a positive experience.

  • 51% of candidates will share their positive experience online through social media, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.

  • 15% of candidates who have a positive hiring experience put more effort into the job.

  • On average, 65% of talent say that the candidate experience can change their minds about a role or company.

This information about the candidate experience paints a picture of why engaging candidates during the recruiting process, whether you’re making a positive or negative hiring decision, is key. If you make a bad impression, they’re less likely to except the job offer – which can be detrimental if they’re a great candidate. Plus, they’re more likely to tell their network which could affect future recruitment efforts. On the other hand, candidates who have a positive experience are also likely to tell their network, and may be more motivated to excel in their position.

Now that we understand the logic behind candidate engagement, we can look at a few ways to put it into practice so candidates will know you’re invested in their experience. Here are some simple ideas you can implement today:

Improve Response Time

One of the biggest criticisms about the application process is response time from employers. One survey by CareerArc reports that “When Job Seekers were asked which part of the standard job search process needed dramatic improvement, 69% believe the Response Time to Applicants awaiting a hiring decision can be most improved.” During the time you take to respond to candidates, they could already be getting interviewed by your competition. As a recruiter, you likely have a lot to juggle – but prioritizing response time could be the difference between landing a great new hire or missing out on the opportunity.

There are several ways to improve response time and will depend on what’s realistic for your business. Whether you automate the process or have recruiters manage it individually, what’s most important is responding to candidates in a timely manner so they aren’t left wondering what the status of their application is.

Prioritize Good Communication

Having good communication goes hand in hand with reliable response times. When you do respond to candidates, you should be communicating where they are in the process, what’s next, if you have any questions or need additional information, etc. Communication should leave the candidate with little to no confusion or questions, showing that they're not lost in the process.


This is especially crucial when notifying them about your hiring decision. Whether it’s a positive or negative decision should have no bearing on if you contact the candidate. If you wait too long to tell them they’re hired, they may find a new opportunity; and if you never tell them they aren’t hired, it may hurt your reputation. Recruiters should consider setting aside time each day (if they don’t have an automated system) to ensure they’ve sent out necessary communication to any candidates in the funnel.

Streamline the Application

Having an application that’s too lengthy or takes up a lot of time can lead to candidates abandoning the application before they’re done. In fact, “60% of job seekers have quit an application in the middle due to its length or complexity.” Remember that the purpose of the application is so you can get an overview of the candidates’ experience and decide if they could be right for your open position. Assessing things like soft skills or learning about their specific experience can wait until the phone screen or interview. By limiting the application to only the information you need up front, you’ll likely see more candidates completing the application.

As a recruiter, there are a lot of responsibilities and it can be challenging to manage job seekers' expectations. But by prioritizing how you engage with candidates, it can improve your brand reputation and help you find the right hire.

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