Employers Control the Communication and Engagement Dials

2022 CandE Report Takeaway #4.

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Jan 30, 2023
This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.

It may be a hard pill to swallow but employers can’t control every aspect of talent acquisition. Take talent shortages, for example. Last year alone, a startling 75% of companies reported having difficulty recruiting qualified candidates. It doesn’t matter how skillful or experienced recruiting teams are, they can’t simply turn up the dial on the world’s talent supplies.

However, they do control two of the most crucial dials on their talent acquisition machinery — communication and engagement.

Communication and engagement are essential to building strong relationships with promising candidates and keeping them in your talent pipeline. This is true even when talent is plentiful. But with talent getting scarce (and only predicted to get scarcer), communication and engagement have taken on a whole new level of urgency.

In fact, if you’re not turning up the candidate communication and engagement dials from the earliest possible phase of your recruiting process (pre-application), you’re not acting with nearly enough urgency. And you’re losing great talent to employers who are.

Of course, there are dozens of communication and engagement tactics, and there are an even greater number of job- and career-related messages you could leverage to draw candidates’ attention and maintain their interest. The question is … where to begin? Which tactics and topics are most effective for engaging the right talent for your organization?

Three Sure-Fire Starting Points

Talent Board’s 2022 candidate experience benchmark research shows that candidates want three things from potential employers prior to submitting an application: 1) a clear understanding of a company’s culture, 2) insight into its employee experience, and 3) a sense of connection with the overall brand.

Only after having all three do many people feel comfortable enough to apply to a job these days. This is because they’re looking for more meaning and fulfillment in their work than they’ve experienced in the past. As a 2022 McKinsey report states, “It is no longer a surprise that people seek more from their employers than just a paycheck and a safe place to work. A preponderance of evidence suggests that ‘good work’ also means satisfying employees’ psychological needs,” including feeling valued by their organization and having a sense of belonging at work.

Let’s look a little more closely at these three items:

Company culture. Nearly one-third of the North American candidates surveyed by Talent Board said they wanted more information about company culture when researching jobs and potential employers. Spread this information far and wide across your company’s Careers site, in job descriptions, on your company’s social media pages, and in your other employer brand marketing materials.

Speak candidly to issues such as diversity and inclusion and why people want to work for your company; nearly 30% of the candidates we surveyed wanted more details on both of these topics. Also be sure to highlight your company’s values, as 48% of candidates identified values as the most important content they looked for during their research in 2022 (up an incredible 109% from 2021).

Employee experience. In addition to seeking workplace cultures that are better aligned to their own personal values and goals, today’s candidates want to work for employers who support and value them. In light of this, you should showcase both the formal and informal ways your company does this — e.g., your people policies, professional growth and development initiatives, internal advancement opportunities, career tracking and guidance, and work-life balance.

These are clear and tangible ways your company provides the support and sense of being valued that workers are seeking. But don’t forget your most persuasive “voice” regarding your company’s employee experience: your current employees. Job seekers trust your employees three times more than other sources to provide credible information on your company’s employee experience.

Companies that have the best recruiting outcomes are often those that post employee testimonials, videos, and other types of employee-authored content across their Careers sites, social media, and employer review sites, in Talent Board’s experience.

Connection with your brand. The great thing about addressing the two previous items is that they help to create this third one, a sense of connection with your overall brand. The more you share about your company’s culture and the working lives of your employees, the stronger this sense of connection will be — even if a candidate has never had a direct experience with your brand. But it’s also important to remember that candidates may already have existing relationships with your company, as a consumer, for instance, or a current or previous employee.

Even with these individuals, transparency and honesty are key in your employer brand marketing. They want to see the real heart and soul of your company presented to the world. It’s probably at least part of the reason they’re interested in you as an employer or are loyal to your brand as a consumer.

As noted at the start of this post, employers control the communication and engagement dials — how and when they respond to interested candidates, the words they use, the key messages they convey, and the frequency of their communications. Clearly, this isn’t limited to the pre-application phase of the recruiting process. It’s true the whole way through.

Unfortunately, many employers continue to stumble over communication in the middle and later phases of recruiting. For example, more than one-third of candidates in 2022 were still waiting one to two or more months to hear about next steps after applying to a job (that’s up 48% over 2021). And 13% of employers still don’t ask candidates for any feedback at all about their experiences, and 60% of employers don’t ask for feedback after a candidate is hired.

In Talent Board’s decade+ experience, feedback loops are a powerful differentiator of more positive candidate experiences, conveying an employer’s respect for candidates and more fair recruiting process overall.

You can download Talent Board’s 2022 benchmark research report here for more insights into recruiting success and how to improve your company’s candidate experience. I’ll share another of the report’s Top 10 Takeaways soon.

Be safe and well.

This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.
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