Candidate management - it's a term that you've probably heard more than once recently, but what is it and why is it essential for every business?

What is candidate management?

In this candidate driven market, companies need to make sure that they are doing everything possible to help secure the very best people for the job. This is where candidate management can help, but what is it?

Candidate management is the process of both managing and improving relationships with not only current candidates in the application process, but also future candidates. It covers the entire recruitment process both pre and post application and is a crucial element often overlooked.

Candidates need to feel valued, supported and have an overall highly positive experience with your brand, despite their success in the shortlist process.  Companies need to get better at candidate management, or risk losing out on great talent and damaging their employer brand.

Not only this, but there is evidence that creating a positive candidate experience (the feelings a candidate experiences from your candidate management process) can also impact on your bottom line. A happy candidate could be a client of the future or can recommend your company to others, so it's vital that they are looked after.

There's also another superb benefit. With skills in shortage and good candidates getting harder to find, candidate management can also help create a diverse, engaged talent pool for future vacancies, helping you stay ahead of the competition.

Candidate Management Audit

How to audit your current candidate management process

So where do you start when it comes to developing a process and what should it include?

The first thing you need to do is identify when and where you need to communicate with your candidates and the easiest way to do this is to put yourself in the candidates’ shoes. Walk yourself through the whole journey starting from the advert, right through to the successful hire. It's important that you do this in the shoes of both a successful and non-successful candidate, so you may need several smaller processes to ensure that every person is supported throughout.

Here are some key questions to ask whilst auditing your current candidate management process -

  • Do candidates receive a confirmation email on application?
  • Do you communicate timescales for feedback and next steps?
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    Do you communicate with those candidates who are deemed not suitable?
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    Do you communicate with candidates who have interesting CV's but are not quite right for the current role?
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    Do you have a process to keep in touch with shortlist candidates in the time between application and interview?
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    What happens with all the applications? Are they stored in a CRM?
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    Do you have CV's on file that you can review for each new role?
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    Do you proactively target ideal candidates?
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    Do you currently have any software in place to manage or automate this process?

Whilst this is far from a complete end to end list, it hopefully gives you the general idea to enable you to define the questions most suitable to your business.

Candidate Communication

Communication is key to candidate management

There is an interesting article by The Undercover Recruiter that helps explain how to use candidate management to keep control of your recruitment process. It's worth a read, especially if you are about to recruit.

It highlights the most common complaints from candidates about a recruitment process and these include -

  • no feedback after the interview
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    the process dragged on
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    if they had known more about the role prior to interview, they may not have attended and therefore not wasted time.

This is valuable information, as knowing the pain points of candidates means that you can develop a candidate management process to help alleviate the frustrations and provide a positive experience. Bear this in mind when creating yours and it should be easy to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

These frustrations can all be solved with a little communication.

  • Give feedback to every candidate after each interview stage - even if they are not successful! A personalised email thanking them for their time would be a great start - don't forget, most candidates put a lot of effort into preparing for an interview and acknowledging this and being thankful will work wonders for the perception of your company as an employer.
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    On receipt of an application, send a personalised email outlining the recruitment process and timescales. Managing expectations from the beginning will help. Do bear in mind though the well-known phrase "time kills all deals" and the same is true when it comes to recruiting, so don't have a long drawn out process if you can help it as this will reduce your likelihood of finding the best candidate.
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    Share more detailed information about the role with all candidates on the shortlist. Maybe send over the job spec, what to expect at interview and if you already have a strong employer brand presence on your website and social media, remind candidates of this and it will also help then get an inside view on your culture.

Every opportunity to communicate with a candidate can be used to your advantage. Not only to develop a superb candidate experience, but if used well it can also help build your talent pool.

The things listed above are just the tip of the iceberg and whilst it works well for active candidates, there's also some candidate management initiatives you can implement for passive candidates.

Candidate Talent Pool

Using a talent pool to get ahead of the competition

What about when you have filled the position? What then? There's a key thing to remember here - your recruitment process should never end. To stay ahead you should -

Always Be Recruiting

No matter if you recruit 5 times or 500 times a year, developing a candidate management process to help build a talent pool is key. Keeping all your applications for all your roles in a central place means that you should have a group of candidates who may be suitable for future roles. Staying in touch with and building this group, even when you don't have an open vacancy means that you may not even have to advertise next time, therefore reducing your recruitment costs.

By having a web page dedicated to recruiting, you can attract candidates all year round. Showcasing your employer brand and even highlighting the types of roles you recruit for will help generate interest. Take this one step further by having the functionality on your page to allow candidates to join your talent pool. Candidates can register their details and be stored directly with your other applications if using an ATS (applicant tracking system), enabling you to develop those relationships by communicating open roles, interesting news or even incentives for candidate referrals.

By having an engaged talent pool you are helping to future proof your company against the shortage of talent, making your recruitment a smoother, quicker and overall more successful experience.


If you need help to implement your candidate management process, or are looking to build a talent pool, get in touch and see how JobHoller can make everything simple.  info@jobholler.com  01255 567 967

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