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Candidate Engagement Can Ruin Your Recruitment Process, Here’s How to Fix It

Adi Assaf

When candidates enter your office, they come with high hopes usually.

They build mental images around invented daily routines, how their teammates will accept them, and they wish that you’re as excited as they are about their candidacy.

You see, they came to offer you their best.

Did you ever paused and asked yourself, what do they get in return?

We all know that most candidates get rejected, but it’s how they get rejected that has severe implications for your company, both in terms of brand and employer brand.

We all know that this is widespread:

  • Around 60% of job seekers have indicated they received poor treatment from the companies they interviewed for.
  • A survey by CareerBuilder shows that 42% of candidates who had a bad experience, will never apply to the same company again.
  • 22% said that they will tell other candidates about their bad experience and will recommend against working there.

The numbers might be even higher!

If you had a bad experience that week, you’ll probably spread the word on social media and talk about it with everyone you encounter.

Nobody likes to get turned down,

If you don’t manage the expectations and mistreat them during the experience, you might face backlash.

The problem has nothing to do with the size of the company.

Companies that don’t have a strategy for employee engagement are more prone to produce recruiting processes that end up with disgruntled candidates.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a workplace approach that results in creating an environment with the right conditions for all employees.

As a result, the employees give their best day in and out.

They are more committed to the company’s goals and values, they are motivated to contribute to the company’s success, and they go above and beyond on social media.

What employee engagement has to do with candidate happiness?


Your employees register every experience with the company, beginning at the very first.

If you keep your candidates happy, communicate with them clearly, and manage their hiring process, even if you don’t hire them at the end, you’ll leave them with a feeling that they might want to check you in the future as an employee, and in this way, preventing employee pool dilution.

And when they are happy, the word spreads around!

Google is famous in her tests and process that push candidates above and beyond while still staying engaged with them in the process.

Just so you’ll know, they have to say no, a lot. Google has an acceptance rate of 0.2%.

And they still look good after.

How to encourage engagement with candidates?

We are all people, and we all want to be treated right.

When someone acts like a professional with us, we mirror that behavior, and if they’re nice, we reciprocate.

Here’s how to do it in an interviewer/candidate situation:

#1 Words are powerful, so pay attention to semantics

When you meet the recruit for the first time, do you call it a meeting or a job interview?

A job interview sounds like something scary, while a meeting is lighter.

When you remove the barriers between you and your potential employees, they open up, and you end of with an interview that gives you a better picture of who’s in front of you, and if they’re a good fit for your company.

#2 Write personal emails

Have you ever read an email that felt like it’s been sent to 10 other people?

I’m sure you did, and so did your candidate.

Writing a personal message in each step of the process makes the recipient feel like you’ve taken the time to research and consider their candidacy, and you’re not jumping into the decisions you’re making.

#3 The way you give feedback

There are two types of feedback, the one you take to heart and the one that brings you down.

Do you know what the difference between them is?

One is constructive, short, and to the point. The other is just a list of all the things that went wrong. I’m sure you know which one you should give.

#4 Quick is the way to go

Speaking of feedback, the faster the candidate gets it, the better.

When giving feedback, adopt a “same-day feedback” commitment, it will reduce the stress from both your candidates and will inform the ones who moved to the next level faster.

Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.

#5 Reverse feedback is wonderful

Show your candidates that you trust their judgment, offer them a short feedback form to fill up after the interview.

Let them express themselves with open-ended answers.

It shows your candidates that you value what they think about the process, and it communicates that they have value in your eyes.

#6 Let them express themselves

We all love to talk about ourselves, and we appreciate the listeners!

  • Tell them to go into details about who they are?
  • Ask them what they expect from the role?
  • What life achievements they’re proud of?

And even provide space for links to profiles and projects.

#7 Go into details when you talk about the company and the role

When you go into details, it shows that you consider the candidate for that position seriously.

If they ask them what they’re looking for in the company, it shows that you want to make sure that they’re a good match and that you want to get a better understanding of their capabilities and character.

Be a human, and keep it up, even if it feels repetitive at times.

You or somebody in your company needs to take the role of providing an excellent experience to your candidates, in some cases, it’s been recommended to treat your candidate like clients!

So do just that.

You’ll create a relationship, and even if it doesn’t bear the fruits that you’re looking for now, it will seed your future goals by maintaining an engaged talent pool that keeps you and your company in high regard!