Are recruiters ready for real-time engagement? Phrases like “Candidate Engagement” and “Candidate Experience” are plentiful in today’s world of recruiting. For recruiters striving for engagement, the technology is available right now to put your plan into action.

Last week we placed Olark live chat on every careers site and job description we power. The initial intent was to assist candidates with technical issues they may experience while applying for a position. We quickly learned that there is so much more to this opportunity.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 4.55.58 PM

Types of users

Technical Assistance

For global companies, you may have candidates using all types of technology on all types of devices. You want to be sure that you can help them get the answers they are looking for so that they can apply for the right jobs as quickly as possible.

Candidate Questions

Most candidate questions revolve around timing, or the status of an opening. This provides an opportunity for recruiters to disposition candidates or route them to a more appropriate position. It can also open the door to inviting folks to your Talent Community as they’ve already taken the initiative to reach out.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.12.43 PM

Random Pitches

The big deterrent for most companies will be the random messages that take away from the time of the recruiter. This is inevitable in a venture with this level of access and scale. It all comes down to your perspective. Out of the 12 inquiries I received, all of them had something to do with the company in some way. Three of them had nothing to do with hiring whatsoever. A small sample, but not too bad.

Business Questions

Some users asked questions relating to the business itself. Specifically, one user was looking for the sales department so that they could engage with the company’s services. It goes without saying, but getting users to the right place quickly can help the business and grow your brand with a high level of service.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.16.49 PM

Key findings

Time Spent

Overall, I had 12 messages in the first week. This is a very small percentage of the thousands of page views over the course of the week. Overall time spent chatting with these users was less than 1 hour. I’ll admit that I’m a bit obsessed and likely could have answered their questions in half the time. Overall, a good marker is to expect 3-5 minutes per user on average.


At least 2 applications were submitted that may not have been received. Applications are a core competency for your careers site. If you think you may be missing applications along the line, live chat is a no-brainer. Many times job boards update your job postings slower than real-time. This causes users to see a “job filled” for a position that may be a common skill set for your company. If the candidate simply goes away, this is a missed opportunity. Live chat can help with this.


The position of being real-time in chatting with users interested in a specific company is awesome. I found myself chatting with users from Germany to China, and several places in between. I also found myself messaging at all hours of the day. A little scary yes, but the gravity of real-time global connections with candidates is undeniable.


I hooked up my Olark account with Google Chat. This has the potential to be a fire hose of noise. This is certainly the case when receiving a ping from India in the middle of the night. However, like seeing things in real-time, being able to chat with candidates from your phone with instantaneous interaction to anyone in the world is the wave of the future. Perhaps Google Hangout on your phone will be the next revelation in global, mobile, real-time chatting.


When using a product like Olark, you get to see exactly which page the user is viewing, where the user is located, and what type of browser/device they are looking at your page on. This is a tremendous advantage as you shape your candidate experience. You gain more knowledge about your candidates and the experience they are having. That’s priceless information.


The nice thing about Olark is that it pipelines straight into our CRM system. Thus, chats are automatically captured and are searchable in our CRM. This makes it easy to move fast without worrying about documentation.

“Just Do It”

Nike coined the phrase “Just Do It”, and it applies to using a live chat service like Olark for recruiting. A service like Olark is elementary to install, and super simple to configure. Stop figuring out reasons not to do it, and “Just Do It”.

For enterprise companies, the need for a Talent Community Manager is increasingly critical to recruiting passive candidates. The ability to communicate with prospects in real-time is an opportunity that cannot be missed. Data suggests that top passive candidates are only on the market for a few short weeks when they are looking.

Another aspect is that excellent customer service on the employment side impacts your overall brand with consumers/customers. Visitors to your careers site getting a fast an accurate response creates a positive reaction which results in them being more likely to buy or recommend your product/services.

In the end, take it from Nike and “Just Do It”. The things you’ll learn will be fascinating, and you can learn how to perfect live chat as you go.



by in Candidate Engagement