For job seekers, it’s a seller’s market these days. That means many businesses have serious problems when it comes to finding qualified talent—it seems as if everyone is already happily employed or can’t be lured away by the kinds of benefits packages that rival organizations are willing to offer. The pain is particularly acute for recruiters who have to fill highly specialized positions where the candidate pool is quite small even in the most ideal conditions.

What can recruiters do to improve the odds of finding talent? Among other things, recruiters need to engage candidates properly. They need to ensure that they attract talented prospects, build a professional relationship with these candidates, and keep them in the loop for however long it takes to place them in the right position.

Remember: A good candidate likely has other options they could pursue instead, so you need to provide positive reasons why they should deal with you and not someone else.

Candidate Engagement & Experience

Maintain an Attractive Career Site – If you’re responsible for a career website where candidates can submit resumes and related materials directly to you, then it’s worth putting in some effort to make it as inviting as possible. We’re not just talking about sharp-looking graphics (although those help). You also need to simplify your online application process. So, get rid of those five-page application forms where the candidate has to type scads of data about their last ten years of employment.

However—you may protest—what if all that data is necessary for recruiting purposes? The solution is to get an ATS software package with resume parsing functionality, which will enable you to extract and assemble relevant information with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Respond to Emails – It’s simple, but too many recruiters alienate candidates by failing to answer emails—or responding so belatedly that the candidate feels (for good reason) that he or she is a low-priority consideration. Be sure to respond promptly to incoming emails.

This isn’t welcome news to recruiters whose inboxes fill up with emails seemingly faster than the delete button can be pushed. Your ATS software will provide valuable help with this as well, by allowing you to set up automated emails that reply to incoming messages even when you’re away from your desk.

Candidate engagement

On the flip side, don’t be too concerned if a prospect doesn’t respond to one of your emails, especially if you’re dealing with a passive candidate. If you think you’re being “ghosted,” send at least a few emails or texts before you write off the applicant.

Explain the Process – What steps will the candidate be expected to go through as part of the hiring process? How many interviews will be required? How long will the journey take? Make sure that candidates aren’t left in the dark—or else they’ll assume the worst.