How to Keep a Candidate in Your Network for Years

 

It’s not a radical idea, but providing a high quality experience for a candidate is an extremely important part of the recruiting process -- and one that can be easily overlooked. A high quality experience can mean the difference between building rapport and a relationship with a candidate or never hearing from them again. 

Poof - gone forever.

For recruiters, a large network filled with well-established relationships is part of their livelihood, and can make their job a hell of a lot easier. When a candidate isn’t a fit for one company or role, they could be perfect for another. Not to mention, the power candidates have... They can be great ambassadors for an employer brand, or they can be the exact opposite with the power of 140 characters. It’s important to remember that candidates should be treated with as much respect as customers. When it’s all said and done, regardless of outcome, you want that candidate feeling positive about the experience. Treat them well and you will benefit in the future. Here a few ways that can help.

 

Overly Communicate

No candidate is ever going to complain that you over-communicated. Their number one concern is receiving information in a timely manner. The general complaint candidates have with recruiters is that they never hear back – especially frustrating after they have taken time to have a conversation or two, go to live interviews or even get to the point of providing references. Candidate not being selected to move forward in the hiring process don’t want to be left in the dark. They are professionals with thick skin (well…most of them).  If they aren’t wanted they’ll understand, but they do want to know about it. During every step of the process they would like to be kept in the loop.  If someone is still being considered for a role, tell them – at least stay in touch until it comes to closure.  Kind of rude to just disappear for weeks, then call and ask a person to show up for an interview the following morning.  Don’t hide anything that is critical from the candidate either – be upfront. This will help avoid any “miscommunication” about salary or the duties of the job when it’s too late.  

 

Always Be Nice

It sounds simple, and it is -- and it goes a long way. When engaging with a candidate, take a minute to know them as a human first before jumping right into the professional discussion.  Make sure you sound happy and positive on the phone.  If you meet them face to face - smile! And for respect’s sake, please be on time. Remember, you are likely the first representation of your company and its culture to a candidate. You do not want etiquette and manners to be the reason they are turned off from the experience. 

 

It’s Not You, It’s Me

There are going to be plenty of situations where you meet people that you really like a lot, but t are just not right for the job. If there is any appropriate feedback to share with them, do so. Perhaps they didn’t have enough closing experience for a sales role – tell them.  But then offer to help them.  Maybe you have a contact that may be a great person for them to know networking purposes.  That extra step is memorable most of the time.  Then connect with them on LinkedIn and stay in touch.  Like their updates once in a while. Send a congratulations note.  Check in with them every so often and get a pulse on how things are going at their current job. Add them to an email list and send them your company’s blog or other fresh content. Follow and engage with them on social media (sharing, favoring/liking, retweeting). There are plenty of different things you can do to maintain this relationship, but only once the ice is broken and the trust is established.