As a recruiter, how often should you be communicating with candidates?
While you probably won’t like this answer, our honest response is this: It depends. The frequency in which you communicate depends heavily on the seniority of the candidate, the role they’re applying for, and where they are within their candidate journey.
As an employer, your goal should be to stay top of mind with candidates, while remaining respectful of their time and energy. Why? To ensure top talent sticks with you through their first day on the job.
In 2020 alone, 28% of candidates ghosted a potential employer — up 10% from the year prior. When asked why they dropped off during the application process, over half (51%) of candidates stated they were frustrated by the “lack of information” provided by potential employers. In addition, 38% of candidates didn’t know where they stood within the application process, thereby choosing to take their talents elsewhere.
So, how do you, as a recruiter, keep candidates engaged throughout the application process? Send them valuable content tailored to their unique role (and thereby preparing them for their first day), while preserving their time outside of work.
Every candidate journey is different, and therefore your communication methods — and frequency of those methods — will differ from applicant to applicant. Below, we explain how often you should communicate with each candidate in your pipeline, based on their individual journey.
How Often You Should Communicate With Candidates, Based on 6 Candidate Journeys
Before we dissect how often you should communicate with candidates, let’s get clear on what a candidate’s journey actually is.
At Scholars, we define a candidate journey as the time period between a candidate’s first interaction with your company to their last (not first) day on the job. Clearly, this broad definition includes an equally-broad set of candidates, including individuals who might never interview at your company (e.g. your talent community) and full-time employees (sticking with you for over six months). Below, we explain how — and how often — to keep in touch with each candidate, no matter where they are within your pipeline.
If you’re already thinking, “I can’t create custom journeys for that many candidates!” don’t panic — we’ve already done the work for you. Below, we offer our six-part framework to build a personalized journey for every candidate in your funnel, plus a template to build your own strategy:
1. Talent Community
Communication frequency: Monthly
When developing candidate journeys for your talent community, ask yourself, “How can we make our talent community a destination of information, rather than just a job board?”
At this early stage in the candidate lifecycle, there will [clearly] be applicants who may never interview with your company. However, you can still strengthen your employer brand by offering tangible career advice to your talent community. Incorporate helpful information to paint a picture as to what a day in the life at your company looks like, offer recommended reading lists, and find useful ways to help early-career talent jumpstart their career.
2. Interview Process
Communication frequency: Weekly
Every individual wants to be prepared for an interview, but this holds especially true for Gen Z talent. Research shows that 54% of Gen Z candidates are facing feelings of anxiety when entering the workforce. As a recruiter, you can alleviate this anxiety by staying transparent throughout the interview process.
Communicate with candidates on a weekly basis, telling them exactly what they should expect when they interview. Update candidates between every round of interviews, and offer helpful prep materials to keep them engaged (and excited!) for the next step in the process.
3. Post-Offer Acceptance
Communication frequency: Varies
Your communication should increase — not decrease — after a candidate signs an offer letter with your company. A shocking 68% of candidates state they would renege on an accepted offer if a better opportunity arose, making this a critical time without the candidate lifecycle.
Your communication frequency will vary depending upon the candidate’s unique timeline. If there’s a four-month waiting period before the applicant’s first day, a bi-weekly communication schedule is a must. However, if you’re waiting roughly seven months before a candidate’s start date, you can lower your frequency to every three weeks. Lastly, if the candidate journey extends 1-2 years (yes, it happens — particularly for early-career hires awaiting graduation), you can touch base with the candidate once every three months.
4. Intern Program
Communication frequency: Weekly
View your intern program as a pipeline for full-time employees. To ensure interns stick with your company post-graduation, ensure they get the mentorship and career advancement they need to succeed.
Implement weekly touchpoints with each intern on your team. Use these check-ins to incorporate feedback mechanisms, offer advice for intern projects, or pair them with a junior mentor. In addition, offer opportunities for your interns to network with other members of their same cohort, inviting them to networking events, happy hours, or coffee chats.
5. Converted Interns
Communication frequency: Every 3-4 weeks
A current intern just signed-on to be a full-time employee once they receive their degree — now what?
Your recruiters should be extremely intentional with your team of interns that have converted. At this [somewhat delicate] stage, don’t be afraid to place interns in the driver’s seat of their candidate journey. Point-blank ask them how often they wish to be communicated with, which communication channels they prefer, and how you can help best prepare them for their career.
Remember, these candidates are still in school, balancing final exams while trying to jump-start their career. Be respectful of their time and energy, while showing you’re still invested in their progress.
6. First 180 Days of Full-Time Employment
Communication frequency: Weekly for one month, bi-weekly for 5 months
The first six months of a junior hire is a critical time within their career. Here, you must balance the candidate’s best interest with the best interest of their department as a whole. In other words, you need to check in with your early-career hires to ensure they’re happy, invested, and interested in their work, while staying respectful of the candidate’s direct supervisors. Be sure not to interfere with any trainings or manager check-ins, but follow up with candidates regularly to ensure they’re engaged at work.
As a starting point, consider checking in with candidates weekly for their first month on the job. After that, you can decrease your communication frequency to once per month for the next five months.
Take a Personalized Approach to Each Candidate Journey
To prevent early-career talent reneges, you need to communicate with candidates on a regular basis. However, how often you touch base with candidates relies heavily on their individual journey.
To keep candidates engaged, you’ll need to develop personalized journeys for each applicant. Speak candidly to each member within your talent community, asking them how frequently they’d like to stay in contact. Overall, you should communicate purposefully, offering valuable content and career advice, while staying respectful of their personal time and energy. Consider implementing feedback mechanisms, pairing mentors and mentees together, and sending automated, tailored content to each candidate in your pipeline.
For more tips on how to keep early-career candidates engaged, be sure to check out our Slack channel at hirescholars.com/Slack. In addition, join us on March 2nd at 12:30 PM EST for a free, live webinar discussing how to scale your mentorship program for early-career talent.