In today’s competitive recruiting market, organizations need to keep their options open when it comes to sourcing talent. In a survey produced by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), sixty-eight percent (68%) of HR professionals are having difficulty recruiting candidates for full-time openings. Companies can’t afford to turn off their pipeline to good talent.
One candidate source that we so often forget are people who have interviewed with the company before. Not every candidate who is rejected is a terrible fit. Maybe another candidate has more experience. Or the candidate is awesome but the company doesn’t have an opening. These candidates have skills we’re already aware of (because they’ve been interviewed). And they know a few things about the company (again, because they’ve been interviewed).
5 Steps to Sourcing Previously Interviewed Candidates
If you find yourself saying, “I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast this morning, much less remember the candidates who interviewed weeks or months ago”, keep in mind that you don’t have to remember everyone. Just consider building these five habits into your recruiting process that will help you remember:
- Ask the question. When you’re meeting with the recruiting team to select the final candidate, ask the question, “I understand these candidates aren’t being selected for this job opening. But before we move on, could you see them somewhere else in the company?” Get managers to start thinking beyond the current opening and beyond their own department.
- Set expectations. When the company informs candidates that they’re not being selected for the current opening, there’s nothing wrong with adding that they’re welcome to reapply. This leaves the door open for them to stay in touch via the organization’s talent network and possibly find another job they’re interested in.
- Think internal and external. “Rejected candidates” doesn’t only mean external candidates. Look at internal candidates who have previously expressed interest in promotions or transfers. Maybe they need to be reminded that they can reapply for opportunities as well. This can not only be a boost for recruiting but employee morale.
- Use technology. Check your applicant tracking system (ATS) for skills matches. The candidate may not have interviewed in the same department for the same position, but they have the transferrable skills that qualify them for a different opening. Make sure your career portal, social media messaging, and talent network know that former candidates are welcome.
- Inform your network. It’s not necessary to remember every candidate. If you use a collaborative hiring process, remind the other members of the recruiting team. They might remember someone that they’ve spoken to in the past. All team members should be sharing the same message about candidates being able to reapply.
Recruiters can build the consideration of former candidates into the sourcing process by adding a couple of small steps to their existing recruiting routine – either through remembering them or by the former candidate remembering the company.
Don’t Lose Great Candidates Because They Were Interviewed and Rejected
It’s true – not every candidate is a perfect fit for the company. Deep down, those candidates probably know that too. But in many situations, candidates with great knowledge, skills, and abilities get interviewed and turned down (because there’s only one opening to fill). There could be other opportunities for these talented job seekers.
The key is finding ways to keep previously interviewed (and rejected) candidates engaged and top of mind so the organization can consider them at another time.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the ATD International Conference in San Diego, CA14