Candidate Engagement 101: Strategies for Keeping Candidates Engaged Throughout the Hiring Journey 


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Candidate Engagement 101: Strategies for Keeping Candidates Engaged Throughout the Hiring Journey 

Recruitment is an intricate process that involves more than just finding qualified individuals. In a highly competitive job market, a positive candidate experience not only boosts your company’s reputation but also increases the likelihood of securing top talent.

In this article, we delve into effective strategies you can employ to create a compelling and engaging hiring journey, from initial contact to the final selection, ensuring that candidates remain enthusiastic and connected every step of the way.


What Is Candidate Engagement? 

Candidate engagement involves establishing and nurturing relationships with potential candidates throughout the hiring process. It encompasses all activities, from attracting talented individuals and interacting with them to maintaining their interests in the entire process.

The goal is to keep candidates informed and interested throughout the recruitment process, regardless of whether they are actively applying for a specific position or simply exploring potential opportunities.


How Is It Different From Candidate Experience? 

Although closely related, candidate engagement and candidate experience are not the same.


Candidate Experience

Candidate experience refers to the overall perception and sentiment of candidates about their interactions and journey with an organization throughout the hiring process.

It includes all the touchpoints, from the initial application submission to the final decision, and even extends to the onboarding phase. So, it covers all aspects of recruiting, including engagement.


Candidate Engagement

Candidate engagement emphasizes the proactive and strategic efforts made by organizations to actively engage and build relationships with candidates. If 200 people apply for a single job opening, only one candidate will be selected.

Through effective candidate engagement, the organization can nurture relationships with the remaining 199 candidates, potentially attracting them to other positions within the company.


7 Ways to Boost Candidate Engagement 

Candidate engagement is an ongoing effort that helps you retain the best candidates and attract a pool of interested and potentially suitable professionals for future positions.

But first, you have to make their first experience worthwhile. Here are seven engagement strategies to help you improve candidate engagement:


1. Make the application process straightforward.

About 60 percent of job seekers abandon online applications that are too lengthy or complex.¹ The top contributors to this include:


  • Displeasing user interface that requires too many clicks.
  • Lack of accessibility on smaller screens.
  • Asking for extensive information that’s not readily available.


Candidates often apply to different companies at a time. When faced with complex applications, they can choose to prioritize other job opportunities with more straightforward processes. To mitigate these issues and reduce application abandonment, consider the following:


  • Design user-friendly interfaces and ensure mobile responsiveness.
  • Minime the number of steps candidates have to go through to apply.
  • Simplify application forms and eliminate unnecessary questions.
  • Provide clear instructions and guidance throughout the application process.
  • Implement a progress bar or indication of completion to help applicants track their progress.


2. Write job descriptions with clear headlines.

Creating a clear job description starts with a headline or title that resonates with the position you want to fill. Job titles are important in setting expectations for candidates regarding the nature of the role, its level of responsibility, and the required qualifications.

When these are inaccurate or misleading, candidates may have a skewed understanding of the position they are applying for, and this can increase the likelihood of becoming disappointed with the role once they learn about the actual job requirements.

For example, using “Marketing Assistant” may imply a more entry-level role. It would be misleading to pair it with the responsibilities and required skills that require a higher level of coordination and specialization, typically seen in associate-level positions.


3. Be specific with your descriptions.

Clearly state what is required without putting all the focus on what the organization needs. According to LinkedIn, 61 percent of candidates prefer job descriptions that include compensation information.² As much as possible, emphasize your offers, benefits, compensations, and growth opportunities.

Be sure to break up the job description into easily scannable sections using bullet points and subheadings. This makes it easier for candidates to grasp all the key points easily.


4. Showcase your organization as an exciting place to work.

A positive employer branding and workplace culture creates a compelling narrative that resonates with candidates, increasing their engagement and interest in the organization. To increase engagement, provide candidates with comprehensive information on why they should choose to work for you instead of any other option.

“In this current job landscape, candidates are no longer satisfied with just understanding their job responsibilities. They also crave insights into the team they will collaborate with and the company’s overall culture.” Says Fife in Resource by SHRM.³

Today’s business landscape emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll have a better chance of attracting top talent by bringing these values into your company.


  • Direct candidates to your careers pages and social media posts.
  • Encourage existing employees to highlight their enthusiasm toward work.
  • Emphasize the thrill of each day at the office.
  • Demonstrate the potential gains they can expect by joining your team.


5. Provide feedback, and don’t forget to personalize.

Candidates prefer to know what’s going on throughout the hiring process. So it’s best to keep them updated. Let them know you’ve received their applications, and don’t leave them guessing even if they were unsuccessful.

Address them by their names and appreciate them for their efforts. This way, they’ll feel valued and informed about how they can enhance their skills and qualifications for their next job search. In turn, it will leave a good impression on your employer brand.


6. Leverage technology and recruitment automation.

Replying to so many candidates simultaneously can be a very tedious task. Incorporating technology and automation tools into high-volume hiring processes can improve efficiency and engagement.

You can automate email responses and chatbots to provide timely updates to candidates, answer frequently asked questions, and maintain ongoing communication. After all, 66 percent of job seekers said they are comfortable interacting with chatbots during the application process.⁴


7. Gather feedback and improve.

Soliciting feedback from candidates about their experience can help organizations identify areas for improvement and enhance future engagement. Candidates are quick to share their experiences with others.

By actively seeking feedback through surveys, interviews, or online reviews, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your processes, enhance candidate engagement, and build a positive employer reputation.


How to Measure Candidate Engagement 

To boost your initiatives, measure how your recruitment efforts are doing. It will give you an overview of the processes and know which can be improved to make a more positive candidate engagement.


1. Application response rate.

You can measure engagement by monitoring the response rate in the application, which indicates the level of interest generated by the job posting. A high response rate mostly suggests that the job description and company appeal to candidates.


2. Quality of application materials.

You can evaluate the quality of candidates’ application materials, such as resumes and cover letters. Engaged candidates typically submit well-crafted documents tailored to the job requirements, demonstrating their effort and interest in the position.


3. Timeliness of responses.

Promptness in responding to communication during the hiring process is a strong indicator of candidate engagement. When engaged, they reply promptly to emails, phone calls, or interview invitations, showing their enthusiasm and dedication.


4. Depth of research.

Candidates with high levels of engagement invest time and effort in researching the company, its values, culture, and industry. During the interview process, you can assess candidate engagement by evaluating the depth of their knowledge about the organization and their ability to connect it with their own career goals and aspirations.


5. Questions asked.

Engaged candidates will proactively seek additional information about the company and the position. You can assess this by analyzing the quality and relevance of the questions candidates ask during interviews or follow-up communications.


6. Interview performance.

Candidates who are actively engaged are likely to perform better during interviews. They actively listen, provide thoughtful responses, ask clarifying questions, and demonstrate enthusiasm for the role.


7. Interaction with the company’s online presence.

Throughout the hiring process, candidates may interact with the company’s page or representatives from the company, including recruiters, hiring managers, or potential teammates. These interactions provide an opportunity for you to assess their engagement levels.



A strong and carefully planned recruitment process is essential to increasing candidate engagement. Here at Strategic Systems, we understand the importance of prioritizing people by taking a human-centric approach to provide timely and suitable staffing assistance for your organization.

Whether you need to hire temporary staff or professionals on a contractual basis, we’ll help you source the best candidates, leaving you with more time to focus on core business activities.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!



1. Fennell, Andrew. “Candidate experience statistics.” StandoutCV, Mar. 2022,

2. Raposo, Devin. “9 Telling Candidate Experience Statistics That Can Help Refine Your Hiring Process.” LinkedIn, 21 Oct. 2021,

3. Zielinski, Dave. “Study: Most Job Seekers Abandon Online Job Applications.” SHRM, 8 Mar. 2016,

4. Taylor, Tess. “Candidates don’t really mind recruiting chatbots — most of the time.” HRDive, 11 May 2017,