Sourcing has evolved from people who wanted to find more people to an emerging trend, which is how do you fix candidate engagement? Because that piece of sourcing is differentiating people…

- Johnny Campbell at SourceCon

Building candidate engagement is where the battle is at. As technology gives us more and more access to great talent in the market (whether that be through Boolean searching, LinkedIn or any other social network), the game is changing. We can see who has jobs that may interest us and, even when approached about jobs, very rarely do recruiters talk about the culture and the employer value proposition (EVP) of the organisations they represent.

The question is: Do they know what their EVP is and how to communicate it in an effective way?

The other question is: Do recruiters start the discussion about culture fit early or is that left till the last interview?

Here are 5 simple and easy ways you can engage candidates, both before they become applicants and during the recruitment process:

1) Building engaging & interesting career site collateral:

It is so simple to develop and share videos, images and information about your organisation in a place where candidates can easily access them to see exactly what it’s like to walk through your office. We also underestimate the impact that this can have on a candidate’s initial interest and engagement in the organisations. Your career site should ideally be your number one sourcing channel for any organisation – it’s the place where potential applicants will go to check out what you’re doing, what you’re about and make a decision on whether they think your organisation is right for them. So the question is, have you invested anything into ensuring it reflects your organisation in the right way? Or is it just a click-through link with a list of jobs and maybe some companies values?

2) Case studies and storytelling:

From the time we are small children, most of us love a good story – we love to understand what happened along the way. Storytelling can be also be one of your company’s strongest asset. Why? It proves that what you are saying is true as there are people in your organization that are living out the experiences that you say your organisation offers. We’ve used stories to show a client’s commitment to career progression, how they support diversity, how the CEO interacts with the business and so much more. You can see an example – a Deloitte diversity video – below:

Using stories allows you to humanise your brand in a relatable way – use them and don’t ignore amazing stories you could be sharing! I’ll take a great authentic story of what it’s been like for an individual in your company over corporate communications’ press releases any day.

3) Talent pool newsletters:

So you’ve taken the time to identify candidates that you believe are right for your organisation. They have the skills, competencies and experience that you’re looking for. You segment them off into a talent pool and…you leave them there for however long until you have the right job or someone remembers them.

The candidate doesn’t know they are in a talent pool, they don’t know that you think they are great for your business and they have no idea about what your organisation is doing 6 months down the track – brilliant!

The purpose of CRM strategies for talent pools is to build the employer branding, share your stories and develop the engagement with candidates that you believe are right for your business. Let’s imagine for a moment that you’ve either been approached or you’ve applied for a role. Something happens and the role doesn’t go ahead, but the recruiter says to you:

Jo, we think your skills, experience and motivations are aligned with what we are looking for in our business. Now we don’t have a role right now for you but I would love to add you to our talent pool. What that means is that we will communicate on a quarterly basis with a few select candidates that we want to continue to develop a relationship with. The information that we email out to you will be what the business is up to (it may have videos or project updates), what’s happening around our corporate and social responsibility and a bit about our culture. Hopefully this ensures that we’re kept front of mind with high calibre candidates such as yourself and then when an opportunity comes along you’ll have a much clearer understanding of who we are and it can help inform your decision as to whether this is right place for you in the future as your career develops.

Simple. Easy. Straightforward. Engaging.

Who is going to say no to that? I’m not spamming you. I’m not sending you an update every day/week/month. I’ll communicate with you and you can contact me if you see anything that takes your fancy (e.g. opportunities with us) and we’ll do the same. If a recruiter said this to me, I’d be impressed. Just that gesture alone would set them apart.

4) Talent communities:

google plus for your job search tool networkIf you have the resource then talent communities are a great way to spread the net a little wider and share your employer brand and EVP to a bigger audience, plus it also means that they can actively share your content with their communities and networks. A number of 3rd party sites which have been around for the past 1-2 years (e.g. TalentCircles and Ascendify) can be used as an additional tool to your ATS and usually integrate with existing systems. One that I’m loving is Google+ – you have the ability to build free communities that can be restricted to the candidates and people who you want to have in there plus it has video capability as well as the usual social connect sharing capabilities.

5) Networking – social and face-to-face:

Nothing replaces talking to people. I could write a whole post just on this one heading, but the tip I’m going to give you today is to go to the networking events your candidates are at and engage with them on social channels in a real and authentic way (i.e. don’t just post links but have conversations!). If you have recruitment social channels, it’s important to get your recruitment team to let EVERY SINGLE CANDIDATE that they speak to KNOW about your channels and the INFORMATION they will get if they follow them. I find it amazing when people say a social channel didn’t work but never actually told anyone about it.

Engagement is half the battle. You can find candidates, you can present them to your business, but if they are not interested in your business it’s all a bit of a waste – so spend time thinking about what your message and engagement strategy in the market will be over the next 6-12 months and measure the impact as you go.

photo by: ivanpw

Suzanne is the Digital & Sourcing Innovation Manager for HudsonRPO, AsiaPac ~ Working with organisations to develop targeted sourcing, social recruiting & engagement strategies to meet business needs.