With job vacancies outpacing unemployment in the UK for the first time and recruiters competing for a limited employee market, an increasing emphasis is being put on the hiring process to secure the best talent.
For Human Resources professionals and hiring managers, it has become clear that providing the best possible recruitment experience is essential to attract the most talented applicants for roles.
But, how exactly can we ensure that candidates don't drop out of recruitment or accept jobs elsewhere? In our experience, candidate engagement makes all the difference.
In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about candidate engagement and how HR and recruiting software can help ensure your candidates stay engaged throughout recruiting and onboarding.
What is candidate engagement?
Candidate engagement refers to building relationships with candidates during every stage of the recruitment process. Candidates applying for a job will experience a range of touchpoints with their potential future employer including application, interview, assessment, job offer, onboarding, and more. At each stage of this process, continual and positive communication with the applicant will create a great candidate experience.
What's the difference between candidate engagement and candidate experience?
Although these two interrelated concepts sound similar, candidate engagement and candidate experience are different things.
Candidate engagement refers to the process and measurement of communicating with the candidate throughout recruiting, including using communications such as emails, text messages, or face-to-face interactions.
On the other hand, candidate experience is a measure of a candidate's feelings about a recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process. Candidate experience begins even before a candidate has applied to a job; it includes their perception of the employer brand and anything they have heard about the organisation that may influence them to start an application.
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Why is candidate engagement important?
Reduce dropout and secure top talent
An engaged candidate is far less likely to drop out of your recruiting process. With the current talent shortage making it more important than ever to identify and secure great talent, a high level of candidate engagement helps prevent your best applicants being snapped up by a different employer before you can make them a job offer.
Improve employer brand
Great candidate engagement also reflects well on your organisation, improving the likelihood that unsuccessful candidates will join your talent pool or apply again for future roles.
Facilitate easy onboarding and employee engagement
Great candidate engagement turns into great employee engagement when they join the organisation. Good communication and support for candidates throughout hiring helps their onboarding go smoothly and makes it easier for employees to settle into their new roles.
How can recruitment software keep candidates engaged?
Never miss a communication thanks to automation
One of the best things about an HR software with recruitment capabilities or an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is that it can automate candidate communications for you. From sending follow-up emails to confirm that an application has been received to sending personalised communications with interview requests or recruitment process updates, recruitment software makes it easier than ever to send a high volume of communications to various candidates with ease.
With recruitment software at your disposal, there's no more risk of forgetting to reply to a great candidate's email and learning a few days later that they've accepted a job elsewhere. AI-powered software allows you to create automated workflows to handle all the hassle of candidate communications and eliminates errors.
Personalise communications with ease
HR software with recruitment capabilities makes it effortless to create personalised communications which make candidates feel seen and valued. Instead of generic mass communications sent to all applicants, software can ensure that each applicant gets their own personalised messages via email or text message. This is especially valuable in high volume recruitment, providing even unsuccessful applicants with a great candidate experience.
Personalised communications are vital throughout recruiting. Application receipt confirmations, interview reminders, and even rejection notifications can all benefit from a personalised touch instead of seeming like a generic communication.
Provide feedback opportunities
The communication with candidates shouldn't just go one way; good candidate engagement requires that candidates are given opportunities to share their thoughts, too. A good recruitment and HR software will allow candidates to provide feedback on their candidate experience, perhaps through a self-service candidate portal or through an automated email with a feedback survey link.
There are two key benefits to providing candidates with an opportunity to share their opinion on the recruitment process. Firstly, it helps your organisation refine the process and identify any issues that are holding your company back from facilitating excellent candidate engagement. Secondly, soliciting feedback also makes candidates feel valued and heard during the recruiting proceedings. Having an opportunity to share their thoughts is great for engagement. It also may make it more likely that they'll apply to your organisation again in the future or recommend it to other job seekers on social media or in person.
Empower candidates with cloud-based self-service
Without continuous communication or updates from an organisation, it's easy for candidates to lose interest in their application for a particular role. Fortunately, an HR software with self-service capabilities for applicants allows the candidates to feel engaged in the process from the beginning. With all the information they need in one place -- recruitment timelines, job descriptions, next steps, and more -- candidates can feel supported and empowered with great communication from the very beginning.
Free up time for HR to focus on candidates
One of the biggest benefits of HR software is that it handles boring and repetitive admin on your behalf, freeing up HR teams to focus on the more important and strategic work. With workflow automation saving HR professionals so much time, it's easier for you to provide greater support to candidates and improve engagement across the process. Big time-saving features include:
- Automated postings to job boards when roles are published
- Candidate self-service which takes the administrative pressure off HR
- Custom dashboards for tracking key metrics and recruitment trends
... and many other features that boost efficiency in recruiting. All of these mean that HR teams can spend more time ensuring candidates build a good relationship with the organisation instead of wasting time on administrative duties.
Use analytics and reporting to evaluate candidate engagement
Using the powerful metrics and analytics tools provided by a good HR software, Human Resources teams can make informed decisions to improve candidate engagement. By looking at data collected from candidate feedback, recruitment trends, and metrics such as time-to-hire, HR experts can identify opportunities to improve candidate engagement. Where does communication tend to drop off? At what point in the process do applicants often drop out? Using data to answer these questions is a great way to inform your future candidate engagement strategy.
ATS e-sign streamlines the process
And finally, once the perfect candidate has accepted the job offer, paperless contracts and e-signature capabilities on your HR software ATS allow them to complete the paperwork instantaneously. This way, there's no need for the successful candidate, hiring manager, and HR team to waste time on further admin -- the candidate can enjoy a super smooth process every time.
From candidate engagement to employee engagement
Sometimes in recruiting there's a drop-off in communication that follows a successful hire. The individual will go from a valued candidate receiving constant communication and updates to a new hire left unsure about the next steps.
That's why it's useful to use an HR software that integrates the onboarding process with the applicant tracking system. When they start working for the organisation, employees will be able to use the HR software's automated onboarding process, creating a smooth transition from candidate to employee. With all the information they need at their fingertips and the ability to update their employee data with ease, this helps an attentive recruitment process transition into an effective employee onboarding.
With onboarding setting the tone for an employee's long term experience at an organisation, an effective onboarding using the HR software that candidates have already become accustomed to during recruitment can be beneficial.
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With candidate engagement becoming increasingly important in our current talent shortage, an HR software with ATS capabilities is essential. Through a combination of advanced tools, automated workflows, and convenient features, Human Resources software ensures that candidates feel communicated with and supported throughout the entire process.
If you're looking for a high quality cloud-based HR software, look no further than XCD. Our HR and Payroll software has everything you need to streamline recruitment, support your HR processes, and run payroll with ease.
Powered by Salesforce, our software is a powerful solution with top security and is designed to handle complex processes for large, medium, and small businesses,
Want to learn more about how XCD HR and recruitment software can help your organisation maximise candidate engagement? Book a demo today.