Forecasting the future of recruiting operations with Jeremy Lyons

Mastering candidate engagement in recruitment: Expert strategies from Steve Ackroyd

“Remember, investing in candidate engagement not only benefits the candidates but also contributes to your organization’s long-term success.”

Steve Ackroyd
(Operations Director, The Job Guru)
Mastering candidate engagement


In today’s competitive job market, attracting top talent is a significant challenge for employers.

One crucial aspect of recruiting that can make or break your efforts to secure the best candidates is candidate engagement.
In this article, I’ll navigate the essence of candidate engagement and offer actionable advice to amplify its presence in the hiring process.

What is candidate engagement?

Candidate engagement is the practice of building relationships with candidates throughout the recruitment process. 

It encompasses all aspects of a candidate’s recruitment experience with an organization, from the initial application to the final offer and even during onboarding.

A positive candidate engagement experience significantly increases the chances of attracting and retaining top candidates, while a negative experience may result in losing out on valuable candidates.

Why is candidate engagement important in recruiting?

In a highly competitive job market, candidates have numerous options when it comes to selecting their next employer. 

By providing a positive candidate experience, organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors and demonstrate that they value their employees. 

A motivated candidate will also be more likely to become a motivated employee, reducing churn and improving productivity.

 Strategies to improve candidate engagement

effective candidate engagement tips from Steve Ackroyd

1.  Optimize your job postings

Job postings play a crucial role in candidate engagement. 

Ensure your job postings are clear, concise, and include essential information such as job title, responsibilities, qualifications, salary range, and benefits.

Make sure your job postings are easy to find on multiple job boards and your recruitment website.

2.  Utilize technology to streamline the application process 

Implementing technology can help streamline the application process and improve candidate engagement. 

Consider using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage applications, schedule interviews, and communicate with candidates.

Mobile-friendly career sites and online assessments can help create a seamless application experience for job seekers who are more likely to browse on mobile. 

3.  Communicate early and often

Effective communication is vital to building trust and maintaining candidate engagement. 

Respond to candidate inquiries promptly and provide regular updates on the recruitment process.

Utilize automated solutions, email templates, and personalized text messages to streamline communication, ensure a consistent, positive experience for all candidates, and save you time. 

4.  Be transparent about the hiring timeline

Providing candidates with a clear and realistic hiring timeline can help manage their expectations and keep them engaged. 

Outline the critical steps of the recruitment process, assign timeframes to each stage, and communicate this information to candidates during initial conversations. 

If any delays occur, inform candidates promptly and provide updates on the revised timeline.

Not knowing what happens next and when will make a candidate uncertain, and if they are uncertain about the recruitment process, they are more likely to be uncertain about your company too.

5.  Offer a positive interview experience 

A positive interview experience can significantly impact a candidate’s perception of your organization. 

Prepare well-structured job interview questions, be punctual, and create a comfortable environment for candidates to showcase their skills and personality. 

Candidates should also receive information and resources regarding the company background, interview format, and interviewer profiles to help them prepare for the interview.

6.  Provide feedback and encourage candidate feedback

Regardless of the outcome, providing constructive feedback to candidates can help improve their interview skills and demonstrate that you value their time and effort. 

Encourage candidates to provide feedback on their recruitment experience. This will help you identify areas for improvement and enhance your overall candidate engagement strategy.

The internet is full of complaints about companies that don’t give feedback, and they are not positive!

7.  Develop an effective onboarding process

A well-structured onboarding process can significantly impact employee retention and engagement. 

Begin onboarding during the recruitment phase by sharing relevant information and resources with new hires. 

Once they join the organization, ensure they receive proper training, support, and opportunities to integrate with the team. 

8.  Monitor and measure candidate engagement metrics

To continually improve your candidate engagement efforts, monitor and measure relevant metrics, such as application completion rates, time to hire, candidate satisfaction scores, and offer acceptance rates.

Analyzing these metrics can help you identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies to enhance candidate engagement. 

Don’t forget that things such as technology and the recruitment market change over time, so what works today may not work as well in 12 months.

Final thoughts

Candidate engagement is critical to successful recruiting in today’s competitive job market. 

By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can create a positive candidate experience, attract top talent, and improve overall employee retention and productivity. 

Remember, investing in candidate engagement not only benefits the candidates but also contributes to your organization’s long-term success.


Steve Ackroyd

Steve Ackroyd is the founder of The Job Guru (also known as TJG), a company that helps other businesses to find and hire new employees through the online Application Booster service.

Steve has over two decades of experience working with small businesses, helping them to grow through providing expert knowledge, consultancy, and services both online and in person.

Steve has been helping companies recruit for the last decade. He has built up a considerable following over that time by providing honest, straightforward advice to help business owners understand how to find and retain the best employees for their businesses.


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