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Candidate Dropout: How the Right Talent Engagement Strategies Can Help


It’s safe to say most business leaders understand the correlation between employee engagement and business success. In fact, employee engagement consultant and author, Ian Hutchinson, summed it up quite nicely when he said – “Employee engagement is an investment we make for the privilege of staying in business.” There’s no question that the secret sauce to business success is not a secret. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, success is driven by the team of employees working for your business.

But the truth is, engagement doesn’t, or shall we say, shouldn’t, begin after employment. Because in order to hire the best employees for your business needs, you need to engage them when they are mere candidates for employment in order to hire them in the first place. After all, if you can’t engage the most compatible talent for the roles you’re trying to fill, you may not only end up with the wrong people running your proverbial ship, you may never even get a shot at hiring the right talent because unengaged candidates are far more likely to drop out of the process.

Candidate dropout is definitely a major challenge for most companies. According to one Glassdoor study, the majority of businesses have a whopping 80% candidate dropout rate. Fortunately, there are ways to combat candidate dropout and you guessed it – it starts with a solid talent engagement strategy. But before we explore that, let’s take a look at what candidate dropout actually means in the recruiting ecosystem.

What is Candidate Dropout?

Candidate dropout occurs when job applicants who have expressed interest in a job position decide to withdraw their application at some point during the recruitment process. In a world where talent is scarce, and the competition for that talent is fierce, you can imagine this could be a pretty big hurdle for recruiters and hiring managers to overcome. Obviously, the best way to solve any workforce challenge, is to understand why it happens and to develop the right strategy for avoiding it.

So, why does it happen?

Common Causes of Candidate Dropout

The truth is, that candidate dropout can happen at any stage of the recruitment process, from filling out the application to completing the interview. Some of the most common causes of candidate dropout include:

  • Poor candidate communication / lack of engagement – It’s probably not an overstatement to say – we’ve all been there. You apply for a job, or a recruiter reaches out to you, but the next thing you know, you’re feeling ghosted from lack of response, or an inordinately slow response.
  • Lengthy or complicated application process – Nothing trashes a candidate experience like an application process that is more complicated than unraveling the meaning of quantum physics. Yes, we’ve likely all been here too. Please submit your resume, a blood sample, and your first-born child. (ok, maybe we’re exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture.)
  • Lack of clarity about the role / job requirements – This is where a poorly written job description can come back to haunt you. If the job description is not crystal clear about the requirements and the “must-haves” versus the “nice-to-haves,” it can leave candidates in that murky place of – am I the right fit for this role?
  • Missing information regarding compensation and benefits – Not being transparent about the compensation and benefits can repel candidates pretty quickly. Most job seekers want to know up front if the role meets their financial expectations. And when companies omit this information, candidates may feel like their time is being wasted and are reluctant to “wait and see,” if the compensation and benefits match what they’re looking for.

While there are plenty of reasons for candidate dropout, an ineffective, or worse, no talent engagement strategy, is far and away the leading reason why candidates disappear mid-stream in the recruiting process. That begs the question – where is the disconnect? And how can companies, recruiters, and hiring teams close the gap in the whole talent engagement equation? Clearly – talent engagement is the thing that separates the super-stars from the not so super – in the world of talent acquisition and recruiting. Why is candidate engagement soooo important?? Let’s break it down.

Why is Talent Engagement the Key to Reducing Candidate Dropout

Talent engagement is more than just a critical tool for reducing candidate dropout rates. It’s the thing that can make or break a company. But why is that the case?

Let’s reflect on what it’s like to BE a candidate. You’re looking for a new job. And the reason you’re looking for a new job could be a myriad of reasons. But regardless of the why, it’s the one thing that brings people to that place where they have to convey why you should hire them. A place that is often fraught with insecurity and even if it’s not – can be a stress-inducing exercise for the candidate. By providing candidates with a positive and engaging experience throughout the hiring process, companies don’t just minimize the risk of losing top talent. There’s also your employer brand and reputation to consider. Having an optimal talent engagement strategy can go a long way towards building a stronger employer brand and reputation. Think about it – when candidates have a positive experience, they’re much more likely to share it with others, including on social media and review sites. This can help companies attract more top talent in the future, and create a positive cycle of engagement, as well as employee retention. Now that you know why it’s important, it’s time to talk strategy.

Top Talent Engagement Strategies to Minimize Candidate Dropout

  1. Communicate with candidates regularly – Consistent communication throughout the hiring process helps candidates stay engaged and informed about their application status. In fact, when it comes to communication, more is not less here, more communication means you’re more likely to keep your talent engaged and ready to hire.
  2. Personalize the recruitment process – Take a personalized approach to recruitment and show candidates that you value them as individuals. Be sure to tailor your job descriptions appropriately and offer personalized feedback and human interaction throughout the recruitment process.
  3. Speaking of feedback – Waiting too long to give feedback on a candidate’s status in the recruitment process can leave them feeling frustrated and disconnected. Be prompt with feedback to feel candidates motivated to continue with the process.
  4. Showcase company culture and values – Candidates often dropout due to a lack of connection with the company culture or values. Make sure your company culture and values shine through on your website, through social media, and even employee testimonials. Candidates who have a better understanding of what it’s like to work at your company are less likely to drop out.
  5. Use candidate surveys – Surveys from candidates about their experience with the recruitment process can be invaluable for identifying ways to improve your talent engagement strategies.
  6. Provide a seamless application process – Make the application process simple. And don’t send candidates through several systems or make them register for an account to even apply for a role. An SHRM survey found that 92% of candidates who click apply drop out if they are required to register for an account.
  7. Build a candidate-centric hiring process – Above all else, your goal should be to build a warm, welcoming, candidate-centric hiring process. That means incorporating all of the above but also going the extra mile to make candidates feel valued, respected and positive about the entire process. Be considerate of candidates lives and preferences, and tailor your approach to their needs. For example, if a particular candidate has a busy schedule, offer to do a video interview. Consider offering candidates a small token of your company swag to make them feel included and welcome.

Deploying all of these strategies can help you keep talent engaged and minimize or even eliminate candidate dropouts.

Suggested Read – Understand these 10 candidate engagement stats to revamp your recruitment drive

Tracking and Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Talent Engagement Strategies

It’s also important to keep track of the results of your efforts, so you can adjust your strategy where necessary to ensure optimal results. Consider your talent engagement strategy a living, breathing thing that may need to be fed and nurtured in different ways in order to nurture your talent!

  1. Identify the metrics you want to track: Identifying your key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you measure the effectiveness of your talent engagement strategies. This includes things like – time to hire, candidate satisfaction rates, or candidate conversion rates.
  2. Monitor candidate feedback: Solicit feedback from candidates at various stages of the hiring process to understand their experience. After all, what’s better way to understand and improve your candidate experience than by hearing directly from your candidates.
  3. Track conversion rates: Keep an eye on your candidate conversion rates at each stage of the hiring process. If you notice that candidates are dropping out at a certain point, it might be an indication that your engagement strategies aren’t effective at that stage.
  4. Adapt and move forward: Constantly. As the workforce and economy change, so will the recruiting and hiring ecosphere. Be prepared to adapt and move forward when the time is right.
  5. Use technology to your advantage: Leveraging the right technology to track candidate behavior and engagement, such as which emails are being opened and which links are being clicked can help you optimize your engagement strategies.

Remember, tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your talent engagement strategies is an ongoing process and is a key component to making sure you’re providing the best possible candidate experience and ultimately hiring the best candidates for your organization.

Leveraging Technology for Candidate Engagement

Technology has exploded all over the recruiting and talent acquisition industry in the past decade and one particular technological innovation that has been a game-changer is the influx of AI recruiting tools. Not only have AI recruiting tools have made it possible to reduce time-consuming tasks like screening and shortlisting candidates, leaving hiring teams with more time to focus on other critical tasks such as candidate engagement, they can also be an invaluable tool for creating a more personalized candidate experience by leveraging technology like chatbots.

Chatbots can serve as “digital recruiters” responding to candidate inquiries or questions 24/7, providing updates on application status, and essentially helping to keep the candidate engaged, but the recruiter free to focus on other tasks.

With an AI sourcing platform such as Arya, you can also cut down on the time spent sourcing candidates in general using the advanced search and match capability to screen and ultimately find, the most compatible candidates for the role you’re sourcing. Traditional screening can take up more than half of a recruiter’s time, making the process inefficient and often frustrating for candidates.

However, Arya not only helps you reduce candidate review and shortlisting time by 50% by scoring and ranking talent for compatibility, the platform also simultaneously sources candidates from multiple channels on 90% of jobs across more than 150 industries – in under 5 minutes. Throw in Talent Intelligence that uses predictive analytics around key data points such as location potential, skill set distribution, salary projection, company mapping, and education, and Arya enables you to create more effective search parameters, empowering you with the right recruiting strategies up front.

Suggested Read – How AI Can Help Strategize and Scale Candidate Engagement Post-pandemic

At the end of the day, the solution to every challenge in any industry, really is to arm yourself with the right tools. If you’re working in the recruiting and talent acquisition space, that tool is Arya. Take your talent engagement to the next level with a next level AI solution. Book your demo today and see what Arya can do for you!


What is candidate engagement and why is it important?

Candidate engagement is the process of creating meaningful interactions and communication between a company and its candidates to build and maintain positive relationships throughout the hiring process. Poor talent engagement can lead to bad hires, increased employee turnover and candidate dropout.

What causes candidates to drop out during the hiring process?

It can be a variety of things that cause candidate dropout: lack of communication, an overly complex hiring process, a poor candidate experience, and lack of transparency about the role, company, or compensation.

How can talent engagement strategies help minimize candidate dropout?

Engaged talent is talent willing to stick it out throughout the hiring process. Solid candidate engagement strategies can help build positive relationships with candidates, by keeping them informed about the hiring process, and making sure they have a positive candidate experience.

What are some effective talent engagement strategies?

Build a candidate-centric hiring process, leverage technology for candidate engagement, and track and measure the effectiveness of your talent engagement strategies. The more you analyze what you’re doing, the better you’ll be able to determine what’s working when it comes to talent engagement.

What role can technology play in candidate engagement?

Technology can be leveraged to provide candidates with easy access to information about the hiring process, streamline communication, and offer a more personalized and engaging experience.

How do I measure the effectiveness of my talent engagement strategies?

Tracking metrics such as candidate satisfaction, time-to-fill, and offer acceptance rate can provide insight into the effectiveness of your talent engagement strategies. You should also solicit feedback from candidates to help identify areas for improvement.


  • https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/5-keys-driving-candidate-experience/
  • https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/most-people-never-finish-online-job-applications.aspx

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