Measuring Candidate Engagement: 10 Places to Look for Progress

Despite the economic headwinds, the job market in the US remains surprisingly resilient. The latest data shows that we have 9.5 million job openings in the US but only 6.5 million unemployed workers.

Competition for top talent is only set to get more intense. How organizations hire and, more importantly, engage prospective candidates will be crucial to developing a competitive advantage.

Attracting top talent is no longer just about offering a competitive salary and benefits package. It's about creating an exceptional candidate experience that fosters engagement throughout the candidate journey. But how do you measure the effectiveness of your efforts? Where do you look for evidence that your candidate engagement strategies are actually working?

Demystifying Candidate Engagement: Measuring What Matters

This article focuses on key areas that offer valuable insights into your candidate engagement efforts, drawing inspiration from the consumer world and best-in-class recruitment practices. By understanding these metrics, you can refine your approach, optimize your recruitment funnel, and ultimately attract and retain the best talent for your organization.

1. Dig Deeper than Applications

Measuring applications received is a basic metric, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Look beyond the initial interest and track engagement throughout the process. How many candidates complete online assessments? Attend virtual information sessions? Engage with your social media content? These actions signal higher interest and commitment, offering a more accurate picture of actual engagement.

2. Time is Money (and Engagement)

Track the time it takes for candidates to move through different stages of the recruitment process. Long delays can lead to disengagement and drop-offs. Aim for efficient, streamlined workflows that respect candidates' time and keep them actively involved. Think of it like customer service - fast and efficient response times lead to higher satisfaction.

3. Communication is Key

Analyze your communication channels and candidate response rates. Are you using the right channels to reach your target audience? Are your messages clear, concise, and personalized? Track email open rates, click-throughs, and social media engagement metrics to understand which channels resonate best and adjust your strategy accordingly.

4. Feedback is a Gift

Don't shy away from candidate feedback. Conduct surveys, exit interviews, or even informal chats to gather insights into their experience. What did they like? What could be improved? Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make your recruitment process more candidate-centric.

5. Content Consumption Informs Engagement

 Analyze your candidate engagement with your content. Are they actively reading your career page, blog posts, or social media content? This indicates their interest in learning more about your company and culture. Create compelling content that showcases your employer brand, values, and employee stories to attract and engage potential candidates.

6. Go Beyond the Numbers

Remember, engagement isn't just about numbers. Look for qualitative indicators as well. Are candidates enthusiastic about your company and the opportunity? Are they asking thoughtful questions? Do they seem genuinely interested in connecting with your team? These qualitative indicators can provide valuable insights into the overall sentiment and engagement level.

7. Look at the Competition

Benchmark your performance against industry standards and your competitors. This can help you identify areas where you excel and areas where you need to improve. Consider using industry reports, surveys, and data from recruitment platforms to gain valuable insights.

8. Leverage Technology

Many recruitment software platforms offer built-in analytics and reporting tools that can help you track and measure various engagement metrics. Tools like ChatterWorks can also provide you with rich and real-time verified data that can help inform your outreach strategy, content, and channels to deliver personalization at scale.

9. Continuous Improvement is Key

Measuring candidate engagement is an ongoing process. Regularly track your metrics, analyze the data, and adjust your strategy. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things to see what works best for your organization and prospective candidates.

10. The Customer Connection

Draw inspiration from customer engagement models used in other industries. What strategies are successful in keeping customers engaged and loyal? Can you adapt these strategies to your recruitment process? Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a positive and engaging experience for your candidates, just like you strive to do for your customers.

Rules of Engagement: Lessons from Consumer Brands

· The AARRR Model: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue

A gif image of pirates saying AARRR
The pirate metrics for candidate engagement

A popular framework used in customer engagement to track and optimize the customer lifecycle can be adapted to the talent acquisition context – enabling you to go beyond vanity metrics and assess the true impact of your candidate engagement strategy:

a)  Acquisition: Track source of applications, conversion rates at different stages (e.g., job boards, social media), and cost per hire to understand which channels attract the most qualified candidates.

b) Activation: Measure application completion rates, engagement with communication (email open rates, social media interactions), and time to complete assessments. This helps gauge initial interest and identify potential drop-off points.

c) Retention: Track time to offer and acceptance rates, candidate satisfaction scores, and reasons for decline. This reveals how well you nurture interest and convert candidates into new hires.

d) Referral: Monitor employee referral programs and track number of referrals generated, referral conversion rates, and referral source quality. This indicates how engaged and satisfied your current employees are, translating into valuable talent acquisition channels.

e) Revenue (Talent Acquisition): While not directly applicable, consider metrics like time-to-productivity and retention rates of new hires. Highlighting the long-term value of engaged talent strengthens the case for investing in engagement strategies.

· The RACI Model: Responsibility, Accountability, Consultation, and Inform

This model emphasizes clear ownership and communication throughout the recruitment process, mirroring its importance in customer service. By assigning clear RACI roles for each stage and maintaining open communication channels, you create a seamless and engaging experience for candidates.

· Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Candidates

Similar to how NPS measures customer loyalty, develop a candidate NPS survey to gauge their satisfaction with the recruitment process. Ask questions like "How likely are you to recommend our company to others?" and analyze the feedback to identify areas for improvement.

· Customer Effort Score (CES) for Candidates

Measure the ease and efficiency of your recruitment process by tracking metrics like application completion time, time to schedule interviews, and clarity of communication. A low CES score indicates potential frustration points that need to be addressed.

· Gamification and Loyalty Programs

Consider incorporating gamified elements like progress bars, points, and badges during the recruitment process to increase candidate engagement and motivation. Additionally, explore loyalty programs for referred candidates or repeat applicants to foster long-term relationships.

Remember, measuring candidate engagement is an ongoing process. Continuously track these metrics, analyze the data, and adapt your strategy for continuous improvement. By borrowing from successful customer engagement frameworks and tailoring them to the candidate journey, you can create a more engaging, efficient, and talent-winning recruitment process.

Want to learn how ChatterWorks helps recruiting teams define candidate engagement strategies? Book a demo and see us in action!

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