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Feb 21, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Candidate engagement is one of the most difficult things to master. Recruiters and sourcers have different takes on what makes a good candidate engagement program and several different best practices have worked. While candidate engagement isn’t a one size fits all, being privy to various types of best practices only helps the profession as a whole. If you have a challenging scenario and you aren’t sure how to crack the candidate and get them in the door mixing up your strategies might be the best way to win over a candidate.

In recent years, the recruiting profession has become an open source type industry where sharing your secret sauce, best practices, and experience has become second nature and no issue at all. Even though competition is stiff and winning over candidates can be competitive, learning and understanding from each other have become a way of life.

Since candidate engagement is one of those topics that everyone can use a helpful trick or two, I set out and asked some friends, “What is your secret sauce when it comes to candidate engagement? If you could give one piece of advice to new or seasoned recruiters in the realm of keeping candidates engaged, what would it be?” The answers are below:

Kerri Mills, Manager, Global Leadership Recruiting,

The one piece of advice I would give in keeping candidates engaged is to always be one step ahead of them. You never want the candidate to feel like they have to consistently reach out to you for an update. Set proper expectations when you first connect to let them know when you will be following up, then set reminders for yourself to make sure you follow through with your word.


Alison Mackay, Data Center Hiring Recruiter, Facebook

Candidate engagement to me is transparency from the beginning of the recruiting process.  I use the time to get to know my candidates and who they are as a person. That way if they aren’t a fit for my role, I know I’ve started to develop the relationship as they progress in their career.


Robin Schooling, VP Human Resources, Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge

Communicating throughout the process is not only the best way to keep candidates engaged but will also further the likelihood of them coming out on the other end, whether hired or not, satisfied with the experience.  Identify touch points during the process; send an email note to the candidate when her resume has been forwarded to the hiring manager or do a phone check-in after an on-site interview and provide a timeline update. Of course, don’t drop the ball at the end; let unsuccessful candidates know when the position has been filled and how they can be considered for other opportunities with your organization.


Jayne Hale Jarvis, Talent Sourcing Strategist, KentuckyOne Health

I always approach a candidate conversation as person to person, not recruiter to the candidate. I want them to know I’m genuinely interested in learning about them and not just plugging a hole in an organization. Providing candidates with proactive and timely updates and taking a personal approach has always worked well for me.


Angie Verros, Lead Consultant, Proactive Talent Strategies

Whether it’s a personalized email, a quick call or even grabbing a cup of coffee, keeping it entertaining and communicating with the candidate throughout the entire recruiting process is crucial. Don’t send a mass email with a boring template – nobody wants to read junk! Keep it real, relate with the candidate, and be yourself. Find a way to let the candidate know that you’re interested in them. Tell them how great they are, say a joke, let them know you have something in common. Whatever you do – keep it real!


Judy Reynolds, Freelance Senior Recruiter, Self-Employed

Attend networking events that they do; be there for face to face conversations. After each event let them know you’re looking forward to meeting them at the next event. It’s important to talk the talk and walk the walk with each candidate.


Jonathan Campbell, CEO & Founder, Social Talent

Perseverance. Don’t give up after the first or second attempt. It takes up to eight tries to reach a hot prospect but don’t send eight emails or leave eight phone messages; instead try engaging twice on four different mediums (phone, InMail, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).


When you get them, you keep them by leading with why! Lead with purpose and focus more on the why of the employer and less on the what of the job. Appeal to their emotions, not logic. A prospect needs to be emotionally engaged.





This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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