Win the Talent Sourcing Hunger Games With Candidate Re-Engagement

It’s a fiercely competitive landscape out there with talent acquisition pros vying for top candidates at every turn. Everyone needs an edge in order to survive, and a great one might be right under your nose.

We’re talking about candidate re-engagement. Who fits into that category? It could be anyone you’ve worked with, hired, nearly hired or maybe even let go! The edge is the known quantity.

If you already know the candidate and the candidate knows the company, there’s a better chance that they’ll hit the ground running and become that elusive great hire.

Re-Engagement Keeps the Talent Pipeline Full

Recruitment is somewhat blind in the earliest stages. Just like the sales funnel, the talent acquisition process begins with a lot of potential. But as you get to know more about the candidates and they learn more about the company and job opening, the pool gets thinner and thinner.

Re-engagement keeps the pipeline brimming with higher quality candidates. Even better, it works in lean times when good talent is especially hard to find and candidates fall out of the funnel for any number of reasons.

According to ERE Media, something as seemingly innocuous as a job application process can keep people in the pipeline or send them somewhere else.

For example:

  • Nearly 11 percent of candidates complete an application that has 25 or fewer questions.
  • Only 5.68 percent complete the process if there are 50 or more questions.

It’s an unavoidable part of the job, but lost candidates equal wasted time and resources for both you and them. When candidates and the company already have a good understanding of each other, the delicate “getting to know you” stage is a non-issue. And when you circle back to engage with former employees, candidates and freelancers, you reinvest the resources used and hard work you’ve already done.

Maybe a freelancer or contractor has worked on several projects with the company. They know the culture, the people and the job. The company already knows their skills and whether or not they fit. They’re a prime candidate for re-engagement.

Or maybe an entry-level employee shows great leadership promise. Zero in now before another company attracts them away.

Past employees are another good resource. Just because they left for a different job doesn’t mean they can’t be enticed back. In fact, JobVite says nearly half of people who are happy in their current job are still open to a new one.

Past candidates are yet another wealth of potential, says JobVite. If they’ve applied to you before, you’ve got their contact information and skill set on file. With so many people interested in a better job, not to mention the fact that they had an interest in the company once before, past candidates could be considered hot leads.

It Doesn’t Take a Big Time Commitment

Think of candidate re-engagement as a supplementary tactic, not a total strategy course correction. It shouldn’t consume a lot of resources. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. Simplicity is one of the perks. Used judiciously, it helps round out the practices you use every day.

The volume of time you should spend on re-engagement depends on who you’re recruiting. If you’re interested in current employees, you might only need a quick email or a conversation while walking down a corridor to the copy room. At least to start.

Then again, the company might decide to implement an internal development program aimed at re-engaging and cultivating employees for more responsibility and bigger roles. That’s a major undertaking, but it could yield serious dividends with so many rivals also scouting the best talent.

Technology and media contributor, Eric Jackson, writes for Forbes that the future of recruiting is only getting tougher, especially for high-level positions. Baby Boomers are retiring in droves.

As much as 50 percent of executive jobs will be open in the next few years as older workers leave the workforce, says Jackson. Developing and hiring from within helps close gaps to fill the most difficult positions.

You might need a little more time for candidates who aren’t already on board. Because they aren’t strangers, personal messages matter. But communication still shouldn’t be a time-consuming chore.

You could:

  • Engage on social media
  • Send a personalized email
  • Pick up the phone
  • Send a text

Don’t wait to start a dialogue about coming back to the company, moving up or making the shift from freelance or contract work to an employee position. The best time to bring a great candidate into the pipeline is long before you need them.

Re-Engagement Addresses Common Challenges

What are your biggest pain points? You’ve probably got a few that aren’t universal. But chances are, these sound familiar:

  • Sourcing effectiveness
  • Time to fill
  • Cost per hire
  • Quality of hire
  • Onboarding
  • Lack of qualified candidates

Candidate re-engagement works around all of them.

Sourcing isn’t an issue because you already know where to find the exact people (not just any people) you want in your pipeline. Time to fill is a big metric that every talent acquisition pro measures. With the right talent standing by, time to fill gets whittled down. So does the cost per hire, because it takes fewer resources.

Onboarding can be frustrating for new hires and the employer. It’s a necessary evil for someone brand new to the organization. Not so, for people who have worked there before.

As for a sad, thin pool of poorly-qualified candidates, that’s the whole point of re-engagement: fewer surprises and better-qualified people. Most of the screening is already done.

Nobody wants a slew of resumes from people who aren’t qualified. That wastes everyone’s time and doesn’t speak well of the company. But if you fine-tune the talent pool with more of the right people, both you and your candidates will be glad you did.

Re-Engagement is Passive Recruiting, Only Better

According to LinkedIn, 75 percent of the best candidates are passive. And 95 percent of the people you need to fill critical jobs aren’t looking for work, either.

Good thing you know about passive recruitment. That’s what re-engagement is, but without the element of mystery that comes from cold calling. Virtually every way that you engage with passive candidates works for people you already know.

  • Emails: In a high-speed, switched-on world, the humble email still gets attention. LinkedIn says Millennials read them as much as anyone else. The trick is crafting a personalized message. And ERE Media says emails are the perfect way to follow up with people who applied for a job before. They’re a comfortable method of communication for past employees who have moved on, as well.
  • Phone calls: Have you worked with a freelancer or consultant and want to offer them a full-time employment position? That can be a hard sell, but it’s not impossible. You already have their number, so a phone call shouldn’t be out of the question. Successful contract workers often enjoy being self-employed. But not every freelancer is as financially successful as you might think. Pick up the phone and offer an incentive.
  • Social media: Social networks make re-engagement communication seamless and eliminate any awkward feeling. If the timing doesn’t seem right for an email or call, there’s hardly a bad time to reach out via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Recruiting is a tough, fast-paced job with layers upon layers of micro-strategies, all aimed at driving the best talent into the top of the talent acquisition funnel. Re-engagement is one more tool in your arsenal. In conjunction with your primary recruitment strategies, it helps build out a healthier and more vital group of prospects to fill job openings quicker, less expensively, and with a lot less legwork.

Think of it as an efficiency booster. The best-case-scenario for a hiring team is a talent pipeline that’s overflowing with the top quality, highly qualified candidates. And in a perfect world, they’re waiting on pins and needles for the right job to arrive. But the reality is that every pipeline has a few candidates who either won’t bite on a job offer or who weren’t a good fit after all.

The more great candidates you can direct into the funnel, the better your chances of making great hires time after time. You already have a great recruiting strategy. Add candidate re-engagement, and you’ll build it out even more.

Competition for the best and brightest talent might be fierce. Unemployment is down, which is a great thing, but it also makes talent acquisition much more challenging. To win, you need every benefit you can get.

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