A Simple Way to Increase Engagement with Top Candidates

The most neglected resource in the recruiting industry is our database of candidates.  The database is also commonly considered the most valuable material asset we possess.

Most recruiting owners and practitioners would admit that they could do a much better job of keeping their candidate records current.  Those same industry professionals believe that 70% of the candidates in their records are current.  The reality is most databases are only 20%-39% current at best.

Many of us have extensive candidate databases containing thousands of records.  The daunting task of calling them all and maintaining current information on the majority of them is often cause for doing nothing.

The incidental search through the database to seek a fit for a current search most often results in a lost candidate.  He or she has moved on and left no forwarding address with us, least of all a current telephone number.

Occasionally, we’ll get lucky.  We’ll find someone at a previous employer who can lead us to our “lost sheep.”  Usually, it is a dead end resulting in a deleted candidate.

We also lose many other valuable benefits of continuing current communication with top candidates.

First, we are not gaining the referrals they can provide.

Second, those in a hiring capacity are probably working with your competitor, who stayed in touch.

Third, our presence in our niche shrinks everyday as our top candidates fade away from benign neglect.

The vast majority of our candidates have email addresses.  Most have more than one email address.  This recruiter has about seven.  Most of us know that contacting old friends and acquaintances by the occasional email message is a commonplace practice today.

A simple and inexpensive process will keep our records current and reap all the rewards they can provide.  This process requires existing basic resources, such as the following:

  • A reasonably updated desktop or portable computer system
  • Internet access
  • Email management software (Outlook, Outlook Express, etc.)
  • Administrative assistance

The process requires the recruiter to obtain the email address of every candidate.  Most current recruiter-specific, desktop management programs and database programs accommodate email addresses or are modified easily to record them.  Once each address is entered into the email management program in the address book, the process of sending emails is as simple as sending the group you select.

Send them in groups of like disciplines and similar income ranges.  Try to send out groups of 100 at a time.  These transmissions of emails can be sent automatically after business hours.  Your Internet service provider (ISP) may also prefer bulk emailing to occur during non-primetime hours in consideration of bandwidth usage.

These email messages should contain a simple message stating your desire to stay in close contact and keep the candidate aware of the best opportunities for which they may have an interest in pursuing.

Candidates, especially top candidates, love recruiters who really do stay in touch.  Most say so, and then disappear until they need that candidate again.  This process molds the candidate perception of our efforts as a positive one.

They will appreciate our efforts to keep them in THE LOOP.

In my next blog post, I’ll explain what to say in these emails to be sincere and to make the best use of your time.

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Doug Beabout, CPC, a guest writer for the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog, has a career that spans 20 years of expertise in recruiting, personnel services, firm ownership, and training.  His tenure in recruiting includes building four highly successful businesses and establishing hundreds for others worldwide.  Beabout speaks to state, regional, and private recruiter associations.  He is a consultant to many corporations and personnel firms.  Beabout is currently owner and president of The Douglas Howard Group, a professional recruiting firm, and conducts several online training programs for recruiters and researchers.  He can be reached at 850.424.6933 or via email at trainer@recruiterelearning.com.