As anyone who’s worked in recruiting before can tell you, the business world today is mired in a “war for talent.” Everyone wants to find the next absolutely perfect candidate to add to their staff, and nobody wants to settle for second best. On the other hand, sometimes second best isn’t that bad. Burning bridges with the candidates you turn away probably isn’t the best idea either.
Here’s the thing. While everyone wants the best talent, situations can change, and your definition of “the best” is fluid. Sometimes a candidate you discarded previously can reemerge as a great prospect for a future job. For this reason, it’s beneficial to keep networking with job candidates, even after you’ve rejected them initially. You never know when someone might return as a viable option.
According to TLNT, this is becoming a rather common strategy. Josh Tolan, CEO of video interviewing startup Spark Hire, pored over the results of a 2015 CareerBuilder study and found that 72 percent of hiring decision-makers now begin the recruiting process with internal recruits – including previous applicants who are already in their pools of talent.
“Many times, you interview one great candidate after another, and the truth is you can’t hire them all,” Tolan noted. “However, you can hire the one that got away once the right opportunity presents itself. Oftentimes, second-choice candidates become your first choice when another position becomes available.”
This is why continued networking is so beneficial. Keeping in touch with previous job candidates, whether via email or dropping in for a cup of coffee when you’re in their neighborhood, might lead to great hires in the future. Along those lines, the following are five strategies for networking with the job candidates you have on file:
Let the final cuts save face
Not getting a job can be an embarrassing experience, but not if you handle it with some tact. Call the candidate personally, explain your decision and show a genuine desire to keep in touch.
Stay connected via social media
Even if you can’t offer someone a job, consider a token nice gesture like giving them a follow on Twitter. This will help boost their self-esteem and make it easy to keep in touch with them later on.
Remember the little details
Show that you care about your applicants by remembering little things about them. Do you know their hobbies? Where they were from? Their kids’ names? All of these small details can be conversation-starters that help you build a relationship.
Maintain a friendly relationship
Try to stay friendly toward your old candidates. If you enjoy something they post online, let them know. If you see them in person, buy them a cup of coffee. Little gestures can be great for your rapport with candidates.
Stay open and honest
At all times, be upfront with your candidates about their status. Why weren’t they a fit for a job last time? How might things change in the future to create an opportunity later? Let them behind the curtain and explain where things stand. Eventually, that honest dialogue might turn into a successful hire.
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