Keep Your Talent Engaged: Candidates Engagement Strategies
Uncertainty and dynamic change surround us right now. As talent acquisition leaders, it’s more important than ever to engage and communicate in a way that’s meaningful to candidates and talent communities. Understanding the needs and expectations of the two different groups is critical as they each will be looking for something different.
Despite their differences, they both want clear and considerate communication tailored to their specific needs. The overall message is simple—more communication is better than less, so long as it is clear, considered and consistent.
Candidates & Prospective Employees
Needs and Expectations: clarity on next steps and to understand how their progress might be affected by the current crisis. May vary accordingly depending on their previous engagement with you.
The landscape is ever-changing. Both organisational and government response to the current situation is fluid, and that makes communicating with candidates difficult. It is vital, however, that you have a candidate communication plan, tailored and targeted to the specific recruitment workflow each candidate sits within at your organisation. Consider:
- Clear communication. Inform these candidates as soon as is appropriate and practical. Right now, candidates may experience even more worry if they experience what can feel like a ‘recruitment black hole’ that, unfortunately, often happen even in the best of times. A personal phone call is the best practice; however the bare minimum is a call to any candidate who has reached interview stage.
- Key messages. Whether by automated message, email or telephone it is important your communication delivers two key messages: 1) clearly outline whether this role is in fact paused or cancelled altogether and confirm whether they should expect to hear back from you in the mid-term and 2) demonstrate your concern for candidates’ immediate needs and possibly fill other vacancies exploring other roles available now.
- Keep an eye on the future. If managed well, you can lay the foundation for future engagement by demonstrating that you’re more interested in relationships than one-off transactions. Reassure candidates that you’re eager to continue the conversation by adding candidates of interest to your talent pools and, most importantly, letting them know you’re doing this. You will also see your CRM engagement rates increase considerably as a result.
- Set clear expectations. Pre-empt any possible changes to the recruitment process as a result of changing working routines. If you’re switching to phone or video interviewing (Note: you should be!) let the candidate know what to expect. Provide guidance on the protocols and help them prepare, especially if they have no previous experience with digital interviewing. The same applies for any other changes, such as technical testing or virtual assessment centres.
- Allow for two-way conversation. It’s absolutely crucial to provide an easy avenue for candidates to update you on their circumstances. Are they no longer wishing to pursue new opportunities? Are they more actively seeking roles now than before? Are they happy to accept offer without having met anyone face-to-face, or seeing their future workplace? Enabling this type of channel allows you to respond and adjust quickly, and ensures you have more information ahead of critical junctures. Investing in technology may be one solution for the medium-term, but an easy short-term fix is to openly request this information from candidates and provide a recruitment mailbox for responses.
Needs and Expectations: to receive meaningful and thoughtfully crafted communication about your organisation
While we operate within the unknown, it’s important to keep focus on the eventual recovery phase, think forward, and stir up candidate interest to build talent pools ahead of need. Your existing media plan is unlikely to be fit-for-purposes, and neither is your corporate messaging. Instead a specific focus on people and culture will drive much better engagement and sell your brand for future. Consider:
- “Always on.” A robust content strategy is key to continued brand awareness and engagement. Whether it’s talking points around hints and tips for remote working, thought leadership, etc. This is also the perfect time to encourage employee created content and sharing it via your engagement channels, including social media, which has the added benefit of appearing more human to candidates—showing your EVP, rather than selling it.
- Focus on culture. Avoid over-engaging with the market on live opportunities. Instead, use this as an opportunity to sell the culture and people within your organisation. How are you managing the uncertainty within your teams? How has your working from home culture developed? How do you continue to exceed client expectations in innovative ways? Don’t just tell candidates about your employer value proposition (EVP), demonstrate how you bring it to life!
- Innovative options. Consider how to replace large-scale, in-person candidate engagement opportunities. Moving to creative virtual platforms, such as virtual career fairs not only allows you to engage with future talent but positions your organisation as forward-thinking and innovative. And there can be added benefits of this innovation, for example, virtual career fairs have proven to be more effective for attracting diverse and non-traditional hiring types.