One of the most important steps in the interview process is often one we spend very little time doing – selection. Hours are spent reviewing qualifications, interviewing candidates, and internal discussions among the recruiting team. But when it comes time to evaluate and select a candidate, some hiring managers will spend minutes making a final decision on who to extend an offer to.
To make the best hiring decision, organizations need to take advantage of every opportunity they have to learn about the candidate, not just their technical abilities. Organizations want to know that a candidate is going to like both the work and the company.
It only seems logical that candidates accept job offers from organizations they’re excited to work for. The question becomes, how do organizations create that excitement? The answer is by connecting and engaging with the candidate. Find ways to learn more about the candidate and vice versa. Connecting and engaging might seem like the same thing, but it’s not. Connecting means providing a way for communication to happen. Engaging is starting the dialogue.
It’s an important distinction because the way a candidate interacts with you during the interview process can help you evaluate how they will behave as an employee. For instance, if a candidate shows up for an interview and treats the company receptionist badly, what are the chances that they will treat customers badly? The good news is that in today’s technology driven business environment, we can connect and engage with candidates before ever interviewing them.
5 Tactics for Connecting and Engaging with Candidates
Connecting and engaging with candidates isn’t a one-way activity. Remember that candidates are doing their own types of connecting and engaging activities to learn more about the organization.
- Create a robust employee referral program. This recruiting tactic continues to provide the highest quality of hire at the best cost per hire. Current employees are the “connectors”. They can introduce a candidate and the company. The organization benefits from the recommendation from a current employee, who knows what it’s like to work there. Meanwhile, candidates can learn the inside scoop about the organization from those same employees.
- Develop a talent network. According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study, sixty-four percent (64%) of candidates research a company before applying to a job posting. This doesn’t mean that a candidate will never apply, but instead companies need to realize that the decision for a candidate to apply could take some time. Building a talent network, a place where candidates can virtually ‘hang out’ before they’re ready to apply is a great way to promote their employment brand as well as engage.
- Maintain a social media presence. Speaking of promotion, some of a company’s social media interactions can happen via their talent network. The key point is to be where your candidates are. Organizations want to understand how candidates find out about them and their openings. A goal in connecting and engaging with candidates is getting them to apply. So, using social media to stay top of mind keeps the company visible with active and passive job seekers.
- Consider collaborative hiring. HR and hiring managers do not have to be the only people connecting and engaging with candidates. Collaborative hiring allows organizations to build recruiting teams, that include not only HR and the hiring manager but key employees that the candidate would regularly interact with. There are many benefits to this approach, especially during onboarding. Candidates can build relationships with more individuals before day one. It also means that more people have a vested interest in the candidate’s success.
- Use technology strategically. All of these activities point to the need for organizations to use their recruiting technology strategically. Today’s recruiting technology solutions allow companies to connect and engage with candidates before they apply as well as during the hiring process. In addition, companies can stay in touch with former employees, who can be both a source for employee referrals and possibly become boomerangs.
Build a Recruiting Strategy that Connects and Engages Candidates
A successful recruiting strategy involves connecting and engaging with candidates. Organizations can use their resources, including current employees and alumni, to build an effective recruiting community that will help them find the best talent. Because the greater the candidate engagement, the more likely they are to accept a job offer and become an engaged employee.