Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!
Today’s Question: Just because you rejected an applicant this time around, that doesn’t mean they won’t go on to become a great candidate for a future position. How do you make sure to stay in touch with former applicants so that, when the time comes, you can leverage your pipeline to make great hires?
1. Use Engaging Content to Hold Their Attention
I have found that the best way to stay in touch with my network is to constantly provide them with informative and entertaining content on topics related to job search. I follow up with my key contacts and ask them for ideas for topics to cover, and I run a blogging series to address some of the most commonly asked questions. By remaining top of mind while providing value, I position myself as a trusted advisor and can count on my contacts to get back to me when I have a potential opportunity to discuss.
— Marina Byezhanova, Pronexia
2. Develop a Talent Community
The key is to have a well-designed talent community in place. Some of the elements of a well-designed talent community include: a registration or sign-up process that is easy to complete; a follow-up method that is preferred by the candidates; segmentation of candidates into appropriate areas of interest; and a recruitment and employer branding strategy that develops and executes the content needed to fill the gap between the first application, joining the talent community, and the ultimate right-fit opportunity.
— N. Robert Johnson, The David Group
3. Keep a ‘Hotbook’
When you screen or interview a great candidate, make sure to stay in touch even if the person isn’t right for the position for which you are currently recruiting. Agency recruiters often keep ‘hotbooks’ or ‘hotlists’ – electronic folders and email lists of certain candidates sorted by their defining skill sets. It’s a vital practice for building effective, targeted pipelines. The key is to keep a quick point of reference with key information on hand so that you can easily reach out to those candidates when another position comes up.
— Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
4. Get Creative With Outlook
Staying in touch with rejected candidates takes effort and some creative use of Outlook features, including folders, autocorrect, signatures, and reminders.
I prefer Outlook because it behaves like a search engine. I can use the partial names, partials of a domain name, keywords, job titles, and dates – and, best of all, I can use the minus character (-) to exclude content the same way I do in Google. This nets me immediate access to my candidates and their email addresses. It helps to put people in the appropriate folders, but with a robust Outlook strategy, we can make the search even more efficient.
With autocorrect, you can create nonsense words (QQAA01, GGFD99, JJHQP) that change to whole messages instead of single words. The autocorrect feature is usually under the ‘Options’ button.
With signatures, you want to create two or three variations of salutation, name, and contact data.
Using these techniques, I can pump out what appears to be a customized message in less than 10 keystrokes.
— Dirk Spencer, Resume Psychology
5. Be Casual About It
Your best bet is to stay in contact with the potential candidate on an informal basis. You don’t want to give the person the wrong
impression, so be clear in your communications. Just say that you’re checking in to see how their job hunt is going and that there is a possibility that you might have room for them further on down the road – and stress that latter portion of that message.
Following the candidate on social media and reaching out via Facebook is one option. Another possibility is to let the candidate know of a networking event that’s coming up that you’ll be at. The two of you can connect informally, and they might appreciate the heads-up.
— Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers
6. Leverage Your ATS
At Naviga, we use an applicant tracking system that acts as a marketing tool that allows us to stay in front of applicants on a weekly and monthly basis. We send newsletters and information on best practices in their industries (sales and marketing), best approaches to a career search, negotiation tips, etc. The strategic goal behind this is to keep our brand in front of the candidate.
— Kathleen Steffey, Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search
7. Organize Your Candidate Files
There has been more than one occasion where I’ve reached out to a previously declined applicant to hire them for a position that became available in a different field. As the hiring manager, I need to keep applications available, sorted by job description, and have notes on each applicant. It’s not fun to sort through old resumes, so it’s better to have them organized with the job description they will best qualify for in the future.
— Haroon Ahmad, JotForm
8. Make Sure the Relationship Is Mutually Beneficial
When a candidate is rejected from a particular job, I ask them if they want me to keep them in mind for jobs in the future. If they say yes, I connect with them on LinkedIn and maintain communication with them. I try to keep them on my radar, and candidates usually appreciate that.
I also always give my candidates constructive feedback on their resumes and interview skills. I want my relationships with candidates to be mutually beneficial, and my overall goal is always to help place my candidates at a job that is a fit for them – even if it’s not with a company that I’m working with.
When candidates see that you are genuine in your desire to help them, they want to work with you, and they will keep you in mind when they’re looking for work in the future. Because of this, I’m able to build relationships with candidates that are worth more than just a placement, ensuring that I can submit them for multiple jobs over a period of weeks, months, or even years.
— Angela Bortolussi, Recruiting Social