Here’s a hard truth every recruiter must face: A signed offer letter doesn’t guarantee a candidate will come work for your company.
According to a recent Scholars poll, 65% of candidates state they would back out of a signed offer if approached with a better opportunity. In fact, research shows that over a fourth of professionals — 28%, to be exact — have reneged on a job offer after acceptance.
So, how do you ensure you ensure a candidate doesn’t entertain other offers? You need to invest time, energy, and resources into developing a candidate strategy to keep top talent engaged through their start date. At Scholars, we recommend every candidate journey contains these four elements: transparency, empowerment, personalization, and consistency. Below, we dive into each one of these themes and tell you exactly how to implement them across the candidate lifecycle.
Every Candidate Strategy Should Contain These Four Themes
As a company, your goal should be to deliver an exceptional candidate experience that prevents reneges and employee turnover.
As part of your recruiting strategy, gather your team together, and whiteboard your entire candidate lifecycle, from the moment they join your talent community, through onboarding, and into the first six months on the job. Throughout this timeline, you should make notes of where you can implement these four themes:
More so than any other generation, Gen Z candidates value trust, transparency, and authenticity. They expect to receive all of the above from the brands they purchase and the companies they work for.
Ask yourself this question: What journey can candidates expect to experience through your company? Secondly, how can you clearly define these expectations as soon as an applicant joins your candidate community? Be as open as possible with every candidate, no matter where they are in their journey. Each individual should be able to visualize the path they’ll take with your company, through their first day on the job.
When outlining expectations, be clear about the following:
- Hierarchy: Who will the candidate work with at your company? Who will their direct supervisor be? If you haven’t assigned the individual a manager, tell them it’s a decision in progress — then provide a deadline of when introductions will be made.
- Qualifications: What skills do you expect candidates to have before their start date? While this should come up within the interview process, hopefully you can provide guidance on other skills and/or certifications that will help advance their career.
- Communication: Let each candidate know when, and how often, they should expect to hear from you, and through which channels.
This generation of early-career job seekers craves autonomy at work — and they want to feel empowered throughout the candidate lifecycle.
At the same time, there is a great deal of anxiety surrounding feeling prepared for the workforce. Roughly 87% of candidates fear they do not have the optimum level of knowledge and tools necessary to do their job. To counteract this anxiety, put applicants in the driver’s seat of their own candidate experience. Allow them to determine how you communicate (and with whom), how expectations are set, and which tools they need to be prepared for their first six months on the job.
To help recent grads feel empowered throughout their candidate experience, ask them:
- Communication styles: Ask candidates when (and how often) they would like to touch base. In addition, ask them which times work best for each subsequent interview.
- Development: Ask candidates if there are skills they’d like to acquire, that may-or-may not be part of your standard intern program. Ask about their career objectives, and how you can be a resource in achieving those goals.
- Tools and training: Ask your talent community which tools will set them up for success. Try to provide them with a destination of information, rather than a simple email response.
More so than previous generations, today’s early career talent expects greater personalization as they move throughout their career journey. This generation grew up receiving personalized content and advertisements from brands, and now they expect the same from their employers.
There’s only one, glaring problem: Personalization is tough to achieve at scale. Therefore, you need to develop systems and processes so you can offer that individualized experience, without draining internal resources. Ask yourself: How can we tailor each step within the candidate lifecycle to the individual’s age, role, department, or other demographics? Finally, always ask yourself the question, “Is this how I would choose to be communicated with if I were in their shoes?”
As you look for innovative ways to personalize the candidate experience, try implementing the following:
- Tailored messaging: Personalization is more than simply adding a candidate’s first name to a mass email. Instead, draft copy that’s actually relevant to each individual and their particular role, best preparing them for a career at your company.
- Video content: Have each manager create a video for their incoming team of interns or recent hires. How can they set themselves up for success, and stand out within their cohort?
- Hand written notes: A handwritten note still goes a long way. Provide a small swag box with a short message to encourage new hires throughout their onboarding process.
Lastly, any candidate strategy you develop should be consistent — consistent in your communication, consistent in your delivery, and consistent in the value of the information you provide to top talent.
Staying consistent is, for all intents and purposes, delivering on a promise to candidates. It ties each of the previous three themes together, staying consistent in your communication styles, the degree of personalization you provide, and how you provide tools and training to your community. (For example, if you make a commitment to communicate bi-weekly with candidates, then suddenly drop to a once-a-month frequency without any warning, that’s a clear sign you need to make a change.)
To help stay consistent throughout every step within the candidate journey, take the following actions:
- Assign roles: Who “owns” the talent community, within your team? Who is responsible for communicating with each applicant through every step of the candidate lifecyle?
- Delegate according to specific stages: It’s completely acceptable to assign different point-of-contact to manage candidates within the talent community, interview process, onboarding, and other stages — as long as that’s communicated to candidates. Do you have every stage of the candidate journey covered, or are you at risk at developing gaps in communication?
- Don’t lose personalization: Again, each of these four themes are intertwined. As you strive for consistency across your candidate journey, be nimble enough that each stage can be tailored to the individual applicant.
Apply These Four Themes Across Your Entire Candidate Lifecycle
No matter your industry, every candidate journey should encompass these four themes: transparency, empowerment, personalization, and consistency. Approach these four attributes as overlapping components (rather than silos), that will provide a well-rounded candidate experience.
Each of these four components should be applied through every stage within the candidate journey, from your talent community, through the interview process and signing an offer letter, and into onboarding and full-time employment. Don’t know where to start? Perform a whiteboard exercise where you physically map out each of these subsequent steps, then identify gaps in your process. For more tips on how to develop personalized candidate journeys at scale, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and join our Slack community.