How to refine your recruitment messaging strategy and nurture candidates in your pipeline

candidates in waiting area

We all want to place the very best candidates into our teams. You put a great deal of effort into identifying them and nurturing them into your pipeline, but this isn’t the end of the process. Too many companies put time and money into finding outstanding talent, then take them for granted as soon as they have completed an application form.

Just because a potential new hire has applied doesn’t mean that they will stay aboard until the end of your process. Especially when you know the applicant is actively seeking opportunities, you want to make sure that your company stays front of mind.

As recruiters, we’re used to thinking of the application process as being a candidate’s opportunity to make a good impression, but it’s ours too. We can show that we are reliable, communicative, and that we treat our staff with respect.

Candidates who don’t feel engaged or nurtured by your recruitment messaging are more likely to drop out of your pipeline, whether through finding an alternative position or simply losing enthusiasm. This is why it’s essential to sustain good communication and messaging throughout the recruitment process, keeping applicants informed and engaged. 

In this article, we’re going to look at some top tips to refine your recruitment messaging.

How to keep candidates in your pipeline with recruitment messaging

Get personal

In the past, you might have been able to send automated, generic emails to all applicants. Today’s talent expects more from you. Younger candidates are digital natives. They’ve grown up with mailing lists and bulk emails. If you want to impress them, you’re going to have to work a little harder.

Throughout the recruitment process, personalise your emails to candidates. It often only takes a small token to make a candidate feel valued. The main information that you need to get across can be uniform across candidates, but include a short paragraph addressed to them personally at the start of your message.

This may be more time-consuming, but it’s time well spent if you keep great candidates in your pipeline.

Use technology to your advantage

Although we want to be personal, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything the hard way. Recruiters are busier than ever and are facing an astonishingly challenging recruitment market. Take every advantage you can find.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a blessing for many overwhelmed recruiters, as is partnering with recruitment services like crooton who understand the importance of your entire pipeline. These kinds of services can help you create a straightforward process that keeps your communication strategy, including recruitment messaging, both effective and manageable.

Collect relevant data

One of the most important steps you can take to nurture your candidates is to understand when they are dropping out of the process. Use your applicant tracking software or AI solution to help you understand when candidates are likely to withdraw from your process, and increase your recruitment messaging before they reach that point.

Remember that candidates will often have withdrawn from your process mentally before the point at which they tell you they have lost interest. It will also rarely be a single event that leads them to withdraw (though this is possible, and it’s important that you deal with this if it happens).

Candidates stepping back is a sign that they haven’t been sufficiently nurtured throughout your process so far. They’re signalling that they want more (meaningful) communication. Pay attention to those signals and respond by giving them what they’re looking for.

Respond promptly

One of the biggest complaints from candidates dropping out of recruitment pipelines is that companies took too long to get back to them. Replying promptly probably shouldn’t set you above the crowd, but it does. So make use of it and nurture those candidates.

Waiting for an email or a reply is frustrating. This is especially true when it’s about something as important as whether you’re being advanced to the next stage of an interview or, even worse, whether you’re being offered a new job.

If candidates email asking when they can expect to hear back from you, you’re not keeping them updated quickly enough. This is an important sign that you need to up your recruitment messaging game.

Specific queries should usually be answered within 24 hours. If you don’t have an answer available, let them know. Tell them when you will be able to get them an answer, and stick to it!

Remember, you’re trying to build trust and goodwill with potential new team members. Treat them like you value and respect their time.

Always communicate your decision

For the overworked recruiter, candidates who weren’t offered the job can be a distant afterthought. Don’t let them be.

One reason candidates become disenchanted with a slow-moving recruitment process or poor communication is that they are often not told that they have been unsuccessful. This creates unnecessary anxiety for candidates and can lead them to assume that they have been rejected if your process takes longer than expected.

Not communicating a negative result (and giving feedback if requested) can also create a poor impression of your company. Candidates who aren’t right for you today might be perfect in a few years. How you communicate with them now may determine whether you successfully hire them then.

Be authentic and transparent

We’ve talked before about employer branding. How you communicate with candidates is the most powerful form of employer branding you have. 

Use the opportunity to showcase your values. This means being open and honest at all times. Don’t wait for candidates to ask. Explain your recruitment process clearly from the outset, and keep candidates updated about any changes you might make.

Make transparency a key part of your strategy throughout your pipeline. Be clear and upfront about what you are looking for in a candidate from the start. Let candidates know how many steps your process has and how quickly they can expect a decision at each stage. If you want them to stick with you, invest some time and resources into nurturing that budding relationship.

It’s also valuable to give candidates a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve at each stage of your process. It’s particularly important if you are including any form of testing, such as coding challenges. Telling candidates the skills you are seeking lets them feel confident and reduces their anxiety. It also means that you are more likely to see the outcomes you want, letting you find outstanding talent that might otherwise fall through the cracks due to a gap in recruitment messaging.

Ask questions

As recruiters, we can sometimes feel under pressure to have all the answers, but nothing can be further from the truth. Asking your candidates about their experience of the application process, and for their suggestions about how to improve it, shows that you recognise their value.

When you ask candidates for their suggestions, you are providing concrete evidence that they will have a voice in your company and that you are willing to listen to your employees.

Nurturing candidates throughout the recruitment pipeline is an important aspect of your employer branding, but there’s lots more to be done. Check out the crooton blog for more thoughts and suggestions about how you can find the best candidates and make them enthused about joining your team.

In particular, we recommend:

And to run your recruitment messaging ideas by one of crooton’s talent acquisition experts, you can always get in touch. We’re happy to help hone your approach.