27 September 2023

Keeping job candidates engaged: Opportunities and roadblocks

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J Jerry Moses* says building predictability to your candidate engagement is a critical step to improving your offer-to-candidate ratio.

Picture this: You identified the right candidate after several rounds of tests and interviews.

You sent them an offer letter post-negotiation.

You engaged with them periodically before joining.

But, on the day of joining, the candidate does not show up.

It’s an experience many recruiters are intimately familiar with.

It doesn’t just demoralise the recruiter; it has an actual business impact.

It pushes project timelines, leads to dissatisfied customer experience and adversely affects revenue.

With the macroeconomic environment changing hiring priorities for many organisations, a webinar hosted by People Matters in partnership with HireSure addressed the challenges with post-offer candidate experience.

The post-offer experience

The post-offer period is a critical time for companies and candidates.

It allows candidates to understand the organisation they’re going to work with.

It also enables companies to onboard their prospective employee and get them up to speed on the company’s culture, vision and job.

In a hybrid work environment, companies are already leveraging many tools to ease candidate experience – tools to facilitate asynchronous video interviews, chatbots, assessments for job-fit and engagement touchpoints after shortlisting the candidate.

And yet recruiters are dealing with an unpredictable offer-to-join ratio.

Recruitment leaders note that, at times, the offer-to-drop-out ratio is as high as 50 per cent.

So, what should recruiters do differently?

“Candidates are no longer a commodity,” Anurag Dixit, Co-founder and CEO, HireSure, noted.

“They’re your partners in building your business.

“And you need to make them feel so,” he said.

Creating a bond with the candidate

Engaging with a candidate cannot be a tick-in-the-box activity.

Recruiters need to have a clear understanding of how to foster a meaningful connection with the candidate.

Recruiters need to be able to articulate why a candidate should join you.

They should present the realities of the job while also showing how a candidate can enrich themselves.

At Maveric Systems, Rajiv Srinivas, Head – Talent Strategy, noted that the company takes a two-pronged approach to candidate engagement.

“A lot of candidates don’t know what the company does”, he said.

The company created forums, events, and newsletters to discuss the company’s history, vision, and policies.

They also engage in deep-dive sessions, which enable the candidate to get to know their team, bosses and projects.

A candidate management team facilitates this for them.

The challenge of scale

Building human connections at scale can be challenging.

And the first step is to build a relationship of trust.

“You need to put up a trustworthy face for your employees; you need to go the extra mile first,” Anurag said.

For example, companies send candidates laptops and goodies before their joining date to build trust.

It is more important for the hiring manager to build a one-on-one relationship with the candidate.

In many cases, they need data to support their decisions.

For example, A persona mapping exercise can teach them more about a candidate – are they introverted or extroverted? What kind of hobbies are they interested in?

“Automation can help scrutinise candidates; it should also help you sell to your candidate.

“They must be excited to work with you.

“Showcase everything beyond the salary.

“And make it about the candidate,” Anurag said.

Does your technology system have the capability of surfacing such intelligence for a candidate’s birthday if he or she prefers to receive a movie ticket or flowers and chocolates?

Empowering the recruiter

“Choosing the right recruiter is crucial because that person will be the face of the organisation,” James Job, Senior Vice President – Talent Acquisition India, Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) noted.

“Candidates often take a decision based on the engagement with the recruiter,”

Recruiters need support to ensure they understand their stakeholder’s needs and they aren’t necessarily giving too many overqualified candidates.

“A recruiter instinct is really important,” Rajiv notes.

Based on the rapport with a candidate, a recruiter must be able to predict the probability of a candidate joining.

They should be able to sense any disconnect and build trust in the process.

*J Jerry Moses is a senior content manager at People Matters. He can be reached at [email protected].

This article first appeared at peoplematters.in

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