3 Ways to Boost Your Candidate Engagement Strategy Today

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The “diamond recruiting process,” as we call it at IQTalent Partners, is about finding imperfections in your recruiting and sourcing strategies and fixing them. It’s about building a recruiting process that enables recruiters to start their searches narrow, expand their searches to fit their target talent pools, and narrow down again to bring only the best candidates to the role.

Diamond recruiting is only possible if recruiters emphasize candidate engagement. A diamond-shaped pipeline requires recruiters to focus on building and maintaining relationships with candidates, as this is the only way to keep candidates engaged in the pipeline for longer periods of time.

Does your candidate engagement strategy needs some improving? Try adopting these three tactics:

1. Engage Candidates Where They Are

The recruiting and sourcing world is leagues beyond where it used to be. Today, tech savvy and marketing skills are synonymous with “recruiting,” and that makes a lot of sense. Modern candidates are increasingly social and mobile-first. As a recruiter, you have no choice but to meet them where they are if you want to gain their attention.

We’re all aware of the major candidate hubs, but these aren’t the only places we should be looking for talent. An all too common pitfall for a lot of recruiters is “over-indexing” — that is, relying excessively on LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, and other big-name platforms. The truth is, these platforms do not have a monopoly on top talent, and it is your job as a recruiter to engage the best candidates wherever they may be.

Your next hire isn’t Lionel Richie; they won’t be standing in front of you asking, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” You’ll have to go out and find them — and they won’t always be where you expect them to be.

2. Cultivate Candidate Interest and Calibrate Your Process

In the diamond recruiting process, people who meet 90-95 percent of your criteria are what we call “diamond candidates.” As you can imagine, finding these candidates takes time. However, it’s also important to note that you won’t immediately identify a diamond candidate as soon as you come across one.

Candidates are not just declared “diamond” from the start. Any candidate in your pipeline can become a diamond candidate with enough time, engagement, and nurturing. For this to happen, however, recruiters must continuously reevaluate their candidate engagement strategies to ensure they are aligned with both the company’s current goals and the needs of these candidates who may very well become diamond recruits.

Also important is calibration: the creation of candidate personas that tell recruiters what the ideal candidate is like, what their concerns are, and how they can be engaged and nurtured. These personas allow recruiters to understand who, exactly, their diamond candidates are — and, by extension, how to properly reach and engage those candidates.

The key to diamond recruiting is constant modification of search parameters and engagement tactics to bring more of the right kinds of candidates into the pipeline. These calibration profiles enable your team to keep an eye on the goal and make modifications in line with what top talent wants. Moreover, these personas can assist recruiters in getting to know their candidates better, thereby seeing their true potential and identifying the diamonds in the rough.

3. Build Candidate Trust Through Culture Conversations

In recruiting, one of the main objectives is to find out how the candidate fits into the company culture. To do so, you need to have conversations with candidates that can uncover their mindsets, interests, and other relevant personality traits.

Work with hiring managers, talent acquisition leaders, your fellow recruiters, and any other key stakeholders to create a list of questions you can use to help gauge culture fit. Obviously the list of questions will differ from company to company, as each company has its own culture, but example questions might include:

– When was the last time you made a mistake, and how did you overcome it?
– When was the last time you worked as part of a team, and how did you contribute to the overall success of the group?
– Do you read The Economist?
– Were you a Boy Scout/Girl Scout?

The last two culture fit questions are very specific, but you can use similar questions to interrogate candidates on their hobbies and other nonprofessional experiences.

It is important to note that opposites can and do attract, so don’t rush to judgment about a candidate’s culture fit right away. It’s always a good idea to bring a few different stakeholders into culture conversations so that no one person’s biases or opinions dictate the decision on a candidate’s potential fit.

These types of questions do more than just uncover candidate personality traits and indicate possible fits — they build trust. Throughout these conversations, you are getting to know candidates on a personal level. This builds a bond of trust, which is crucial to keeping the recruiter-candidate relationship warm for the long term.

A version of this article originally appeared on the IQTalent Partners blog.

Chris Murdock is cofounder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners.

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