We spend an enormous amount of time and money branding ourselves to potential candidates. Yet for a lot of companies there is a syndrome in place that drastically affects the candidate’s experience with the brand. And in a down economy, your candidate engagement strategies don’t necessarily have to change, they just need to be firing on all cylinders.
Let’s think about our audience when they come across your communications. Are they really listening? Or are they just trying to get employed? What defines the new best candidate experience? In this economy, is it defined by actually getting employed? Or is it a combination of the acknowledgment of one’s skills and talents with highly relevant, truthful, and timely up-to-date status of where-they-stand information?
In a down economy like this, does the “black hole” syndrome increase in size? How does that make them feel when they get the black hole notification after they submit their resume; “Thank you for applying to the position below. Your resume has been added to our candidate database. Members of our recruiting team will be reviewing all the resumes we have received and will be in touch should your skills and experience match our open needs.” Usually this is followed by no follow up.
(“Hey wait a minute. Didn’t I just apply to a specific need that you just spent thousands upon thousands of employer branding dollars on?”)
Chances are, the percentage of candidates that experience the black hole with your candidate engagement process may be represented by the amount of resumes and applications to actual interviews. Why worry about the engagement of these candidates if they were not right for the positions you ask? Two come to mind. One, that percentage is more likely to be very large. And in today’s social power, the masses are strong. Word gets out, and perceptions are their reality about you. Two, their talents may have not been perfect right now but may become hard to find later.
Innovation should not be exclusive to the development of front end branding and engagement. The level of the innovative engagement the candidates experience learning about you should carry through to the end of the application process. You can have all the social strategies in place, employee stories, compelling message platform and innovative shiny widgets to deliver this platform. But if the part of the engagement that means the most to the applicant is abandoned, you are left with a lot of disengaged people who bought into your machine.
Here are some ideas around closing the black hole:
Leverage social platforms to keep the candidates in the loop. Create specific social groups that invite candidates to have a more personal exclusive follow up with you. Instead of general walls or forums, you can create groups or membership areas that make the engagement more personalized. Platforms like Ning are very powerful in doing this. But remember, no matter what platform you use, you must provide timely response, and it should be a 2 way communication between them and you.
Assign members on your recruiting team to the role of pipeline engagement consultants.
Again, no matter what platform you use, candidates are always looking for human interaction and timely response. Think of these roles as talent farmers and scouts. They keep the pipeline happy, engaged and efficient.
Utilize backend CRM systems (like Salesforce as an example) to track status, send timely notifications and alerts, and manage talent pool internally.
As with many companies, to manage all this engagement takes resources. Here is where you can apply more concentrated innovation by leveraging CRM systems to automate a very human interaction without sacrificing too much on the high-touch human element.
Create candidate dashboards on your site that enable candidates to register their information, and manage their application process with you.
Like a good CRM, this is only good if the system responds efficiently with timely status alerts, distributes to as many eyeballs as possible within your organization, and becomes a future doorway between their career endeavors and you. Give them the opportunity to receive timely information like new job alerts that match their profile. The system should make them feel that it is working in their best interest, helping them gain employment, and even feel exclusive to them as if they had a personal agent.
We see a lot of wonderful immersive candidate engagement campaigns out there. From events to mobile social. Take a look at your strategies and ask yourself, have you paid as much attention to the immersive engagement to those that have already applied as you have to those you are marketing to?