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7 Ways to Build a Modern Candidate Engagement Model

Over the past few years, engagement has become one of the most important parts of the recruiting process. Building a modern candidate engagement model is critical to perfecting the candidate experience.

Engaging with candidates at critical touch points throughout the hiring funnel can be key to keeping them in the process and interested enough to continue completing requests for information, assessments, references, and so on. Without a solid candidate engagement model, organizations can miss out on these crucial interactions.

Traditional Candidate Engagement Models

For decades, employers held all the power in the recruitment-candidate relationship. The engagement model, if even identified as such, was limited and not a major priority.

  • Place job posting
  • Filter applications
  • Send information about assessments
  • Request references
  • Notify final candidates about an interview
  • Complete interview stage
  • Extend an offer to the chosen candidate

This model worked well when there was an unlimited supply of eager applicants, and only a small skills gap. Today, however, this model is outdated and doesn’t provide the desired results. It can even work against an organization, since it is easy for a candidate to have a less-than-stellar experience, and this can damage the company's reputation.

Shifting gears and setting new priorities for the recruitment pipeline means reevaluating what candidates want to get out of the recruitment experience. By focusing on candidate experience, communication, and engagement, organizations can build a candidate engagement model that nurtures and informs, building a solid talent pool that can benefit the company both now and in the future.

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What a Modern Candidate Engagement Model Should Look Like

Today’s candidate engagement model should be built around the following key realities of the labor landscape:

  1. Employees have more choices than ever before when it comes to work
  2. Job seekers have more leverage than they have in decades
  3. Remote work is here to stay, opening up a world of opportunities
  4. Younger generations have specific expectations for their candidate experience
  5. Recruitment technology, including automation and artificial intelligence, is essential
  6. Creating a future-proof workforce is a priority for many companies
  7. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are now must-haves at any organization

This means that a modern candidate engagement model needs to provide the following:

1. A clear picture of the benefits of working for the organization

The recruiter of today needs to be a marketer as well, capable of writing job descriptions that sell both the position and the employer to potential candidates. 

They have plenty of choices when it comes to their employment, so they need a reason to come work for one company over a competitor. Communicating reasons why a worker should want to work for a specific employer is part of the recruitment process.

2. An understanding of the emotional needs of the labor force

With long-sought agency comes to the need to be treated with respect and dignity, and today’s job applicants demand this as part of their overall candidate experience.

Part of modern candidate engagement is crafting communications that are respectful and friendly, rather than curt and demanding, and making those communications almost continuous.

3. The ability to communicate with candidates who seek remote roles

Remote work can mean needing or expecting certain things that aren’t customary for on-site employees, like flexibility in work hours. 

At the same time, these employees may not require certain other common perks, such as company gym access or a dental plan that doesn’t have any providers in the state where they live. 

Recruiters need to be cognizant of these differences and able to communicate intelligently around them and be able to communicate individual candidate needs and wants up the chain of hiring command.

4. Familiar application and communication options

Younger generations are composed of digital natives, who are more than happy to use an app to apply, accept help from a chatbot, take assessments online after being sent a link via text message, and confirm an interview time via email invite.

Consider revamping application processes to make them faster, easier, and more intuitive, but be aware that not all candidates have the same knowledge and/or abilities, and keep a variety of channels open and monitored to provide support.

5. Recruitment tools and platforms that promote engagement

Recruiters and hiring managers need to be firmly on the same page, using the same visualizations to map and track candidate pipelines. Most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS), but there’s so much data it can be buried. 

TalentWall™ by Crosschq overlays the ATS, surfacing key insights and making it easier to see information like pass-through rates, pipeline bottlenecks, and candidates in need of outreach and nurturing via engagement.

There are many other automation and AI-driven tools to help organizations engage regularly with applicants and personalize communications to improve candidate experience.

6. A plan for future-proofing the workforce

The skills gap is widening in almost all industries. According to SHRM, 83% of HR professionals say finding suitable candidates is becoming harder by the year. 

In some cases, the cost of leaving a critical role empty for lack of the perfect candidate may be much higher than hiring an “almost right” candidate and completing training in-house via in-person or virtual learning and development options.

Such candidates are more likely to remain loyal to the company, especially if further L&D and opportunities for advancement are on the table. Be prepared to work on retaining such employees as their value to the organization increases.

Communicating a willingness to work with the right candidate during interactions with applicants, and surfacing the right data during candidate checking to identify worthy candidates, can help secure top talent that just needs a little polishing to transform into a cornerstone of the workforce.

7. A commitment to DEIB

Diversity (and its sister initiatives, equity, inclusion, and belonging) are more important to candidates than ever, and they will be looking for signs that an organization has similar values throughout the recruitment process.

A strong majority (86%) of candidates globally say that diversity in the workplace is important to them, and that this can be a deal breaker when it comes to deciding which of two competing offers to accept.

Make job descriptions neutral and free from language coded against people of different genders, cultures, birth origin, ethnicity, first language, or age. This alone can increase the number of completed applications entering your hiring funnel.

Watch for coded language in regular candidate engagement as well; any pre-scripted communications should be carefully screened by a collaborative team to ensure they are appropriate and welcoming.

The Importance of Interactions at Multiple Touch Points

The entire point of a candidate engagement model is to improve the candidate experience through continual communication. There are multiple touchpoints that should trigger outreach, whether it’s an automated interaction generated by a chatbot or email reply, or a direct message from the recruiter or hiring manager.

Application stage:

Let the applicant know:

  • That their application has been received
  • When their application is being reviewed
  • If anything is missing from their application

Pre-hire stage

Let the candidate know:

  • If an assessment is required
  • How to access such an assessment
  • When their assessment has been completed
  • How to submit references for a Crosschq 360 candidate check
  • When the candidate check has been completed

Interview stage

Let the finalist know:

  • They have been selected for an interview
  • When the interview will take place
  • What will be covered in the interview
  • They are appreciated for attending the interview 

Offer stage

Let each candidate know:

  • They are appreciated for completing the process
  • Any constructive feedback for those not receiving an offer
  • That an offer is forthcoming to the chosen candidate(s)
  • That another role more suitable is open if applicable to any candidates

By maintaining contact and nurturing candidates throughout the recruitment pipeline journey, organizations can build a strong relationship built on mutual respect and trust. This means even candidates who aren’t made an offer for the particular role on the table can be contacted in the future for other roles.

By building a modern candidate engagement model that takes all of these factors into account, companies can literally create their own highly qualified talent pools full of candidates who may be ideal for outreach in the future. 

Candidates will walk away with a positive experience, will be more inclined to speak well of the company, and will also be more likely to be future customers of the business.

Interested in developing a strong, modern candidate engagement model? Contact us for a free demo today. 

Noelle Davis

by Noelle Davis

Staff Writer

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