It’s Time to Update Your Model for Candidate Engagement: Leveraging conversations to improve candidate engagement

Jul 19, 2018 -

Take, for example, a summer job I had as a hostess at an Irish restaurant. Success was dependent on communicating with the customers and following the prescribed seating plan in a timely manner. As a host, if I failed to welcome, seat, and set up the table for the customers, they would more than likely turn around and walk out the door. My job was to make sure the guests had a positive first impression of the restaurant. Certainly, pointing guests to a “Please Seat Yourself” sign would not only be discouraging, but rude. A simple, friendly conversation with the customer about the menu, the wait-time, or even the weather made all the difference.

Well, the same thing can be said for how recruiters should be engaging with candidates. Hiring professionals must understand the role that responsiveness and communication play in attracting and securing the best talent at the top of the hiring funnel. Rather than feeling like they are part of a transaction, candidates want to interact on a genuine, human level.

Candidates are customers (and they demand your attention)

“The customer is always right” can now be said for the talent you are trying to attract and keep. The famous marketing cliche now applies to talent acquisition, and talent teams must live this motto to its core.

There’s a famous story about the department store, Nordstroms, that speaks to the level of attention that is required by talent acquisition teams in order to attract candidates. It is said that in every training session for new employees, the presentation starts off with a picture of a tire. On the surface, a tire would seem to have nothing to do with Nordstroms. But it has a story and connection to both Nordstroms and our conversation about candidates.

Back in the 1920s, so the story goes, one of the first Nordstroms, located in Alaska, was visited by a husband and wife who complained about the faulty tires they had bought from Nordstroms. They demanded a full refund. The manager, quite confused, told the couple that Nordstroms doesn’t sell tires. But upon persistence by the couple that they had, indeed, bought the tires at that same store, the manager acquiesced and paid the couple, in full, for the damaged tires. The epitome of “the customer is always right.”

This is a story about how the customer is always right, and the importance of giving the customer the attention they demand and deserve. It’s also about a good customer experience, which should also be applied to your candidate experience. Why? Because a bad candidate experience can be detrimental to your company’s consumer brand. And a big part of experience is engagement.

In the same way that recruiting is marketing; candidates are customers. A fluid labor market implies that candidates have the ability to pick and choose job openings. This means that in the healthy job market, where job openings are at a 17-year high, more attention is being paid to the candidate that is already employed (traditionally, this is called the passive worker, but many organizations and TA professionals are eliminating this term under the assumption that even those that are employed are on some level, active, if presented with the right opportunity).

Successfully engaging with those who are already employed becomes a more difficult task. As a recruiter, the goal is to be noticed by your target audience. All candidates need a compelling reason to leave their current job. Since there is no pressure to find a new role, these potential candidates will be naturally reluctant to leave their current positions. This is why they require a hiring process that is engaging, efficient and tailored to them at all stages. It must incorporate a form of compelling human interaction to capture top talent.

What most recruiters fail to realize is that the experience of the individual candidate should be treated with the same amount of importance as the experience and treatment of an external customer. Despite how comfortable they may be in their current role, the hiring process is the recruiters chance to offer candidates a better job position and superior career opportunities. The goal is being concise and efficient, while offering a meaningful and human interaction to keep candidates invested throughout the process.

The key to a superior engagement strategy? Communication.

Conversational recruiting provides a platform for recruiters and candidates to interact at different stages of the hiring process. By offering a conversation through a platform like Brazen’s chat communication software, TA teams are able to capture more qualified talent at the top of the hiring funnel (at Brazen, our clients are increasing the conversions of qualified talent by two-times, resulting in double the hires).

Of course, boosting engagement at the talent attraction stage is the most effective way to secure top talent. Chatting online with recruiters allows potential applicants the ability to ask questions in real-time, as opposed to the traditional ‘Apply Now’ tab. This allows for more conversations and fewer bounces. By offering candidates the chance to chat, recruiting teams are more efficient, and can speed up 'time-to-hire'.

It’s not just about more. It’s about better.

Brazen’s chat communication software was built with the goal of finding and capturing those candidates that are highly qualified, yet fed up with the current recruiting process. Neglecting the needs of the candidate and failing to communicate and respond can end up hurting your employer brand (and, of course, your ability to hire). After all, the success of your company depends on its overall image and culture, both of which start with its people. And finding the right people starts with a conversation.

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