8 Candidate Experience and Employee Engagement Best Practices

The competition for talent is high. The unemployment rate is well below the 70 year average, and job openings are at a 17-year high. You need to keep both candidates and employees engaged with your organization, so you can hire and retain great talent. A positive candidate experience is actually the first step to building an engaged workforce with high retention rates.

In yesterday’s webinar, How to Roll Candidate Experience into Employee Engagement, Lever’s very own Elaine Yang, People Programs Manager, joined forces with BambooHR’s JD Conway, Head of Talent Acquisition, to discuss this very topic. Check out some of their candidate experience and employee engagement best practices below, and watch the on-demand webinar to learn more.

8 best practices for candidate and employee engagement

1. Personalize sourcing efforts

Ninety percent of recruiting emails aren’t personalized at all, and candidates can see right through generic emails and social media messages. Stand out by adding in personalized details about why you’re reaching out to each candidate. Elaine suggests utilizing technology, like Lever Nurture, to plug personalization data into email templates, and to automate several follow-up emails for higher response rates. In doing so, Lever customers have seen a 42 percent average response rate from sourced candidates. This personalization, right from the beginning, helps you start building a relationship with each candidate that engages with your organization.

2. Ensure applying is easy

Every step, from your application to your offer, should be seamless. Sixty percent of job seekers report they have quit an application due to its length or complexity, so take necessary steps to make sure it’s short and simple to complete. Does it take more than 5 clicks to apply? How can you ensure responses are timely?

3. Set clear role expectations during the interview process

Forty-three percent of employees who left a job within the first 90 days said they left because their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected. For candidate experience to truly transition into employee experience, organizations need to paint a realistic picture of the job. Most of this work is done from the beginning of the hiring process, with the job description, and extends through the interview process. JD shared how BambooHR recruiters are having conversations with hiring managers to know what frustrations and challenges the role will face, so they may convey that to candidates upfront.

4. Close the loop with candidates

Once you’ve decided not to move forward with certain candidates, don’t forget to send rejection letters to let them know. Failing to do so could damage their perception of your brand, and they may not consider a job with your company in the future. In fact, 80 percent of job seekers say they wouldn’t re-apply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status. Plus, displeased candidates may write a negative review of your company online, and mar your reputation for all future candidates to see. Elaine shared how Lever prefers to “archive” candidates, rather than “reject” them. Even if someone isn’t a great fit for a role now, they may be for another role in the future, and we want to be able to bring them back into the recruitment process at a later date.

5. Follow up in a timely manner

JD asked us to imagine running 25 miles of a 26-mile marathon, only to stop before crossing the finishing line, going back to the start, and doing it all over again. This would obviously be exhausting, time-consuming, and difficult. That’s essentially what happens when we lose a candidate at the end of our recruitment process. To avoid this scenario, he shared how BambooHR gives each candidate a single point of contact—either the recruiter or hiring manager—who leads them through the entire hiring process. This ensures that there’s not an opportunity to drop the baton during a handoffs.

6. Bridge the gap from offer accepted to onboarding

There is often a gap between when people sign their offer letters and when they actually show up for their first day. After all that work, if someone is taking time off to travel the world and discover themselves, we want to make sure that they’re still discovering themselves and their careers at Lever. Email them some information to get them pumped and prepared for the first day, make digital team introductions, and send some company swag. Eileen shared that Lever sends every new hire an email with a GIF of their future team cheering excitedly, and copies the entire company. Then, every Leveroo sends a welcome email of their own – which often feature more GIFs.

employee engagement best practices welcome gif


7. Onboard like a pro

A recent BambooHR survey found that over 80 percent of employees who had an excellent onboarding experience hold their organizations in high regard, feel strongly committed to their jobs, and have higher role clarity. Effective onboarding begins before the first day, with things like job offers, and salary negotiation, and continues with new hire paperwork, training, and benefits elections. Many of these processes can be streamlined and organized through onboarding software, like BambooHR, to free up time for the more personal aspects of onboarding. For instance, the recruiter or hiring manager may provide facility tours, executive introductions, and team introductions, and pair the new hire up with a buddy for all of the little questions they may have going forward. Elaine also shared how Lever’s Ramp Camp helps new hires integrate from their first day, so they can hit the ground running in their new roles.

8. Building and maintaining ongoing employee engagement

With the paperwork out of the way and initial relationships starting to form, you have the opportunity to give your new employees some momentum in their new positions. JD discussed the importance of telling new hires how they are making a difference and contributing to the team. He added that the sooner you can get someone to feel like they have an impact, the more likely you are to emotionally engage them. From there, Elaine shared how ongoing engagement boils down to communication and transparency with which you are talking to employees about engagement. Lever utilizes Pulse checks for engagement each month, as well as engagement surveys every 6 months to gather additional data and look for trends. Also hold all-hands meetings every two weeks for internal communications and transparency, and an annual offsite for culture building and goal setting if you can do so. All of these things help us build ongoing engagement within our team.


Recruiting great talent requires a significant investment of both time and money, which is why it’s so important to build engagement throughout the employee lifecycle. You want to keep your candidates involved in the recruitment process, and then you want to retain the talent you’ve worked so hard to hire. JD shared that 30 percent of job seekers have left a job within the first 90 days of starting, and that the cost of backfilling a position is six to nine months of that former employee’s salary. The more resources you put into backfilling positions, the fewer you will have for strategic company growth. Get ahead of turnover and utilize your limited resources more efficiently by increasing your focus on the candidate and employee experience.

Watch the on-demand recording to hear more candidate experience best practices, tips, and examples!

You are also welcome to browse the webinar deck: