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Top 8 Ways to Optimize Candidate Engagement and Reduce Your Drop-Off Rate

August 22, 2022

You spend weeks of time and effort in sourcing candidates, screening, shortlisting and conducting multiple recruitment rounds. If this was not enough, add up to that the incessant competition among brands for quality talent. After all the rigorous recruitment processes, candidates dropping off at the very end of the funnel, 20% more than earlier, has made recruiters’ lives tougher. Wondering what’s the way through? Effective candidate engagement - if executed well with the right strategy, can reduce a majority of the hassle for people at both sides of the table.

It’s not a new practice that needs to be adopted but has more to do with improving the entire recruitment.  We tried solving this critical problem for you and have come up with the top ways you can minimize the candidate drop-off rate.

As recruitment is getting closer to marketing, the idea is to put your feet in candidates’ shoes and optimize for their experience. From the convenient application process to consistent communication, numerous best practices will help you and your organization in hiring the best talent. Let’s now dive straight in for a comprehensive insight on candidate engagement.

What is Candidate Engagement and Why is it Important?

All the touchpoints of an organization’s interaction with candidates sum up to define candidate engagement. To understand it better, let’s try to break down the recruitment process into parts. Take a look at how candidate engagement is connected to each of the stages in the recruitment journey:

  • Sourcing -  The way you define your business, job roles and what you expect from candidates. Outreach and candidate nurturing are also part of engagement while in the sourcing stage.
  • Applications - Once a candidate applies for your role, how do you get in touch and update them about the further process. Are they able to track their application status?
  • Shortlisting - 53% of surveyed candidates said they didn’t get any notifications for 3 months after applying. It’s surely one of the most critical mistakes that recruiters do after shortlisting. Candidate engagement involves notifying all candidates of their results.
  • Assessment - Do you convey clear information about the assessments that they’re expected to overcome? Do you ask for their feedback specifically for the assessment process?

Remember that recruiting doesn’t end with your requirements being met or when you hire a candidate. You need to inform others about the closing. Ensuring a positive candidate experience through active engagement in the recruitment journey builds strong relationships with them and enables the trust factor. Let’s take a look at the most critical reasons why you need to focus on candidate engagement:

  1. Recruitment Space is More Competitive Than Ever

First things first, you are not the only organization looking for candidates. With less than 27% of people in the workforce looking actively for jobs, it’s only becoming trickier for recruiters. The market is purely candidate-driven right now, and you need to do everything possible to ensure a fascinating recruitment experience for them. In fact, 75% of employed people say that positive candidate experience influenced their decision to accept the job offer. Organizations who stand out among the competition through shorter and well-defined hiring processes, inclusive candidate experience and continuous updates – surely have an upper hand in onboarding the top talent.

  1. Engagement Directly Impacts Your Employer Brand

Your reputation as an employer is driven by the kind of candidate engagement that you offer. Digitization has made the world smaller where everyone is closely connected and even a minor negative experience might harm your brand. According to a survey, over 60% of job seekers have been mistreated during recruitment. This is another critical area which you cannot afford to miss out on. It’s not just about maintaining an employer's brand - 80% of recruiters claim that attracting top candidates is a function of a positive reputation. You don’t want candidates to publicly talk about their not-so-good recruiting experiences with your organization, which can be solved with consistent and quality engagement.

  1. You Want To Reduce the Time to Hire

Top talent is available only for 10 days in the market - you probably already know that. What you might not know is how effective engagement helps cut down the time to hire. And it’s a win-win for both the parties involved. How? Modern businesses want to engage at scale and hire fast. The optimal path towards achieving that is capitalizing on candidate engagement. A good amount of interaction and communication with potential candidates pushes them to start and complete the recruitment process faster. 

  1. Reduces Drop-Off at the End of Recruitment Funnel

One of the recruiters’ most painful problems today – is candidates dropping out from the bottom of the funnel. The demand and supply gap in talent acquisition is huge and talented candidates are being approached by multiple organizations at any given time. Passive candidate sourcing has become a norm - and that further makes the talent pool even more volatile. Keeping your candidates deeply involved throughout the recruitment process and assisting them significantly impacts your drop-off rate. How? The more they feel engaged by you, the higher efforts they put into the assessment and to achieve the role. 

Productive engagement strategies do a lot more than just grabbing the eyes of top talent. It should be noted that both employer and consumer brands are connected. Hence, candidate engagement involves both short-term and long-term goals for organizations from all sides. 

Although being a very straightforward concept, candidate engagement is usually quite testing for recruiters. So don’t feel bad at all when a candidate drops out - over 75% of them do this. 

Saying that it’s about keeping candidate-centric throughout recruitment is a very high-level view. We need to dive deep to know how exactly we can reduce candidate drop-off at the end of the recruitment funnel.

Here’s a list of the top ways you can utilize candidate engagement to prevent candidates from dropping off.

How To Optimize Candidate Engagement for Reducing Drop-Off?

As much as 65% of candidates drop off from a job opening due to negative experience in the recruiting process. The need of the hour for recruiters is to make the candidates feel heard and show that you care for them. Moreover, attracting their interest in your primary offerings, brand and mission can be exceptionally beneficial for the overall recruitment results.

  1. Share Essential Information About the Hiring Process

No matter what type of engagement it is, communication always holds the key. Over 63% of candidates say that recruiters do not communicate adequately about the hiring process and they are often unaware of essential steps. To ensure maximum candidate retention throughout the recruitment and for optimal recruitment results, it’s vital that you share detailed information covering each step of the hiring journey. From expected skills, experience and the time to complete the whole process – knowing everything would help candidates in preparing for the recruitment optimally. 

The top platform for job seekers looking to apply for roles at your organization is the company website - 24.82%, followed by job boards - 24.5%. Hence, it is equally important that the information which is presented on your website and job boards is comprehensive.

  1. Respond to Applicants Faster

It’s one of the severe issues faced by a majority of job applicants. Over 53% of the surveyed candidates did not get any response from employers for 3 months after applying. This practice harms your candidate engagement and needs to be solved. Try staying completely transparent with candidates about the hiring standards, this would help you standardize the shortlisting and for them - it would help in understanding the expectations.

On the other hand, no job seeker applies just for one company. You might also lose out on pulling the talent down the funnel if you wait and don’t act.

  1. Create a Fixed Timeline and Stick to it

The best thing you can ever do for a smooth recruitment process, optimal candidate experience and for quality talent acquisition is to develop a strict yet realistic timeline and constantly move along with it. As per a candidate engagement survey, it was found that over 50% of job seekers declined a job offer due to poor candidate experience.

Having a predefined schedule for various stages of recruitment immensely enhances candidate engagement and experience. Additionally, note that having a timeline doesn’t mean that you need to have fixed dates for recruitment activities. You can move forward with deciding timeframes and informing your candidates about the same while the time of application.

  1. Get Candidates Excited about Working for You: Employee Branding

What comes to your mind when you hear - employer branding? For candidates - it’s undoubtedly one of the most impactful factors while applying for a job. 53% of job seekers mentioned poor employer brand and reputation as one of the reasons for leaving a previous job. Additionally, 20% mentioned that it was the main reason they resigned from their jobs. It is evident that building your brand as an employer is more important than ever. How do you do that?

  • Position your organization as the most preferable workplace through internal and external communications.
  • Put serious efforts into improving your overall workspace environment 
  • Proactively market your brand and attract candidates to your website careers page and social media handles.
  • Promote your work culture, employee stories and community extensively.

  1. Set up Automation to Speed Up Candidate Engagement 

Engaging consistently and sharing timely reminders manually with hundreds of applicants ends up being too overwhelming for recruiters. But you can’t afford to be inconsistent with updating the candidates at the same time. It’s not just about the tedious tasks, but the accuracy could duffer too which can directly impact your employer's brand and candidate experience. 

If you’re also sourcing passive candidates, which is a common practice now – automating the outreach, nurturing and engagement would help get rid of the heavy admin work. As a recruiter, your efforts should be focused on analytical assessment tasks. That helps you attain maximum productivity.

You can use automation software and delegate the pipeline management, candidate outreach and engagement. 

  1. Discuss Interview Timings

A common mistake that recruiters unknowingly do is to schedule an interview without discussing the candidate’s availability. It was a preferred practice in traditional face-to-face physical interviews, but with virtual interviews becoming the primary mode of interaction – it’s not the case now. Before scheduling an interview with candidates, you should discuss the date and time well in advance. 

It’s one of the direct factors contributing to the drop-off rate too. You need to understand candidates might have more interviews or they might be busy with some other work.

A lot of companies even ask candidates to choose among a number of available interview slots. Such flexibility ensures convenient candidate engagement and a fascinating candidate experience. 

  1. Follow Up Inactive Candidates

The slow repliers and people not responding after a while should be followed up consistently by recruiters. You should always take care of the possibility of candidates missing out on your outreach due to various reasons. Especially, if you feel that a candidate can be a great addition to your organization’s talent pool, follow up multiple times and try a getting response. 

Following up in recruitment is similar to that in sales. So, if a candidate doesn't respond at all, you should drop the idea and focus on other candidates.

  1. Ask for Feedback and Deliver it

A successful candidate engagement strategy cannot be complete without feedback. Similarly, the recruitment process is hard to optimize without input from candidates about their experience. At every stage of the hiring journey, candidates should be provided with constructive feedback. Not only does this improve the candidate experience, but being transparent and active also helps in developing a positive relationship with them. They take away actionable pointers and often appreciate your efforts in improving them professionally.

On the other hand, asking for feedback from all of your candidates - regardless of their results would help immensely help you in the long run. You get to see your recruitment process through numerous perspectives and hence extract insights from your recruitment that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Ask for feedback proactively to learn and grow as an employer.

Boost Your Candidate Engagement With NurtureBox

Candidate engagement covers all the stages of the recruitment journey. When you scale your recruitment, which you need to do for the organization’s growth - handling various tasks and executing them to perfection cannot be done manually. You need an automated solution that assists you in optimizing your candidate engagement and experience - Nurturebox enables you and your recruitment teams to 

  • Automate multi-channel outreach, 
  • Engage proactively with candidates at a scale
  • Manage candidate pipeline effectively
  • Measure and analyze the performance of candidate engagement campaigns

Along with delegating the mundane tasks and ensuring a better life for your recruitment teams, automation also helps you serve a prolific candidate experience along with productive engagement.

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