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January 16, 2019

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Boosting Candidate Engagement: Patch the Holes in Your Hiring Funnel

Searching for new talent is a time-consuming and expensive process. Thankfully, the internet has taken some of the burden off hiring managers and employers, and sites like Glassdoor have given prospective employees more insight into companies than ever before. However, many companies suffer from a lack of focus, sinking time and money into various hiring channels and gaining little return on their investment. How can you be sure your money is well spent?

Understanding How Candidates Move Through the Hiring Funnel

The hiring process is a funnel (isn’t everything these days?). Candidates pass through three stages: awareness, engagement, and if you play your cards right, hiring. The top of the funnel is where various job boards and sites like Glassdoor reside. This is, of course, the foundation of employer branding. This is where candidates learn about job positions, salaries, and get a glimpse of your company culture. But here’s the rub. Employers spend a vast amount of resources spread out over a number of sites, instead of targeting those that are proven to be effective.

Let’s look at an example of how candidates move through the hiring funnel. Most will learn about your position via a job board like Indeed. It’s a job-seekers market these days, so naturally, many candidates – 76%, to be precise - will do additional research before they decide if they want to apply. As they move toward the cusp of the candidate engagement stage, they’ll begin to form a picture of what your company looks like and how they fit into the landscape. This is a critical junction, but unfortunately, it's also the most prone to leaks. The fact is, 58% of candidates will use your career site to put the finishing touches on their picture of your company. If your career site is less than ideal, you risk losing candidates before you have a chance to truly engage them.

The Careers Page is Your Biggest Hiring Asset

You would think it’s common sense that companies would invest most of their resources in their career site, but you’d be surprised. I’ve seen a lot, and I mean a lot, of ugly ones. That’s crazy to me! This is the best chance to project your employer branding! If your site is just a page full of links to job openings, you’re missing out big time. An effective career site should check all the boxes:

  • It’s easy to navigate, whether on desktop or mobile.
  • It makes effective use of white space with punchy headlines and concise copy. Make sure it passes the blink test.
  • It doesn’t go overboard with tons of images and videos. Pictures of your employees and/or HR team have the most impact here.
  • It conveys your company culture with flawless branding and carefully-chosen messaging. It gives candidates options for assessing culture and career fit, such as testimonials or quizzes.
  • It offers a wealth of information about each position, including a list of daily duties, the hiring timeline, and salary data (if possible). It’s okay to pack in lots of content here, as this is what candidates are most interested in reading.
  • The application process is quick and painless, and not some clunky ATS that makes candidates upload their resumes twice.

Candidates visit your career site to see how much you value your employees, so it would make sense that it’s one of the most important interactions in the hiring funnel. If you’ve failed to invest in your careers page, you’ll have little luck capturing engagement elsewhere.

Good Employer Branding Can Improve Candidate Engagement

Every interaction in the hiring funnel has the potential to convert candidates into applicants. Once your careers page is good to go, you’ll need to identify other opportunities for engagement, and ensure that each touchpoint is optimized for conversion. Some general tips:

  • Be responsive on company review sites. According to Glassdoor, 62% of users say that their perception of a company improves when employers respond to reviews. Obviously, responding to bad reviews is a must.
  • Make sure job descriptions are on point. Just like Goldilocks’ bed, you want your job descriptions to be just right, and not too big or too small. A targeted job description is one of the best ways to attract and filter candidates.
  • Use social media to promote employer branding. You’re likely already leveraging social channels to promote your brand, but what about your employer brand? Social media is just another avenue candidates take to learn about your culture, so make sure you’re taking advantage of it.
  • Keep candidates engaged throughout the funnel. That means updating them on their progress through the hiring pipeline and encouraging them to join your talent network. Re-engagement is also the key to recruiting passive candidates.
  • Turn applicants into advocates. You don’t have to say goodbye forever just because a candidate isn’t a good fit for the position. Candidates tend to hang out in the same circles. If you treat your candidates like customers, they’ll be more likely to recommend the position or company to their friends.

Building a Stronger Funnel, One Patch at a Time

Finding talent has never been easy, and it’s only gotten more competitive as the Boomers retire and Millennials take over the workforce. Resources are stretched thin across the board. Employers that fail to identify and refine their hiring efforts not only lose money, they also miss out on the few, fleeting chances to attract and engage the right candidates. As with all things marketing these days, the focus should be on the quality of each touchpoint in the funnel, and not on the quantity alone.

Casey Enstrom
Casey Enstrom
I am passionate about helping business leaders adopt crowd-based hiring solutions to hire the best talent. Through a comprehensive workforce and staffing programs assessment, I help identify areas of opportunity where having a hiring marketplace with a curated network of staffing agencies & independent recruiters​ could dramatically impact results.
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