How to Follow Up with Candidates to Improve Engagement

How to Follow Up with Candidates to Improve Engagement
HireHive Team

HireHive Team


In an era of The Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and the rise of candidate ghosting, it can be challenging for organisations to fully engage talent in the pipeline. But engagement may be the most important factor for hiring and retention. So how do you follow up with candidates in a way that continues to keep them excited about the job opportunity and your business? Here is our guide to following up with candidates throughout the process. 

The Importance of Following Up

The proper response strategy showcases your company's professionalism and respect for the candidate's time and effort. How you follow up will affect your reputation and impact future interactions with applicants who may have heard of your company through others who have been through your hiring process. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 75% of people wouldn't accept a job with a company with a negative reputation, even if they were unemployed. 

Providing prompt and clear feedback can also help candidates in their job search and offer closure if they are not selected for the position. You maintain good relationships with potential hires by following up effectively, which can benefit future recruiting efforts. Candidates are four times more likely to consider a future position if they receive feedback in their initial process. 

Building Your Employer Brand

One of the greatest assets in your hiring process is your employer brand. This is a combination of your reputation and recognition in the marketplace. Improving your employer brand is a combination of internal and external strategies that reach potential candidates in the hiring process. These steps can help you build your employer brand.  

  • Define your brand by developing a clear and concise employer value proposition that outlines your company's unique benefits and culture. 
  • Engage your employees to share their experiences, opinion, and feedback about working for your company. 
  • Promote your employer brand on your company website, social media, and job postings so candidates fully understand your company values and culture. 
  • Ensure that your salary and benefits are competitive and set you apart. 
  • Foster a positive work environment that is supportive, inclusive, and promotes career development. 
  • Maintain your online reputation by monitoring your company through websites like Glassdoor and responding to negative feedback promptly to address any issues.

According to a Glassdoor report, even satisfied employees would consider leaving their current workplace if they received another offer. 58% of happy employees said they are still looking for a new job, so it's important to note that happiness doesn't automatically create loyalty, so companies need to go the extra mile. 

Transparency in the Hiring Process

Transparency is becoming increasingly important for candidates, and it improves the candidate experience as they receive clear and honest communication on their application status. It also provides insight into what to expect from the interview process. Good follow-up skills are the first step in transparency in hiring. 

Transparency also builds trust. It shows that your organisation has integrity and is willing to communicate clearly. It also improves fairness as all candidates are informed about the selection criteria and process, which can eliminate unconscious bias. 

You can also attract top talent because of your company's transparency. Candidates are more likely to apply and accept offers from businesses with a reputation for transparency and fairness in the hiring process. It can also improve diversity and inclusion initiatives by helping to eliminate bias and supporting equity in the workplace.

An exciting look at how transparency is changing the hiring process in the United States is with several states now requiring the disclosure of a salary range in job postings. An unexpected side benefit is the cost of recruiting is lower for businesses that include salary. As salary transparency is already required throughout the European Union, companies in the EU are beginning to see this play out in real time. 

Improving the Candidate Experience

Following up is the key to ensuring that every applicant has a positive experience with your organisation. There are clear steps to improving the candidate experience through follow-up alone. 

  • Keep candidates informed about the status of their applications. 
  • Follow up with clear feedback for all candidates.
  • Respond to candidate inquiries promptly.
  • Streamline the application and interview process to reduce wait time and confusion for candidates.
  • Personalise the candidate experience and be welcoming throughout the process. 
  • Ask for candidate feedback on the process and use that to improve the overall experience.
  • Always respect your applicants' time.

Prevent Ghosting

Feedback is crucial in improving the candidate experience, which includes transparency and your employer brand. Following up throughout the hiring process will keep more candidates engaged, and they are less likely to see high rates of applicants "ghosting." In Germany in 2021, recruiters indicated that ghosting rose 56%. Candidate ghosting is a byproduct of poor follow-up on the part of employers rather than an anomaly in the process. 

In a global study reported by the BBC, 75% of job seekers reported being ghosted by potential employers in their job search. It's been back and forth for decades. It isn't a necessary evil in employment. Every organisation can work to counter ghosting by including more follow-ups in their hiring process. 

Scenarios Requiring Follow Up

It can sometimes be helpful to have examples of circumstances requiring additional follow-up. Here are some practical ways to incorporate following up into your candidate experience. 

A Request for More Information 

Do you need additional information from an applicant? This could include clarification about their application, more details to complete background checks or verification of something you uncovered during the interview. Here are the steps for following up. 

  • Reach out directly, either by email or phone, to request additional information. 
  • Clearly explain why you need this information and what it will be used for. 
  • Be clear about the specific information you need and how soon you need it. 
  • If the information is complex or sensitive, offer to assist or provide additional resources so they can understand what's necessary. 
  • Always be polite and professional and thank the candidate for their cooperation. 

Scheduling an Interview

Once you've identified the candidates ready for the next steps, you want to follow up directly and request a meeting. Here are some practical steps to asking for an interview. 

  • Be clear in your ask, provide specific times that work, or share a calendar link to set up a call or meeting easily 
  • Establish the expectations for the interview. 
  • Always personalise the message for each candidate by referencing their specific skills and qualifications and why you're interested in speaking with them further. 
  • Remain friendly and professional and express enthusiasm about speaking with them. 

Sending an Offer Letter

Sending an offer letter should be exciting for you and your candidate. Ensuring that you follow up correctly will maintain positive communication. Steps for requesting feedback after making an offer should include the following: 

  • Make it clear that you are excited about this offer and provide a timeframe for them to respond. 
  • Personalise the message regarding their achievements and why you want them to join your team. 
  • Ask specific and relevant questions about the offer to ensure they understand the next steps in the process. 
  • Send a follow-up letter within a reasonable time frame after the offer has been sent. 
  • Make it easy for the candidate to follow up with you, including phone, email, or online scheduling tools. 
  • Regardless of their decision, thank them for their feedback, time, and interest in the opportunity. 

Requests for Feedback 

It's always a good idea to ask candidates for feedback on their experience so you can improve. For candidates you did not choose to hire, candidates who did not accept the offer, and incoming new employees, here is how to ask for feedback. 

  • Wait until the end of the hiring process so the candidate can experience every step. 
  • Personalise the message. 
  • Make it easy to provide feedback by including a survey link. 
  • Ask specific and relevant questions about the candidate's experience, such as what they liked about the process and what can be improved. 
  • Remain impartial and avoid being defensive or dismissive when receiving feedback. 
  • Act by using the feedback to improve the overall candidate experience. 

Use Technology to Improve and Automate the Feedback Experience

An applicant tracking system can provide you with additional insights as you search for candidates who match the skills and background of each job. It can also automate aspects of the communication and feedback cycle to make the process run smoothly and not fall through the cracks. 

With more competition for top talent, it pays for companies to consider all their advantages and the use of tools to assist in the quest to find talent. HireHive helps busy people hire great people. You can post jobs, streamline your online application process, improve the candidate experience, and tap into vast global networks by having your entire recruitment process in one place. 

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