How to keep in touch with great
candidates you didn’t hire

October 15, 2018  /  


How to keep in touch with great candidates you didn’t hire

Losing a great candidate is never an easy situation for recruiters. Sometimes you may find yourself with a handful of awesome candidates, but only one role to fill. Sometimes your hiring process is behind schedule and you’re worried your candidates might move on without you. Or maybe you have a seasonal hiring cycle and some qualified applicants just don’t get their resumes in on time. With more employees switching jobs more often, keeping great candidates in your back pocket is a great way to make filling those open roles a little easier.

Here are a few ways to keep great candidates you didn’t hire interested and engaged—so they’ll still want to work with you later.

Checking in like you mean it

At one time you were on the hunt for the job you have now, so it’s not hard to imagine how frustrating it can feel when you’re waiting on next steps. To a candidate waiting on a new opportunity that may change their life, two days of radio silence can feel like an eternity. Now that you’re on the hiring side, you know that an entire work week can easily pass in an instant.

No matter your hiring situation, checking in with your candidates about the hiring process is the most important step you can take. No one likes to feel left in the dark—even when the decision wasn’t made in their favor. If they were a strong candidate, sending a personalized message to let them know you’ll keep them in mind for future openings, or even about another position you think they’d be a good fit for, can go a long way. If the only reason they weren’t chosen was because your hiring window for the year has ended, let them know why and what to expect next.

Not only does that put the candidate at ease, but it’s a great reflection on your company as a whole. So few companies do a strong job of communicating with their candidates, it’ll show job seekers you’re thoughtful and truly care about the people you hire. Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere like that?

How we do it

At SVG, our main hiring cycle opens at the beginning of the year and closes in August. We get lots of qualified applications after the window closes, but just can’t act on them because we’ve reached our quota for the year. This year we put together an email campaign that lets candidates know they missed the cut-off date and how they can re-apply when our window opens back up. 

Each email tells them what to expect from us, what we look for in a winning application, and why it’s great to work here. That keeps an open line of communication between our recruiters and our candidates—and makes both of our jobs easier come hiring season.

Tips during the hiring process

Besides keeping in touch, there are some things you can do throughout the hiring process to keep a strong pool of candidates available when you need them.

  • Step back and consider your company hiring needs and how you can meet them
  • Outline exactly what you want in a strong employee to help sort through applications
  • Ask your existing employees for referrals to help strengthen your options
  • Take notes on each candidate you interview so you can remember them
  • Stay personable and warm throughout all communication to maintain a great first impression

Bottom line

Recruiters know the hiring process can be a wild ride full of ups and downs. Keeping strong candidates available and interested even when you didn’t hire them will help you stay prepared when you need to fill roles quickly. Not only that, but a great fit will reduce turnover in the future. Keeping in touch may be a little extra work, but in the end it’s a certified win-win for you and your future hires.


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