Nurturing Candidates Over the Long Haul

What is it that turns an ambitious, gifted employee into a candidate interested in your company’s recruitment pitch? Conversely, what is it about your talent acquisition process that may be repelling them? Moreover, are you missing out on opportunities to tap into potential talent simply because they have fallen between the sourcing and recruitment cracks?

What follows are four actionable suggestions to elevate your talent acquisition strategy today based on building, communicating, and nourishing the talent pipeline. We’ll also cover giving attention to those ‘nearly qualified’ candidates as well as handling rejected-candidate interactions with finesse.

1. Build Your Talent Pipeline

Whether you are part of a large, multinational organization or a start-up enterprise, if your company aspires to grow, then cultivating a funnel of candidates is not only wise but necessary. As the saying goes, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” 

Today, your existing staff may satisfy service facility needs; however, if sales and marketing are doing their jobs, then next month’s customer service staffing needs may zoom up to even more headcount required to fulfill business growth.

Or, perhaps you foresee a new product ideation coming down the development pike that, if executed, will require the hire of a product manager, a technical sales specialist and/or team of workers to support the additional process flow.

Rather than waiting to react to the executive team’s decision to move on the development goal, be proactive. Begin constructing the funnel of potential candidates now. Cultivating relationships while the need to hire is not imminent has a twofold benefit:

a) Removes Pressure. You are not under fire to find the perfect needle in the haystack candidate because you presumably already have cultivated several strong candidates in your pipeline.

b) Builds Interest. Potential candidates who may not initially have been interested have now gotten a taste of your company’s value proposition, inclining them toward a work opportunity with your organization. You can accomplish this through consistent company-branded and candidate-tailored emails that market your organization’s value to a potential employee’s unique needs and wants.

Pro Tip: Within Lever, you can archive or “snooze” candidates who might not be ready for a role today, but will be in the future. Snoozing a candidate hides their profile from your pipeline for a period of time before automatically reminding you to to follow up. Also, proactively building the talent pipeline enables you and your team to strategically build a more human process around the candidate and foresee their potential for your company, instead of hiring for basic skills and checked boxes.

Either way, when the timing is right, you have accomplished warm candidates at-the-ready to source for your next opening.

2. Think Outside the Box to Source the Best Talent

It may be tempting to overlook certain social networking channels as being unworthy of your recruitment time and energy. Consider, however, that many high-value careerists find a social media channel and devote themselves to that venue.

For some, this is LinkedIn, which has been popularized as “the” place to be professionally. Currently, there are more than 562 million LinkedIn users, which is why many recruiters tap LinkedIn as a go-to resource. 

However, discount the value of sites such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter at your peril. Each of these venues attracts power users and advocates who imbibe in their content and visual images many hours per day. Each of these networks continues to evolve to remain marketplace competitive. As well, each of these sites appeals to various aspects of a careerist’s personality. You will find candidates, from front line to CEO/Board level, actively traversing conversations thereto.

How to Leverage Instagram

A quick search of the hashtag, #hiring, on Instagram nets more than 968,000 posts, many from companies currently hiring. From there, you can click on a post to get a sense for how companies are promoting (through images and words) specific roles, as well as additional hashtags to use.

Drill down a bit more to uncover sector and specialty-focused hashtags. The hashtag #techjobs unearthed a post from recruiting partner @sourcecoders advertising a Senior Rails Engineer position for Series-B startup. This single posting listed not only the basic requirements of the role, but also whom to contact. Other popular recruiting hashtags are #wearehiring, #jobs, #jobopenings and #recruitingnow.

Moreover, senior executives are making a splash on Instagram, marketing their company’s value proposition. One look at Tami Erwin’s (@tamierwinvz’s) page will show you how Verizon values teams and integrity. Erwin, who is president of Verizon’s business group, cross-pollinates this value proposition across several social networking venues, elevating the company brand for potential job seekers.

How to Leverage Facebook

Strategies for using Facebook include joining or spearheading industry-specific groups that attract your niche candidate. You can also sleuth those groups to hunt for and reach out to your next great candidate. As well, use your personal page and company page to promote current opportunities.

Moreover, by encouraging your Facebook friends to share open opportunities with their peers, you expand not only your candidate base, but also your potential referral network.

How to Leverage Twitter

A simple hashtag search on Twitter reveals a plethora of companies currently promoting open jobs. Enter the hashtag #hiring, and an unending list of tweets promoting roles in technology, healthcare, customer service, marketing and more appear. As with Instagram, be a student of hashtags and experiment with hashtag combinations to see what will draw in your target candidates.

Finally, beyond posting jobs on these networks, consistently and authentically nurture all of your followers and friends, articulating the value in working for your great company.  As well, use your influence and marketing savvy to cultivate brand advocates on the different channels. You can further excel in this area by initiating and replying to conversations on a consistent and meaningful basis.

3. Communicate Effectively at Each Stage of the Funnel

Communicating effectively at each stage of the recruiting funnel is imperative to maintaining a solid relationship with candidates. It also ensures candidates who did not ultimately receive or accept an offer depart the process with a positive impression.

At the sourcing stage, ensure that you have prepared a clear, succinct job description to deploy in all interactions, including key social networking conversations. Be diligent in your responses, even if just to point the sourced candidate to the proper email and communication channels, ensuring no respondents are left adrift. 

At the evaluate and sell stage, you will be communicating with both passive and active candidates. Considering that at this stage some of your sourced candidates may go dormant, ensure you earmark them in your recruiting tool for future nurturing. Use the snooze feature, mentioned earlier, to remind you to engage them again, later.

For those candidates who continue on in the process, make sure that you behave as their partner from initial interaction to the offer and onboarding stage. Treat them as an equal, even during the interview stage, versus solely focusing on them proving their qualifications. By doing so, the candidate is more likely to leave with a positive impression.

Closing a candidate requires continued finessing and trust-building. At the offer/closing stage, you will want to be particularly tuned into their wants and needs, and potential other offers they may be entertaining. Reinforce the value proposition of the position as well as the company culture. 

Equip yourself with muscular reasons why your company’s offering exceeds another company’s potential. Continue the selling process up to and even after the offer has been accepted. This may include introducing them to team members who will act as champions of your brand.

At the onboarding phase, continue to engage with and be available to the new-hire’s needs as they navigate an unfamiliar environment. Perpetuate the nurture process, integrating them with other employees and familiarizing them with the culture, from day one.

4. Nurture All Talent

Some interested candidates may find themselves rejected for a target role, following initial interviews with your company. However, if sparks of interest between the candidate and hiring decision marker flew, maybe the timing will be right in the future.

Ensure you are transmitting those details to the candidate sooner, rather than later. Manage expectations early on, and throughout the journey, demonstrating an inclusive, respectful process. If they leave with a positive impression, they might, in fact, refer you to the right talent and/or be a customer of your brand.

Pro Tip: Lever offers four email nurture templates you can use when handling candidate rejection.

Moreover, you will have candidates who declined the opportunity and will want to continue nurturing them for future opportunities. 

Pro Tip: Using Lever’s internal search functionality, you can create customizable searches, depending upon the reason a candidate wasn’t hired; e.g., candidate was qualified but timing wasn’t right; or, candidate is someone you might consider in the future.

You will also have prospective candidates who never responded to your initial sourcing communications. Do not give up on them. 

It may be that the timing wasn’t right; wait a while, and then follow up with a new nurture campaign. With your and the talent’s timing now synchronized, you may invigorate interest. 

By ensuring that these high-caliber candidates do not fall through the sourcing cracks, you can create a repository of potential from which to draw as new and different hiring needs arise. 

Time is money, and the metrics don’t lie. It takes half the sourced applicants as applicants to make one hire, especially when the right nurture techniques are in place. Gone are the days of blanket marketing to source and hire the best people. Be sure to craft a personalized approach for all talent that enters into the funnel for sustainable success.