From Candidate to Employee: Best Strategies to Improve Candidate Conversion
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The job of a recruiter and a sports agent is somewhat similar. If you have seen any sports movies, you will see how sports agents and coaches try to convince athletes to join a particular team. Along with the best pay package, they try and promise to provide incentives to sweeten the deal. 

As a recruiter, converting a candidate into an employee is somewhat similar. You have to offer the best salary package, incentives and show them that they are a part of a good employer brand. However, not every candidate is swayed. Even after accepting an offer-letter, they end up being no-shows. 

This is what puts the candidate conversion rate into the spotlight.

Put simply, a candidate conversion rate measures the number of potential candidates who applied for a position after seeing its advertisement and how many of them were converted into candidates and finally into employees.

This ratio can highlight how efficient or inefficient your recruiting process is. This can bring forth the problems as well as the strengths of your process.

8 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Candidate Conversion Rate

#1 Prioritize Candidate Experience

A candidate comes into direct contact with your organization for the first time through the hiring process. They carry this ‘first impression’ with them, irrespective of whether they are hired or not. 

  • First impressions matter: Top talent will always have multiple offers to choose from. They will quickly move away from a slow and tedious hiring process. With better and easier options available, candidates no longer have the patience to suffer a ‘careers page’ that does not display properly on their mobile device and/or asks them to fill out lengthy online forms. Mandatory registration just to view the open positions in the organization is a strict no-no.
  • Simplify the process: Automate as many processes and steps within those processes as possible. The fewer the number of ‘clicks’ a candidate has to go through, the better. The onboarding process should make a new hire feel welcome and wanted. Anticipate and provide all the resources and amenities that a new employee may need. If possible, provide a mentor for the initial hand-holding period.
  • Candidates engagement is a must: A huge number of employees resign within the first 3 months of joining, citing bad ‘candidate’ and ‘new employee’ experience. On the other hand, happy employees – even rejected candidates – will refer more candidates and also encourage them to join the organization.
  • ‘Post-offer candidate engagement’ assumes importance. An important point to think about is candidate engagement. It tends to increase candidate conversion and, at the same time, reduce dropouts.

    Post-offer candidate engagement comes into play after extending a formal offer to the candidate. This is the intentional and creative candidate engagement strategy that significantly improves the chances of them joining the company. It could be achieved through various methods like calls, texts, emails, newsletters, or even in-person interactions.  It enables the candidates to understand and imbibe the company culture early on via information on company culture, events, and updates, while also giving the recruiters a sense of the candidate’s experience so far and their intent to join.

    The post-offer solution offered by Hyreo achieves all this and more. It helps the hiring team create an engagement plan spanning the notice period of the selected candidate, which could range from 30 to 90 or even 180 days in some cases. A lot could change over such a long notice period. Hence the necessity to keep the candidate engaged. 

    Hyreo’s post-offer solution automates 60% of the recurring and non-strategic recruiter activities like follow-ups, alerts, documentation & query resolution.

    This has led to a massive 30% improvement in offer conversion on the current rate via improved candidate engagement, predictive analytics & issue management.

#2 Automate, Automate, and Automate!

Every single aspect of the recruiting process can be automated in today’s day and age. Before recruiting employees, recruit software and AI tools for screening and shortlisting, scheduling interviews, candidate assessment, and communication tools. 

Provide candidates with the resources to schedule their own interviews and assessment. This will increase the chances of them sticking with the process and finishing it.

No more multiple phone calls and text messages, no more to and fro emails just to schedule an interview. Besides being more efficient, this will also reduce the hiring cycle time. 

AI tools serve one other function – that of being an unbiased judge. Human errors and biases are eliminated to a large extent, ensuring candidate satisfaction. This will also potentially improve the quality of hires.

Hyreo’s post-offer solution increases automated candidate touchpoints via digital channels by 300%. This enables organizations to push their content and brand story more effectively.

#3 AI Chatbots

Adding chatbots to your careers page is a great idea. A huge amount of time will be saved on both sides. Candidates can interact with the organization’s ‘representative’ 24/7 and get their queries answered in real-time. These chatbots can also match the candidates to suitable open positions. They can send reminders and alert messages. Further, the data collected by these bots can help in improving the entire process.

This one small addition alone can drastically improve the candidate conversion rate.

#4 Your ‘Social’ Face 

Ignore social media at your own peril. Today both candidates and employers rely more on each other’s social profiles rather than traditional sources like resumes and websites. 

Besides branding themselves as an ‘Employer of Choice,’ organizations also need to manage their social image on third-party review websites, HR forums, employee forums, etc.

Post testimonials from current and former employees on your and third-party websites and on your social media pages. Advertise your company culture. Be and project yourself as a DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) enabling organization. Promote an ‘Employee Value Proposition that will excite your target candidates.

All of your social media should also be linked to your career pages.

#5 Cast your sourcing net wide

Many organizations target and recruit candidates only from certain premier educational institutes. Others insist on candidates having work experience of a certain number of years. At times hiring managers have insisted on candidates having experience working with organizations that have grown beyond a certain size or have an annual turnover of more than a certain number.

You should have very strong reasons for putting up such restrictive conditions as they have a multifold effect. They

  • make you lose out on promising talent;
  • increase your cost and time per hire;
  • reflect badly on your organization’s culture

Automated tools discussed above can reduce these barriers while also helping to achieve hiring objectives. As always, employee referrals are an excellent source for increasing candidate conversion rates. 

When company leaders and top management participate in conferences, or sponsor industry and social events, it increases the credibility and visibility of the organization. Arranging webinars and seminars is another tried and tested way of attracting more candidates to apply, thus increasing conversion rates.

#6 Stir the ‘Passive’ Pool

Passive candidates are those who are happy in their current positions and aren’t looking for a change. However, they are always open to discussions when approached. They would be more than willing to take up a new role if the offer matches their expectations/demands.

Search your databases for past applicants who may not have gone through the entire hiring process or who may have been rejected for a particular role. The advantage here is that these are people who have already shown interest in your organization. You don’t have to start from scratch with them. The chances of a successful conversion increase manifold here.

Next, incentivize your current employees for referring suitable candidates. Encourage them to look within their personal and professional circles for passive candidates.

Tap your industry bodies and professional forums for recommendations. Also, consider popular, skilled teachers and trainers from educational and training institutes. 

#7 Data-based Iterations and Improvements

Automated systems and chatbots generate a lot of data from their interactions with internal and external users. Use this data to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Identify the bottlenecks and pain points. What insights can you glean from the data? Make changes and improvements wherever needed.

This step has become all the more important because now most of the hiring is being done remotely.

#8 Interview Past Candidates

Speak to candidates who applied to your organization but were not hired. Understand what they liked and what disappointed them about the hiring process. Ask them if they would recommend other candidates to apply to your organization after the experience that they went through. If possible, do this exercise while ensuring the anonymity of the candidates. This will increase the chances of getting more honest responses.

Their first-hand experience is the best test of your systems. After implementing the learnings from this, get ready to see your candidate conversion rates shoot up.

Wrap Up

When it comes to people, there are no guarantees. But Professionalism begets Professionalism, and Trust begets Trust. Treat your potential candidates, and employees, with respect and transparency, communicate with them regularly and make them feel valued. This will build a positive ‘Employer Brand’, which is an active ingredient for increasing candidate conversion rates.

FAQs on Candidate Conversion Rate 

What is the candidate conversion rate?

A candidate conversion rate measures the number of potential candidates who applied for a position after seeing its advertisement and how many of them were converted into candidates and finally into employees.
This ratio can highlight how efficient or inefficient your recruiting process is. This can bring forth the problems as well as the strengths of your process.
A high rate of conversion indicates that your recruitment process is robust and that your recruitment strategies are hitting their mark.

What are the steps to increase the candidate conversion rate?

Implement the following steps to ensure a high rate of candidate conversion:

1. Create a smooth and easy Candidate Experience
2. Maximize automation of your systems
3. Enable AI chatbots wherever possible in the recruitment process
4. Optimize the use of social media to attract candidates
5. Maximize the avenues for sourcing candidates
6. Get in touch with passive candidates
7. Continuously improve based on the data provided by your systems
8. Tap your archives of past candidates

What is the most anxious and frustrating stage for a candidate during recruitment?

Candidates experience the most anxiety during two stages:

1. After submitting their CV
2. During the waiting period after an interview

The second stage can be more frustrating because, after clearing the initial screening stage, the candidates have now met the company representatives. They are now waiting to hear the outcome of this interaction. Many candidates are put off and backlist organizations when this stage gets unduly extended, especially when no communication is forthcoming from the recruitment team. This negatively impacts the candidate conversion rate, even in the future.

What can a recruiter do to keep a candidate who has accepted the job offer engaged during their notice period?

Most candidates will need to serve a notice period before they can join your organization. This notice period can range anywhere from 30 days to 180 days. A candidate’s personal and professional lives may undergo a sea of change during this period.

Hence, recruiters need to have a ‘post-offer candidate engagement’ strategy. 
It could be achieved through various methods like calls, texts, emails, newsletters, or even in-person interactions.

This significantly improves the chances of the candidate joining the company. It also gives the recruiters a sense of the candidate’s experience so far and their intent to join.
The post-offer solution offered by Hyreo has led to a massive 30% improvement in offer conversion on the current rate via improved candidate engagement, predictive analytics & issue management.

How can passive candidates increase the candidate conversion rate of an organization?

Passive candidates aren’t looking for a change actively. However, they are always open to discussions when approached. They would be more than willing to take up a new role if the offer matches their expectations/demands.

A database of past applicants can be a source of passive candidates. The advantage here is that these are people who have already shown interest in your organization. You don’t have to start from scratch with them. The chances of a successful conversion increase manifold here.

Passive candidates referred by current employees also accept your offer more often than not. This further increases your candidate conversion rate. 

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