It’s interesting to see how the recruiting landscape has changed over the past years. When the 2008 recession began (and even as it entered full swing), applicant engagement was the last thing on the minds of the few organizations hiring at the time.
I recall a frustrated client telling me at the time that he could probably get 150 applicants for a job opening just by posting a 3” x 5” index card in the front window of his lobby! The challenge then was how to stem the tide of applicants and more easily keep track of who was where in the hiring cycle at any given moment in time.
Even as the recession faded away, many of the reports over the last several months tout the number of unemployed people who have simply left the workforce. While I don’t doubt this is true, the challenge for employers today is much more in line with what it was prior to the recession…how to find good applicants, make it easy for them to apply and still get what’s needed to make good hiring decisions. Hence, applicant engagement is again a very important consideration for many recruiting teams and HR leaders.
5 Tips to Improve Applicant Engagement
1. Be Concise & Truthful in Your Job Descriptions
Applicants don’t need to know all the fine print for a given opening. They won’t read it anyway. Provide a short summary and focus on what someone might really want/need to know before applying for that position.
2. Create a Simple, Attractive Career Page
Avoid the temptation to simply list your open positions. Provide links to your benefit plans, time off policies, company culture, etc. These are things that are important considerations for applicants and they expect to have access to them before deciding to apply for your openings.
3. Make the Application Process Easy
There are lots of ways to do this, but the key is to stay away from requiring a full application just to be considered for a job. This is a major topic of complaint among applicants, so take a look at what type of message your current process sends. If it takes more than a few minutes (5-10, at most), you’re probably losing out on applicants.
4. Let Them Opt-in for Future Job Openings
This is just as important for you as it is for them. Allowing applicants a simple way to be notified when you have openings in the future shows them you have a desire to help them find the best opportunity for their particular situation. Of course, it also helps you draw applicants back to your site on a more regular basis.
5. Keep Them Connected
This is most often done via social media. Like it or not, this is how most people communicate today. For many applicants, opting in for social updates is a great way to keep you and your openings on their radar. It also sends the message that you’re current with trending technology.
By taking these extra steps (whether you have your own recruiting site or use an applicant tracking software tool), you will stay in the hunt for top talent and improve your employer brand with applicants.