How to Enhance Your Candidate Engagement: Everything You Need to Know

Dylan Weiss

Dylan Weiss

9 mins read

Is attracting top talent just about providing an extravagant compensation package? While that might've been the case over the last few years, times have changed. In the current talent-hungry market, nurturing relationships with potential candidates is more crucial than ever.

63% of job seekers are likely to reject a job offer if they go through a bad candidate experience. A candidate's journey through your hiring process can decide whether or not they want to work with you.

This blog gives a comprehensive overview of the importance of candidate engagement and actionable strategies to take your candidate engagement initiatives to the next level.

What is candidate engagement?

Candidate Engagement is the process of fostering relationships with candidates throughout their recruitment journey. It includes the entire candidate journey, from candidate sourcing to assessment, onboarding, and beyond.

Recruiters can offer information about the company, open roles, their requirements, and other relevant details. A robust candidate engagement strategy doesn't just involve communicating with candidates via emails and DMs; it's also about offering them value and keeping them interested in the role throughout the hiring process.

Given the power of social media, almost 35% of candidates express their opinions and vent online about bad recruiting experiences. Such an incident can damage your brand image. It is proof that companies have a lot at stake, and implementing best practices for candidate engagement is critical.

What is the candidate experience?

Candidate experience is a candidate’s perceived notion of an organization based on their recruitment process. Providing an ideal candidate experience puts your company in the spotlight. A well-planned candidate engagement plan can initiate word-of-mouth advocacy, attract more skilled applicants and elevate your employer brand.

Hiring managers must consider Job seekers’ perspectives as it directly relates to job abandonment rates. 75% of employees working at different organizations said that positive candidate experience influenced their decision to accept an offer.

Candidate Engagement Vs. Candidate Experience

Candidate experience and candidate engagement are the two critical metrics of a successful hiring process. However, people often confuse these two terms. Here is how you can distinguish the two:

Candidate Experience

  • Candidate Experience, or CX, begins with awareness which is the first step of any candidate's journey, and continues to form through the application process, interviews, and onboarding process.
  • CX is the key to achieving competitive advantage to improve the quality, speed, effectiveness, and building excellent experiences for candidates.
  • It can save an organization’s time and resources, amplify the quality of the recruits, help with employee retention, and improve future hiring efforts by securing a better reputation.

Candidate Engagement

  • Candidate engagement is the different layers of communication between a candidate and a company throughout the recruitment process. It helps an organization build, nurture, and manage engagement with candidates.
  • Effective candidate engagement initiatives will build candidates’ interest among your target talent pool and help you attract more qualified employees.
  • It spreads the good word about your organization and its processes, classifying your company as someone who cares about how its prospective employees feel.

Why is candidate engagement critical?

Today's job market is immensely candidate-driven, and young aspirants prefer a company culture that emulates their levels of dynamism.

Continuous candidate engagement ensures an applicant stays motivated in the role from the beginning.

  • It ensures that the career opportunities offered by brands and enterprises are visible to suitable candidates.
  • It helps the organization to improve talent management and build a stronger employer brand, maximizing an employee's performance potential.
  • It enables your company to stand out as an authority and a legitimate place for development for the aspirants.
  • It brings consistency of communication that helps you win the trust of the job seekers.

What does the candidate engagement process look like?

Employers need an effective candidate engagement process to hook skilled candidates. Moreover, they should maintain their interest to continue through the hiring process.

The method of candidate engagement begins with the goals and ends with the results. Let's take a detailed look.

Define your Goals

The initial step in engaging the potential candidates is what your company brings to the table.

To achieve this, you must review your company goals, values, and culture and develop a unique value proposition (UVP) for the candidates.

For a recruitment firm, the goals could be driving 30% more placements from the current Applicant Tracking System (ATS) data, improving redeployment rates by 25%, and engaging with all newly sourced candidates.

Keeping these goals in mind, you can start planning the strategy part of the process.

Establishing a Strategy

The next step for candidate engagement is to form a strategy for the goals. Some of the strategies you can try out include:

  • Devise a hiring timeline
  • Identify opportunities to make conversation
  • Maintain transparency throughout the recruitment process
  • Write clear job descriptions that catches the eye of prospective talent
  • Build a powerful employer brand that attracts qualified candidates

See how in the above image, the recruiting manager is nurturing a relationship with the aspirant Briana. Hiring managers can use LinkedIn and other channels to track down the befitting candidates and nurture a relationship with them to build their interests.

Driving more placements from your ATS

Use a recruitment automation tool to re-engage the candidates already existing in your ATS database. Send emails to these candidates on a regular basis highlighting the open opportunities. This enables you to eliminate inactive candidates and develop engagement with enthusiastic candidates.

Engaging with new candidates

Every new candidate entering the database should receive an automated email from the assigned recruiter confirming their application status. They can get notifications on whether their application will be taken ahead in the process or they are not being considered for the role.   

How can I improve my candidate engagement?

You need to take a fresh look at your current hiring process before revamping it. For your candidate engagement practices to be effective, you must embed them throughout the recruitment journey.

Some of the common candidate engagement challenges include:

  • Long application process
  • Lack of communication
  • Extended hiring time
  • Not being able to contact the recruiter
  • Not receiving feedback

So, how can you resolve these issues to make your candidate engagement process authentic and streamlined?

Here are a few ways to boost candidate engagement during the hiring process.

Review and respond to applicants quickly

52% of job seekers say that the lack of an employer's quick response is a significant challenge during the application process.

Many organizations take a long time to evaluate the applications of job seekers.

When a candidate is left waiting for a response from a recruiter, it would naturally frustrate them, and they might end up sharing their unpleasant experience on social media. This damages your brand and reduces the chances of onboarding efficient candidates.

If you want to avoid such scenarios, send timely responses to candidates and make sure to build an exciting journey for them.

You can use an automation software to set up responses for applicants that match your requirements and keep updating them about their application status. Covey can help you discover candidate emails and auto-generate email drip campaigns for outreach.

Maintain communication through emails

Maintaining communication from the initial phase of a recruitment process is an effortless way to boost candidate engagement.

Thanks to recruitment automation software like Covey, you can easily automate your communication with candidates. Setting up an automated email response each time you receive an application is the best way to go.

A few pieces of information that candidates highly desire are:

  • A 'thank you' for filling out the application
  • Closing date for applications
  • Tentative time to receive a response
  • A closure if they didn’t make it further in the interview process
  • Tentative dates for the upcoming rounds
  • Information about your company

Here is an email template that you can use to communicate interview details with candidates:

Hey [Candidate’s name]

Thank you for applying for the role of [ Name of position] at [Company name].

I am [Recruiter’s name], and I am the Senior Recruiter at [Company name]. I would like to schedule an interview with you to discuss the role.

Please let me know a convenient time next week for a quick call.

You can find time at my calendar here - [Link to calendar]

Looking forward to hearing from you.


[Recruiter’s name]

Provide a definitive timeline and stick to it

Once you receive the applications, narrow them down quickly using candidate assessment software. Take the initiative to inform the successful candidates about the next steps.

Automate these messages, as you are likely to send the same emails to many candidates in the future. Inform them about the subsequent stages, such as assessments, interview stages, and hiring decisions.

Provide an expected timeline and inform the candidates if any unexpected delays occur. Automate updates at every stage, and don't leave candidates hanging in the dark for a long time, as you risk losing their interest in your company.

Consider using chatbots and technology

It is exhausting and almost impossible for recruiters to respond to the questions of each candidate. However, the candidates may have multiple questions about the opportunity, and recruiters can’t leave them in the dark.

Boost candidate engagement by employing a chatbot or automated Q&A system to answer common questions immediately, preventing candidates from losing touch with you.

You must create a database of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers and let Chatbot communicate with the candidates.

Spice up the processes

You must build a recruitment process that the candidates find exciting and stay motivated.

But how do you do that?

You can start by creating an online assessment experience exclusive to your company. It will help the candidates learn more about the organization and provide you with valuable data about the candidates.

Assessing your candidates online doesn't have to be long-drawn-out and boring. Include various exciting components in your assessment journey, such as

  • Gamified assessments
  • Situational judgment tests
  • Personality questionnaires
  • Open-ended questions

Provide feedback

An attempt to manually offer feedback, even if it’s just a  few lines, makes a massive difference for your engagement.

Some recruitment technology solutions allow you to screen, grade, and rank the candidates and also tell you how they achieved those rankings.

It's always better if you can provide feedback to the candidates who have made it further in the process to boost your engagement positivity.

Feedback is critical even though it isn't in favor of the candidate. The applicants will want to know why they didn't go further and appreciate any information that will help them recognize their shortcomings.

For this, you must use the latest interviewing software, which enables you to automate the hiring process, carry out live interviews, analyze feedback, and allow collaboration with all hiring participants.

The more you engage with the candidates and the further you get through the hiring process, the more it is anticipated of you to provide candidates with personalized feedback.

Candidate Engagement Tool to Streamline your Hiring Efforts

With the advent of AI in recruitment, a recruitment automation software like Covey can help reduce your time and efforts in candidate engagement.

Covey has the ideal combination of features that a recruiter needs in an easy-to-navigate dashboard. It leverages machine learning and data intelligence to help you scale up and dial down your sourcing efforts.


  • It recognizes 75-100 different qualities in candidates
  • Runs it against 100M+ candidate profiles to find the right fit for the role.
  • You can access configurable custom preferences to accelerate your sourcing process.
  • You will have complete visibility into candidate pipeline progress, recruiting team performance, and diversity goals.

To discover Covey's Pricing, schedule a demo with us now.

How is candidate engagement measured?

Measuring your candidate engagement efforts is crucial to understand how you can close the gaps in the process. So, how do you determine the success (or failure) of implementing a candidate engagement strategy?

  1. Track key metrics

You can measure candidate engagement through various essential metrics, like:

  • Application drop off: The number of candidates who abandon the application process midway
  • Time to hire: The time taken to hire a candidate
  • Candidate NPS (Net Promoter Score): the likelihood of a candidate referring your company to others on a scale from 1-10

Measuring your progress with accurate data will allow you to fill the gaps in your candidate engagement strategy.

2. Analyze candidates’ feedback

Organizations can measure candidate engagement by welcoming honest feedback from both successful and unsuccessful applicants. The best way to do so is by sending out feedback forms filled with a combination of open ended and specific questions. Some examples include:

  • What was the most appealing part of your recruitment journey?
  • Was there an instance where your experience wasn’t at par with your expectations? Could you tell us more about it?
  • Do you have any feedback on how we can better serve you in the future?

Even asking 2-3 simple questions shows candidates that you value their perspective and are willing to go the extra mile to offer them an optimal candidate experience. You can also use chatbots to streamline your efforts.

3. Refine Your Candidate Engagement Efforts

Proper measurement of processes and efforts is essential to make your strategies robust over time. Measuring your current candidate engagement level will help you comprehend that you are on the right track or need to put more effort into creating a positive candidate's journey.

Common Challenges of Candidate Engagement

When creating a candidate engagement strategy, keep the following factors in mind.

1. Candidate Black Holes

A candidate black hole is when candidates ghost you after applying for the role. Sometimes, a long application form discourages the candidates, and they leave the application process midway.

2. Repetitive Questions

When candidates are expected to repeatedly fill in the details from their resume, it can put them off from the role since it's time-consuming and irritable.

3. Mismatch in Availability

It primarily holds for passive candidates because if you set up an interview during their working hours or over the weekend, it might deter them from considering the position.

4. No Consistency in Communication

The phrase “Communication is key” holds true especially when recruiting candidates.

Recruiters and candidates must interact effortlessly without repeatedly switching between communication channels. Maintain one main line of communication, such as Email or LinkedIn, and avoid contacting them via any other means.

Moreover, ensure your availability to address the candidate’s queries soon (should they have any).

How is Covey the Best Candidate Engagement Platform?

Candidate engagement is a need for organizations to recruit and retain employees. Creating a positive candidate experience and building a professional and emotional bond takes time and empathy. Given the adoption of digitalization, personalized engagement with every candidate is an important goal for every hiring organization.

That's where Covey can help! Covey’s interactive dashboard allows hiring teams to track and assess their talent databases seamlessly. Covey connects everyone in the hiring process so teams can quickly identify, source, engage, and hire better talents.

Want to see Covey in action? Book a demo with us now!

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