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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Win at Candidate Engagement in Corporate Recruiting and Hiring



By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We all know that employment branding and candidate engagement are important in recruiting the best candidates, supporting the larger business brand and market initiatives as well as providing job seekers information and timely updates on where they stand in the hiring and recruitment process.

As social media continues to push companies to provide real time engagement and information to their customers, so is candidate engagement for prospective job seekers who increasingly are customers of your company’s product or service first.

Candidate engagement is more than just an automated email to a job seeker when they apply or if you don’t go forward with them in the hiring process. It’s a deliberate act where companies and recruiting teams work to reach the job seeker prior to them applying or expressing interest in the job opening as well as throughout the entire hiring, recruitment and candidate courting process.

Candidate engagement does more than provide job seekers and prospective employees with a warm and fuzzy feeling. A candidate engagement process creates a formal strategy that helps to define and outline the different engagement and relationship points with your prospective employee. While I’m a fan of informal conversations, having an information communication and engagement strategy in place creates not only a consistent flow but allows recruiters and hiring managers to create a standard engagement strategy that supports the over candidate experience which in turns sets the state for your company’s formal employee engagement strategy.

Companies with formalized and deliberate employee engagement strategies can link the success of these programs directly to employee productivity, lower turnover and success as an employee. In fact, Aberdeen’s September 2013 Employee Engagement study shows that 75%of best in class organizations are able to align changes in organizational profitability to employee engagement efforts compared to 31% of all other companies.
  • Create a Formal Candidate Engagement Process. Map out your candidate engagement process. Document that engagement points and the responsibility of who will make contact or engagement with the prospective employee. Create a consistent flow of engagement allowing for candidates like customers to experience consistent and amazing service regardless of where they are in the candidate selection process.
  • Leverage Technology. Aside from automated email messages and turndown letters, consider create ways to reach your job seekers using technology but with a custom touch. This could be in the form of creating custom recruiter template messages, text alerts directly to job seekers or live online chats or informational webinars between recruiters and candidates to field questions and give them insights into the culture of your company.
  • Spice Up Your Delivery. Not every individual responds or prefers communication and engagement the same way. Different mediums and methods resonate with audiences depending on experience, age, geography and other factors. Use a variety of methods to delivery your communications like video, content marketing through blogs, social media or mobile messaging. Ask your recent hires their preferred ways to receive communications and prepare to change and customize your delivery methods frequently.
  • Provide Resources and References for Job Search Success. A job seeker’s biggest frustration about the hiring process aside from receiving consistent communication from employers about the status of their application is feedback and how they, the job seeker can improve in marketing themselves as a potential employee. Companies are reluctant to give individual feedback so they opt for no feedback, resources or information leaving candidates feeling alone, upset and in the dark. A simple job search toolkit provided to every job seeker who isn’t offered a position is a great way to help job seeker’s understand the hiring process, ease frustration and leave feeling warm and fuzzy feelings about your company.

Candidate engagement doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective when building relationships with job seekers who are considering working at your company. A simple yet deliberate and planned approach is often best providing information about the hiring process, updates on the current status of application and available resources about your company and the overall hiring process sets the stage for the marketing, customer and employee engagement efforts at your company.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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