Low unemployment was one of the biggest obstacles recruiters faced in 2018 and industry experts are predicting the same for this year. According to a report from staffing provider Manpower, 23 percent of employers plan to expand their workforce in 2019. That’s the strongest intention by employers to expand their staff in the last 12 years. Due to this increased demand for talent, recruiters in 2019 will have to reassess and hone their process for attracting, nurturing, and placing talent. One of the most effective methods to achieve that goal is by focusing on candidate experience. By emphasising proactive recruitment marketing, client branding, and candidate engagement, you can improve the candidate experience and position yourself for success in the upcoming year.

Recruitment Marketing

More competition for candidates means that candidates have plenty of options when choosing which recruiters to work with. That’s why when it comes to attracting top talent, a candidate’s decision ultimately comes down to trust. Trust for a candidate means that they know a recruiter will have their well-being in mind and are willing to nurture their professional growth. With so many recruiters going after top talent, you’ll have to find creative ways to demonstrate your recruiting expertise and trustworthiness.

  • Strategic alignment: Strategic alignment is the practice of having an in-depth understanding of your target candidates and using that knowledge to build a rapport with them. Most likely, you’ve already done some of this research. However, as it is the start of a new year, it would be beneficial for you to reassess how you conduct this research. Start by asking yourself these questions:

    • How has your industry evolved over the last year?
    • How do you allocate your resources?
    • Why were your placements in 2018 successful? Unsuccessful?
    • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
    • What are the inefficiencies in your processes?

    Be thorough and honest when answering these questions and you will have a better understanding of how to adjust and refine your recruiting process. The better you understand your clients’ needs, the easier it will be to identify top talent to meet those needs.

  • Branding: As a recruiter, you have a passion for people and fostering meaningful relationships with candidates, so you offer guidance to help nurture their skills and abilities, and that’s how you want your candidates to view you. That is why you may need to rely on branding.

    Branding takes on many forms:

    • Website content: Your website content should be direct, expressive and unique. Take your time when writing your content, as your choice of words can carry a great deal of weight.

    • Customer testimonials: Testimonials support your messaging by having former candidates and clients talk about the success they had when they worked with you.

    • Online advertising: Online advertising is the fastest way to spread your brand, but it can fail if your messaging is weak or you aren’t reaching the right audience. Utilize the work you’ve done on strategic alignment when deciding on your target audience. Furthermore, even though online advertising is a big investment, it can have a quick, noticeable impact. Google and other online advertising platforms charge per click or per impression, so be sure to have a clear plan before you commit to spending money.

  • Inbound recruiting: Inbound recruiting—also known as “lead capture”—targets candidates that may have come across you as a recruiter but haven’t yet chosen to work with you. By implementing an inbound process, you can consistently engage candidates by putting branded content in front of them and keeping them engaged at the early stages of their job hunt. This engagement helps build a lasting rapport with candidates. Setting up an inbound recruiting engine takes time and patience, but once it starts running smoothly, you may see a rise in quality candidates. To learn more about how it works in practice, read this article published by Hubspot.

Client Branding

Not only do you have to establish your brand as a recruiter, but you also have to attract candidates to your client, which is not always easy. Recruiters often neglect client branding, instead focusing only on the tangible aspects of a job–such as salary, benefits and the like. But, candidates generally want more details to help them make an informed decision. To them, a job is more than just a salary, it’s a location, the next step in their career and their identity—both professional and personal. Emphasize these factors, and you can gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating that you put in the extra effort to show candidates the value of a position and why they should accept it.

  • Collaborative hiring: Collaborative hiring means working with and exploring all the facets of a client’s business to understand who they are and what type of candidate they’re looking for. An effective method to gain that understanding is to meet with each of your client’s departments to discuss what makes a good employee and what qualities they’re looking for in a candidate. By possessing an in-depth understanding of what a successful employee looks like at every level, you can effectively advocate for both your client and the candidate.

  • Company culture: Company culture is a broad term that includes a company’s personality, its mission and goals, its work environment, and how it treats its employees. Unlike with previous generations, company culture is very important to millennials, who will make up 36 percent of the workforce by 2020. Millennials care deeply about company culture, so much so that they often take positions that offer less pay for the opportunity to contribute to meaningful work in an amazing work environment. Even though your client's company culture or work environment may not be trendy like Google or Facebook, there are nevertheless aspects of their company culture and workplace that you can highlight that would appeal to millennials. These aspects include:

    • Collaboration: Millennials prefer an open floor plan and working with coworkers across multiple departments on projects.

    • Flexibility: Millennials value their time and appreciate the opportunity to work from home, or at the very least, have flextime.

    • Metrics: Millennials are accustomed to performance indicators, such as setting individual goals, department objectives, and deadlines. There let them track their productivity and professional progress.

    • Mentorship: Millennials are invested in their personal and professional growth, and are always looking to learn new skills to add to their repertoire.

Candidate Engagement

The work you put into recruitment marketing and client branding can foster a positive candidate experience. But, that experience can fall apart if you don’t also focus on engaging your candidates at each stage of the recruiting process. In fact, a lack of communication can drive candidates away. Candidates want a quick, easy and friendly hiring experience, otherwise they’d find a job opportunity themselves. By actively engaging candidates, you can improve their experience through the following simple practices:

  • Social media/blogging: Social media is an excellent resource for job posting and can also provide candidates with helpful content throughout the recruiting process. In addition, blogging can help you to define your brand and make you more approachable. If you haven’t used blogs and social media as part of your recruiting process before, here are some examples:

    • Write articles: Articles are a great way to provide candidates with helpful content. Be sure to speak to your candidates’ pain points and provide them with clear tips on how to overcome those challenges. You can post the link to your blog on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    • Utilize live-streaming: Facebook Live is a great way to both connect directly to your candidates and showcase your personality. Hold a Q&A or talk about a particular hiring trend. Whatever personal insights you can offer your candidates will demonstrate that you are an expert recruiter.

    • Invite engagement: Pose questions to your candidates, create polls and ask for feedback. Sparking dialogue helps you understand your candidates and is another way to showcase your dedication and knowledge of recruiting. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the best mediums for inviting engagement.

    Whatever content you decided to post online, it should highlight that you’re the type of recruiter that provides candidates with helpful guidance throughout the recruiting process.

  • Texting: Smartphones have become essential everyday accessories, and according to PR agency Walker Sands, the average person checks their phone around 3,000 times a day. Texting allows for rapid connections and immediate responses, which can help you share important up-to-the-minute information. For that reason, you should invest time into learning how to leverage texting effectively by reading our article on the subject.

  • Automation: Recruitment automation is a necessary tool for recruiters, particularly when it comes to candidate engagement. By utilizing an applicant tracking system (ATS) that has recruitment automation, you can send automated emails to candidates to keep them engaged and informed at each step of the process. Candidates appreciate open communication and would rather work with a recruiter that keeps them updated throughout the hiring process. Yet, automation isn’t just about making things easier, it’s about saving time so that you can focus on the more human side of your job, the part of your job that’ll differentiate yourself from other recruiters.

How Your ATS Can Help You Meet This Year’s Trends

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) were designed to automate and help manage your recruiting process. That functionality can also help improve candidate experience. While each ATS has a different set of features, the following can help improve candidate experience:

  • Texting capabilities: Your ATS should feature texting, which enables you to keep your recruiting in one centralized location.

  • Communication logs: A thorough log of all candidate communications provides you with context for future correspondence. For that reason, be sure your ATS is able to log all communications in a clear and concise manner.

  • Branded job portal: Your job portal should convey a sense of professionalism, so your ATS should let you customize it for consistent branding.

  • Automation: Automation turns everyday tasks into something quick and manageable. An ATS that automates these processes can provide you with more time for candidate engagement.

  • Scheduler: You and your candidates shouldn’t waste time on phone tag and scheduling. Find an ATS that makes scheduling easy.

There are many factors other than candidate experience to consider when choosing an ATS. To help with that difficult decision, CATS has produced a buyers guide that can help.

2019 Recruiting Trends Point to the Candidate Experience

With 2019 already well underway, you need to make sure that you are making the appropriate changes and adjustments to ensure that you are able to effectively address all the forthcoming trends. By honing how you attract and nurture candidates, you are able to set yourself up for success throughout the year.

Keep up to date with evolving industry trends with the CATS Blog, or join the conversation at CATS Community.