Meet & Engage

Engagement High, Renege Rates Low: The Holy Grail Of Keeping Candidates Warm

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The graduate recruitment market never fails to present recruiters with fresh challenges!

The rise of apprenticeships is one such challenge, introducing another layer of mission for the sector. While A-Level students are currently weighing up whether to accept a University degree course or an apprenticeship offer, graduates are choosing from a selection of schemes and job offers.

Given that renege and early drop-out rates are a constant source of challenge to already-stretched recruiter time and budgets, the onus is on employers to do all they can to attract the right talent, hold its attention and nurture it as it puts down roots in your organisation.

For many candidates – whether graduates or apprentices – this next stage represents the first step outside full time education and, as such, excitement levels and vulnerabilities are high.

Gen Z have many strengths, and the flip side of their amazing ability to digest huge amounts of information from numerous sources at a time, is that if there is a better proposition out there, they are likely to find it.

As recruiters, we need to ask ourselves whether we are doing things our way, or their way? They are expecting information to be readily available to them and have been trained through their experience of the world as consumers to make comparisons and seek the reassurance that comes from insider knowledge and real-life reviews.

Employers must find ways of building the kind of relationships with their hires over the next few months that will a) lower renege rates, b) raise engagement levels and c) ensure that new hires are as work-ready as possible by Day 1.

From a recruiter’s perspective, success in this area clearly has very positive implications for their ROI, and from a candidate’s perspective this builds confidence and positivity about the career and employer they have chosen.

But how can we keep the process fresh?

Tristram Hooley’s recent blog post for the ISE, Do student employers need to rethink ‘skills’? (ISE Blogs, 27 February 2019) highlights the importance of recognising the transition from education to workplace for new graduates and apprentices, particularly in relation to understanding the etiquette of the workplace and developing a professional mindset in place of their student one. He says:

‘Researchers who work in the area of graduate transitions have…started to move beyond thinking about skills as being the ‘only thing that matters’. Kirsty Finn talks about the importance of thinking about graduates’ relationships with their families, friends and colleagues as key to their ability to make successful transitions…While Gemma Webster and her colleagues focus on the idea of identity, arguing that becoming a professional is not just a matter of learning some new skills, but rather of giving up your identity as a student and adopting a new identity as a worker or professional.’

These observations are very helpful to recruiters. They show us that it pays to invest time and creativity into engaging with your hires throughout the keep-warm period, using the time between job offer and Day 1 to help your early career folk to begin making the mental adjustments necessary to thrive once they are with you.

Through two-way communication with them about the induction process, the mentoring/buddy system you have in place, what to expect on Day 1, what the local team is like and where your new hire will fit in, you make an emotional connection with your candidates and help them to envisage their start with you.

At Meet & Engage we are helping our clients to strengthen their relationships with candidates (and often also the parents of their candidates), using our chat platform to reassure would-be hires, preparing them for each stage of the recruitment process and equipping them to make an excellent start in the business. These are some of our top tips for keeping your candidates as warm-as-toast over the next few months:

  • Share the load by involving colleagues from across the business to help host group chats for your candidates, responding to questions
  • With genuine insight, useful information and engaging content
  • Get current apprentices/grads involved, to offer insights into the process and what life really feels like in your organisation
  • Offer evening group chats for parents of would-be apprentices, to allay any fears by revealing all the support you have put in place for developing their son/daughter
  • Plan a calendar of events, taking advantage of days such as International Women’s Day, to talk about what matters to you as a business/brand and to make the all-important culture-connection with your candidates
  • Think about the activities you’ve planned and ask how you could use a combination of group chats and 1-2-1 helpdesk-style chat to bring your organisation to life for your candidates.

If you would like to hear more about our chat platform and how our clients are using it to keep candidates warm and reduce renege rates, do get in touch with us at we’d be delighted to chat.

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