As surprising as this might be, prospective candidates that engage with your employment brand are not always ready to apply the moment they become aware of available employment opportunities. Think about the candidates that find your career site using an iPad or iPhone. Yet, many employers force candidates to make an application decision. This can either lead to a rushed application in an attempt to signal interest or an abandoned/incomplete application because the candidate is not prepared to complete a detailed assessment. Instead of creating a binary decision for interested candidates, why not offer these prospective candidates an opportunity to socially connect with your company and apply after they’ve had an opportunity to confirm their initial interest? This strategy can lead to a better educated applicant with a clear understanding of how to add value to your organization. Facebook and LinkedIn offer insights into the power of this strategy based on their existing functionality. Sodexo is an example of a employer that has integrated this feature directly into their career site.
Candidates that find employers using the popular social network don’t have to immediately apply. Instead, they can simply LIKE the fan page of an interesting employer. This allows employer updates to enter their News Feed as well as creates a social connection between the employer and the candidate. An additional benefit is that the friends of the prospective candidate can also see which employers have been LIKED. This increases the likelihood that other candidates within your target audience will take an opportunity to learn more about your company. Within a fan page, it also makes sense to give those candidates that are ready an opportunity to apply by linking to your career site. However, due to varying privacy permissions; it is often difficult for an employer to gather relevant information about their fans.
Candidates researching employers using the popular professional networking site can also connect with companies of interest. A few weeks ago, LinkedIn added the ability for members to folllow companies of interest. The professional nature of the site offers additional functionality not found on Facebook. When employers list new positions, promote employees, update their profile, or people leave the company; company followers are notified in their Network Activity stream. This provides a great way of staying up-to-date with employers of interest. In addition, the public nature of profiles creates an opportunity for employers to gather information about those who have expressed interest in their company.
An example of a company that has integrated this functionality into their application process is Sodexo. When applying for a job, there are four different interest levels that prospective candidates can select: passive interest, just starting to look, actively looking, but employed, available immediately. During this brief establishment of interest, Sodexo wisely captures basic information including name, email address, and phone number. This enables the prospective candidate to communicate contact information and interest level without having to apply immediately unless they are ready. As a direct employer, this level of increased granularity is expected and provides a great example of how to capture candidate interest before forcing an application decision. Ideally, Sodexo is also segmenting the different interest levels to maintain communication with those who have expressed interested but are not yet ready to apply.
The key in each of these examples is to offer functionality that meets prospective candidates where they are at in their application decision. Some candidates have already learned about your organization and are ready to apply. Whereas, others have only recently discovered your organization and so they aren’t yet prepared to apply. Instead of only gearing online touch points towards those candidates that are ready, why not take advantage of existing technology and create additional options for prospective candidates?
–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)
About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. For more social recruiting insights, subscribe to our email distribution list or follow us on Twitter.