5 Steps to Winning the Candidate Engagement War

engagement war
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We’ve said it before and we won’t get tired of saying it any time soon: we’re living in a time where the job market has shifted in such a way that employees and candidates are the ones with the power to choose where they want to take their talent to.

In spite of all the bad things, the 21st century has brought with it an unprecedented era of economic bloom and prosperity in most countries. People are starting new businesses every day more than ever before and the professional market has never been so competitive. With more positions available than actual candidates to fill them, companies have begun a war for the best talent available.

It has been a trial and error process; however, if there’s one strategy that is showing steady and productive results, is candidate engagement; not only is it a great way to attract the best talent, it also serves as a foundation stone for further strategies.

This is where the Candidate Engagement War comes from, whatever company manages to capture the interest of the best talent is the one that is going to come on top. But just like in any war, combatants need a plan of action. You don’t have to fight hard if you can fight smart, and that’s where these five simple steps can help you win every battle:

1. Project an image of your company that is going to attract talent

Looks can say a lot about you and your company. The best way to sell yourself to potential employees is by showing them what your company is all about: the ambience of the workplace, your values and culture, and the people that are already there. This is where the concept of Employee Value Proposition comes into play. In short, EVP is everything that a company can offer to their employees. It’s more than just salary though, it includes all benefits, perks, room for improvement, and the possibility of professional and personal growth. The very image of the company, as well as its brand, are also factors that influence their EVP. It is everything that would make a candidate want to work for you.

In short, make your company look appealing to the kind of talent you want to attract. Think of companies that make a big fuss about these things. They often showcase their installations, facilities, amenities, and overall perks of working there. It’s not bragging, it’s like a peacock showing off its feathers to draw in the best mates.

2. Change the way you address your candidates

The days when a candidate had to figure out what they could do to fit in a company are over! Now it’s all about what a company can offer a candidate. This is a change that needs to be deeply rooted into the way you present your company.

When writing a job ad try to always avoid the traditional format of simply listing skills, qualifications, and responsibilities. Your language and what you say as a Recruiter or a Hiring Manager can make all the difference in the world. Candidates would be much more interested in a company if their job ads focused more on goals, achievements, and how they can benefit from the job.

Another common mistake language-wise, is the way emails that the candidate receives from the recruiter are written. While it might be tempting to send a pre-formulated mass email to all your candidates, it is actually rather detrimental. People know when they receive an automated email from a computer. Our recommendation is to always try to personalize your emails and make your candidates feel like they matter enough to have a real person writing the response.

3. Simplifying the application process

There’s nothing worse than trying to apply for a job and spending an hour or more just filling out endless forms, answering essay-like questions, attaching photos that need to be a specific size and format, and providing any sort of additional documentation.

Try to keep each step of the hiring process as simple as possible, specially the application step. Remember that this is most likely the first point of direct contact between the candidate and your company and first impressions do matter a lot. Furthermore, you need to think of passive job hunters, those that already have a job and switching is not their top priority. You can’t take too much of a candidate’s time to fill out a simple application.

In short, a good application process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.

Try to keep the rest of the hiring process as simple and straight forward as possible. Most, if not all candidates, will always prefer to have a clear idea of what is going on with their application.

4. Transparency throughout the process

Nothing is scarier than uncertainty, this is true in every aspect of our lives. When a candidate applies to a job, they hope to at least receive some kind of notification that their application has been noted and treated.

Similar to how a salesperson would treat a customer, a recruiter should always be honest and direct with candidates. Keep them in the loop of what is going on with their application. Remember that your candidate’s time is just as valuable as yours, so don’t make them waste it.

Explaining every step of the process is a great way to make your applicants feel like they’re important to you and that you’re as interested in them as they are in you. For example, when an interview is coming up it is only polite to let your applicants know who they will be talking to and what questions they should expect during the conversation.

5. Don’t discard candidates that didn’t make the cut

There are only so many positions you can fill in your company at a time and when you’ve found the right one, you should always avoid discarding those who didn’t make it. Smart companies that engage their candidates know the importance, as well as the amount of time, effort, and money that should be going into keeping candidates on the hook.

Just because someone wasn’t the best fit for a specific job vacancy you had at a time doesn’t mean that they won’t be a great asset someday. Keeping all your candidates engaged can save you time and effort tomorrow. Encourage your candidates to apply for future opportunities and stay on their radar by communicating with them and letting them know you haven’t forgotten. Try a direct reach out when another vacancy opens up, who knows?

Final thoughts

The Engagement War’s battles are fought over resources (a.k.a. talent). While there are no real physical confrontations here, or at least we hope so, the winner will always be the one that manages to bring in the best talent. If candidates are fish in a pond, your engagement strategy is the bait you use to lure them in, so choose wisely!

Eduardo Rojas
Content Marketing Editor