Five Ways to Engage Candidates During the Hiring Process

Nearly every job seeker has received cookie-cutter messages at some point in the job search, and while that sort of communication may have been acceptable in the days of purely transactional recruiting, today relationships matter. It would behoove employers to make every touch point with candidates worthwhile and engaging.

Here are five tips to revamp a company’s hiring process to help build a relationship-oriented talent community and deep bench of candidates.

Feature engaging media. A candidate’s first contact with the organization is the career site, so companies should try to make it “sticky.” Research shows that average career sites have a bounce rate between 90 and 92 percent. Starting with content that resonates with candidates and minimizing text-heavy pages can help. Research at 3M concluded that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so video and images can be used to speak to candidates about employment in a more powerful and engaging way.

Gamify. Gamification, the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts, can be an engaging technique to interact with the candidate base. Having an employment-related game can lead to longer periods of time that a candidate spends on a company’s career site, or it can provide educational information. For example, Kixeye, a video game manufacturer, has an employment quiz that is relevant to its target audience (gamers). A well-designed game can be the ultimate job interview and may even help candidates align skills to open positions.

Serve relevant content. Many employers use their applicant tracking system to process transactional hires, but it’s better served as a marketing database. The candidates can be segmented by department, job title, location and even their stage in the hiring process — then relevant content can be served to them.

Revamp the confirmation letter. Once a candidate has applied, the cookie-cutter confirmation stating the resume has been received adds no value, and doesn’t do much to sustain engagement. Instead, companies can think about revamping this email as a call to action by inviting candidates to follow the employer on Twitter or connect with managers in the department of the applied-for job via LinkedIn. They can continue to sell the company culture with additional content about the job location, benefits and recent news from the company.

Make the interview special. Providing a memorable interview experience can make the difference between an accepted or declined offer. That’s why trading out the traditional conference room for a lunch interview at a nice local restaurant might work better — or if a candidate is flying in, the company could consider having a driver pick him or her up at the airport.

An interview experience doesn’t have to add to the talent acquisition budget in order to be special — for instance, the candidate could be given a private tour of the facility. If a candidate looks promising, the hiring manager can then follow up with calls or thank you emails, an activity traditionally occurring on the candidate’s end.

Every step along the candidate’s journey is an opportunity to sell a job to a potential hire, and in today’s hiring environment that requires employers to engage their audience and build relationships.

Erin Bazinet is a sourcing team manager at Seven Step RPO, a firm specializing in providing recruitment outsourcing services. She can be reached at