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Candidate engagement is the process and measurement of continually communicating with your candidate pool via text, email or face-to-face. For staffing, the goal of engagement may be email opens, text replies, job views or job applications.
Generally, candidate engagement involves 3 functional areas:
We'll dive into each area, exploring tips, pitfalls and triumphs.
We haven't met a staffing agency owner or senior recruiter who doesn't think candidate relationships drive the business forward. In an ideal scenario, new candidates are sourced, categorized and automatically nurtured until they are a good fit for an open req. This system can run forever; always incorporating new candidates into the process.
Having a solid candidate engagement strategy in place paired with automation software allows engagement to run in the background and bubbling up candidates when they fit certain criteria like visiting certain pages, applying for an open position, clicking and opening emails or engaging with text messages.
It takes some planning and execution, but a solid candidate engagement plan can reap on-going rewards for the savvy staffing firm. By consistently nurturing new and existing candidates, firms reduce their dependence on job boards and cultivate a super-engaged pool of talent (their ATS).
Let's face it, the reality of candidate engagement is...well there really just isn't much that's done once candidates get sourced. Let's walk through a scenario and let us know if it sounds familiar:
You source 20 candidates for a new job order. Out of the 20 you get ahold of 5 (you sent a blast email; the first in awhile) and out of those 5 you submit 2 with 1 landing an interview. You completely forget about the 15 you didn't get ahold of because, well...a new job order came in...the process repeats....
Don't feel ashamed, it's very uncommon for a staffing firm of any size to have a rock solid engagement plan in place. That's because it's more of a marketing function that most firms realize. The above scenario results in thousands of forgotten candidates that accumulates over years and years, leading to wasted expenses and lost opportunities.
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This one is pretty straightforward, but does beg to be explored. Basically the people required to make a candidate engagement engine run are a) internal staff and b) candidates. Let's look at both.
Internal staff - In most cases, this is a person with marketing experience who understands the candidate journey in your company. Candidate engagement can be looked on as a marketing function, where candidates receive automated email or text messages depending on their stage in the lifecycle. Ideally, recruiters don't have to operate the 'engine' and simply receive notifications or alerts when candidates exhibit certain behaviors. Like we've covered, those behaviors could be an email open, job apply or it's simply the end of their contract and they need a phone call.
Candidates - It goes without saying that you can't have candidate engagement without the candidates. Candidates can fall into different buckets and should be segmented by interests or categories to focus the effectiveness of your engagement plan. For example, software engineers should receive messages containing engineering jobs, while accountants receive CPA openings. It may sound simple, but nailing these segments helps build the bigger plan down the road.
Bottom line: The people required to make an engagement engine run isn't overwhelming. The biggest challenge is finding the right people to run the program internally and segmenting candidates to improve your effectiveness.
We've outlined this in-depth here and even wrote a business case here, but it's worth repeating. The process of candidate engagement starts with your goals and ends with your results. Let's take a deeper look.
Goals - The starting point for any good plan. For a staffing firm, the goals may be:
With these goals in mind, we can now get to the strategy portion of the plan or the 'how are we going to do x,y & z'.
Strategy - This is the fun part - figuring out how we'll move from point A to point B. For candidate engagement, the strategy for the above goals may be:
Bottom line: By starting with the goals, we're able to attack the goal and put strategies in place and move on to the tactical portion of the process.
As you can imagine we have a few thoughts on this subject. As a candidate engagement technology provider, we've been at the forefront of bringing recruitment marketing technology into the hands of professional staffing organizations. However, anything we outline can be achieved using widely available B2B marketing tools; you just need to the know how and drive.
First, let's look at the feature set to kick-off a solid candidate engagement plan. Below are some key things to look for:
Second, critically think how you'll use technology in your candidate engagement plan. Do you just want to send autoresponders to all new applicants? If so, then your technology needs may not be as great as a firm that wants to send a text on day 1 of a new assignment, an email 21 days before assignment end date and add a task on the recruiters dashboard - two automated workflows with two very different paths.
Lastly, if you've made it this far and still haven't created a solid plan, then please, PLEASE do! The hardest part of any new marketing initiative is thinking through the steps. By starting out small (simple autoresponder email to new candidates) you can master the tools and think through more complex scenarios. We've written quite a bit about the subject and are eager to help regardless of which tools you use; just ask
Bottom line: Technology is the execution arm of any candidate engagement program but it does require solid strategy. Our advice is to start small, master the tools then work into more complex automated workflows that benefit your bottom line.
Thank you. We will be in touch shortly!
SVP of Product and Salesforce
Jonathan Novich is SVP of Product and Salesforce for Bullhorn, the global leader in CRM and operations software for the recruitment industry. A staffing technology innovator, he has developed broad and deep product and technical experience consulting to staffing firms over the past 15 years. Jonathan has acted as an independent consultant for some of the largest staffing companies in the world and advised companies on acquisition targets.
At Bullhorn, he oversees product initiatives as more than 10,000 staffing companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships, and power their recruitment processes from end to end. He graduated with honors from Princeton University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science and a certificate in Operations Research.
SVP, Workforce & Revenue Cloud
As Bullhorn’s SVP of Workforce & Revenue Cloud, Ed drives the company’s middle office strategy and overall product offering. Ed joined Bullhorn as part of the Peoplenet acquisition where he spent 7 years as the President/CEO leading up to the acquisition in late 2017. Prior to joining the Bullhorn family, Ed has spent his career designing, building and managing technology solutions for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Partner in an ERP-focused consulting firm, a CIO for a global pharmaceutical company, a supply-chain leader for a retail company and the leader of a services company from its inception to $50MM in revenue. Ed was born in Florida but has spent the last 20+ years in Atlanta, GA. Ed loves to play golf, tennis and basketball and occasionally gets out kite boarding when the wind is just right.
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Brian Sylvester is Bullhorn’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with more than 15 years of financial leadership experience. Brian leads Bullhorn’s financial, accounting, and legal functions. Prior to becoming CFO, Brian spent three years at Bullhorn in various finance & accounting roles. Prior to Bullhorn, Brian was Corporate Controller at Pegasystems, a global provider of business process management software where he scaled the finance organization during a period of 2.5x revenue growth. Brian began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their technology audit practice.
Brian is a CPA in Massachusetts, has a Master’s of Science in Accounting from Boston College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Bryant University.
SVP, Customer Success
As the Senior Vice President of Customer Success, Tamsyn leads Bullhorn’s Services and Customer Success teams. She is responsible for the successful delivery of all products and services globally and is committed to creating and maintaining incredible long-term customer experiences in the Candidate to Cash process. Tamsyn has been delivering implementations for over 25 years with companies such as SAP, Ariba, Zuora and Apttus: specializing in HR, Payroll, Procurement and Quote To Cash capability. She trained as a software engineer after studying Maths, Statistics, and Computing in England.
Founder & CEO
Art Papas is the Founder and CEO of Bullhorn, Inc, the global leader in software for the staffing & recruitment industry. Art was the original architect of Bullhorn’s flagship Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which now helps more than 8,000 companies around the world run their businesses. Art is the Chairman of the Board at Career Collaborative, an organization that teaches unemployed and underemployed adults how to build careers that change lives and strengthen families. In 2014, Ernst & Young named Art an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner in New England. Prior to starting Bullhorn, Art started his career as a software engineer at Thomson Reuters. Art is a graduate of Tufts University, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
President and Chief Technology Officer
As President and CTO, Matt leads Bullhorn’s architectural, technical, and software design and development efforts. He also directs the product management team’s work defining product strategy, and global customer support and success. Since joining Bullhorn in 2004, Matt has held a variety of leadership positions managing the growth of various technical and services teams, including Vice President of Professional Services. Prior to Bullhorn, Matt worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in systems process assurance for such companies as Fidelity and State Street Global Advisors. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston University’s School of Management.
Chief Revenue Officer
As Bullhorn’s Chief Revenue Officer, Mike drives the company’s global revenue growth. Mike was one of the first 15 team members of Bullhorn Inc. in Boston and relocated to London in 2010 to start up the International team. In his 6 years in London, Mike drove regional expansion into the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. He has supplied cloud-based solutions to recruitment consultancies in over 50 different countries worldwide for the past 10 years. Mike was born and raised in the Boston-area where he grew up an avid sport fan. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College.
Chief People Officer
Kristin oversees Bullhorn’s human resources function in her role as Chief People Officer. Kristin joined Bullhorn in 2020 and is responsible for helping Bullhorn scale to the next level, build leadership capacity, and accelerate growth in global markets. Kristin brings to the role over 20 years of experience leading high-potential companies through breakthrough growth and brings a depth of knowledge in organizational design, scalable processes, and flexible systems culled from some of the most successful global companies in the world. Leary joins Bullhorn from Hitachi Vantara, where she served as Chief Human Resources Officer, and before that she worked as Chief Human Resources Officer at Forcepoint, a private equity-backed company with 3,000 employees operating in more than 45 countries. She has also worked at high-growth enterprise technology companies like Alphatec Spine, Boston Scientific, and Hewlett-Packard.
Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International
Peter oversees Bullhorn’s international operations across EMEA and APAC in his role as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International. Peter joined Bullhorn in 2009 and was responsible for its highly successful UK launch. In addition to growing the international team to over 50 staff and establishing Bullhorn as the UK’s market leading recruitment software in fewer than three years, Peter has expanded Bullhorn’s reach into EMEA and APAC and achieved a user base of more than 10,000 international users. Prior to taking on the launch of Bullhorn in the UK, Peter spent 20 years working in the recruitment industry and held a number of senior director roles before moving into the technology space.
Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Salesforce
Ryan Murphy is the Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Salesforce. He began his 10-year career at Bullhorn as a finance and sales intern, affording him a 360-degree view of the software-as-a-service industry and Bullhorn’s business model. Prior to his current role, Ryan served as an Enterprise Account Executive where he honed his customer-first leadership style and championed Bullhorn’s offerings to its most strategic clients. Today, Murphy is charged with leading the enterprise strategy and go to market for both Bullhorn and Bullhorn for Salesforce, enabling customers to maximize their investments on both platforms and deliver an incredible experience to their customers and candidates. Ryan has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Boston University.
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