Executive Search: Focus on Candidate Engagement in 2021
By Sheenagh Beadell, CPC, Chemistry Consulting Group, Partner/Executive Search Specialist
We have seen many fluctuations within the local and global job market over the past year, and more so in the first few months of 2021 as we find ourselves still settling into an unsettling world. Sourcing talent continues to face many challenges with restrictions on travel, socializing, and work-settings. However, there have been new opportunities that have emerged in the world of work such as the capability to ‘work from anywhere’ which opens up the candidate pool more than ever before.
All of this change has led executive search professionals to refocus their search strategies. One of the most important factors in every search strategy continues to be candidate engagement. Here are some insights and opinions on how to continue to develop candidate engagement from within and outside of your business.
What is Candidate Engagement?
Different from the candidate experience, candidate engagement is continuous. By definition, candidate engagement is the process of continuous communication with your candidate pool.
Candidate engagement encompasses three key areas: People, Process and Technology.
- The People involved include recruiters, hiring committees, and the candidate audience.
- The Process is how recruiters will engage with candidates based on a recruitment strategy.
- The Use of Technology determines how you and the candidate will maintain communication: mobile phone, text, email, LinkedIn, etc.
What does successful engagement look like in Executive Search?
Positive candidate experiences are critical in any type of search, whether executive or other. As the saying goes, ‘You will always be remembered for how you make a person feel’, so keep the engagement experience an easy feat. Making connections and networking as positive, continuous, and convenient as possible for the candidate, always.
Many executives are passive and not actively seeking new opportunities. They are perceptive to how an organization handles a recruitment process, and it significantly impacts their decision to engage. If there is a lack of communication or if they feel unheard then nothing you do will attract their trust. Be prepared to begin attracting them at the onset of the process, which is the beginning of their candidate experience and spans the course of the entire recruitment process right through to onboarding.
Today, attracting the best talent through engagement has now gone completely virtual which makes ‘running into someone’ and improving those connections much less opportunistic.
Turn inwardly to referrals but be mindful that this does not create a hiring bias, which is a whole other topic for another time.
It is more important now than ever to be intentional about communicating your culture. Rather than focusing on pre-COVID perks like free bagels and coffee or catered lunches, focus on a culture of respect, meaningful communication, and collaboration.
Executives are actively seeking to work for companies that will support work/life balance post-COVID. A high proportion of the workforce has saved countless hours commuting, allowing for a more balanced personal and family life.
This pandemic has taken so much but has fundamentally given so much and has encouraged, and often forced, us to think beyond our creative scope and innovate at a much faster pace.