Connected Recruiting: Designing an Engagement Strategy to Meet Candidates Where They Are
As employees, talent, and humans, our value system has, as of late, changed. Getting a job used to be about stability, benefits, and pay. Now, speed, flexibility, choice, and happiness are more important than ever.
When talent isn’t happy, they can switch work at a moment’s notice. According to our latest GRID Talent Trends Report, 66% of candidates say they’ve given up on an opportunity because the process took too long. This is parlayed with the fact that talent is getting younger. Everything in the younger generation’s lives has been made simpler through digital means, and new “tech-first” employment models are there to fulfill this new value system.
As a result of these factors, work – like many other industries – has become commoditized. In this new world of work, the candidate is in control, and they have high expectations. Candidates want a streamlined recruitment experience, clear and consistent communication, and, ultimately, a sense of belonging, and that happens over a series of touchpoints throughout the recruitment journey.
In order to meet these evolving talent expectations, a strong engagement strategy is essential. Agencies must focus on removing friction and connecting people as fast as possible. To talk about providing an unparalleled talent experience, Andre Mileti, Product Evangelist of Talent Experience at Bullhorn sat down with Lauren Jones, Founder of Leap Consulting Solutions, and Julie Haldorson, Executive VP at Parqa Digital Marketing. They had an exciting conversation about all things Connected Recruiting, talent engagement, and the future of the recruitment industry.
Read the recap below, or watch the webinar recording here.
What are the core components of Connected Recruiting?
To help staffing firms adapt and grow in this changing climate – between digital transformation and the consumerization of employment – Bullhorn developed the Connected Recruiting strategy.
These phases – attracting, engaging, onboarding, and nurturing – gain momentum and build on top of one another throughout the entire cycle. If firms can create happy candidate experiences along the way, they can generate sustainable, organic growth through redeployments and referrals.
“The whole premise of our industry is: great jobs, great people, put them together as quickly as possible.” – Lauren Jones
In our previous webinar, we discussed how to attract candidates. Now, we’ll focus on talent engagement.
What is the Engage phase?
When we talk about talent engagement, we don’t just mean how you communicate to candidates and when. There’s a lot that goes into engagement, including:
- Segmentation/personae development
- Talent journey mapping
- Content personalization
- Application process
- Screening and interviewing
- Self-service (talent portal and chatbot)
- Skills and job matching
- Business process automation
- Automated talent communication
- Human-to-human interactions
Testing and iterating all of these components is also crucial. As you continue to improve these components and the synergy between them, you can speed up the entire process.
Where do you begin?
Engagement is a two-way conversation, said Haldorson: “Depth of understanding of your candidate segment or segments is the first step in any engagement strategy.” Candidates want to work with organizations that understand them and continually offer them value.
With all this technology at our disposal, it’s important to ensure you’re striking a balance between automation and personalization. “You’re creating a data warehouse of your human capital,” said Jones, and it’s important to leverage that data and have a candidate management strategy in place. “Have people on relationships, and automation on repetition.”
What does successful engagement look like?
If you consider placement as the conversion, candidates won’t convert after just one engagement touchpoint. Firms must focus on creating touchpoints along the way that create a continuous engagement journey. Reading one thought leadership piece isn’t a conversion, said Haldorson, but it’s part of the whole engagement strategy: “The more of those micro-conversions you have, the more value you’re able to provide – which is key.”
Engagement also isn’t just about getting views; it’s about providing something of value to your candidate community. This takes a deep understanding of said community, their process, and what they need at any given point in time.
“Candidates want to be seen, they want to be understood, and they want to be happy.” — Julie Haldorson
Post-COVID, traditional corporate talent acquisition is at an average of 36 days throughout the entire hiring process, said Jones. That’s a long time – so, for Jones, conversion is getting any piece of information her team didn’t have before. Once her team has that, it’s up to them to use it to build trust, demonstrate value, and provide a community.
Jones added that engagement best practices don’t necessarily mean more advertisements or job postings. It takes understanding what’s working and how best to capitalize on it.
How is the industry faring when it comes to talent engagement?
“I give us a C+,” said Jones, pointing to low redeployment rates. According to our GRID Talent Trends Report, a third of respondents say their recruiter didn’t reach out about future opportunities, including 20% of workers who actively wanted to work with their firm again. “That means that one out of three people works one time. That’s a real waste of energy – and dollars.” Given these statistics, said Jones, technology isn’t the only answer; firms must use automation, omnichannel engagement, and the human touch as part of one cohesive strategy.
The biggest challenge that Haldorson sees is firms not trusting their data. The human touch aspect of recruitment has been and continues to be a strength for the industry – but firms need to learn how to capitalize on their data and leverage it. For Haldorson, it comes down to developing a communication strategy and having reliable data to activate against those strategies. “It’s not technology that solves problems; it’s the people that solve problems.”
What role does content play in engagement?
The job description is essential; it’s the candidate’s first impression, after all. Firms can start there to ensure their job descriptions are engaging, bias-free, and give candidates the right impression. The better you understand the individual, the better your content will be, said Haldorson. “Keep it simple,” added Jones. “If you can go by that mantra, it will redefine the way you engage with talent.”
Where can chatbots be used in the engagement process?
“I’m a huge fan of chatbots,” said Jones, “but with great technology comes great responsibility.” Jones spoke to the value of having a chatbot to answer simple questions and provide a quick answer, and also advocated for giving candidates an option to talk directly with a recruiter for more complex conversations.
She also pointed out that different generations will be interacting with chatbots: “Giving people the opportunity to have the experience that works for them is important.” Chatbots aren’t here to replace human connection, added Jones; they’re here to remove the friction of the application and engagement process.
“You need to have a clear strategy of what your chatbot is for,” added Haldorson. “Make it clear what it can and can’t do.” This is where a touchpoint-based strategy comes into play – having a clear map of which responses will be provided to which questions, and where a human person will come into the conversation.
What should firms focus on next?
Jones spoke to the power of talent segmentation. “People like experts,” she added. “If you have an expertise, build your talent pool around that expertise. Don’t be afraid to make your recruiters thought leaders.” Understanding what your talent warehouse is comprised of is a profound way to beat out your competitors.
Haldorson added that she’ll be focusing on content personalization, automated technology communications, and business process automation. “The more you can connect through personalization,” Haldorson said, “the more individuals you can impact. And if you can do that at scale, that is where connected recruiting happens.”