3 Easy Steps to Improve Candidate Engagement

Over the last 15 years, I have often been asked how companies can better attract and retain candidate interest throughout the hiring process.

Losing Great Candidates Is Easy. Improving The Process Is Easier.

I attended a conference recently – discussing engagement – where our speaker stopped abruptly midway through her presentation. She asked for a volunteer from the audience to raise their hand and define that word. Engagement. The room fell silent. Arms became stiff and still as eyes wondered around the room looking for someone to accurately define a word we had all been using ad nauseam. How do you define engagement – How does your company define it?


  1. Make A Time Sensitive Promise (And Keep It!):

It’s easier than ever to differentiate your company. Let’s take a trip behind the desk of your ideal candidate:

  • Step One: Wade through an endless number of websites and company profile pages – all of which lead to the cringe-inducing, totally automated: Applicant Tracking Systems.
  • Step Two: Pour bits and pieces of your professional experience into a database and click SEND – followed by a silence that can span anywhere from weeks to months.

​Here is where you set yourself apart:

Promise candidates a response in 48 hours – and be ready to send an acknowledgment and  “next step”.

  1. Allow Your Hiring Managers To Choose Their Role:

Now we look at the process through your eyes:

  • You have attracted, screened and qualified the “​right”​ candidate(s) – the next step in the hiring process is crucial:​ Feedback from the Hiring Manager.
  • This is the point in the process where things can easily fall apart – But they don’t have to. 
  • ​”​How can we make hiring managers respond quickly?” We can’t. And the reasons for the delay are as varied as they are legitimate, however, allowing your manager to choose their role will ​improve your hiring process significantly.

Here is where you set yourself apart:

Allow a pre-determined amount of time for your Hiring Manager to decide the next step. Once that time has been reached, a phone interview (or whatever the predetermined action step may be) will be scheduled on their behalf.

  1. Ready, Aim, Redirect (Passive, Active and Future Candidates):​

Have a plan for candidates in all phases of the hiring process:

  • Passive: Capture the attention of candidates with easily, accessible information about your company’s culture – showcased across multiple media platforms. ​
  • Active: Host face to face networking events. Connect over the phone. In whatever way possible, find a way to start a conversation and be ready to share your company’s story and employee testimonials.
  • ​Future: What are the action steps for candidates who might qualify for future positions? Consider ​offering access to a Talent Pool Newsletter or create a Talent Community page.

Here is where you set yourself apart: ​

Having systems in place will reduce response times while keeping candidates informed and connected.

​​Earlier, I mentioned attending a conference where the audience was asked to define engagement. After a long pause, silence was broken by a few answers delivered in the form of questions and guesses. Finally, the speaker asked everyone to consider this: If we can’t define it, we can’t do it.

Engagement requires connection. To set yourself apart in the hiring process consider the steps listed above as three simple ways to generate distinctively meaningful points of contact.

Christina Federline Recruiting Executive TulsaChristina Federline: Director of Client Services & Recruiting

Christina Federline is a dedicated and results oriented recruiting executive delivering the highest standards of quality, performance and integrity. With over 15 years’ industry experience, combined with the comprehensive resources made available through Career Development Partners, Christina brings innovative and strategic solutions to companies and job seekers alike. As part of an extended nation-wide network of top performing recruiters, Christina provides the tools, resources and search strategies necessary to generate maximized results.

Christina operates with passion and purpose to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.


Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Christina Federline

Christina leverages 20+ years of coaching, recruiting and talent acquisition experience to deliver industry best practice guidance and performance strategies to program participants. Over the last two decades, Christina has worked with thousands of individuals from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. Driven by the joy of helping others win, Christina helps individuals identify their unique strengths and creates customized strategies that generate a competitive advantage.

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