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6 Strategies To Enhance Candidate Engagement In Tech Hiring (+ 3 Unique Examples)

6 Strategies To Enhance Candidate Engagement In Tech Hiring (+ 3 Unique Examples)

Lately, you are finding it difficult to onboard talented candidates. You notice a lot of candidates are dropping off at the job application stage, some have stopped replying to you after the interview, and some more have simply ghosted you, post rolling out an offer letter.

If this continues and promising talent keeps dropping out of your hiring process, you know the answer. It’s 2 words—candidate engagement.

Your candidate engagement strategies are not at par with what modern candidates will tolerate in hiring. Indeed, a recent report by Appcast shows that a whopping 92% of candidates do not complete filling out online applications. Now the burning question is why?

While the application flow and hiring life cycle are not as clunky as before and have improved over the years, they still make candidates jump through too many unnecessary hoops. Understandably, candidates look for quick, easy processes and if you can’t provide that, they will move on to someone who does.

Recruiters, how would you feel if we told you that it is possible to treat your candidates better? And to have:

  • better candidate response rates
  • increased candidate engagement in recruitment
  • reduced ghosting from both ends
  • fewer hiring managers breathing down your neck?

You’ve come to the right place. Let’s go!

Candidate experience vs. candidate engagement in recruitment

What is candidate engagement? And how is it different from candidate experience? While both these terms sound similar, candidate engagement is actually the subset of candidate experience. Both together make for a successful hiring strategy.

Candidate experience is how prospective candidates feel about an employer’s recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes. Is it positive or negative? Was it memorable or frustrating? Did the candidate feel valued or neglected?

Candidate engagement is the process of communicating with your candidates across every single touchpoint in your recruitment journey. Application status, interview stages, real-time updates, feedback, interview prep, etc. If a recruiter takes care of the candidates, keeps them in the loop, and regularly communicates with them, how would the candidate feel? They would feel encouraged, supported, and seen.

Consequently, the candidate would leave with an unforgettable hiring experience!

Also read: 5 Reasons For Bad Candidate Experience In Tech Interviews

Why is candidate engagement important?

Candidate engagement can have a negative and direct impact on your company’s bottom line, if not taken seriously.

  • If candidates feel undervalued or mistreated, the word will spread. Potential candidates will read those bad reviews and decide not to apply. Consequently, your employer branding will take a hit
  • A badly structured application process will lead to greater drop-off rates and increase your time-to-hire metric
  • Disengaged candidates make for disengaged employees leading to higher attrition rates

Now that you know the consequences of not treating your candidates right, head on to the next section on how to improve candidate engagement.

Tips to improve candidate engagement during the entire recruitment process

10 Actionable Tips For Increased Candidate Engagement


1. Simplify the application process

This goes without saying but the first thing to take care of is your application process. Is it long? Is it confusing? Why are candidates abandoning it midway through? Are there any technical glitches to make candidates drop off? Are there any unnecessary steps that could be cut out?

The easiest way to find out is to attempt filling out your own job posting and see what might deter a candidate from completing it.

2. Be clear and upfront about recruitment process details

Make sure you and your candidates are on the same page by setting clear expectations about your company’s hiring process. Provide a timeline for all the steps involved in the hiring lifecycle. In case of any potential roadblocks or delays like postponing a scheduled interview, let the candidate know.

For instance, Google updates its candidates with detailed information about what to expect in each stage of the interview process, and it also offers feedback and support throughout. This may come across as a simple thing that anybody would do to respect their candidates’ time but that is unfortunately not the case.

More importantly, hiring managers should consider if their candidate hiring process is inclusive and accessible to all. Is it easy for those with disabilities to participate in the selection? How best can you provide alternative solutions to help them take part?

Also read: How You Can Leverage Candidate Experience To Attract Top Talent

3. Don’t prolong the screening stage

If you take days to review new candidate applications, you risk the chance of skilled candidates being recruited by your competitors. In today’s digital age, it is strongly a candidate-driven market and lengthy technical screening processes only lead to your candidates shopping for quicker, better offers.

Use candidate engagement tools like advanced ATS platforms to recruit faster and keep your candidates interested in working for you. You can also craft personalized, time-saving experiences for your candidates, which helps in boosting candidate engagement to a large extent.

All About Technical Screening | FREE EBOOK

4. No ghostly activities…Follow through on promises


Do you feel a twinge of annoyance and desperation when a good-quality candidate doesn’t show up for an interview? That’s also how your candidate feels when you ghost them and do not provide timely feedback, important updates, etc. Two-way communication is key to providing a positive candidate experience.

If you say you will call them at a certain time, follow through on that. In case of any unforeseen delay, make sure to let them know. Respect your candidates’ time, give clear instructions for any assessments or tests, and be responsive to any questions they may have. You are halfway there to nurturing a healthy, trusting relationship with them.

Also read: 3 Ways For Recruiters To Deal With Professional Ghosting By Candidates

5. Use technology to make better hiring decisions

As an extension to screening candidates faster, allow technology to help you further shortlist candidates much more quickly. Invest in other contemporary tools akin to candidate engagement tools like online coding assessment tools and video interviewing platform for conducting interviews. This will enable you to provide a personalized experience and speed up the hiring process.

Coding assessment platforms like HackerEarth help recruiters and hiring managers screen the most talented candidates with ease. You get to make use of our rich library of 17,000+ questions across 900+ skills.

Remote coding interview platforms are designed keeping in mind a candidate’s experience. They come with a code editor, built-in code libraries, and simulate a realistic day on the job. Our online coding interview platform, FaceCode lets you easily set up, invite and conduct coding interviews on a collaborative, real-time code editor that automates your interview summaries.

6. Deliver hiring as an experience, not a run-of-the-mill process

Any good tech recruiter will know that rolling out the offer letter does not mark the end of the candidate hiring process. It is what comes after that is important. Laying the groundwork for long-term retention of your employees begins once the offer has been given.

Until the candidate has officially joined the company, you need to ramp up your candidate engagement strategies to ensure they do not jump ship. Be it AI-enabled onboarding systems to help new hires fill out paperwork quickly, or sharing useful welcome videos through online hiring platforms, infuse a level of excitement in your new hires!

Pro tip:

Always, always provide relevant and timely feedback, and thank the candidates for their time, even those who were not shortlisted. Also, ask your candidates for their feedback. Create a short survey and ask them to share their thoughts. Not only does this show you care about them but you will also gain valuable insights into your recruitment process and identify the gaps.

BONUS: 3 unique examples of how recruiters can continuously keep candidates engaged

1. Tailor candidate engagement strategies to specific personas – The Salesforce way

Candidate engagement cannot be one-size-fits-all. Just as copy/pasted job descriptions do more harm than good so do generic candidate engagement strategies. To truly connect with a diverse set of candidates, your strategy should be persona-focused. Tailor your communication and social media posts to target specific candidate personas.

Salesforce actively reaches out to underrepresented groups to encourage them to apply for job opportunities. Additionally, they partner with organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

It doesn’t end there. Salesforce also has numerous employee resource groups (ERGs) that provide support and resources for underrepresented groups within the company. This goes a long way in making employees feel like they really belong and leads to better retention rates. Moreover, these ERGs play a role in recruiting and hiring by helping to attract diverse candidates to the company.

Also read: Guide To Creating Candidate Personas For Tech Teams

2. Send newsletters to candidates – The HackerEarth example

As any B2B marketer would agree, we mainly rely on newsletters to capture the attention of clients by showing off the company’s products and services.

But it can also be a great way to get promising candidates (who may be looking for jobs or not) to think of applying to your company! Create your own talent community and work on keeping them engaged so that when the time comes to hire, you have a warm talent pool to fall back on.

Design and curate a newsletter specifically for candidates both active and passive. Send them regular updates on job opportunities, events, viral tech-related news, and relevant blogs.

We, at HackerEarth, take immense pride in our community newsletter, titled “In A Nutshell”, which is aimed at developers and coders. Recently, our newsletter saw a whopping open rate of 90% so believe me when I say, this is a proven way to connect with your candidates!

Want to stay in the orbit of “all things tech” and uncover hidden gems from the developer universe? Here’s where the magic happens 🙂

3. Love in the times of “VR tech”

Get creative with your hiring!

We all know, conducting a coding assessment is the go-to method of testing a candidate’s technical skills. It is mundane, it is routine, and it can be tedious.

But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be? A few good ways to do so are using gamification and virtual reality to assess your candidates and make it more enjoyable in the process.

  • Take Deloitte, for instance. It uses virtual reality simulations to test candidates’ skills. The hiring team creates VR simulations of real-world scenarios that candidates may encounter in their roles and accordingly solve those challenges.
  • Cisco makes use of gamification to assess candidates’ technical skills and problem-solving abilities. Their game-based hiring platform is called “Cisco Mind Games.” It sounds fun, right from the start!

You can use VR technology in more ways than just candidate screening. A fool-proof way of getting your candidates excited about working at your company is to let them in on what goes on behind the scenes! Give them a juicy taste of what it’s like.

  • Amazon turns to virtual reality technology to provide candidates with an immersive tour of their fulfillment centers, giving them a glimpse into the company’s operations.
  • So does Walmart. It even goes so far as to provide candidates with an interactive experience of what it’s like to work in Walmart stores with virtual reality simulations.
  • PwC’s “career preview” program allows candidates to explore different roles and experience different scenarios through virtual reality. It truly makes for an immersive experience of what it’s like to work for the company.

Take your candidate engagement to the next level with VR tech. As tomorrow’s workforce is mainly Gen Z, who are rather tech-savvy, they will appreciate you doing so.

Also read: 6 Must-Track Candidate Experience Metrics To Hire Better

The way to your candidates’ hearts!

As a recruiter, ask yourself—what do you look for in a candidate’s application? Is it a clear and simple resume? Good communication skills? Timely responses to your emails? Joining the scheduled interview on time?

Now, let’s turn this on its head. You say you want a clear resume. Is your job posting clear or is it confusing? Does filling on the job application take up a lot of the candidate’s time? Is the candidate worrying about the next steps since they did not hear back from you? Did the interviewer make the candidate wait?

You see where I’m going with this. Treat your candidates the way you want to be treated—with care and respect. Invest in whole-hearted candidate engagement practices and you will leave them with a superlatively memorable experience.

Moreover, with all the examples of how candidate engagement looks when done right, we hope the path to your candidates’ hearts is a little clearer.

As always, happy hiring 🙂

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