Candidate Engagement Strategy

According to the Department of Labor, there are around 40 million people who have filed for unemployment. What this means to you is that you will most likely experience an overwhelming amount of applications to any positions you have posted. Should you be in a situation where you need to post an open position, these 3 strategies will help ensure you can manage the application experience to maintain your company’s brand and reputation.

Respond to all applicants timely.

Many candidates report frustration at the application process particularly when they don’t hear back from an employer. Not responding to an application or resume with a status leaves a candidate feeling like their application and resume went into a black hole. Ghosting on them after an interview is unprofessional and can damage your company’s brand and reputation when candidates can quickly and easily share their experience on social media platforms such as Glassdoor.

To manage expectations, create a process that informs the candidates of what to expect.

  • Inform an applicant that an application was received and is currently being reviewed.
  • Should they not meet the basic qualifications, send a notification to alert the candidate as quickly as possible so they know they are not being considered.
  • Follow up with candidates pre and post interview to ensure they know the next steps of the interview process.
To manage your brand and maintain consistency:
  • Create message templates with customizable fields for your team to use. This should include voicemail templates, email templates and text templates.
  • Create conversational guidelines for your recruiters on how to pre-screen applicants and inform them of the next steps.
Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s) help you with organizing the process and message templates. If you don’t have an Applicant Tracking System, create a process and store tracking tools in a common place where all team members can easily access the information.


Decline applicants with empathy and refer non-qualified applicants to an employment or career center.

Each candidate invests time and effort on creating or revising their resume and doing research on your organization. Many of them emotionally invest themselves in the process by creating presentations or mini projects to display their skills and qualifications. Politely declining a candidate and giving them quality feedback will give them the impression that their candidacy was thoroughly considered and may invite them back as a candidate at a later time.

What will give them a lasting impression on the character and values your organization upholds is if you go the extra step and do any of the following:

  • Ask them if they would be OK if you shared their resume and contact info within your personal network and/or through your professional organizations.
  • Refer them to an employment or career center like the American Job Center or other local agencies. The staff at these employment agencies offer job seekers with employment support through resume assistance, career coaching and other career workshops.
You’re doing something good by redirecting them to other sources that may be of help and you are doing your part in helping the economy


Build your talent pool/pipeline.

Chances are that you will have many quality candidates to consider with each position posting. Consider saving them for future positions by creating a pipeline of quality candidates. You can group them up by skills or job titles to keep them organized so when a future project comes up or when a team needs to grow and expand, you can present quality candidates quickly to reduce the time-to-fill on those new roles.

Keep in contact with them by sending them a note on holidays and when you come across news articles that remind you of them, so they continue to feel valued after the interview process has concluded.