These days, it doesn’t feel like we’re hunting for purple squirrels anymore. The demand for talent eclipses the available IT workforce supply, meaning that any type of squirrel has been tough to spot (if you aren’t familiar with where to look). And finding them is the easy part. Once a company locates their ideal candidate, they need to take a high-touch approach with the candidate experience in the hopes of retaining tech talent through interviews, the job offer, onboarding, and any contract renewals. Truth be told, all that effort is a full time job, which is why successful companies are treating engagement management as a top priority. Here’s how an engagement management program impacts candidates’ perception of and loyalty to your business.
Smoother Hiring Processes
When most people think of the candidate experience, it’s in the context of hiring processes. The ways candidates are treated during early communications and interviews primes them for considering or rejecting a job offer. There’s even more at stake in the current market.
Top IT talent is bombarded with opportunities on a regular basis, so even a generally positive experience can be undermined if candidate engagement is neglected. Because the average time to hire for IT position in the U.S. takes 22.2 days, preserving interest and maintaining the lines of communication will require more effort and energy.
Our own engagement managers make it a priority to interact with candidates throughout the whole hiring process. We give regular updates about a candidate’s standing, work to address their concerns, and try to keep any counteroffers on our clients’ radar. That way, we can lower instances of fall-off whenever possible and encourage greater urgency with hiring decisions.
Candidates are commonly evaluated based on their drive, adaptability, and performance during the first 90 days. It’s enough time to make an informed conclusion about what type of performer an IT professional will be. However, companies are being appraised by their talent during the same timeframe without much attention directed on making the best impression.
As IT consultants work on challenges and interact with your team, they form opinions about your processes, work environment, and culture. Whether those opinions are positive or negative depends on how effective your talent management is from the start.
Maintaining high levels of candidate engagement requires candidates to feel guided and supported throughout their first 90 days and beyond. For example, when our candidates encounter a problem, they are able to reach out to our engagement managers. Our engagement managers can answer questions about the ins-and-outs of the contract. As a more neutral party, they can even ask candidates about their concerns in a way that seems low pressure yet still brings issues to light. That way, companies can address matters before they become problems and smooth out the candidate experience.
If you have found a qualified professional who understands your business and works well with your team, reengaging that person delivers more dependable ROI. Is the employment relationship strong enough to survive the end of the first contract? Your answer determines whether an offer of reengagement is accepted.
A positive candidate experience is not enough to guarantee reengagement. Without establishing full trust or demonstrating investment in an IT consultant’s career, the odds of rehiring a consultant are no better than hiring one in the first place. There needs to be an understanding that your business cares about a candidate’s success and is willing to work toward bettering their future.
Over the course of a contract, the depth of connection can be difficult to build and harder to maintain once the candidate leaves. However, partnering with a staffing firm that has its own engagement management program can create continuity, more easily demonstrate commitment, and lower the bar of difficulty for reengaging top talent.
Changing How You Think about the Candidate Experience
One key element binds these scenarios: they all depend on one another. Good engagement management treats working with a candidate as part of a cycle, reassuring a candidate that their ongoing success is one of your objectives.
Though most companies don’t have the time to do regular check-ins, field questions, and go out to lunch with candidates, a staffing firm with an engagement management program does. This allows your business to use the momentum of that relationship without having to find candidates and construct that trust purely from scratch.
Want to learn more about the candidate experience in recruitment?
Attend ClearlyRated’s Webinar, “Winning the Battle for Talent: How Top Staffing Firms Attract and Retain Quality Candidates” with IDR’s Ashley Brickman!