How to Optimize your Candidate Engagement Rate

Job openings are at a 17-year high, and talent acquisition professionals are finding it more challenging to fill them. The top two barriers to identifying qualified talent are not finding enough suitable candidates to fill open positions, and candidates not responding to outreach. There simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to go around, and those who are the most in-demand have many opportunities available to them. That’s why it’s so important to focus on your candidate engagement rate. There are simply too few qualified candidates to let any of them slip away. Whether you’re trying to turn active candidates into applicants or convincing passive candidates to interview for your role, you need to go above and beyond to engage them.

1. Build and promote an enticing employer brand

Top-tier talent has many choices when it comes to where they want to work, and will research your company before responding to your cold outreach or applying. Put your best foot forward by building a robust online presence for your employer brand. Share things like employee stories, company benefits, perks, and an office tour on your career site and social channels. It’s also important to monitor your employee’s perception of your brand, as they help shape it and can influence a candidate’s decision to work at your company. Seventy-seven percent of people value reviews and ratings from employees when making a job decision. Make it a point to read through new employee reviews monthly, and get ahead of public forums by surveying your employees regularly. Act on the feedback by making improvements where needed, and promoting the positive.

2. Craft personalized outreach emails

A generic outreach message can get lost in the sea of bulk emails people receive daily, and turn off candidates who want to be treated like a person instead of a number. Increase your candidate engagement rate by crafting a personalized message that shares a little about the role, and why you think the candidate would be a good match for it. A little flattery can go a long way, so be sure to point out any examples of the candidate’s work you’ve seen. For instance, a blog post written by a marketing professional, or an engineer’s work that’s been shared on GitHub. While this will take more time than a batch and blast email, it will yield better results with the high-quality talent you need to engage.

3. Follow up on unanswered outreach emails

If a candidate doesn’t respond to your initial outreach, it pays to follow up. Sending a second email can yield 71 percent more responses, and sending a third can yield 100 percent more responses, versus sending only one. That means a three-step outreach process can double your response rates if you’re only sending the initial email now! With a tool like Lever Nurture, you can automate this process so the second and third emails are pre-set to go out at the designated time if you haven’t heard back from a given candidate. You can simply remind the candidate of how excited you are to speak with them about your opportunity, or insert an email from the hiring manager sharing their interest in meeting the candidate. If you still haven’t heard back six months later, try sending one final round of messages in case the candidate’s circumstances have changed.

4. Simplify your application process

While your employer brand is busy attracting candidates, your application process may be repelling them. A tedious application process may send your best candidates packing, because they don’t need to jump through hoops to find a great opportunity. Walk a mile in their shoes by taking yourself through your own application process, and taking note of how it could be improved. You may also choose to utilize candidate surveys to uncover more ways to improve your entire process, including your application. When great candidates can be difficult to come by, you don’t want to lose them at this point in your recruitment process—or any other.

Final thoughts

Minding your candidate engagement rate and taking steps to improve it are critical in our current hiring landscape. The sheer volume of hiring shifts the supply and demand dynamics in favor of the candidate. Talented professionals have many opportunities to choose from, and employers need to stand out if they want these professionals to join their teams.

For more tips on improving your candidate engagement rates, download our eBook: The Definitive No Frills Guide to Sourcing and Nurturing Candidates.