Start 'em Young: Engage Early with Candidates for Greater Long-term Success

A  version of this blog was first posted on Recruiting Daily.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is fast approaching (Thursday, April 27, in case you’re wondering), and, I must admit, I think of the day as a fantastic opportunity for children of all ages to be exposed to a wide variety of career options. In fact, I’m looking forward to the day when my two young children can participate in the program and gain a deeper understanding of the big wide world of “work.”

This year’s theme of #COUNTONME particularly resonates with me, as it demonstrates the reciprocal nature of our work lives. Knowing that I can rely on my colleagues to do their part in making our company a success – and knowing that I, in turn, am considered a trusted co-worker who can be depended upon to get my own job done – makes coming to work every day even more enjoyable. There is no doubt in my mind that I can count on my colleagues to act responsibly and contribute to our company’s overall performance.

That level of trust really began before I was even an employee of WCN – I started out partnering with the company on talent acquisition initiatives while I was working at Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers. It was through those deeper interactions with WCN that I recognized the fellow kindred spirits there who felt as deeply about recruiting and technology best practices as I did.

Now, I’m not advocating for everyone to workwith a company that they eventually might workfor, but I do believe in the need to build deeper relationships between potential candidates and employers early on in the recruitment process, even when a right-fit job doesn’t exist yet. Creating opportunities for conversations and interactions with candidates goes a long way toward developing long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

I’ve been encouraged by the recent creative efforts that recruiters are making in order to win the hearts and minds of qualified candidates. Take the introduction of a new recruitment chatbot from online operator Sky Betting and Gaming. Enhanced by the star power of Sky Sports presenter, Jeff Stelling, the company allows Facebook users to “Ask Jeff” questions about the corporate culture and what a career at the company might look like. With its interactive chatbot, Sky Betting and Gaming has really upped its game when it comes to delivering a positive candidate experience.

I believe that this level of virtualization represents the future of candidate engagement. The rise of social media and mobile apps means that candidates have higher expectations of employers than ever before. They demand attention, information and conversation immediately and recruiters must be able to respond in turn. What’s most important for employers to remember is that recruitment processes and practices need to revolve around an engaging, personalized experience for the candidate. Technology and automation are enabling recruiters to form a bond from an early stage and easily engage in two-way conversations with candidates throughout the hiring process.

Other technologies like video interviewing and gamification also help give candidates greater insight into an employer’s psyche, and those experiences then can feed into full-day events where candidates are immersed in a company’s work environment. The automation of some of the manual processes of old means that recruiters can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on interacting more frequently and in a more personalized manner with qualified candidates.

Similarly to the enriching experiences that children receive when joining their parents at work, authentic, meaningful opportunities to engage with candidates during the recruiting process result in a better match for both parties. And, the earlier these interactions can begin, the more successful recruiters will be in the long run because candidates will know they can #CountOnThem for assistance throughout their career.

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