We all throw time and resources at attracting new applications or building our pipeline. But it’s easy to forget that every company has a huge store of candidates that they’re ignoring. A group of people that “buy in” to the company, have been vetted by the team, and have invested time in applying before.
We’re talking about silver medalists.
What are silver medalists?
While you only hire one person for every role, you might leave behind hundreds of unsuccessful applicants.
Many of these people were probably qualified by your team but, for one reason or another, didn’t stack up against the person you ended up hiring, or dropped out of your process at some point.
Your team has spent a bunch of time and resources attracting, engaging and qualifying these candidates. So, instead of consigning them to a dark corner of your ATS, it makes a lot of sense for you to stay connected with them.
If you can figure out an effective way to keep these people engaged, you can quickly turn your ATS into a goldmine of potential talent. (Maybe we should call it a silver mine...?)
“I think there will be an enormous productivity gain there around being able to access nearly must-have talent that just narrowly, narrowly lost out.” Stephen Lochhead, Expedia Group
How to engage silver medalists
To make sure silver medalists don’t just sit in your ATS, you need a clear strategy to sort, prioritize and engage them.
Here’s our 5-step framework for success:
Make sure candidates opt-in
With legislation like GDPR and CCPA, handling candidate data in a compliant fashion has become more important than ever before. To get all your ducks in a row, send an email to all silver medalists post-rejection, checking if they’re happy for you to keep their information on file, and asking them to opt in to future communication. This means you can keep in touch with them via nurture campaigns, and keep them “warm” and engaged for suitable roles that come up in the future.
It’s a simple, yet critical, first step.
Before you press “go” on your nurture campaigns, take the time to set expectations with candidates.
First and foremost, tell them why you want to stay in contact (they’re a great candidate who you’d love to consider for future opportunities, etc.). Then share what happens next: what kind of content are you going to send them, and what channels are you going to contact them on (is it just email, or SMS too?).
This might not seem significant, but it ensures candidates look out for your email in their inbox (instead of being confused as to why a company that has recently rejected them keeps sending them stuff).
Send the right content
Relevance is the single most important factor in effective candidate communication. Are the messages and content that you’re sending silver medalists relevant for who they are, and what they’re interested in?
Before you start firing out email campaigns, you need to segment your silver medalists into talent pools. This will make it far easier for you to send each candidate personalized information.
The best campaigns include a mix of company news, interesting content (e.g. employee testimonials), invitations to relevant events, and relevant job opportunities. With AI, you can even dynamically generate job alerts for those silver medalists you know well. Personalizing communications increases the likelihood of conversion, and the technology exists to do this at scale and find efficiencies.
Make sure you balance the frequency of your communication: nobody wants to hear from your team every day. We’ve found that sending an email every 2-4 weeks is about right.
Keep candidate data up to date
The data you have in your ATS might be static, but candidates certainly aren’t. They’re continually developing the skills and experience that will make them a stronger employee down the line.
If you want to effectively prioritize silver medalists, then you can't rely solely on the information you captured when they applied for a job. You need a way of keeping that data up to date.
There are a few different ways to do this. You could ask candidates to “update their profile” on an annual basis so that they’re considered for the right roles. This would involve sending a survey or a set of questions to each candidate
There are a couple of issues with this approach. Firstly, it relies on candidates taking time out of their day to fill out a form, probably not their top priority. Second, if you’re not using a Recruitment CRM, it can be nigh on impossible to map the answers that candidates send you to your ATS. This means everything sits in spreadsheets and is probably never reviewed by your team.
You could also ask your team to track top candidates on LinkedIn, updating their information whenever they make a major career move. This works just fine, but can be taxing for overworked recruiters.
The smarter way to deal with this issue is to leverage technology to keep profiles up-to-date. For instance, Beamery connects to your ATS, pulls in all silver medalists, and adds them to talent pools based on criteria like role, experience, and level of engagement.
Then the smart stuff happens: We map every relevant data point (communication, website behavior, application history, recruiter notes etc.) to a candidate’s profile, and then tap into the social web to update information dynamically.
This means that you always know exactly what a candidate is up to, whether they applied 10 days, or 10 years ago. All your data is always up to date.
Once you’ve worked out which people you want to stay in touch with, got their permission, and figured out what you're going to send and how you’re going to keep profiles up-to-date, it’s time to hit send.
Make sure you track engagement carefully to see which type of content resonates with your audience, and be prepared to switch up the frequency and style of your communication if you’re not getting the results you need.
A very similar approach can be taken with your alumni (employees who have left the organization), another talent pool that is often neglected. The aim is to create a global talent pool that makes it incredibly easy to find the candidate with the skills to match every role or opportunity.