How to Connect the Dots of the Hiring Process

Sheridan Gaenger
January 3 ․ 10 min read

hiring processMaking Sense of the New Candidate Lifecycle

Type “candidate funnel” into Google and you’ll get nearly half a million results.

Clearly, a lot of people are talking about the hiring process as a funnel, one that starts with building awareness and ends with a hire. But we say “funnel schmunnel.”

There’s a new hiring process in town. Rethinking the hiring process as a cycle, not a funnel, creates a more seamless experience for candidates, keeps new employees engaged, and ensures a never-ending supply of ideal candidates, when implemented strategically. Here’s how to connect the dots of the new candidate lifecycle:

What the New Hiring Process Looks Like

Because the new hiring process is a cycle, there’s technically no start and end to the process. But for the sake of clarifying the new recruitment lifecycle, here’s what the lifecycle looks like in four “steps”:

1. The process “starts” pre-hire through strategic recruitment marketing to source candidates. Attract the right talent to your organization with a compelling employer brand that aligns with your social media recruiting efforts and other channels, like your employer website.

2. Once you’ve identified your ideal candidates, it’s time to nurture those candidate leads so that they feel a real connection to your company. This is where email marketing campaigns, omni-channel marketing, and the PESO approach to media (that’s paid, earned, shared, and owned) come into play. For example, you can use paid media retargeting to get in front of candidates who’ve already shown an interest in your employer brand, further nurturing their interest. 

3. The cycle still hasn’t come “full circle” once your candidates apply—it’s imperative that you keep them engaged as they move through the entire hiring process, from application to onboarding and beyond. Sophisticated software lets applicants track their progress through the application process, effective onboarding and communication keep engagement elevated, and a thoughtful employee advocacy program harnesses that engagement and turns it into a real recruiting advantage. 

4. Use data and tools to analyze the success of your candidate lifecycle—and where you can improve it. Real-time analytics provide decision-making insights that keep your hiring cycle firing on all cylinders.

Shifting From Funnel to Cycle: The Big “Why”

So, what’s the benefit to rethinking the hiring process? Thinking of the process as a funnel—with a definite end and beginning—leaves a powerful recruiting tool on the table: your employee advocates. Employee advocates are what transform your linear funnel into a cycle that continuously feeds into itself, seamlessly sourcing and nurturing your ideal candidates.

Here’s how: Activating your newest employees into advocates builds familiarity and trust with candidates. “Word of mouth” is powerful—far more powerful than a tweet sent out by your official company Twitter handle. We’re simply more likely to trust the word of someone we know versus the word of a faceless brand. And we’re more likely to see that “word” too. According to Social Media Today, content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content shared on official brand channels. Simply put, an employee advocacy program gets your recruitment messaging in front of more of the right candidates, effectively turning your employees into recruiters themselves, which “starts” the cycle all over again!

The Key to a Successful Cycle: Keeping It Real

Building employee advocacy into your recruitment cycle is just one part of a larger strategy: making the hiring process feel real and personal again. A “one-size-fits-all” recruiting strategy really fits no one. Candidates want to feel like you’re speaking specifically to them in an authentic way. That means using real people (your employee advocates) to disseminate engaging content tailored to the kind of candidates you’re trying to reach and tailored to where you’re trying to reach them (i.e. creating specific content for your different recruiting channels).

For an ultra-personalized, targeted approach to recruitment marketing, you should tailor your messaging to where your candidates are in the recruitment lifecycle as well. As Tamer Rafla writes at ERE Media, “...how you communicate with different candidates should be largely dependent on their lifecycle stage. For example, the conversation you should have with a very passive candidate who[m] you know nothing about should be very different from the kind of conversation you might have with an established candidate opportunity who is considering joining your company.” Being deliberate about the “who, where, and when” in your recruitment marketing messaging ensures that you’re creating and delivering content that truly connects.

The “realness” factor, however, should be evident in every part of the candidate lifecycle—not just your content marketing and employer brand messaging. Think about ways to harness technology to bring back a more personal feel to the hiring process. That may seem like an impossible task at first blush—since when do tech and a human touch go hand in hand?—but increasingly sophisticated recruitment software is making it happen. For example, integrating chat capabilities on your career website brings back that one-to-one recruiter–candidate relationship, but for the digital age. Utilizing real content and a real connection (even if it’s tech-driven) throughout the hiring process will do wonders for your brand reputation, and it will put your brand in front of the right people in the process.

Ready to shift from funnel to cycle—and reap all the benefits of a more strategic hiring process? To get started, you’ll need to:

  • Understand the four parts of the new candidate lifecycle—source, nurture, engage, and analyze—and how they relate to your recruitment goals.
  • Transform your recruitment funnel into a more effective recruitment cycle by developing a robust employee advocacy program so that your employees become your best recruiters.
  • Focus on developing a cycle that’s authentic and specific so that you’re not only attracting more candidates, but you’re attracting more of the right candidates for your company.
  • Remember—there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution for implementing your hiring process either. Explore unified end to end solutions that offer integrated, modular functionality so that you’re able to easily tailor every step of the cycle to your specific ideal candidates and

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