Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

3 Ways to Continuously Engage with Candidates Throughout the Hiring Process

Fewer than 1% of job seekers are interested in careers at a dealership, meaning once you receive applicants for your open roles, you need to keep them engaged throughout the hiring process – or risk losing top talent to other job opportunities. Rather than waiting until a candidate signs an offer letter to kick off your employee engagement strategy, you should also have a candidate engagement strategy in place that begins as soon as an application is submitted.

If your dealership doesn’t continuously engage with candidates throughout the hiring process, their initial excitement about joining your team will fade and they’ll likely look elsewhere for their next career move. Below, we’ve pulled together several tips to improve overall candidate engagement.

Review Applicants in a Timely Manner

Hireology data found that the average dealership waits approximately 10 days to simply review a new job applicant just to see if they were worth having a phone screen with. But applicants who are reviewed and acted upon quickly are more likely to be hired. Across Hireology customers using our integrated hiring process, 70 percent of new hires are reviewed within 12 hours of submitting an application.

Just as you wouldn’t ways several days or weeks to respond to a customer lead, you should take the same approach with hiring. Given record-low unemployment rates and limited interest in dealership careers, you need to keep candidates on the hook once they’ve replied. Responding to applicants as soon as possible can help ensure strong candidates stay engaged and excited about the the possibility of working for your dealership. If you leave applicants waiting around for a response, you might lose qualified candidates a competing dealership down the street.

Communicate with Candidates Every Step of the Way

Once you’ve initially reviewed applicants, your hiring team should make sure to communicate with each candidate throughout the hiring process. If you’re attempting to schedule interviews and can’t find time in a team member’s schedule for a few days or a week, give the candidate an update instead of leaving them waiting and wondering when – or if – the interview will confirmed. And if it’s taking longer than expected to receive reference or background checks back from a candidate, reach out to check on the status or see if there’s anything you can do to help. Finally, when candidates don’t end up getting an offer, make sure to close the loop by letting them know. This way, if they see another open role at your dealership in the future or know a friend or colleague who would be a great fit for a role, they’ll remember the professional job applicant experience and continuous candidate engagement throughout and think positively of your dealership.

Simplify Candidate Engagement with Text Messaging

Email inboxes are filled with countless messages that often end up lost or overlooked. When it comes to hiring, a cluttered email inbox can lead to decreased engagement between hiring managers and candidates. If a candidate misses an email, it can lead to forgetting about an interview or increased time to complete certain hiring steps – such as failing to initiate the reference check process. And if a hiring manager misses an email about changing the interview time, it can frustrate the candidate when they don’t receive a response.

Rather than risking candidate communication getting lost in an email inbox, text messaging can simplify engagement and ensure candidates see all communication throughout the hiring process. While the average open rate for emails is around 30%, about 97% of text messages are read within 15 minutes of delivery, meaning candidates will almost immediately see interview reminders, schedule changes and other important information. Text messaging is an impactful communication channel for both employers and job seekers and can streamline your candidate and new hire communication, keeping candidates engaged.

Candidate engagement is just as important as employee engagement post-hire. According to Gallup, engaged employees are 17% more productive, achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings, a 20% increase in sales, and 21% greater profitability. Candidates who are engaged throughout the hiring process are more likely to be productive once they’re on the job – and engaged employees will contribute to increased profitability at your dealership.

Scott is the Vice President of Product at Hireology, driving the product roadmap for upcoming Hireology features. He's responsible for discovering, de...