How to Create an Effective Candidate Engagement Cadence

Converting potential candidates is one of the highest priorities for recruiters. However, teams often encounter hurdles or even hit a dead-end when engaging with prospective candidates.

In this article, we look at an actionable solution to this problem: Create and implement a candidate engagement cadence to connect, nurture, and eventually convert prospective candidates via multiple touchpoints. This will help you follow a predefined structure and improve your efficiency by eliminating guesswork and creating a more focused approach to candidate engagement.

We will provide a candidate engagement framework using a step-by-step approach and examples.

What is a Candidate Engagement Cadence?

A Candidate Engagement Cadence is a sequence of touchpoints designed to nurture and interact with prospective candidates, guiding them through the hiring funnel towards specific goals, such as scheduling an interview or successfully placing them in a role. The cadence concludes when a prospect becomes a candidate or exits the engagement process.

The series begins with the initial contact, which could be through methods like cold calling or emailing prospective candidates. When a candidate initiates contact, it could involve actions such as visiting the company website or applying to a role at the organization. This framework of touchpoints continues until a prospect either becomes a candidate or exits the cadence.

Why Do You Need a Candidate Engagement Cadence?

Implementing a structured candidate engagement cadence offers several benefits:

  1. Improved engagement across platforms: By mapping candidates’ activities on different channels, such as social media, websites, and email, a candidate engagement cadence allows targeted and timely content delivery, increasing engagement.
    For instance, if your prospective candidates spend more time on LinkedIn, you can send them a connection request, engage with their posts, become familiar with them, and build trust.
  2. Build consistency and remove the guesswork: A predefined cadence framework eliminates guesswork, ensuring consistency in interactions with prospective candidates. This helps the recruitment team know when to follow up and through which channel, enhancing efficiency.
  3. Improved brand awareness and credibility: A structured approach to connecting with candidates through various channels and providing valuable content builds awareness and credibility. Paying attention to candidates' pain points and behaviors humanizes the recruitment experience.
  4. Easy tracking and analysis: A well-defined candidate engagement cadence allows tracking progress with different prospects, identifying the engagement stage, and understanding where contact may be lost. This enables adjustments to the approach based on the candidate's journey.

Building an Effective Candidate Engagement Cadence

Building an effective candidate engagement cadence involves a step-by-step approach:

Step #1: Researching and collecting data

  • Define your goals: Clearly articulate the goal of your candidate engagement cadence, such as booking interviews or securing commitments for specific actions.
  • Research your candidates: Tools like ChatterWorks can provide you with deep candidate data. Go beyond broader data points than your target candidates' demographics, geography, behaviors, and preferences to build a comprehensive profile that truly lets you personalize outreach.
  • Identify the channels you want to engage: Use an omnichannel approach and leverage social media, phone calls, SMS, and emails based on the preferences of your target candidates. You can go with a combination of these channels or use all of them based on the likelihood of candidate response rates.
  • Craft your value proposition: Communicate why candidates should engage with your recruitment process or your client's and the benefits your organization/your client's organization offers.
  • Evaluate tools: Start thinking about your recruitment technology stack -  the tools needed to communicate, influence and track candidate engagement. We recommend a combination of a candidate database (yes, precisely like ChatterWorks!), engagement and outreach tools (think: email and messaging service providers with a built-in analytics layer), and a workflow management tool or a kanban-type board.

Step # 2: Planning your candidate engagement cadence

  • Map out touchpoints: Decide the number of touchpoints needed to engage with candidates, specifying the value proposition and resources required for each.
  • Choose channels for each touchpoint: Align the communication channels with the target candidates using a combination of email, phone calls, social media, etc.
  • Plan intervals between touchpoints: Ensure appropriate spacing between touchpoints to avoid appearing overly persistent and to allow candidates time to digest information.

Here’s a look at an example of a candidate engagement cadence that you can adapt to your organization’s context and practices:

1. Initial Contact Touchpoint:

  • Example: Cold Email
  • Objective: Introduce the opportunity and initiate communication.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 1

2. Follow-up Touchpoint:

  • Example: Follow-up Email
  • Objective: Reinforce the initial message, seek interest, and provide additional information about the role.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 3

3. Connection on Professional Network Touchpoint:

  • Example: LinkedIn Connection Request
  • Objective: Expand the communication channels, connect professionally, and showcase company culture.
  • Channel: LinkedIn
  • Interval: Day 5

4. Value Reinforcement Touchpoint:

  • Example: Email with Company Insights
  • Objective: Share insights about the company, its culture, and the impact of the role to reinforce the value proposition.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 7

5. Trust-building Touchpoint:

  • Example: LinkedIn Engagement (commenting on posts)
  • Objective: Engage with the candidate on a professional level, build trust, and demonstrate genuine interest.
  • Channel: LinkedIn
  • Interval: Day 10

6. Informational Touchpoint:

  • Example: Email with Role-specific Information
  • Objective: Provide detailed information about the role, responsibilities, and potential career growth.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 14

7. Testimonial/Success Story Touchpoint:

  • Example: Email with Employee Testimonials
  • Objective: Share success stories of current employees to instill confidence and highlight positive experiences.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 18

8. Follow-up and Clarification Touchpoint:

  • Example: Phone Call
  • Objective: Clarify any doubts, answer questions, and gauge the candidate's level of interest.
  • Channel: Phone
  • Interval: Day 22

9. Final Confirmation and Commitment Touchpoint:

  • Example: Email with Next Steps and Commitment Request
  • Objective: Clearly communicate the next steps in the hiring process and seek commitment for further engagement.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 25

10. Closing or Exit Touchpoint:

  • Example: Friendly Follow-up Email
  • Objective: If the candidate is uninterested, send a courteous email expressing understanding and leaving the door open for future opportunities.
  • Channel: Email
  • Interval: Day 30

Step #3: Automate to scale

  • Use automation tools: Scale your outreach efforts by employing automation tools to manage the cadence efficiently and provide personalized messages to candidates.

        Here’s a look at how you can achieve this:

1. Identify Tools:

  • Candidate Database: Candidate database tools like ChatterWorks offer a deeper view of your candidates and provide you with actionable data that becomes the bedrock of your engagement cadence. With real-time verified data, you can plan your outreach and communication frequency and set conventions around targeting each candidate.    
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS): Implementing an ATS automates the recruitment workflow, from initial contact to hiring. Choose a system that allows easy integration and provides candidate tracking, communication templates, and reporting features.
  • Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM tools tailored for recruitment can help manage candidate interactions, track communication history, and automate follow-ups.
  • Email Automation Tools: Use tools that allow scheduling and automation of emails, such as Mailchimp or Sendinblue. Automation ensures timely delivery of messages and reduces manual effort.
  • LinkedIn Automation Tools: Consider tools like Dux-Soup or Meet Alfred for LinkedIn touchpoints. These tools automate connection requests and engagement, streamlining the process on the professional network.

2. Methodologies for Automation:

  • Workflow Automation: Define a workflow within your ATS to automate actions based on candidate interactions. For example, set triggers for follow-up emails or status updates when a candidate reaches a certain stage.
  • Email Sequences: Create automated email sequences using your email automation tool. These sequences can be triggered based on candidate behavior, ensuring timely and personalized communication.
  • Integration with CRM: Ensure seamless integration between your ATS, CRM, and other tools to centralize candidate data. This integration eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving time.
  • Candidate Segmentation: Use CRM features to segment candidates based on their responses, preferences, or stage in the engagement process. Automation can then deliver targeted content and communications to specific candidate groups.

3. Processes for Automation:

  • Automated Communication Triggers: Set up automated triggers for communication based on candidate actions or predefined timelines. For example, an email could be triggered when a candidate opens a specific attachment or reaches a certain stage in the process.
  • Feedback and Analysis Automation: Use survey tools like Typeform or Google Forms to automate the collection of candidate feedback. Integrate these tools with your ATS to automatically gather insights after specific touchpoints.
  • Candidate Status Updates: Automate status updates to keep the recruitment team informed about candidate progress. This ensures everyone is on the same page without manual intervention.

Conclusion

The success of your candidate engagement cadences hinges on your commitment to best practices, whether you're part of an in-house recruiting team or a staffing firm. Imagine speaking directly to their stage in the journey, whether they're just discovering your company or already familiar with your values. By diversifying your communication channels – email, social, even personalized video messages – you cater to individual preferences and maximize engagement. Remember, personalization is key. Segment your candidate pool based on interest and funnel stage, allowing you to tailor genuine and relevant interactions. Finally, respect their time. Maintain appropriate intervals between touchpoints, providing space for information processing without overwhelming them.

Think of these steps as a blueprint to design a cadence that elevates the entire candidate journey. This translates to increased efficiency for your team, happier candidates, and a win-win for everyone involved. Investing in mastering candidate engagement cadences is an investment in your recruitment success.

Want to see how ChatterWorks can help you deliver unparalleled candidate communications? Book a demo to see us in action!

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