min read

Candidate engagement strategies for 2024

These are the proven strategies to engage candidates in your mission, employer brand and open job positions.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
January 5, 2024

Candidate engagement is the practice of interacting with potential candidates over several touchpoints during the recruiting cycle in order to build relationships and create a positive candidate experience.

In the recruiting funnel, there are many different possible touch points where candidates can be interacted with.

You can for example:

  • Send a confirmation mail after application
  • Share employee stories to passive candidates
  • Have a live chatbot where candidates can have questions answered
  • Send automated multiple touchpoint marketing campaigns
  • Send SMS just after having an interview with the follow up procedure
  • Give a like on a post on social media
  • Share your company ‘behind the scenes’ video
  • Send newsletters

Just to name a few examples of how you can inform and excite candidates during their candidate journey.

The magic of candidate engagement is that you do this continuously and have interactions at the right time to pull candidates back into your company mission, brand and open job positions.

There are several strategies a company can deploy to execute on candidate engagement.

In this blog you’ll learn about these 4 candidate engagement strategies:

  1. Multichannel strategy
  2. Hyper-personalization strategy
  3. Content driven strategy
  4. High-touch strategy

But first:

Before you set your candidate engagement strategy

To be successful in candidate engagement you need to be aware of four major developments that have been unfolding the last decade that drive the need for engagement:

  1. Candidates now have more opportunities than ever before: 62% of millennials are convinced that if they lose a job today, they will find a great job opportunity within 3 months.
  2. Candidates have higher expectations in being informed correctly and timely: 65% of candidates lose interest in the job opening after a negative experience during the process.
  3. Candidates respond less and less to one shot generic messages: 42% of recruiters now say that one of the major barriers to identifying qualified candidates is people not responding to emails and calls.
  4. Candidates are more distracted than ever: candidates look at a social media post for an average time of 2 seconds.

Developments that don’t contribute to getting candidates engaged you would say. But when you design your process around this wisdom, you can be very effective in pulling the attention of candidates towards your employer brand. 

You compete for the candidate’s attention. Instead of looking at your job post or company about page, they can check their Instagram account or the job post of another company.

To prevent candidates from forgetting about you as quickly as they got introduced to you, you need several touchpoints to get them more engaged with your employer brand and open job. 

Whatever strategy you deploy, interacting with candidates over several moments in time, across multiple platforms and with different messaging intent is crucial for effective candidate engagement.

You need to expand the candidate experience and stay top of mind over a longer period of time to pull candidates in and get them in action mode, right now or in 6 months when they reconsider their options.

Top 4 candidate engagement strategies

The candidate engagement strategies that follow are not strategies that necessarily have to be executed separately, they can very well be executed together and even contain similar elements.

If you do not have all the elements in place yet to deploy them all, it can help to focus on one strategy first.

These are the best candidate engagement strategies that have proven to work:

1. Multi-channel strategy

The multi-channel strategy is about using any relevant platform as a means of communicating with candidates.

And this means that every channel out there is a potential channel to activate candidates on:

  • Social media (LikedIn, Instagram, TikTok…)
  • Chatbots (career site chatbots, automated/non-automated chatbots…)
  • Email (direct email, opt-in email, transactional email…)
  • Messaging apps (WhatsApp, Slack, Discord…)
  • SMS
  • Direct phone call

In a multi-channel strategy the candidate is reminded of your company and open job positions across all the channels they are active on daily.

Every candidate has a different preferred channel and if you’re only communicating via email but the candidate is spending most time and attention on social media, you won't really engage them.

Companies who deploy a multichannel strategy have to do these things:

  1. Activate and grow multiple channels that are relevant to interact on from the candidate’s perspective. Set up communication via social media, chatbot, Email, SMS and direct phone call if they are not sufficiently set up yet.
  2. Set up a single source of truth that manages all interactions across all channels. This is typically one software solution, like an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), that records all the candidates and their touchpoints across channels.
  3. Integrate the several channels to the messaging channels of recruiters, optionally in one unified inbox where all messages come in and are replied to.
  4. Embed the multichannel approach in the way of working of all recruitment related team members so that recruiters and recruitment marketeers don’t get back to the one channel they’re used to using.

2. Hyper-personalization strategy

The hyper-personalization strategy is about making all interactions as personal as possible.

Simple personalizations like [first name] and the candidate’s location can already improve engagement rates significantly.

But if you really want to deploy an effective hyper-personalization strategy you need to go a step further.

Here’s a list of personalizations that can be used in most all of your communication:

  • [first name]
  • [last name]
  • [current company name]
  • [previous company name]
  • [top skills]
  • [candidate location]
  • [current job title]
  • [previous job title]
  • [date applied]
  • [content viewed]

And many more…

Using this personalized information in your communication to candidates makes them feel appreciated and shows that you are using the right information to address people, giving a feeling of confirmation to the candidate that you know who they are and where they are in the process.

Most platforms support some kind of automation in terms of including personal details in the messages.

Personalization cannot only be used in emails but also in all other online communication like chatbots, SMS and social media.

Automated personalization with HeroHunt.ai

For automated personalizations to work, you need to have work with data that is accurate. Personalizations that make use of incorrect information can seriously harm the candidate experience, so review the tools that you use for personalization on data quality and test before your deploy personalizations.

Personalized engagement by text

3. Content driven strategy

The content driven engagement strategy is about sharing relevant content with the candidate to educate and inspire them throughout their candidate journey.

Examples of content pieces that can be shared with candidates throughout the cycle:

  • Blogs 
  • Employee experience videos
  • Behind the scenes company videos
  • Employer brand movie
  • Reels
  • Newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Webinars
  • TikToks
  • Job field guides
  • Contests
  • Podcasts
  • Product demos
  • Salary benchmarks

The intent of this content should be to educate and inspire the candidate throughout their career exploration and their next move.

The content driven strategy is not so much about transaction (getting a person hired), it’s more about involvement; gradually involving candidates in your brand and mission and gaining their trust.

Content can be shared at any given point in the candidate journey, from start to job offer to re-engaging previous candidates.

For the content driven strategy to work, you need to set up these things:

  1. Hire or assign content creators so there will be a continuous flow of new content being created to share with candidates.
  2. Have a content distribution platform like an email sender platform that can send newsletters out with your content or a forum or website where candidates can take in your content.
  3. Have employees dedicated to distributing the content so the content is not only created but also shared with the world on social media and other channels.

4. High-touch strategy

The High-touch engagement strategy is all about building a personal relationship with candidates by means of direct communication like in person conversations, personal emails, phone calls and small events.

This approach has al lot of elements of all the previously mentioned strategies but focuses on the continuous check-in with candidates: are they still interested? If not why? Do they have feedback? Questions? Need for information?

Candidate journey with high-touch approach

This strategy works best with candidates who are already quite engaged and have concrete steps to walk through to explore if your company is the right fit for them.

High-touch means that the candidate is always on the hiring company’s priority number one and shows that through continuous interaction with the candidate.

For the high-touch strategy to work, you need to set up these things:

  1. Have a first point of contact for the candidate to know who the main contact person is to reach out to with their questions and feedback.
  2. Utilize several communication channels so the candidate always has their preferred communication channel available.
  3. Check-in proactively before any questions arise, provide information that can help the candidate in their exploration, don’t wait for the candidate to reach out to you.
  4. Be personal so the candidate feels appreciated.

More content like this

Sign up and receive the best new tech recruiting content weekly.
Thank you! Fresh tech recruiting content coming your way 🧠
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Latest Articles