Candidate experience

01 July 2019

This article was featured in the July/August 2019 issue of the magazine.

Charles Hipps, chief executive officer and founder of Oleeo, discusses 

With the race for talent intensifying, recruiters are feeling the pressure to increase velocity and win the hearts and minds of qualified candidates sooner.

Digital advances mean that employers are vying for candidates from a generation that is less focused on work as a top priority, less concerned about salaries when considering a job, less likely to stay in a job for more than two years, and more focused on training and advancement than their previous generations of college graduates. These candidates are also prone to getting frustrated by how long it takes to receive an offer after their initial application and the lack of communication during their journey.

Battling this is tough when recruiters are already stretched and frantically trying to plan for and attend so many on-site events, then spending hours vetting piles of CVs or tracking the movement of promising experienced talent on networks such as LinkedIn. The result is that finding ways to communicate with candidates – be they active or passive – either falls by the wayside or ends up last on the list of priorities. This is a dangerous precedent. Whether it’s time delays, poor communication with applicants, or a bad online user experience, recruiters and employers risk losing qualified candidates who left in the dark go on to consider other offers.

The ever-changing landscape of recruiting means employers must recognise the need to transform approaches. In this digital era, the push from employers needs to revolve around creating an engaging experience and personalising the process for candidates – and, in order to do this, employers need to utilise technology to ensure they form a bond from a very early stage, before the candidate applies even. Crucially, this must extend all the way through to when a candidate accepts their full-time offer.


...employers must recognise the need to transform approaches


Rather than the elongated manual processes some recruiters have embedded, the race is on to expedite processes and keep candidates engaged in order to better match the high-touch process of finding, evaluating, and landing talent from an array of sources. Do this well, and a recruiter is more likely to simplify processes and increase hiring velocity.

With today’s digital capabilities, it is necessary to focus on better and continuous candidate engagement and interaction. Recruitment marketing is the new norm. Providing relevant content at key moments of candidate receptivity can help to build trust, and it also demonstrates an understanding of candidates’ needs via personalisation. This can be achieved by amplifying existing marketing content with contextual placements.

At every stage of the process good automation will facilitate two-way conversations so that candidates can give feedback on what they think of the process and receive feedback in return. The aim is to help them in their career regardless of whether they are hired.

At Oleeo, we advise our clients to focus on these ten key steps to great engagement:

  • Have a great employer value proposition (EVP). 

  • Devise coordinated but differentiated engagement strategies for different talent pools. 

  • Engage passives and actives.

  • Ensure that your attraction campaign is end-to-end.

  • Engage leadership, employees, advocates to amplify, authenticate, and bring to life your EVP and build their team. 

  • Virtualise and automate, combine with focus with the real-world in person engagement. 

  • Understand ‘great’ and focus your engagement on great hires and candidates with the potential to be great future employees. 

  • Ensure your communication is simple, transparent and personal. 

  • Set expectations early and offer jobs as quickly as the process allows you to. 

  • Ignite and strengthen the passion of future hires and customers. 

Done well, you will have an engagement plan unique to your business, helping to build talent pools of people from specific backgrounds who you as the recruiter think would be a good fit. With intelligence added in, it can even extend your reach identifying candidates who perhaps you wouldn’t consider as a natural choice but is actually a great fit. 

There is great value in planning engagement to work in such ways. For diversity recruiting, as an example, an employer can utilise engagement to manage issues of under-representation of a particular group, to take steps to try and attract candidates who have a diversity background to consider working for your business. 

More than ever before, the time is now to ensure that you are seizing the opportunity to communicate at every touchpoint – including utilising white space on application pages. Placing messaging that hyperlinks to dedicated content and helps candidates by providing them with information and knowledge to become advocates is imperative – be this employer brand videos, images and links through to information about your organisation or people. Make it easy for candidates to see exactly what it’s like to walk through your office and work in your teams – it is the future that applicants now expect. Are you prepared?