Maintaining Engagement & Reducing Attrition in the Recruitment Funnel

Earlier this quarter our Volume Recruitment Leaders Roundtable met in Birmingham. We welcomed members from a diverse range of industries - and they all shared the challenge of maintaining engagement and reducing attrition.

Earlier this quarter our Volume Recruitment Leaders Roundtable met in Birmingham. We welcomed members from a diverse range of industries including customer services, retail banking, ecommerce, energy, professional services and hospitality - and they all shared the challenge of maintaining engagement and reducing attrition.

The period from initial engagement with a candidate to the successful completion of the first 90 days of employment is a critical period for talent acquisition (TA) teams and the business. Encouraging the right candidates to progress their application, and keeping them engaged during the early days, was the focus of our latest roundtable.

For the organisations that joined us, it was common for up to 50% of candidates to drop out between offer and start date. In addition, of those who did start, 50% of new hires may leave within the first 12 months. 90-day turnover rates amongst our group averaged at 40%, which was especially painful for the companies investing up to four weeks onboarding new hires and incurring significant cost.

Maintaining engagement pre-application and in-application

All companies faced drop-out hotspots in their recruitment processes ranging from no-shows at recruitment events to reneges post-offer. For one participant, 42% of candidates don’t turn up to assessment centres and for another hospitality company 24% of candidates drop out after the realistic job preview (RJP).

How realistic should the RJP be? We talked about how to strike a balance between honesty about challenges you’d face in the role and the rewards and reasons to apply. Some roles such as customer contact agents are challenging jobs that require specific competencies and behaviours. The group agreed that It’s better to have candidates who don’t see themselves in the role deselect themselves earlier on in the process by having a clear understanding of the job.

At assessment centre, one participating organisation has found that candidates feel more confident in groups and they now have 10% no shows. Communicating what to expect at assessment centre has been key to reducing attrition at this stage.

The costly and critical first 90-days

The period between offer and successful onboarding is a critical time. In volume hiring, 90-day attrition rates have a significant detrimental impact on businesses.

A frequently reported issue is the mismatch between expectations and the reality of the day-to-day role, and all agreed that bringing the job to life at engagement and assessment stage is critical. Using online RJPs provides candidates insights into the role, culture and work environment and encourages the right candidates to progress.

Roundtable participants, particularly from the customer care and banking industries, discussed the importance of setting realistic career progression targets and the risks associated when not done effectively. One client reported that some agents expect a promotion after three to six months when in reality it can take two to three years. This mismatch between expectations and reality was attributed as a major cause of costly early attrition.

We need feedback to improve the process

Based on feedback, some organisations are cultivating a culture of support with recruiters staying in touch with new joiners to help keep them engaged in the role, acting as a friend and mentor. We discussed the fact that recruitment is frequently involved in offboarding but could play a bigger role in onboarding and smoothing the transition from candidate to employee.

Another participating organisation offers learning and development opportunities in the early months before promotion is an option to help maintain engagement.

A common issue is a lack of understanding about why new hires leave and questions were asked about the validity of exit interviews when leavers often give different reasons to different people. Some organisations are experimenting with exit surveys instead of exit interviews (with surveys sent to a personal email address) and believe they glean a more honest response and a higher response rate at 60%.

Where can technology make a positive impact?

Technology can be used to engage candidates at every step of their journey - right from their first point of contact as a candidate, all the way through their on-boarding process as one of your employees. These are the areas where our participants get the most impact from recruitment tech:

  • Analytics: Adopting automation to collect and analyse data at scale and at every stage of the process is a valuable addition to TA’s data analytics capability. Analytics help companies identify where candidates may be disengaging in their process and gives them the valuable insight to optimise those areas.
  • Video: Using video content during the application process, either at video interview stage or in emails to candidates provides insight into the role, culture and environment before the assessment centre.
  • Candidate Screening: Using killer questions can ensure the right candidates enter the funnel – but it’s important that you get them right!
  • Assessment Automation: Using automation to allow candidates to move from initial screening and as far as video assessment frees up resource and improves the candidate journey.
  • Self-scheduling: Allowing candidates to self-schedule their face to face or assessment centre interviews bring enormous efficiency benefits. Candidates can schedule an interview when it suits them, having had sight of the times the interviewer is available without requiring resource from recruitment teams.

Thank you to all who participated and shared their successes at our most recent roundtable. If you’re an in-house recruiter hiring for high volume roles, why not join the conversation by attending our next event and see what we do?