6 ways to level up your candidate experience in 2024

6 ways to level up your candidate experience in 2024

In today’s competitive job market, a positive candidate experience isn’t a perk of working with your firm; it’s a requirement. Still, many firms are still struggling to do so. Let’s look at the numbers:

Improving your candidate experience is no longer a zero-sum game. With a recruiting acceleration strategy combining smarter AI chatbots, generative AI tools, and revolutionary new lead distribution tools, you can engage candidates faster and grow your bottom line. 

Here’s how.

1. Partner with AI to speed up your response time

In staffing and recruiting, time kills all deals. Now more than ever, today’s candidates simply won’t wait through delays. They are too busy, and there are too many demands on their attention.

They don’t care why your recruiters are delayed – whether it’s by outdated processes or by being out of the office. They are signing contracts with the agencies that prove to them that they matter – by honoring their time and giving them instant attention.

But, because the staffing industry is evolving quickly, many teams haven’t adapted to the new speed of business. 

Important notifications and candidate questions all tend to get lost in the noise, drowned out by spam messages and other clutter in catch-all email inboxes. The work of managing candidate experience should take place in the tool you have just for that: your ATS/CRM. 

If you empower your team with AI built directly into your ATS, your team will never miss out on a hot opportunity. CRM-based solutions with real-time notifications can keep your team aware of their most important next steps in relationship building – instantly. No more delays, no more lost opportunities. 

Add in tools like ChatGPT to help recruiters write the best submittals, and your firm will cut down time even more while improving outcomes. 

In fact, one client slashed time spent on manual processes by 93% by opting for a CRM solution with built-in AI.

2. Add AI to your automated emails to level up your communication 

Speaking of email inboxes, it’s just as easy to lose candidates’ attention in inboxes as it is to lose notifications. 

Like recruiters, candidates are inundated with constant information – their email inboxes are filled with sales pitches, spam, and job offers. To stand out from the crowd, you want to make your email outreach as relevant and unique as possible. How?

The key is to make your email outreach more immediate. The more you can make emails feel like DMing or text messaging, the more enticing it will be to busy candidates. 

By embedding links to AI chatbots in your messages, you can make email more engaging and valuable to candidates. These chatbots can answer their questions 24/7, open a live-chat conversation in MS Teams or Slack during office hours, and move them further along their journey with your firm.

3. Bring AI in-house to hyper-personalize your outreach

Candidates put a lot of energy into applying for jobs. They want to see that all their blood, sweat, and grammar checks are worth it and that they haven’t sunk their time into an abyss. But when they get generic responses to their anything-but-generic resumes, they often feel like they’re stuck in a black hole.

Nothing tanks candidate experience faster than being inundated with information that isn’t relevant to them – or faux-personalization that makes your firm sound more robotic than a robocall. “Dear {First Name}” and “Are you looking for a job?” are relics of the past. Candidates want to know that the information that’s sent to them is for them – relevant to their interests and needs. 

Outreach should also build on past touchpoints – your candidates should feel like their relationship with you is progressing, not continually restarting on day one. So, to truly build a candidate-centric recruiting strategy, hyper-personalization is key. 

And if your chatbots spew generic information, they will drive away today’s top candidates and waste the opportunity to build relationships.

With proprietary AI, you can customize your chatbots and train them on an AI knowledge model to reflect your agency’s unique process, voice, values, and information. That means everything – from the name that the chatbot uses to engage with candidates to the rules AI taps to route candidates through your system – will be built on your agency’s process and needs.

Just like your recruiters and sales reps, your chatbots will be your brand representatives. They can not only field candidate questions but also help your agency build better relationships with the contacts who matter most.

4. Build loyal talent communities to replace one-off transactions

You likely know that a transactional mindset is going to be the thing that ruins your candidate experience. If your team thinks of each candidate as a number or as a check box on their task list, your talent is going to run for the hills. 

Some hallmarks of transactional mindsets:

  • Treating candidates like they’re interchangeable. Skipping the get-to-know-you phase and jumping straight into placements. Recruiting is like dating – you want to establish trust before asking someone to make a commitment.
  • Talking more than listening. To establish good relationships, your team needs to listen as much as (or more than) they talk. When recruiters get into sales pitch mode they can often overlook the nuances of client and candidate needs. 
  • Focusing more on numbers than people. Don’t get us wrong – we love data. But if your team is confusing people who need jobs with their recruiting quota, candidates will feel like they don’t matter.

How do you shift your team away from these transactional modes and towards creating long-term candidate relationships that grow a loyal talent community?

  • Create engaging, targeted content. Rather than blasting candidates with irrelevant information, create articles, emails, and messages that appeal to what they care about most. Always hear candidates complaining about finding local buddies on travel nursing gigs? Create resources for making friends on the fly. By catering to your candidates’ needs, you inspire them to fulfill yours – by sticking around, giving you good referrals, and tapping you for their next job search.
  • Nurture and qualify your candidates. By definition, a community includes the right fit of people. Just as a rock-climbing community isn’t going to include people who are primarily interested in learning to play the violin, your candidate community is going to be made up of the best-fit talent for your clients. Nurture candidates to find out their needs and qualify them so you don’t waste anyone’s time – and tap AI and automation to optimize this process.
  • Connect … and reconnect … and connect again. The hallmark of good relationship building is regular communication. If your team falls off the face of the earth in between gigs, your candidates may forget about your agency and move on to another. Regularly engage and re-engage with candidates all throughout their lifecycle with you – whether they are just getting to know you or are seasoned veterans of your firm. Don’t just think email: you can use a multichannel approach, staying in touch on social and over text, and add invaluable tools like surveys, referral programs, and gamification to keep your candidates engaged.

5. Perfect your timing to reach talent when they need you most

In an on-demand economy, candidates need to know you have their backs. If your responses to hot leads lag behind, candidates might question whether they can trust your team to provide for them. However, the majority of staffing firms fumble on candidate experience exactly where they need to be most on their game: new candidate and client lead distribution. 

Imagine this: a candidate is ready to work, ready for a job yesterday, and they reach out to their favorite recruiter in response to a position they’re actively filling.

But the lead notification goes to a shared staffing management inbox, so the manager then misses it for hours in their chaotic inbox. They then forward it to the wrong recruiter – Sam J. instead of Sam R. 

This means the lead languishes until the next day when the Sams figure out the mix-up. All told, the eager candidate doesn’t hear back from the firm for 24 hours, by which time another firm scoops them up.

We’ve seen this situation time and again. Staffing firms of all sizes struggle with lead notifications and are still using email notifications – or even spreadsheets – to manage and route lead notifications. 

Enter AI-powered lead distribution. It dynamically reroutes new leads into the right hands – and automatically updates candidate information in your CRM. Real-time alerts go right to your recruiters in messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

One happy client said of AI-powered lead distribution said, “About 70% of my book of business comes through the leads distribution list. I absolutely love it because it’s live and it’s hot. The candidates that come through are actually clicking on your job assignment and they want to talk to you. You’re not headhunting, you’re not cold-calling. You have folks that are engaged and actually want to talk to you.”

AI-powered lead distribution can help your team connect with candidates just when they need you most.

6. Use tech to make your team more human

It may seem counterintuitive, but tools like generative AI, automation, smarter chatbots, and quicker lead distribution can all work together to make your firm more human. 

These tools act like assistants who can help your team offload the busy work associated with staffing and recruiting. By cutting down on repetitive tasks – the necessary but rote aspects of staffing and recruiting – your team has more time to do what they do best – build strong candidate relationships.

Want to learn more about how Staffing Engine can help you leverage AI to improve your candidates’ recruitment experiences? Check out their page on the Bullhorn Marketplace.

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