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How to Build Relationships with Job Applicants and Why it’s Important

The historically-low unemployment rate has created a tight labor market in recent months. While unemployment ticked up slightly as of the June 2019 jobs report, it’s still at the lowest rate in decades. 
The tight labor market and applicant-driven economy means hiring managers and HR leaders need to identify new strategies to attract qualified job applicants and fill open roles efficiently. And one proactive strategy your team might be overlooking is to build relationships and nurture relationships with job applicants. Below, we’ve outlined several ways to boost engagement among prospective candidates, and the key benefits of doing so. 

Build a Network of Engaged Job Applicants

Sharing a list of open roles on your career site can help you attract job applicants for roles you need to immediately fill. But it’s also important for you to build a network of prospective job applicants for roles you fill on a regular basis or will likely need to fill down the role. To meet this need, you can also include an option for interested job applicants to join your network and hear about open roles down the road.

On the blog, we recently highlighted an example of a company that is doing a great job building a network or engaged job applicants – Zappos. In just a few clicks, prospective job applicants can sign up for the Zappos Insider Program, and in return, they receive regular updates about potential roles Insiders might be interested in. Your team can take a similar approach to Zappos and by doing so, you’ll already have a network of prospective candidates to tap into each time you have an open role, rather than starting from scratch. 

Share Relevant Open Roles with Past Applicants 

Just because a job applicant doesn’t receive a job offer the first time he or she applies doesn’t mean they’ll never be a fit for your team. For example, you might have two qualified sales candidates who make it to the final round of interviews and can only choose one. If this is the case, you’ll want to stay in touch with the other candidate about future open roles. 
By centralizing data about all job applicants in one place – such as an applicant tracking system and recruitment CRM platform like Hireology – you can easily engage previous candidates for future opportunities. With the sales candidate example outlined above, the next time you have a similar open role, you can easily find the candidate’s contact information and share the role either via email or text message. Or if a candidate applied for a role, but based on his or her background and experience, you realize a different role would be a better fit, you can easily share this role with the candidate. 

Get Job Applicants Excited About Joining Your Team 

Once you have a network of interested job applicants and centralized candidate contact information, not only can you share relevant open roles, but you can also share content and company updates that will excite job applicants about the opportunity joining your team presents. 
Compelling content you can share with job applicants in your network might include: awards such as local “Best Places to Work” recognition, your employment brand video showcasing what it’s like to work on your team, company milestones like surpassing a certain number of employees, employee testimonials and success stories, and more. 
When it comes to sharing this information with applicants in your network, you have the option to automate this communication through mass emailing or text messaging. But it’s key to make sure your emails and text messages still make candidates feel like they’re having a human interaction with your team. Personalize all candidate communication with individuals’ names and information about role(s) for which each candidate previously applied. 
Option to automate this email but make it more personal so job applicants think they’re talking to a person

Set up Informal Meetings with Qualified Talent 

In some cases, you might have candidates you want on your team but don’t have the resources to hire them right away. For top candidates you don’t want to lose, consider meeting with them informally every so often – either for lunch, coffee or something similar. Then, when you do have ideal roles open positions for these candidates, they’ll remember all the time and effort you put into building the relationship and be more interested in applying.
By building relationships with job applicants, you can maintain a pipeline of prospective talent to turn to as your team grows. And you can also keep top talent excited about joining your team as soon as they express interest in your open roles. For more tips on keeping job applicants engaged, read our resource, “The Hireology Candidate Engagement Playbook.”

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