11 Ways to Keep Candidates Engaged Throughout the Recruitment Process

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 27 Jan 2022

11 Ways to Keep Candidates EngagedOne of the biggest challenges for Life Science recruiters is how to keep candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process. In recent years, LinkedIn has reported a 20% increase in job seeker drop off from the process, and with the current job market becoming even more competitive, reducing this drop off is key in securing the best talent in 2023.

In this article, we’ve outlined 11 things you can do to keep candidates engaged, with advice on what you can do before, during and after the application and interview process…

Strengthen Your Employer Brand

Before you start pushing out your job adverts, you need to make sure that you have an employer brand that’s going to get potential candidates excited about working for you. According to research by Glassdoor:

  • 92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation
  • A strong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%

To keep candidates engaged in the hiring process, show them what a career with you could look like, and what they could gain from working with you that they couldn’t get elsewhere. If they know what the end result may look like, they’re more likely to stick with the process.

Read our recent article on The Importance of Employer Branding in Life Science Recruitment.

Expand Your Talent Pool

Once you’ve strengthened your employer brand, focus on building a network of both active and passive talent. Potential candidates may be more likely to engage with your job adverts if they’re already familiar with your organisation. 

It’s important to build relationships with people who aren’t currently job searching too as an estimated 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent, and this is a huge group you could be missing out on. 

Put the Focus on Them

Although you’ll have set role requirements, don’t make your job adverts all about you. Place the focus on what this role could do for potential new hires, emphasising things like career progression, company culture, salary and benefits and corporate responsibility.

To keep candidates engaged, you need to make them believe in what you do and understand the impact you could have on their careers in the long term. 

Give Candidates Specific Instructions

Giving candidates specific instructions to follow in their application will encourage them to think more deeply about the role. For example, instead of asking for a generic cover letter, why not get candidates to answer a question specific to your organisation? This could be anything from asking them why your company culture appeals to them, to asking for their thoughts on your products, services, or clients/customers. 

This will encourage them to do extra research on your organisation, giving them insights that may have otherwise been missed. Finding out these key pieces of information such as who your clients are may help candidates become more invested in the role, ultimately engaging them in the process.

Don’t Make the Process Longer Than it Has to be

60% of candidates have quit an application process that was too long. Especially in today’s job market, where the best candidates are off the market within 10 days, you can’t afford to lose out on top talent because you haven’t streamlined your application process.

Consider automating parts of the process where you can, and make sure you’ve got a realistic hiring timeline in place and that you have the time and available resources to stick to it before you put your job ads out there.

Create a Positive Interview Experience

65% of candidates say a bad interview experience alone makes them lose interest in a job. To create a positive experience, you’ll need to:

  • Be organised: plan out the structure of the interview, including the questions you will ask
  • Be punctual: don’t keep candidates waiting on the day
  • Don’t make it an interrogation: create a comfortable environment for candidates - more tips on this can be found here
  • Help candidates prepare: send them anything you think may be useful for their interview, for example, a list of what to bring and links to the interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles

Having a well thought out interview process and helping candidates prepare will help you both be more present on the day, and will help when it comes to building a good relationship. 

Respond as Quickly as You Can

Respond to questions about the role and application process as swiftly as possible. If you’re hiring lots of roles at once and find yourself inundated with questions, why not create a list of FAQs that you can direct candidates to?

If you find that you’re getting the same questions over and over, then this could be a sign that your advert isn’t very clear, and you may need to make adjustments.

Provide a Hiring Timeline

Giving candidates a realistic hiring timeline will help them stay engaged in the process as they’ll have an end goal to work towards. They may be more likely to fill out an application if they know they’re going to hear back from you in two weeks’ time, rather than not knowing if they’ll ever get a response.

This also shows that the hiring process has been well thought out and that you respect the candidates’ time. If there are any delays, let them know and stay in touch rather than ghosting them for weeks at a time. Also bear in mind that some candidates will already have a full-time job, so although you should have a rough timeline, be flexible when it comes to specific times and dates.

Stay in Touch

To build a relationship with candidates, stay in touch with them outside of your emails inviting them to interviews etc. Why not forward them a recent company newsletter, or some important news you think may be of interest to them? This will keep them engaged in what you’re doing as an organisation, and shows that you’re genuinely interested in connecting with them.

Create an Onboarding and Training Schedule

Once you’ve offered a candidate the role, have an onboarding and training programme in place and share the details with them as quickly as possible after they’ve accepted. In the time between them accepting and starting the role, begin to integrate them into the team, perhaps by inviting them along to a company event, or sending them details on what they’ll be trained on so that they can begin to prepare.

Ask For Feedback

Use candidate feedback to improve your recruitment process. Candidates will be much more likely to share their feedback with you if they’ve had a positive experience, which is why the above steps are so important. Remember that candidates will most likely feedback their experience with you to others, so it’s important to know what they’re saying to other candidates you may be targeting. 

Creating a Positive Experience Benefits You Too…

15% of candidates with a positive hiring experience will put more effort into the job. Keeping candidates engaged in the process and refining it based on your feedback will ultimately help you to build a more productive, motivated and committed workforce.


Visit PharmiWeb's Recruiter Blog for more tips on Life Science recruitment, or visit our Recruiter Services Information Page to find out more about how we can help you bring the best talent to your organisation.