What is candidate management? Why is it important? How can you use it to help improve your employer brand? We tackle all this and more.
Candidate management is a vital part of the recruiting process but is usually the last thing on the list for talent managers to think about. Just the thought of having to respond personally to all your applications from potential employees, good and bad, is enough for it to go onto the "too difficult to deal with" pile. However, not communicating with those candidates can have a very big negative impact and can completely change someones view on your company - either as a future employee or a future client. It has never been more important to look after ALL your candidates.
What is candidate management?
Candidate management extends throughout your entire recruitment process and is a critical component. It starts from the minute someone sees your advert to far beyond the job being filled. Strong candidate management will help you build a diverse talent pool of future candidates, and potentially some new clients in the mix too.
A survey cited that 77% of candidates don't hear back from their applications and even more worrying, 72% would be unlikely to recommend the products of a company if they didn't receive feedback following an application, or if they had a negative experience throughout the process. This really does prove that candidate management is vital for protecting your brand image.
Whilst there's no hard and fast rule, or legal obligation to give feedback to all applications, it is simply best practice and shows that you care about the image you portray as a company.
We live in a world where we can place an order online and receive an email confirmation within minutes. The same can apply to your candidate management process and is simple to execute. By spending an hour or so setting up a bespoke candidate journey, you can determine what communication will be sent when and create a bank of standard responses that you can automate throughout the lifecycle of the vacancy. Depending on which system you use for your ATS (applicant tracking system), your emails can even be personalised which will further increase positive feelings from the candidates.
When you think about candidate management, it's easy to think that this is all about communicating to those applicants you have deemed unsuccessful, but you mustn't overlook those superstar candidates in the process. Whilst management are taking 3 or 4 days to feed back on your shortlisted CV's, those strong candidates are likely to have applied to at least 3 more roles and may have even got through the first interview stage at your competitor already.
The auto-response email
We strongly advise that as a bare minimum you set up an automated response to any applications. Use the opportunity to inform the candidates of the recruitment process and expected timescales. Try and show your culture in the email - think about what voice your company has in their employer branding and stay on brand.
The auto-response is a perfect opportunity to direct those candidates to your careers page, your social media and any other channels you use to promote your vacancies and culture. There may be another position that the candidate is better suited to, but they may not have seen it advertised, or there may be a role that is perfect for someone in their network. Never miss an opportunity to promote your brand.
If you have given timescales in your auto-response email, then it is important that you stick to them. There will be candidates in your applications who are really excited about the opportunity to come and talk to you and will be waiting for your response, so don't leave them in the dark.
Managing the process
It depends on your internal processes, but we would strongly advise that you respond to people as soon as possible and don't wait for weeks after the applications to confirm a shortlist. You may have a few applications that you are not 100% sure about and may want to wait for more applications before making a final decision. This can still be managed through a robust candidate management process and can keep those potential candidates warm.
If you have an ATS then the candidate management process is fairly straightforward. Most systems give a grading option of red, amber and green and you can usually make this decision based on a first read of a CV. There will be those that are an instant no, for whatever reason, it will be fairly quick to determine that they are not right for your role and may not even be a potential hire of the future, but it is still important that you leave them with a good feeling about your company. For those red flagged candidates, send them an email thanking them for their time and interest, let them know that they haven't been successful this time, but why not ask them to keep an eye on the website and follow you on social media for updates on future vacancies. If they follow you on social media, they are more likely to share your posts increasing your chance of more candidates and more clients.
The yellow flagged candidates are those that are potentially of interest, but not right now. These are your talent pool and this is the start of your relationship management process to help ensure that they are people you can approach in the future. Create an automated email that lets these candidates know that you are interested in what they could bring to the company, but that you don't have anything 100% suitable right now. As well as asking them to keep an eye on your website and follow you on social media, why not ask these candidates for permission to keep in touch and add their details to a monthly email that promotes your roles or simply shares updates.
The green flagged candidates are likely to be the ones you call, but if you did want to send an email first letting them know to expect a call, then again this is simple to set up.
That's not all!
This is just the start of the candidate management process and there's lots more you can do after the shortlisting stage, but that's another blog for another time.
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Here at JobHoller we are passionate about protecting your brand and have all the tools you need to make the process very simple and almost 100% automated. Give us a call today to see how we may be able to help you - 01244 567 967 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org