This is the second in a series of TalentRISE tips to help businesses secure an edge over competitors by evolving their HR and recruitment practices in the digital era.

Key Takeaways

  • Mining Gold AND Silver medalists – the value with re-engaging in candidates already in your ATS database
  • Tools and tips to mitigate job candidates’ “resume” bad black hole experiences
  • ATS Candidate data mining tools & strategies that yield referrals and hires

Mine the GOLD and SILVER  in your ATS!

Every employer collects hundreds, even hundreds of thousands, of NEW (and duplicate) resumes in their applicant tracking system (ATS). In fact, a SHRM 2016 study estimated that while approximately only one percent of applicants are typically qualified and hired, and a much larger pool (typically 2-5%) make it to the interview process.  Many of these finalists can be considered SILVER MEDALISTS: people the hiring manager would have hired if there was a second opening. These runner-ups “hiding” within your ATS can be a great pool of talent from which to make your next hires, if you do it right!

Stop being a creature of HABIT!

Unfortunately, most recruiters rarely start their search for a new req by revisiting these pre-vetted Silver Medalist candidates from the past. Most recruiters’ natural inclination is to start the search from scratch; data mining externally for FRESH candidates and resumes they source on Linkedin, job boards or solicit from employee referrals. The common rationale is that the people in the ATS were “REJECTED” and are therefore most likely not worth consideration.

The REALITY, however, is that many candidates in your ATS would welcome an opportunity to re-engage with you since they have already expressed interest in your company in the past.  Key benefits of targeting candidates in your database include:

  • Quicker response to your outreach efforts, as they are already familiar with your brand and have expressed interest in similar opportunities in the past
  • An accelerated hiring process, as detailed interview notes may already be in your system to short-cut in-depth screens for a current opportunity
  • A great opportunity to get your brand re-connected to the candidate, who may also be a customer of your product or service and possibly even a great source of referrals

Make your  HIGH TECH approach more “High Touch”

There is a catch, however –  if these individuals had a bad experience during their previous application-through-interview process, you aren’t likely to have much success in reconnecting. According to research done by CareerBuilder, 42 percent of candidates who were dissatisfied with how their application was handled by an employer would never seek employment at that company again.  Studies also show that a poor candidate experience can also have a costly negative impact on the corporate brand and profits.  For these reasons, focus on enhancing the job candidate experience throughout your recruiting process by providing, for instance, regular updates on application status, by closing the loop quickly by communicating decisions ASAP when positions are filled by someone else.

Here are three tools and tips to enable you to fill today’s positions faster by leveraging yesterday’s candidate pool.

  • Don’t assume that candidates who didn’t make the cut for a past open position interview are not a fit for your current needs.  Recognize that needs change and people’s experiences evolve over time.
    • Even if you have proactively sourced candidate prospects for past open jobs, many of those candidates did not respond to your initial outreach efforts (whether six months, a year or more ago) because timing was not right for them then. As passive candidates, they are not as predisposed to your opportunities as someone who actively applied to a past job, but they are still a viable pool of prospects.  Reach out to them for your current needs but tailor your messaging accordingly.
    • Also recognize that your hiring manager’s expectations may have changed over time. Given talent shortages in many sectors, they may be more likely today to adjust their thinking about candidates whose past experience and skills didn’t measure up. (Read more here about re-thinking your ideal candidate profile.)
  • Re-engage candidates in your ATS using strategies beyond email. Your ATS is a wonderful repository of candidate data that can be used to launch effective online social media using both (a) re-targeting advertising and (b) job re-marketing strategies. (Check out examples implemented by companies like Recoup and Talemetry.)
    • Applicant drop-off is a real problem, seldom thoroughly addressed by recruiters, especially when faced with aggressive hiring goals while expending a lot of time and money to drive talent into your ATS. Your robust pipeline quickly becomes a limited pool, leaving you to do more sourcing and spend more on candidate acquisition.  A focus on reducing drop-off can maximize your sourcing investment, and improve sourcing ROI. Assuming that your ATS can provide data on individuals who started, but never completed, the application process for a past similar job, consider re-marketing strategies that use AI-based SMS chatbots like HireAbby or traditional email and job alerts to re-engage candidates. These approaches usually result in a significantly high conversion rate whether the goal is to solicit referrals and/or engage interest in a current job opportunity.
    • Similarly, using existing candidate data, conduct a re-targeting online ad campaign that enables you to aim your brand and employment opportunity at job candidates where they hang out online — in chat rooms, on social media, etc.  Using cookies, the ads follow them, serving up your job ad wherever their browser takes them. The goal is to eventually peak their interest through subtle “stalker” tactics that compel candidates to click on an ad to learn more about your opportunity. This approach may work better than re-marketing campaigns when your aim is to target sourced “passive” candidates in your database who did not necessarily apply to a job posted in the past.
  • Turn candidates in your database into referral brand ambassadors for ongoing needs using tools that automatically and efficiently distribute your branded content about jobs, careers and your workplace to targeted candidate populations through job candidates’ peer groups and social networks. One such tool, SymphonyTalent (formerly QueSocial) provides an easy way to distribute your branded content to engage targeted talent populations while providing tracking data and metrics on social shares and engagement.  The goal of this approach is to continue to brand opportunities among the candidates in your ATS, and to ultimately get them to help you recruit by promoting your jobs to their peers and social networks.

Do these strategies really work?:

TalentRISE recently partnered with the recruiting team at our client, an e-commerce retailer, on a high volume hiring initiative to re-engage a large number of applicants who exited the application process early.  Using an AI-powered SMS chatbot powered by HireAbby, the bot (“Abby”) used contextually-relevant conversations (gleaned by extracting information from candidates’ social profiles or online activity) to re-establish conversations, gauge continued interest, set next steps, and eventually notify the recruiters who merited follow up.  

A whopping 72% of applicants completed re-engagement conversations with Abby within 4 hours of delivery! Even more surprising, only 23% of the respondents stated they were no longer interested.  This meant that the majority of the drop-off (77% of respondents) was a result of interruptions, busy schedules, systems glitches or forgetting to come back and complete the application when they had more time!

In closing, while there are no technology solution  is a silver bullet, ensuring perfect execution of a high touch recruiting process, remember that sometimes all you need is a little common sense and old school tactics, assisted by a little AI tool or two!

Look for another tip next month on how to revamp your online messaging to enhance your employment brand and to attract and hire high demand talent.

Need more info? Contact Carl Kutsmode, Partner, TalentRISE.