← Back

The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Engagement: What, Why and How

September 1, 2022

Acquiring talent is getting trickier every passing day. Why? The recruitment space has transformed to the limits that candidates are ‘ghosting’ recruiters after attempting interviews with multiple companies at the same time. This surge in drop-off rate at the bottom of the recruitment funnel isn’t stopping anywhere – it has increased by 20% in the last few years. Not to forget, the ‘Great Resignation’ of 2021 made the global attrition rate go up to 19%. Hence, both talent acquisition and retention are of great concern today. With the aim to keep your recruitment pipeline filled and hire quality talent, effective candidate engagement becomes the key to execution.

The other side of the equation is, that businesses cannot afford to halt their growth no matter how stiff the competition for top talent gets. Attracting and converting the top qualified candidates is now much more about the all-around value you as an employer add to their lives. Traditional forms of recruiting don’t work anymore. It’s a candidate driven market and their expectations have completely transformed. 

Recruiters today need to primarily focus on two strategies to attract, hire and retain quality talent:

  • Understanding the deep wants and needs of candidates both personal and professional.
  • Build relationship with the candidates, and help them rather than sell to them directly.

And accomplishing these steps is only possible when you consistently engage with your prospective candidates. It enables you to analyze their personality and work ethics much more efficiently. 

But how can do you engage proactively with candidates? How do you ensure your efforts at the sourcing stage bring out positive results? In this blog, we will discuss the ins and outs of candidate engagement. Stick around for a deep dive into the top engagement strategies you can use to ace your recruitment.

With the aim to keep your recruitment pipeline filled and source quality talent, effective candidate engagement becomes the key to execution.

What is Candidate Engagement?

Communicating with your candidate pool consistently with the objective to keep them updated regarding the recruiting process – is a major part of candidate engagement. In addition, the process also involves nurturing prospective talent, sharing information about your company culture, having conversations around their career goals, helping them find a suitable opportunity that aligns to those goals and establishing a positive connection with them. 

Contrary to popular opinion, candidate engagement is not just about persuading and acquiring quality talent that has been sourced. It also covers being in touch with job seekers who can be value addition to your current  or future talent pools.

Further, effective engagement ensures candidates are kept intrigued throughout the application procedure. It’s vital to understand the core motive – to enhance your chances of acquiring top talent, and the more often they get communicated by your company, the better. 

The most optimal way to persuade your target candidates and trigger action, is by conveying Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and more importantly, positively engaging them. At each stage of the recruitment funnel including application or sourcing, screening, assessment, job offer and final onboarding – candidate engagement plays a vital role in offering favourable experiences. If you’re wondering why serving a great candidate experience is so important – it helps with a massive 70% improvement in the quality of new hires.

Why is Candidate Engagement Vital for Organizations Today?

Traditionally, recruiters were approached repeatedly by candidates for jobs and candidates were made to wait without any updates. Fast forward to today, all thanks to the huge demand for qualified talent, recruiters need to engage candidates constantly for keeping them hooked on the recruitment process. Modern candidates rarely apply to only one company at a time, which means they rarely do in-depth research about an organization before applying. 

Candidate engagement also tops the chart when it comes to recruitment trends of 2022. A large number of organizations have an applicant drop-off rate of 80%. Clearly, making candidates finish the recruitment process is a big challenge in itself today. As a recruiter, you need to show them that you care, drive their motivation with your brand, share your company mission and make them understand the recruiting process thoroughly. 

Ineffective communication is the biggest source of negative candidate experiences which makes 65% of candidates lose interest in a job. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why candidate engagement is a key aspect in sourcing, acquiring and retaining quality talent.

#1 It’s More Competitive Than Ever

The demand for skilled talent currently is disproportionate compared to the supply. Amidst the rapid growth and innovation in almost every sector, and an exponential surge in the number of freshly formed startups, the battle for quality talent has become even more intense. As candidates are attracted to organizations which seem exciting to work in, it can be game-changing to portray your company as one such destination for them. By leveraging effective and unique candidate engagement strategies, you can stand out among a pool of companies or options for candidates.

#2 Candidate Experience Impacts Your Reputation 

Over 50% of job seekers surveyed had declined a job offer due to poor candidate experience. The entire world is now connected via digital and social platforms, and 69% of candidates share their experiences publicly online. The way you engaged them or the experience they had while interviewing with you, could define your future recruitment pipeline as more than half of potential candidates - 55% to be specific, avoid engaging with such organizations which have negative reviews online.

#3 Optimizes the Time to Recruit

Strategic and proactive candidate engagement cuts down the time to hire, as candidates feel more assured about your company and you work on pre-decided recruitment timelines. Additionally, the role of candidate engagement in establishing a rich talent pool shouldn’t be understated. As you keep on sourcing and engaging candidates, the talent pool becomes more concentrated and your time to hire significantly drops. 

#4 Helps You Build Relationships

Recruitment is becoming more of marketing and don’t forget that candidates are just like the customers you ideally want to acquire for a lifetime. An effective candidate engagement strategy does not only convey the necessary information but also caters to the target candidate’s career goals and professional objectives. Once you cross the awareness stage as an employer, the more personalized value you add through engagement, the stronger your relationship becomes with the prospective candidates.

How to Engage Candidates Effectively? 6 Easy Steps

Now that you know what is the deep meaning of candidate engagement and why it matters, it’s time to create a roadmap and execute it to optimize your recruitment. 

Here’s a step-by-step approach to creating a winning candidate engagement plan:

1. Optimize the Top of the Funnel

60% of job seekers abandon the application process if it takes too long or is too complex. The problem is not just limited to difficult applications but a number of other top-of-the-funnel tasks that require huge efforts from candidates to enter the recruitment funnel often end up being harmful to your talent acquisition plans.

Take a look at the most common issues faced by candidates:

  • An application form that takes more than 15-20 minutes to fill
  • Undefined length of hiring processes
  • Unclear recruitment flow
  • No acknowledgement emails
  • Missing updates when the recruitment is completed/positions are filled

How many of these did you relate to? Unfortunately, these practices have become so mainstream that they feel normal now. 

Recruiters need to solve these issues to remove the virtual roadblocks for job seekers. If you’re not facing any of the mentioned ones, but still the applications aren’t coming, try surveying your candidates and be transparent about wanting to serve them better.

2. Ensure You’re Seen as an Exciting Employer to Work with

What comes to your mind when someone says they are working with Google or Netflix? Apart from their consumer-facing brands, these giants have worked deeply on their employer brands, work culture, public relations and all the other touchpoints which contribute to making an organization ‘fascinating’ to work in.

Here’s how you can attract a huge number of qualified candidates by portraying your company as an energetic and exciting place to work:

  • Up your Social Media Game: Be it LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or any other social platform that you want to target as per your ideal candidate persona, make sure you proactively post content and engage with your audiences. As per the latest trends - quirky, relatable, shareable and user-generated content is the key to grabbing more positive attention.
  • Capitalize on Video Content: Video is undoubtedly topping the charts in the content and marketing space now. Whether it is your company’s website, YouTube channel or any social handles – post videos more often. Now when we say videos, it doesn’t mean graphically edited ones, they’re almost outdated. User-generated videos from your employees can produce ideal engagement.
  • Your Website Career Page Needs a Revamp: Check if the careers section on your company website is up-to-date or not. An optimal approach would be to update it every month with a detailed description of your open roles, company culture, employee stories, workplace testimonials, work culture experiences and more. Add a lot of photographs of recent events, celebrations and happy employees.

3. Update Candidates Consistently Over Recruitment Status  

53% of surveyed applicants said they didn't get any response from the recruiter for 3 months after applying for a role. This is one of the most underrated problems in the recruitment industry. Transparency between recruiters and candidates about the status of their applications is a very basic requirement of productive candidate engagement. Not responding with any updates annoys candidates and leaves them in confusion, and even anxiety.

The optimal way to approach this issue is by confirming applications when received through email automation. Further, recruiters should respond to candidates’ queries within a maximum of 3 working days and update candidates after each round of recruitment gets completed – no matter if the results are in their favour or not.

4. Fix the Recruitment Timeline in Advance

83% of candidates say it would immensely improve the overall experience if employers provided a clear timeline of the hiring process. Sharing updates and information isn’t enough, you need to clearly define a recruitment timeline in advance for your candidates’ convenience and for adding up to the efficiency of your recruitment efforts.

Include the exact number of steps involved in your recruitment process, and the timeline for the entire journey. Keep them updated on their recruitment status and in which stage they are placed right now. An ideal way would be to attach all the details related to each stage of recruitment. You can either have it on your website or attach to the application confirmation email. 

This way, you would not only assure candidates of high transparency within the process, but your recruitment teams would have their expectations right upfront. Hence, it’s a win-win strategy which will help you achieve your hiring goals within the defined timeframe and in an organized manner.

5. Automate Scheduling of Meetings

More often than not, multiple rescheduling of meetings ends up being negative experiences for both sides when done manually. The last thing you would want as a recruiter is to drop off a skilled candidate due to their unavailability at the time of the interview.

This part is critical for both productive candidate engagement as well as candidate experience. Automating your scheduled meetings would help you save a plethora of time and your candidates to choose from a number of slots which will add up to the flexibility. Using free scheduling tools like Calendly, you can allow your candidates to choose the time for an interview. This practice has become more popular after the entire world got used to remote work. Especially when you are recruiting in big numbers, manually scheduling your screening calls and interviews is not a sustainable approach.

6. Make Feedback Mandatory

Each candidate who applies for an open position at your organization should be served with feedback regardless of the results. It will help them to be aware of different areas with scope for improvement. Answer the most common questions like: 

  • Which skills were missing in them?
  • Was it due to their CV?
  • Did their personality reflect the traits required for the role?

Feel free to add any other feedback pointers that you find relevant after evaluating the candidate. Delivering proper feedback is also important in keeping the relationship with the candidates strong. Some candidates get rejected in the last rounds of interviews and can definitely be considered for future openings for similar roles. It is a common practice for recruiters to keep those highly skilled candidates in their talent pools.

How to Build Candidate Engagement Plan?

Let’s now take a brief look at some of the trending execution plans for boosting up your candidate engagement:

  •  Newsletters: If there’s one form of content apart from videos that have been the highlight of 2022, it’s newsletters. Once you have sourced enough candidates and have their email addresses, and if you believe they are qualified for your roles - draft and design a newsletter and continue it once every week or twice a month. The core aim is to highlight insider stories, build an employer brand and establish engagement with candidates. You can subtly add the open positions at your organization, but make sure your newsletter is not just about recruitment. 
  • Build an Online Community: A long-term recruitment and engagement plan, but surely the most effective one. Especially for niched businesses like a recruiting agency, marketing SaaS products and other similar use cases – the community plays a significant role in growing the business. Also, these communities have concentrated talent and can be a great way to engage your candidates. You can build Facebook groups, Slack communities or LinkedIn groups – the platform doesn’t matter much, proactiveness and constant value addition do.
  • Networking: One of the ideal ways to engage with passive candidates, networking is based on activities which are not directly related to recruitment, but the purpose remains the same. Visit offline meetups, join webinars and host mini-events to network optimally with people. Listen to what candidates have to say and what is trending in the recruitment, and business space right now.
  • Automated Engagement: When you are recruiting at scale, engaging with hundreds of sourced candidates consistently and keeping them updated of their recruitment status can be daunting if done manually. Leverage an engagement automation tool to streamline your candidate engagement and boost your chances of acquiring the top talent for your organization.

How Sourcing Automation can Help You Boost Candidate Engagement?

Sourcing candidates, engaging with them consistently from Day 0 and then handling all the recruitment tasks can be too hectic for you to handle. Add up to that the numerous roles that are usually open at any given time in companies. The need of the hour for recruiters is an end-to-end sourcing automation and engagement tool that assists them in mundane repetitive tasks.

Nurturebox enables you and your recruitment team to level up candidate sourcing and engagement with powerful automation. The platform helps you source candidates with just a few clicks, add them to your personalized engagement sequences and track your overall recruitment pipeline for optimal management.

Amidst today’s noisy digital world, brands find it challenging to create meaningful connections with their customer base and target audience. Getting the target consumer’s attention and persuading them to buy from you gets even trickier. Hence, content marketing has become more crucial than ever for brands to attract, educate, and retain customers.

Content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be. Consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts your audience’s decisions through education and persuasion.

Depending on your business goals and requirements, the role of Content Marketers you hire will vary. The primary responsibilities revolve around forming consistent brand messaging and deciding upon a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across various distribution channels.

From raising brand awareness to attracting a relevant audience to your website, boosting social media presence and engagement, generating leads, and building brand loyalty – content marketing drives all the growth efforts for your brand. When done effectively, it can help you:

  • Build positive brand awareness
  • Make your audience stick around for longer
  • Get better traction on social media
  • Gain more trust of your audience than ever
  • Generate qualified leads
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Boost business visibility with SEO
  • Position your brand as an authority
  • Cultivate loyal brand fans

While content marketing is a broad role with numerous areas of expertise involved, it’s vital to thoroughly understand your company’s current marketing goals and the related requirements. In this blog, we will dive deep into the step-by-step approach to hiring a Content Marketer.

What is The Role of a Content Marketer?

A Content Marketer must be deeply passionate about telling your brand’s story to the world. The objective is to educate and nurture the target audience to establish brand authority using thought-leadership and drive more people to buy from you.

As a candidate is expected to be a mediator between the brand and the target audience, they are primarily responsible for planning, creating, and sharing valuable content to grow their company’s awareness and engagement to bring more business.

To be more specific, the role of a Content Marketer requires a perfect blend of creativity and attention to detail in an individual. It’s a balancing role, as they need to ensure creating content that resonates and strengthens business relationships, using strategies that position your business as authentic and problem-solving.

Take a look at the core responsibilities of a Content Marketer that most businesses expect them to take over:

  • Research and Competitor Analysis: The first and foremost step to creating a content marketing strategy is effective initial research. It not only helps a Content Marketer understand the nuances of the industry through competitor analysis but also study and understand the target audience thoroughly.
  • Building Content Marketing Plans: Once the competitor research and target audience analysis is done, a Content Marketer needs to work on the different plans for all the business objectives, targeted channels, segments of the audience, and the bigger marketing strategy. A content marketing plan typically consists of:
  • Specific goals along with a pre-decided timeline
  • Various channels to be targeted for content distribution
  • Types of content to be created
  • Budget for the entire staff, outsourced services, and paid promotion (Collabs and Ads)
  • Creating Editorial Calendar: Creating, managing, and maintaining a content calendar is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a Content Marketer. It is a centralized visual document that enables effective collaboration among the marketing team and helps Content Marketers ensure on-time production and delivery.
  • Content Creation: Once the strategy and calendar have been approved by relevant stakeholders, Content Marketers need to do the on-ground work. This task usually depends on the scale of your company and content marketing strategy. Suppose an organization already has a set of writers, then the Content Marketer doesn’t need to create content by themselves.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Producing quality content that educates your target audience and resonates with them, isn’t enough. You need to optimize your content creation to make it search engine-friendly. While most companies need a dedicated SEO specialist for keyword research and planning, Content Marketers need to closely collaborate with them and should be well-versed in the basics of SEO.

While the practices discussed above are primary responsibilities of a Content Marketer, they also need to be proactive with

  • Content editing and ensuring adherence to a certain style guide    
  • Continous publishing and distributing content
  • Measuring and analyzing performance

How to Hire a Content Marketer: Step-By-Step?

Content marketing has become the key to driving growth for businesses. Unlike a few years ago, it’s not possible now to get away with a one-person team for content marketing. You need deeply trained individuals for specialist roles.

Let’s now dive into the step-by-step approach of hiring a Content Marketer. But before you even source your first candidate, you should have a clear expectation of the skillset and experience to look out for top content marketing candidates.

Top Must-Have Skills in a Content Marketer

Apart from having relevant industry experience, a good Content Marketer must possess the following skills.

  1. Excellent Writing Skills

A Content Marketer’s prior skillset should be writing excellent attention-grabbing content. From long-form blog posts to website copy, ad copies, social media content, video scripts, emails, newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, and more – a Content Marketer should be able to adapt to the business’s specific requirements and create quality content.

  1. Audience Research

Identifying user behavior is vital for framing the story in the right direction. So a Content Marketer must know how to identify and analyze the needs and pain points to develop a buyer persona. User research can be performed through social listening, relevant communities, in-person calls with customers, analyzing sales call recordings, and more.

  1. Keyword Research

Creating valuable thought-leadership content isn’t enough. Researching the right set of keywords is an essential skill to further educate your target audience on the Whys, Hows and Whats of your business, and have your website rank on Google.

  1. Data-oriented Content

Content that’s not backed by relevant data points does not build enough trust. Experienced content marketing professionals would always prefer data over hollow claims. No doubt that only data doesn’t help a content piece succeed, but it’s essential..

  1. Project Management, Planning, and Publishing –

A Content Marketer is also expected to break down and analyze the pain points to turn keyword research into content ideas. So a professional must be able to identify and solve content gaps.

Further, they must know how to create a content calendar, decide the different types of content, and choose relevant platforms to publish and schedule marketing campaigns.

  1. Content Promotion

Creating a valuable content piece, for example - an ebook, isn’t enough. Your content marketing team needs to promote it proactively for bringing enough attention and engagement.

  1. Performance Analysis

Setting up goals and plans is one thing, but continuously executing, measuring, and analyzing content performance is another. A Content Marketer should always be monitoring key performance parameters to figure out the upcoming plans with the necessary updates required.

Not to forget - stakeholders and marketing heads need the performance reports regularly. So Content Marketers must be able to collect and comprehend all the data to make it worth presenting.

Step 1: Create a Candidate Persona

Let’s sort out the priorities first, and decide the type of content marketing candidates you want to recruit. From exceptional research skills to storytelling, communication skills, relationship building, audience engagement, and more capabilities must be comprehensively considered. Identify and break down the skill requirements for Content Marketers:

  • What are the educational qualification criteria for the role?
  • How many years and what type of work experience do you want in candidates?
  • What are the specific skill sets you’re looking for?
  • Which industry experience would you primarily prefer?
  • Are there any tools your candidates should be hands-on with?
  • What are some personality traits that will fit your company?
  • Where do they look for a new job?
  • What are their career and life goals?

Forming a candidate persona by answering all these questions would ensure you are not shooting in the dark while sourcing candidates. Further, it helps you determine the traits of the ideal candidate, and plan your sourcing and recruitment strategy further.

Step 2: Document the Role Requirements and Decide on Your Recruiting Process

Next step is determining your role requirements suiting primarily to organizational needs and business goals. A content marketing professional is expected to own the entire content strategy, creation, and distribution. But what about your business’s unique requirements?

You might need someone comfortable with frequently creating long-form content pieces like blogs, ebooks, or whitepapers, or creating engaging video content based on your industry trends.

Talk to various relevant stakeholders for seeking the complete detailed company requirements for the role.

Before you enter the recruitment funnel, outline your talent acquisition process. Identify various strategies, channels, and other informational insights you would need – and maintain a collaborative document.

As you update the tactics and tweak your recruitment process for meeting hiring requirements optimally – keep your document up to date.

Step 3: Prepare a Content Marketing Job Description

Once you have finalized the role requirements with respect to your current content marketing goals and team, you can start sourcing candidates. Preparing the job description is the first task you’ll need to do.

Here are the necessary components you must have in your job description:

  • Job Title: The position you’re looking to fill. For example - Content Marketing Specialist or Content Marketing Manager.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: An outline of the candidate’s day-to-day activities. From ideation to implementation and the impact on the organization, everything should be covered.  
  • Skill Requirements: Skills and abilities a candidate must have to perform the job successfully.
  • Perks and Benefits: The compensation details, perks of the job, and any other benefits.
  • About the Company: Why should a candidate consider working with your company?

Content Marketer Job Description Template


The job of a Content Marketer is to perform competitor research, create user persona, and write plagiarism-free content for blog articles, social media, and the company website. They need to stay updated on the latest SEO techniques.


  • Develop, write and deliver persuasive copy for the website, email marketing campaigns, sales collateral, videos, and blogs
  • Build and manage an editorial calendar; coordinate with other content crafters to ensure standards
  • Measure impact and perform analysis to improve KPIs
  • Include and optimize all content for SEO
  • Contribute to the localization of processes and content to ensure consistency across regions
  • Review and implement process changes to drive operational excellence


  • Proven content marketing, copywriting, or SEO experience
  • Working knowledge of content management systems like WordPress
  • A well-maintained portfolio of published articles, blogs, copy, etc
  • Proven experience of working under pressure to deliver high quality output in a short span of time
  • Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications, Google Suite
  • Fluency in English or any other required language

Soft Skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • The ability to handle multiple projects concurrently
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task projects and deliverables

Step 4: Source Candidates

Once you have the tailored job description in hand, it’s now time to do the groundwork and source candidates. Create an attractive job post to promote your job across job boards and social channels.

  • Begin with what to expect from the role at your company?
  • Why should candidates apply for the position?
  • Highlight the growth opportunities
  • State the company vision and mission
  • Briefly describe the recruitment process

Prepare an impactful job post and also execute paid job ad campaigns if required. The next step would be promoting your jobs on various job boards and hiring platforms. You can leverage the following platforms for hiring Content Marketers:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Instahyre
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster
  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBuilder

Not to forget - almost 3/4th of the workforce includes passive candidates, so you cannot miss out on passive talent sourcing as well. Reach out to qualified candidates on communities, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to offer them suitable opportunities.

Step 5: Evaluate Candidates and Interview Shortlisted Ones

Once you have filtered candidates based on their experience and skills listed on their profile, it’s time to evaluate them deeply. Ask them to create a content strategy for your website, along with a value-adding content piece like a small blog. The topic of the article must fall within the scope of the strategy.

Interview the candidates whose profiles got shortlisted. Keep in mind the parameters covering skills, relevant experience, and personality traits of candidates.

Step 5: Make the Hire

Reach out to selected Content Marketers and communicate about the compensation.

Further, extend your offer letter to all the candidates who have been selected. In the case of passive sourcing, extend to only those who were aligned with you on the compensation and are willing to move forward.

Ensure having a deadline for the joining date and mention the necessary documents required by your recruiting team.

  • Get the required documents and set up the offer agreements with candidates
  • Organize an orientation session for the onboarded candidates
  • Introduce them to the entire team and the marketing teams they will be working with
  • Guide the new candidates about your company management tools and communication channels
  • Provide candidates with forms for benefits and perks like Health Insurance.

Supercharge Your Hiring for Content Marketer with Nurturebox

Inbound candidate sourcing doesn’t work effectively anymore. Do you also find challenges in closing quality candidates through job posts even after spending on ads?

Don’t worry, passive candidate sourcing can be an optimal solution for hiring top content marketing candidates.

Nurturebox is a one-stop talent sourcing and engagement platform which is powered by automation. Here’s how you can source product managers from LinkedIn using Nurturebox:

  • Install the Nurturebox Chrome plugin and sign up.
  • On your LinkedIn profile, start sourcing Content Marketers with boolean searches stating the required experience from targeted locations and including other criteria
  • Add the qualified candidates to your sourcing campaign pipeline with just a click
  • Automate the candidate engagement through email, Whatsapp and LinkedIn direct messages for reaching out and nurturing candidates at scale.

Recruitment insights you won’t delete. Delivered to your inbox weekly.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.