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8 Ways to Improve Your Keep Warm Strategy, According to 3 Early-Career Talent Acquisition Experts

by | Nov 1, 2022 | The Great Reneging

In 2022, a signed offer letter doesn’t necessarily mean a candidate will stick with you through day one on the job. Cases of new hire reneges have risen exponentially in recent years, with some companies reporting 20% of candidates backing out of an offer.

Reneges cause a downward spiral for companies, leading to drained budgets, increased recruiter turnover, and decreased company morale — particularly when recruiting early-career candidates. Interns and recent grads can easily wait months (if not a full year) before their first day, which is why a keep-warm strategy is so important.

In partnership with URx, a Scholars community partner in the early-career space, we recently sat down with three talent acquisition experts to ask the question, “What makes a keep warm strategy effective?” Anne Bailey of Eaton, Christie Eades of SAS, and Natalie Chwalk of MongoDB sat down with Scholars co-founder Parker Pell to share their insights on how to enhance the post-offer experience. Their advice? Start small, think outside the box, leverage the right technology, and always refine your strategy with cold, hard data. Please listen to the full, enlightening conversation here, or keep reading to hear several key takeaways from their discussion.

8 Key Takeaways on Improving Your Keep Warm Strategy, According to 3 Industry Experts

Talent acquisition experts agree: “recruiting” doesn’t stop when a candidate signs an offer letter. The longer the post-offer experience, the greater the risk of a candidate reneging on said offer — which is why you need to invest in a keep-warm strategy. Below, three industry experts share how they’ve sought to refine the post-offer journey.

1. Rethink Your Definition of the Candidate Experience

“After a candidate accepts an offer, they’re still candidates,” says Christie. This single sentence explains the entire foundation of a keep warm strategy: Once you’ve signed a candidate, you need to pursue the same engagement tactics that made them want to sign in the first place.

In addition, a “keep warm” strategy doesn’t necessarily mean keeping them warm for their first day on the job. You may need to keep a candidate engaged prior to their first round of interviews or the onboarding process. Staying top-of-mind with these candidate segments can help increase acceptance rates later on. 

2. Start Small and Repurpose Existing Content

If you’re launching a keep warm strategy for the first time, the process can seem daunting — particularly if you have a small or one-person recruitment team. Our experts advice? Start small.

Rather than draft dozens of new pieces of content, start by taking stock of what content already exists. Do you have past blog posts, videos, webinars, or email campaigns that would be relevant to early career candidates? Can you look through emails to incoming hires from past years and make up a list of the top 5-10 questions you need to answer prior to onboarding? Did you send out an exit survey to past interns that would help you better set up candidates for success this year? Get creative with repurposing content to prevent draining internal resources and increasing recruiter burnout.

3. Stay Realistic About Internal Bandwidth 

In an ideal world, recruiters would have the capacity to connect with each individual candidate. But, spikes in recruiter burnout have made it clear that one-to-one connections aren’t always realistic.

To make each candidate feel seen and heard, our experts advise offering a “peek behind the curtain.” Keep your talent community updated on where you are within the search process or company happenings (e.g. busy season) that might cause delays in communication. In addition, use an automation platform, like Scholars, to create personalized journeys at scale, keeping each candidate updated on where they are in the hiring process.

4. Continuously Switch Up Communication Mediums

In 2022, sending one stagnant email template after another isn’t enough to engage top candidates. To stay top-of-mind, switch up your communication methods, sending reading lists, podcasts, videos, or invitations to events.

Our experts suggest sending swag bags to new hires, organizing hour-long virtual Q&As with company leadership, or showing off your company culture through fun, candid photos or quotes from current employees. Challenge your hiring team to experiment with new ideas, piloting an ambassador program, celebrating National Coming Out Day or other lesser-known holidays, or organizing a meet-and-greet with recent grads and your incoming intern cohort. 

Follow-up a new communication tactic by analyzing engagement data. Leverage the Scholars platform to see which events had the highest attendance rates or which content resulted in the highest open rates, click rates or time spent on the page.

5. Mirror Your Content Calendar to Your Candidates’ Schedules 

While maintaining consistent touchpoints with all candidates is important, our experts voiced a clear warning: Don’t bombard your candidates with too much information.

Like any content strategy (not just those related to recruiting) there’s a tipping point when your cadence goes from staying top-of-mind to being downright overwhelming. Remember: Early-career candidates are likely balancing full course loads, final exams, part-time jobs, and maintaining some semblance of a social life. Emailing them every.single.week (or multiple times per week) could have candidates doubting whether the role is the right fit, or whether your company values personal boundaries and a work-life balance.

Our experts advise sticking to a once-a-month communication schedule. Ramp up your content strategy during critical periods (e.g. the 1-2 months prior to onboarding) and scale down when your candidates are at risk of burnout (e.g. midterms and final exams).

6. Leverage Social Media to Gauge Company Loyalty 

Landing a first internship or full-time position post-graduation is a momentous occasion for any early-career candidate. Allow your incoming hires to share their excitement by arming them with social graphics, using a company hashtag, or inviting them to tag you on social media.

In addition, remember that social media is another way to measure engagement for your incoming cohort of recruits — particularly for early-career candidates. Leveraging social media channels offers one more data point to collect during your keep-warm strategy to ultimately prevent reneges

7. Always Refine Your Keep Warm Strategy With Data 

It’s true what they say — you cannot manage that which you do not measure. Therefore, you cannot expect to prevent early-career reneges if you don’t tie your keep warm strategy back to cold, hard facts.

Collect data wherever you can to refine your keep-warm strategy. Track both in-person and virtual event attendance, open and click rates for email campaigns, and the number of times a candidate connected with you on social media. In addition, send out surveys throughout the year, helping to collect qualitative data on why candidates are more prone to connect with specific communication methods.

Collecting data helps prevent reneges and gain executive buy-in for investing in an early-career recruitment strategy. However, tracking such a wide variety of data points can quickly drain internal resources. Fortunately, the Scholars platform collects and analyzes metrics automatically, helping to easily refine your keep warm strategy year after year.

Launch an Effective Keep Warm Strategy With Scholars 

An effective keep-warm strategy is imperative to reducing reneges for early-career candidates. However, effective communication must always strike a balance between internal budgets and bandwidth.

Scholars helps create engaging post-offer journeys backed by data, without draining company resources. Scholars allows you to create personalized journeys at scale, then track candidate engagement across a variety of communication channels.

To see how Scholars can help transform your keep warm strategy, schedule a demo.

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.