In last week's column, I discussed how the influx of candidates into the marketplace can be an opportunity for you to build significant lasting value in your recruiting organization. This week let's take another look at the value of your candidates, but from a different, more short term point of view.
Obviously your hiring managers are considered clients, but in this column, I'll make the simple suggestion to not forget that your candidates can absolutely be considered your clients. Here are three types of candidates and how they might be considered valuable clients:
1. Candidates you have put to work. Candidates whom you have placed can be a wonderful source of information. Reaching out to ask how they are doing and making sure they are comfortable can lead to a conversation that will provide you with information about whether their departments are hiring, whether other companies are calling on them, and whether they know of other companies in their industry that might be hiring. This digging is, by definition, lead generation.
2. Candidates who are not working. It can be incredibly valuable to keep tabs on the candidates in your inventory that are not currently employed because there is a good chance they are interviewing. Knowing where they are interviewing will inform you of who is hiring, and additionally, which departments of a company are hiring.
3. Candidates in your inventory who have been put to work by someone else. Similar to category number two, connecting with these candidates can be a valuable source of information about which companies out there might have job orders.
The more you communicate with people, the stronger the relationship becomes. So fuel the fire.
When reaching out to all three categories of candidates, offer them something of value to continue to build the relationship. Recruiters often have a ton of information at their fingertips about what's going on in the world - so offer to be a sounding board or a source of information should your candidates ever have any questions. Consider offering to provide a reference if they need it and be sure to ask if they will be a reference for you (remember, building a relationship is a two way street). Regardless of whether you get something in return at this particular juncture, offering to be of assistance will positively build the relationship.
After January numbers were released, the unemployment rate is now at 7.6% - more than 7 million people are unemployed at this very moment. Don't forget that candidates can absolutely be considered one of your customers!