How To Keep Your 2024 Candidates Interested During The Application Process

For many positions, especially graduate jobs and some Apprenticeship programmes, the application process can take place in stages over a period of time.

And, during this time, school leavers, students and graduates are likely to have applied for numerous other positions with other companies. 

If you are looking to recruit top talent to your company, there is a chance you could lose the interest of candidates at any stage during your application process. 

And there are reasons for this.

If you find that strong candidates are disappearing from the application process at any stage, they have probably accepted a role elsewhere or chosen to concentrate on applications with your competition. 

So, what are steps you can take to make sure you keep students and graduates interested and wanting to land a role with your company or organisation. 

Here are some tips for steps you can take in 2024 to make sure you don’t lose out on young talent before they even get to that final hurdle to make the finish line. 

Host Or Attend Networking Events 

Before the application process even begins, you first need to be able to attract the young people you are targeting.

How can you encourage them to apply for your roles when there is lots of competition out there?

One way is to give them the opportunity of meeting you and members of your team in an open environment, away from the workplace. 

Attending relevant careers fairs and networking events can give you the opportunity to meet with potential candidates and is good for your company branding.

Host In Person – Or Virtual Tours And Q&A Sessions

Tours and question and answer sessions can be a good idea if you are working in a field or sector that traditionally has difficult to fill roles. 

Virtual tours give candidates from outside of your geographical area the opportunity to see what your workplace looks like and how it operates.

Virtual Q and A sessions can also give potential candidates the opportunity to speak with members of your team and get an insight into their day to day jobs.

Depending on the age of the recruits you are targeting, you can go out into schools, further education institutions and universities to give virtual tours but host in person Q and A sessions. 

Whilst it might not be possible for some company set ups, if it is an option for you, hosting open days for young people can make your future jobs more accessible to them and make your company real rather than abstract. 

Ensure Clarity In Job Descriptions 

We have written numerous times about the importance of clear job descriptions. 

Provide detailed job descriptions outlining roles, responsibilities, and qualifications to set clear expectations from the outset. 

This saves time for not yourself and potential candidates because you give yourself a better chance of receiving applications from those candidates who have the skills and qualities you are looking for. 

Sifting through hundreds of applications from unsuitable candidates is a waste of your time and their time.

Even more frustrating for yourself and candidates is if your candidate makes it further through the stages of your application process, only to realise the role isn’t for them.

This could be something that could have been avoided by a clear job ad. 

Personalised Communication

Depending on the size of your company and the number of young people you are recruiting at any one time, it might be tempting to send out blanket communication to all candidates. 

Whilst this makes your life easier, it can leave candidates feeling like they are part of an anonymous process and their time is not being valued. Just a number.

When you do communicate with candidates, tailor your communication to each candidate, addressing them by name and referencing specific details from their CV or application form.

This demonstrates that you have taken the time to sit down and read their application and are acknowledging them as an individual you are interested in.

Ensure Timely Responses

Just as your recruitment process is time consuming for you, it is also a time consuming, tiring process for candidates if they are applying for numerous roles. 

If you don’t want to lose out to the competition when it comes to the recruitment of young staff, make sure you respond promptly to candidate questions and applications. 

This demonstrates your organisation’s efficiency and respect for their time and efforts. Lack of communication can leave your candidates feeling like you are not valuing their time – and therefore may not value them if they were working for you. 

If a strong candidate has applied for positions elsewhere and they are in communication with the companies about those roles, your lack of communication means you could lose that opportunity to recruit them.

You can avoid unnecessary questions from candidates about dates for each stage of the application by stating these clearly in your job ad and recruitment pages on your online platforms.

Have A Transparent Process 

The application process is your opportunity to start building a relationship with your candidates right from the very first stage.

Keep candidates informed about the recruitment process stages, timelines, and what they can expect next.

During the process there are always going to be times when something comes up that means you are unable to carry out a stage of the process on the date your specified.

Or, you might not be able to send out information packs on the date specified.

Whatever the situation, if something does come up, your candidates will really appreciate your transparency and you taking the time to communicate with them, just to keep them up to date with what is happening.

If a strong candidate is interested in your role, they will be more likely to work with the delay if you communicate to them what is happening.

At various stages of the recruitment process maintain engagement by keeping them informed of any updates.

Be Open About Using Different Communication Channels 

How are you communicating with your job applicants? Students and graduates will be open to various forms of communication so making use of different channels accommodates their preferences.

As well as email; phone calls, video chat and messaging apps can be quick ways to keep the lines of communication open. 

After a phone call or a video chat, send a written summary of the main points that were covered in the chat so that your candidate can jog their memory of the call. 

If they are applying for numerous positions with different companies, this can be a good way to keep them engaged with their application for your position – it keeps your company at the forefront and shows the applicant you care about their time.

Have Engaging Content On Your Online Platforms

We all know how important company branding is when it comes to attracting the attention of potential young recruits. 

On your recruitment pages of your website and other online platforms, make sure you have engaging content such as videos, blogs or employee testimonials to showcase your company culture and values.

If you already have younger staff as part of your team, ask them if they will be willing to talk about what it is like working for your company on a video.

Most younger staff will be confident with short form video platforms such as Tiktok and Reels and can be a great advert for your company. 

Also, make sure you maintain an active presence on social media platforms to engage with potential candidates and showcase your company culture.

Active Listening 

How do you know you are getting it right with your application process? A great way to assess this is to ask your actual applicants.

Listen actively to candidates’ questions they may have. Are they raising any concerns. Ask them for feedback.

This demonstrates empathy and understanding and is aöso good for your company branding when it comes to future recruitment drives.

Previous candidates, even if they weren’t successful, will have a good feeling about your company because you took the time to ask them for their opinions.

These previous candidates will recommend you to other young people.

A good way to solicit feedback from candidates about their experience during the recruitment process is to ask them to complete a survey. This can help you to identify areas for improvement in the future. 

Give Feedback 

As well as communication with candidates about any changes to the application process, giving them timely and constructive feedback is also useful.

If there has been an interview or an assessment, make sure candidates know when they can expect to know the outcome of their efforts. 

Applying for jobs can be a stressful time and setting clear dates for when candidates can expect feedback removes a degree of uncertainty for them. Uncertainty is pone factor that can lead to disengagement. 

When you give constructive feedback, candidates will know where they did well and where they need to improve.

If they have been unsuccessful in landing a position with you, they will still feel valued and can act on those areas of improvement in future job applications with other companies. 

Consistent Company Branding 

We are back to the importance of branding again. Make sure there is consistency in branding across all of your communication channels to reinforce your employer brand and company identity.

To keep candidates engaged, they need to be able to recognise your company immediately via your branding.

This is especially the case when you are recruiting graduates who might be applying for graduate jobs with various companies. 

You need to be instantly recognisable rather than getting lost in the crowd. 

In Conclusion

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively engage candidates throughout the recruitment process and create a positive experience that reflects well on your organisation.

If you have job vacancies that you think school leavers, students or graduates might be interested in, contact us about placing your job ad with e4s and reach your target audience.