Do Candidates and Recruiters Need an Independent Engagement Platform? Post as appeared on the SIA Staffing stream, then republished on Linkedin. One of the recruitment goals of corporations and recruiters is to engage with candidates. Chances are, if recruiters connect with candidates early enough, with the right content and at the right times, those potential hires will be more willing to interact and build relationships. Building relationships is important not only because the chances that a recruiter will place those candidates will increase but also you will become part of each other’s ecosystem and be more meaningful to each other. This will result in a better brand perspective and being part of each other’s network can have as we know other effects too.Many recruitment firms are still in the novice stage when it comes to candidate engagement. For example, when a candidate applies for a job, if everything goes well he or she only receives an email that entails action, rejection or keeps him or her in the dark. The “dark” often means that the firm files away your information in a database to contact you later if they have an appropriate offering down the line.Let’s face it, it’s not an enhancing experience. As someone who has spent more than 20 years in the recruitment industry, I have seen firsthand the need for more customized, targeted engagement.As a candidate, what do I want? I want a reply that is relevant to my background. I want to be entertained, in that I would like to receive information that matters to me. If I am rejected, that is usually clear, but it would be great if I would get in return for my application useful information.Relevant Follow Up. If I am a good fit to be filed into the database, I would also like some kind of follow up call-to-action. Maybe it’s the opportunity to register, information about trends in the job market, information about a free course – something along those lines. If I am a really hot candidate in that the firm sees real potential, I would love to know more through potential VIP treatment.Practical Targeting. If I am looking for a job, I only want to be truly engaged with companies who are on my top list of desired employers. I also would like to be connected with recruitment firms that can help me find employment quickly, at the right employer and with the appropriate pay for my experience level.Clear Communication. Furthermore, as a candidate, I want to decide with whom I will engage and when. I want to have information on what types of jobs are available, where these positions are located and what the salaries are. Knowing the reputation of a company is also important, I can leverage my network to reach out to people at these companies.Advice on Alternatives. If I am lacking the skills that are required for a job, I would like to receive suggestions for alternative jobs or online courses. Tips for helping me prepare for my interview are also useful. I would like to explore how I could better present myself personally; alternative formats for CVs and background research on the companies in which I am interested.So, I want relevant information and I want to get something in return for applying. I want to know where I stand and receive some information that helps me with my next step, whatever that might be. I also want customized information to ensure my future engagement with the firm will remain useful, uniquely curated and entertaining. How can these objectives be achieved?This means that if recruitment firms want to engage truly with their candidates they should approach candidates differently:Interact in a meaningful way with your candidates.Creating the right message for your audience is critical, so recruitment firms will need to hire or appoint experts (content marketers) within their organisation to ensure they are on point with their communications.Streamline the organization of candidate engagementThis would mean building their own platform or licensing a platform. This could entail creating a funnel in front of the “standard” funnel and even developing different funnels for candidate groups.Use analytics to see whether they are creating meaningful relationships.For engagement, people with working experience in the specific target groups should receive relevant content. Then, these candidates will be able to chat and engage in the best possible way. By measuring the conversions the content can be constantly improved.These are important points for recruitment firms to explore, all with the intention to build a lasting, active and meaningful connection with candidates. Recruitment firms will start building their own engagement platforms but is that the best way forward?Would an independent candidate engagement platform make sense? As a candidate, this type of platform would give me the wide variety of bells and whistles I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of the relationship. Then, I can use my own account to manage research and engage when applicable. A platform like this would be immensely helpful as it could keep me on top of everything; postings from job aggregators, career tips and tools, and insights into companies’ culture. It should also give me the choice to decide with whom I engage, from whom I would like to receive advice and suggestions on actions I should take.Such a robust candidate platform does not currently exist, but the pieces are beginning to be put in place to offer this type of engagement. Once this idea comes to fruition, it will give power to candidates to engage with recruitment firms in the ways that are most meaningful and useful to them. In turn, is such platform takes off and has enough mass recruitment firms will be able to engage with more candidates and in a centralized way. Message for entrepeneurs: Who will start the Indeed for engagement? And I am not thinking of Facebook or LinkedIn.Ilonka Jankovich is Managing Partner of the Randstad Innovation Fund, the corporate venture capital fund of Randstad.