Candidate Engagement: A Ballad of Love and Hate

Candidate engagement is an intriguing topic these days. A majority of job applicants aren’t feeling connected to the hiring process, all the way from the early stages of applying for a position to the interview/post-interview process. The feeling of “wasting their time” and not feeling “up to date” on the process itself is an obstacle that many companies need to overcome.


First of all, one of the main issues at hand is that the hiring companies are losing great, qualified candidates (even for future use) by not treating them with enough respect. Where are the talent communities that need built? Why aren’t strategic branding and social media objectives not being utilized?

I’ve never been quite sure why many companies think that they’re the only ones who should be looked after. When you have the free agent signing period in sports, these teams are selling themselves to the players because they know it’s a 50/50 process. This is the exactly the same. The hiring company needs to show why they’re the best fit and a high class organization, as well as the candidate showing why they’re the right fit for the position. If you add personalization methods and techniques to keep job seekers in the loop, then you are way ahead of the game! Imagine all of the residual talent that companies would have at their fingertips if they simply took a little extra time to map out a strategic plan of action!

I recently sat down with Mary Davids, Managing Member of D&M Consulting, to discuss such matters, along with gauging her thoughts on what candidates want out of the process. D&M Consulting offers professional consulting services to job seekers and organizations. They are showing rapid growth throughout North America and are working towards International expansion, so it was a treat to gain the insightful feedback from Mary.

Mary Davids (D&M Consulting)

The Clark Review: Mary, I really appreciate your time discussing these topics with me. But before we get into those, how did D&M Consulting originate and what were the initial conceptions of the company?

D&M Consulting: D&M was founded in 2010. The initial conceptions of the company were the based on the constant demand for career advice and resume writing services in the job market.

TCR: There is a huge demand for that in the market, especially for direct specialization. In what areas do you see candidates needing the most guidance when it comes to career development?

D&M: Many of our candidates request guidance on negotiating salary and career success. Career success includes lateral movement or upward movement within desired industries.

TCR: To branch off that, candidate engagement is a huge topic these days that many companies often ignore. Where do you see ways in which engagement can be more evolved during the pre-interview, interview, and post-interview process?

D&M: Drawing the candidates into the conversation pre-interview, during and post-interview is an important and vital way to ensure you are not overlooking qualified and hire-worthy applicants. To do this, it is important to ask questions related to personality characteristics and behavioral characteristics. If an applicant feels that a company wants to know more about them as an individual and not just about their skills and knowledge then it makes them feel like the company really cares about its employees. The questions have to be strategic enough to ensure the applicant does not feel uncomfortable, but allows the employer to get to know more about who they are. This avenue also opens up the opportunity for a conversation rather than a test question format. A common engagement issue during interview process is that employers fail to gear their questions based on the applicant’s expressed desires. For example: Generation X and Generation Y employees will have different needs and priorities when considering employment. Social Responsibility may be a priority to one demographic and Work/Life Balance may be a priority for the other. Get to know the applicant’s needs and desires before running down the robotic list of questions under the “one size fits all” umbrella.

TCR: You make a very good point. I’m a huge proponent of personalizing the process and getting down to who the candidate really is as a person. So when you speak to individuals who are looking for job, are there common frustrations mentioned about the hiring process as a whole from the candidates perspective?

D&M: The major stressor that I hear from our clients is that they are one out of a thousand or more applicants for each job opening and at least 90 percent of the time they have no idea if their resume was either received or reviewed by the employer. Another significant stressor is the application process. An online application (depending on which system is used) can take between 20 to 45 minutes to set up a profile (which you may never use again) and complete the actual application. Even after all of that time is invested, there is rarely a response provided to the applicant regarding consideration or lack thereof.

TCR: I’ve spoken to many applicants who are extremely qualified, but just straight up don’t apply to the open jobs that have the exact setup you mentioned. Who wants to waste that time over and over again when you don’t hear a word back many times?

What area(s) do you see hiring companies dropping the ball when it comes to communication with the candidates?

D&M: I believe hiring companies often overlook the importance of their flexibility as to work/life balance and community involvement or social responsibility engagement. Applicants entering the job market at this time care more about the future of the organization and what image it has rather than just a paycheck.

TCR: I completely agree. People as a whole want to be proud of where they work and that often goes ignored by companies as a whole.

Where do you see D&M Consulting being in three years compared to where you are now and what are some plans for the future that you may have?

D&M: In the future, I see D&M Consulting growing to a National Consulting Agency providing consultation services all across the globe. Our goal is to expand and increase our brand to connect with global consumers as well enhancing our domestic consumer engagement.

Please visit our website for more information about the company and the services we provide.


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