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How to Build Candidate Engagement Into Your Staffing Firm’s DNA

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Candidate engagement has always been critical for staffing success, and it’s arguably more important than ever before. A survey of over 2,000 global staffing professionals found that the top two priorities for respondents revolved around candidates. Sixty-one percent said candidate sourcing was a top priority, and 36 percent said candidate engagement was a top priority.

But even as more and more recruiting professionals recognize the importance of candidate engagement, many fall short when it comes to actually taking action. Candidate engagement requires buy-in from the top-down. It won’t happen on its own. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that candidate engagement becomes more than a buzzword for your firm. For a full candidate communications strategy, download the free checklist here.

Commit to Candidate Engagement 

For your candidate engagement strategy to be a successful long-term initiative, it should be a fundamental part of your firm’s identity. In other words, think of it less as “a thing we do” and more as “a part of who we are.” Make engagement a priority for your firm and make it visible. Talk about it in company-wide meetings and encourage employees to hold each other accountable for building a better candidate experience.

Appoint an Executive Sponsor

Choose someone to be responsible for the launch of your candidate engagement initiative as well as the ongoing execution of your firm’s candidate engagement strategy. Candidate engagement is a team effort, but appointing an individual sponsor to oversee your candidate engagement strategy is a powerful way to ensure accountability. This person should be a visible member of your organization who can serve as the face of your candidate engagement initiative.

Brand Your Candidate Engagement Plan to Build Excitement

Give your candidate engagement plan its own name, and make it stick. Mention it in emails, meetings, conversations, and on your website. If a stranger were to visit your office for a day, would they hear anyone talk about candidate engagement? Would they know that your firm has a candidate engagement strategy in place? Get people talking about your candidate engagement efforts, and soon they’ll be embodying them.

Set Aside Time for Engagement During the Working Week

Time is a premium for recruiters, which makes it easy for less prioritized responsibilities to fall by the wayside. Many recruiters prioritize the candidates closest to the money and, in doing so, it’s easy to disregard the more basic elements of candidate engagement.

Reaching out to candidates at all stages of the deployment cycle is essential for creating the best candidate experience possible. Set aside a time during the week (Ex: Follow-ups every Friday at 2:30) to ensure that no candidates get neglected.

Incentivize Success 

There are many vital reasons to focus on candidate engagement. It creates brand ambassadors out of candidates who are passionate about your firm. It will help you win over more candidates, who have more leverage and more freedom to choose who they work with than ever before.

But these reasons are often less tangible on an individual level. Incentives provide an immediate reason to support your engagement initiative. Create competitions that award recruiters and other team members for taking proactive steps towards communicating with candidates. A rewards structure is another reliable way to get buy-in from team members.

Most importantly, incentives prove to your employees and to others that your commitment to candidate engagement isn’t just lip service. Rewarding actions that place an emphasis on candidate engagement signals that this is something your firm takes seriously. And candidates will notice.


There’s never been a better or more vital time to focus on candidate engagement. Get the candidate engagement ebook to discover whether you should focus more on candidate engagement, and if so, which processes and technology you can tap to support your efforts.

Candidate Engagement Strategy