Top Tips on How to Engage With a Tidal Wave of Applicants

Many organisations are acutely aware that the talent they bring in to their business is the key to their future success. This has led to a massive increase in marketing activity as recruitment professionals attempt to engage their talent pools. 

Just pop onto LinkedIn today and you are almost guaranteed to be inundated by job adverts in your news feed, companies promoting their employer brand in banner adverts, and InMail from recruiters offering you your dream job (that usually has no relevance to your skills…but that’s a rant for another article).

The increase in marketing activity is presenting many HR teams and recruitment teams with a couple of huge challenges:

How to spot the best applicants quickly – With so many people applying for jobs, it is becoming tougher all the time to quickly spot the people you should pay attention to. In some instances, it really is a needle in a haystack. Some platforms, like Indeed, allow candidates to apply for multiple jobs at once. Is there really any commitment when applying is so easy, and how can you tell if someone actually wants to work for you, or if it was just another easy click?

Communicating with applicants is tough – Yes, there are automated processes in many recruitment systems which can reply with a fairly vague response; something like:

“Thank you for your application. Due to the number of applications we receive, we are not able to reply to every application. If you do not hear from us in 7 days, then you have not been successful on this occasion. We encourage you to apply again in the future.”

Is this really doing your business any favours? Firstly, this is so obviously automated, and the fact that you do not reply to every applicant just looks lazy. You will not find any advocates for your careers using this approach.

Design a Candidate Charter

Be open and transparent from the beginning, but show that you care. I have designed a few candidate charters in my time and they are great to set the expectations of a candidate, and also show complete transparency in your recruitment process. Things you should detail are:

  • Timescales for each stage of the recruitment process
  • When they will be contacted
  • How they will be contacted
  • What sort of documentation will be required?
  • A method to make contact in case you don’t keep to your promise

Automate, but Make it Personal

There is no excuse for not making communications personal these days. Simple touches like using the person’s name, referencing the job they applied for, and providing the name of the recruiter who is reviewing their application, should be the standard.

Ask for Engagement

One way of sorting the eager candidates from the “apply for all”, is to ask them for additional information about their application. This can be very handy for segmenting your talent pool in the future too.

I have seen data enrichment campaigns sort the qualified from the chancers, and the highly engaged from the people looking for an offer to use as a bargaining tool with their employer.

The important thing here is that you have a modern system that allows applicants to enrich their data in a simple way. Don’t try this with archaic ATS’s as you will quickly disengage your applicants.

Decide When one-to-one  Contact is Necessary

Take a look at your recruitment process and clearly define when one-to-one contact is necessary. This will often be a telephone screen done by the recruiter. Include this in your applicant charter, and stick to it like it is your gospel.

Provide Advice and Content

There is no reason why you should not provide extra value to applicants as they progress through the recruitment process. You can help them understand your company through blogs and videos. Make them feel more comfortable by explaining what they should expect from an interview. Provide lots of engaging content, like team profiles and introductions from their team, before they start their new role. 

Candidates will appreciate this and remember your brand for it.

Think Sequences to Engage Rather than Email

Most recruitment processes start with an acknowledgement email, like the one at the start of this article. I now encourage businesses to think about their communication as campaigns or sequences, rather than individual actions. 

Firstly, decide how you want the candidate to feel throughout the application process, and then what information would be beneficial to them; then build a sequence that starts with a well written acknowledgement email and continues with a sequence of regular communications. By doing this, you will help the candidate learn more about your business, and the careers available throughout the recruitment process.

Ask What Your Candidates Want

Brainstorming all the things you could do to help educate applicants, and to improve their experience, is all very well, but asking them would be a great chance to get their opinion and another chance to engage them. Ask your past applicants what they thought of the experience, and how it could be improved. 

You will be surprised at the quality feedback you will get.

Tell Them How you are Improving

Now you have asked how you can make things better, it is time to put it into action. Many applicants will want easily fixed things like better communication, or easier ways to apply for jobs. Once you have made improvements, tell the people you surveyed that they had a part to play in helping you improve the experience. Again, this is an excellent way to engage. 

So, how often do you re-look at a candidate’s experience, and how are you planning on improving your process?

If you are inspired by this article, then our e-Book on how to create a TA machine might be right up your street. Download it below.

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