Don’t forget about the Silver Medalists…

A few weeks ago at HR Technology Conference there was a great session called “What’s Next?  What Talent Acquisition Challenges are Seeking Technology Solutions?” with a tremendous panel of talent acquisition practitioners (for a more detailed look at insights from this panel, find them here.)

One idea that was brought up during the discussion that I think was important was the importance of engagement with candidates.  While this needs to happen throughout the entire recruiting process and is the reason for the focus on the candidate experience, one area that was focused on was the value of candidates that you’ve already spoken to that are still qualified for positions.  It’s the silver (and bronze) medalists that can hold real recruiting value and will be the main focus of this post.

When we talk about Silver medalists we don’t mean just the one person that was next up for a position but all the qualified (determined by your team) candidates that apply but don’t get a position.  Not only do these candidates represent a significant investment of your recruiters and hiring managers time but they also can be great candidates for future job positions.

All of these candidates reside in your Applicant Tracking System but the real question is what do you do with them?  Obviously, you want to stay connected with them but how do you do that and what should you focus on when interacting?  Many organizations are struggling with this and here are some ways that you may want to think about remaining in contact with these individuals.


Engage with them:  First and foremost, once you tell them the bad news of not being hired for the position, make sure to up front set the expectation for reaching back out.  Let them know that you thought they were a great candidate and acknowledge that you want to remain engaged.  Add them to the recruiting campaigns that you run through email & SMS (but don’t send them irrelevant job opportunities.)  Also put them in contact with your social recruiting profiles if you have them.

By setting the expectation up front, you are acknowledging both your and their commitment to maintaining a relationship.  That’s always the first step.

Alert about Targeted Opportunities:  For new job positions, you are going to use similar channels.  From job distribution to job boards & social networks to sourcing from the web, you will find new candidates for your positions.  And you should definitely continue to do that.

But depending on the job, you should already have a number of qualified candidates at the ready to re-engage with on this opportunity.  Whether it’s pulling this in your ATS or using a CRM to better house and campaign to these candidates, it’s important that you have these Talent Pipelines that you continuously build and more importantly tap into whenever you have a new position you want to fill.

Keep Up to Date:  Candidates don’t remain stagnant in their careers after you don’t hire them.  They are continuously building skills and experience that will help them excel and take on more responsibility down the road.  That’s why it’s extremely important to keep track of what your best recruiting candidate contacts are doing with their careers.  They might be over-qualified for the type of position they interviewed for before and may be a great fit for a more senior level position now.

One increasingly utilized way to do this is through social media with the biggest being LinkedIn.  When most professionals make a change in their careers this is one of the first places they update their information.  Do to this, it’s important to ensure that where you store information on candidates you will be able to update it with information that is pulled from the web.  A static contact record will become increasingly obsolete every month that it is not updated.

Employ them Now:  Sometimes you can’t hire a qualified person but you know that a similar position should open up in the next few months and you want to hold onto them.  If they are interested in the position, it may be a great opportunity to offer them temp work in the interim especially if they are looking for work without being currently employed.  While his doesn’t work for every position you hire but this may be a great opportunity for entry level or recent grad positions.   It will give you an opportunity to evaluate the person in a real work setting while giving the candidate some extra income in the interim while they are looking for a position.  When a position opens up and you want to hire the candidate, you will more than likely be their first choice of employer.

When looking at the recruitment metrics you capture, looking at the source of hire can be deceiving.  In everything you do from a recruiting perspective, you are looking for ways to increase the number of qualified candidates that come through your door.  It’s important to get better at this goal but even more important to utilize and engage with all the qualified candidates that do not become employees at your companies on the first try.  If you don’t have a systematized and intelligent way to maintain relationships with these candidates, then you are wasting a huge opportunity in your recruitment marketing strategy.

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