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Track the Candidate Experience to Drive Proactive Hiring

Sheridan Gaenger
July 5 ․ 8 min read


An underlying reality about talent acquisition today: Ignore the candidate experience, and the candidate’s experience will be to ignore you.

Recruiting departments may say they engage in proactive hiring, but often their processes are still reactive. A reactive company needs to fill a position: A job is posted, candidates apply, interviews happen, and someone is hired. The end result is a filled position, but did you fill it with an ideal candidate? Will that candidate be fully engaged from day 1, or are you headed toward going through the entire process again?

To achieve truly proactive hiring in 2017, you must recruit with the candidate experience steering the ship. Investing in this strategy ensures that the best candidates are dynamically drawn to you, while similarly e focusing deliberate actions to ensure you maintain and accelerate their interest. Here are some reasons why tracking the candidate experience is essential to driving proactive hiring:

A Journey, Not a Bunch of Short Trips

The candidates you seek to hire embark on a journey. From the moment they engage with you on their preferred channels (e.g., social media, email, your career website, and so on) candidates are interacting with you and your content. And when they click on a job ad (perhaps help of AI-powered, automated programmatic media solution, which we’ll discuss more later), the full journey begins. Proactive hiring isn’t about candidates completing an action and moving onto the next without any connection among the steps. If you are just hoping candidates check a box and proceed to another task, they will treat the process as such and be more apt to walk away on a whim. Create a consistent journey in which every step affects and drives every other step of the process, and candidates will stay engaged, candidates will keep you top of mind.

Make Every Engagement Count

Continuing with the theme of engagement, every interaction and touchpoint between you and a candidate—not matter how small—contributes to proactive hiring. First, you need to know whom to engage: Who is your ideal candidate for your most important openings? Automated programmatic media solutions offer an answer.

Simply put, automated programmatic media employs AI-based technology and proprietary algorithms to buy, place, and manage employer-branded content and job ads at the right time, to the right candidates. These solutions help ensure spend is automatically directed to the most strategic sources so that you aren’t saddled with poor candidates.

Second, deliver constant engagement—interactions, focused messaging, content, active dialogues, and so on—with your ideal candidates. Make sure each engagement counts, from the content you post on channels and deliver to applicants to the UX and ease of use of your hiring website, online applications, ATS, and onboarding solutions. Getting every engagement right improves the candidate experience; improving the candidate experience moves candidates closer to becoming applicants, moving them closer to becoming employees.

Rely on AI

AI and programmatic media are the future of finding ideal candidates. Madeline Laurano of Aptitude Research Partners identifies a “talent acquisition trifecta” of attracting, recruiting, and onboarding; many companies today are putting much of their focus on the attract phase. After all, outstanding recruiting and onboarding won’t make a difference if you can’t find the best candidates to impress and hire in the first place.

The move to AI to better attract candidates reflects that algorithms and talent acquisition intelligence, when applied properly, can give recruiters an edge by automatically matching certain jobs to certain candidates. This also automatically kick-starts the candidate experience, which, contrary to popular belief, is improved through AI. The hyper-personalization possibilities are especially appealing—imagine, for example, a candidate visits your career site, and the AI engine automatically recommends certain jobs to him or her. Your software will know what steps to take with candidates at every step of their journey. Automated programmatic media eliminates the tactical elements of guesswork, thus facilitating a strategy that empowers recruiters to finally spend more time doing what they do best: nurturing 1-on-1 relationships and building transparent, human connections.

Delve into the Data

Recruiting departments must beware of the candidate black hole: the abyss in the hiring journey that candidates fall into and never return, effectively disengaging themselves from the process. Robust data, in the form of comprehensive metrics tracking each stage of the candidate experience, is the key to avoiding this black hole. Data helps drive insights that drive conversation that drives feedback. AI takes the gathered data and subsequent analytics, and better (and sometimes automated) decisions flow from there. Knowing what is working and what isn’t is crucial to being proactive with your recruitment marketing strategies so that you can optimize successes and adjust shortcomings. In other words, AI makes your data actionable.

What Is the Outcome of Proactive Hiring?

Proactive hiring yields benefits long after a hire is actually made. Of course, a dynamic process—from automated programmatic media optimizing how you source candidates to an outstanding, omni-channel candidate experience—increases the likelihood of finding the people you need to fill your most crucial positions. However, a positive candidate experience can also help deliver a positive employee experience. Through employee advocacy solutions, engaged workers become recruiters who amplify your brand message and drive high-quality referrals. In this way, proactive hiring truly is proactive, thereby feeding into a recruitment marketing lifecycle that continuously delivers ideal candidates.

How do you define a proactive candidate experience?

Learn more in our latest ebook, “Recruitment Marketing to Millennials: How to  Connect with a Connected Generation »

Recruitment marketing to millennials