Staying in Touch with Exceptionally Competent Prospects

As a recruiter, we come across heaps of great candidates in the job market. Every company desires to employ highly competent personnel for their employment requirements. The generic method of hiring prospects used by most companies is somewhat similar.Job Interview
Companies receive loads of resumes in which you find exceptionally talented candidates among mediocre ones, applying for the available job opportunity, out of which some are interviewed. Let’s say if a company has interviewed 10 prospects and managed to shortlist 3 best applicants. The attention-grabbing element in such a situation is that all the 3 shortlisted applicants are highly competent to avail the job opportunity, but due to the restricted number of vacancies available at the moment; they end up hiring 1 applicant.
The rationale for this concern is that when the job market tightens up; skilled and brilliant candidates are hard to come by. Therefore, what can be done to stay in contact with the other 2 remarkably gifted applicants, taking into consideration that they do qualify, but because of limited number of vacancies they cannot be hired immediately.
Feel free to share your views on how you would go about handling such a situation. Furthermore, how can a company develop rapport in order to keep the remaining prospect relationships viable?
If this theory of ‘staying in touch with proficient applicants’ has some elements of negativity involved, then kindly emphasize those aspects as well.


  • Hi Salima,
    during one of my past professional experiences, really it happened to me some situation like those describe by you.
    At this time, social networking tools were not so diffused like know, so I used to maintain personal connection with good candidates using e.mailing.
    To the same purpose, today social net.s (like LI) are in my opinion of great help. You can stay connected, see career changes real time, networking behaviours, other professional involvements developing and, of course, to continue to have personal communications.
    In synthesis, the idea could simply be to integrate these good candidates in your core professional & personal network.
    Regarding possible “negative effects”,I’m not able to see anything against this approach. Any case would be interesting to see different opinions (if any).
    My 2 cents

  • Dear Salima,
    This is a real practical incident any HR personnel may face when recruit a person to a certain position. Personally I have also let go of exellent applicants. But it is really worth to build up a realationship with them personally or proffessionally. Say we interviewed a Marketing Executive, but unable to hire him; the AGM Marketing always buid up a relationship with the candidate. there are 2 purposes for that.
    1. to keep him in touch for future positions,
    2. to get some interesting marketing details (I dont know wether this is ethical or not)
    If I talk in the HR point of view, keeping applicants in touch by HR department may give a negative expression to the applicant and he can demand for the salary and other benefits. however he should be entered to the priority list and should give him an idea that he is the 2nd choice in the recruitment process. I peronally believe that you should appriciate the skills and competencies the person have and also communicating him the reasons for the final decision can be advantagous to win his good will for the company.
    Thanks and regards

  • I believe like all other situations it is imperative for the organization and its decision makers to develop a relationship with the qualified applicant. Someone suggested not delivering the standard “rejection” letter which I strongly agree with. A strong candidate cannot be treated in the same manner as other candidates that the company has no interest in. Oddly that is exactly what happens by way of standardize processes.
    In building the relationship it is about following their progress using the various venues available. But equally important is to engage the applicant and keep him or her tuned in to the company. That might consist of sharing news about the company, its performance and investor information, updates, etc. Thinking entirely out of the box, consider creating a site for potential talent to tap into information already suggested, maintain profiles and even provide feedback on company challenges and help with strategies by way of Q&As. That’s being innovative and suddenly the candidate does not have this sense of rejection, but instead maybe postponement!
    Most importantly, there should be someone accountable for facilitating and managing that relationship, whether it is HR, the line manager, executive or a possible peer. The bottom line is through the course of the relationship both are aware of experiences and later be able to marry their respective needs and interest into an employment relationship.
    Quick story. I met a woman several years ago while I was sourcing for a position unrelated to her background. I anticipated there would likely be a future need for someone with her qualifications. I developed a relationship with her – keeping in touch, exchanging updates, etc. A little more than a year later there was a need and because we had established that key relationship I was able to have one interview extend an immediate offer. She has now been in her role for about three years and doing exceptionally well. It made recruiting less expensive, expeditious and most will probably agree more efficient.

  • Salima,
    You already have the necessary information to contact that individual in the future; they have provided: address, phone, email, and so forth. I fail to see the significance of “staying in touch”. The candidate has shown intrest in the organization and you have found him/her capable.
    When an opening presents itself you need only contact that individual with the option to consider the position. If the person is still in the market they will accept; if not, they will kindly decline.
    If the person is as good as you say, odds are they will soon be employed eldewhere and “staying in touch” will have mattered not.

  • As a HR leader, I enlisted a “recruiting team” that consisted of office leaders across the country. They would, as we called it, keep the pipeline of competent candidates full by sending an occasional email to say hello, invite the candidate to lunch or dinner every few months, golf, or other activities. We’d meet as a recruiting team every quarter to make sure we had candidates in the pipeline, who they were, and when a job opened up they were the first we’d call. Of course, professional networking tools such as this or twitter are helpful as well.
    It’s an effective way to keep people interested in your firm – the leaders of company are the appropriate people to loop into that initiative.

  • If you’re asking how do you technically stay in touch, I recommend good CRM software, like ACT, SugarExpress, or Highrise by 37Signal. If you’re asking about how to manage the relationship, I think that LinkedIn is a pretty good way. I am currently out of work, and I would appreciate it if the recruiters that I have found jobs with in the past had a way of keeping in touch with me, when good prospects come up.

  • I am agreed with Sara.
    Staying in touch is practically a difficult proposition. The Job-seeker may not be interested as well. At least you can maintain a separate MIS for those candidates who went to final round. It will help in client’s future need, sudden back-out of selected candidate etc. This is a Recruiter’s point of view.
    I would prefer company does not develop a rapport with such candidates. Some day if they expand, they may hire the candidate directly and I will loose my billing. Better we maintain the rapport.

  • Create a database of these valued prospects. You cannot really keep in touch per se with them because they hardly know you, but sending a nice warm letter informing them that they were not selected not because of lack of interest in them, but because the position was filled up.
    When and If the opportunity arises, theres nothing stopping you from calling/mailing them and discussing the opportunity at hand with them.They will be glad to hear from you! Not only because you may be offering them their next job, but because you kept your workd of getting back to them if and when there are any vacancies. They would respect you for that because most companies say that they will call back, but its a sugar coated way of saying ” Sorry! FInd another Job!”.

  • Padric O'Rouark

    How does anyone keep in touch? Create a file of those exceptional applicants. Create a ‘rejection’ note that does not reject as much as it notifies the applicant the company is interested in their talents but the current position has been filled. Send the occasional company Email and create a schedule to periodically send them a note. With a resume’ the HR rep has a lot of information usually including the applicants interests. Shouldn’t be too hard to search the net for articles they might be interested in. Let them know the company is still interested if a future opening becomes available.

  • Alison Smith

    Newsletter (free useful advice), twitter and linkedIn are all options. At the time you can ask them for their preferred option of how to keep in touch. Over time you’ll find what works best for you.

  • Edwin Senjobe

    Hi Salima,
    Your question is interesting. And in your question is your answer. What stops you from keeping in touch with that candidate other than yourself? If I was looking for a position and got turned down because one or two candidates were better than me, especially in this current climate, I would feel confident, I am good, but a better candidate beat me to the line.
    Keep a record of the candidates and get in touch with them every so often. If anything, that is why you have recording systems like CRM to help you manage and keep in touch.

  • Salima, Its a regular scenario. What we can do is give a personal touch. Keep the details ( preferably a maintained MIS) and keep them in loop if anything qualifying for the candidate comes thru. You can also maintain a steady ” working relationship” with them. Occasional mails , greeting will help more to keep the relationship lukewarm but warm, nevertheless. They should identify you with the first name and have your number on their cell, preferably, as so would you.
    We as a person can make a change. In this case its more business, the catch here is they should feel you will work for their requirement. That would depend on us

  • Dear Salima,
    If the other two are not required by your company since there is one and only one position available, so why you need to capture them…… If you want to build personal friendship you already have their contacts… but don’t say you want them to stay waiting future possible vacancy in your company, 🙂
    since they will sure apply for other positions and have a new job in other companies because they are talented as you mentioned….life goes on.

  • You have put up a very intresting query.Yes one of the greatest challanges is to connect with good talent.However,,Once you have identified the good candidates ,I suppose intodays world you could easily use the email to keep in touch and then we are on linkin for that very purpose and this is one very good platform to keep connected.All good HR professionals of top companies use this medium very well indeed now a days.

  • This situation is when “long-term prospective applicant” management thinking is necessary. A forward thinking HR professional will mimic a company’s customer relationship management (CRM) program. You develop rapport during the application process with all the prospective employees by being open, engaging, polite. Just as the candidate wants to create a positive impression of himself or herself, the HR professional needs to create a positive impression also. For applicants who do not get the job, ask if it will be all right to stay in touch. If it is all right, stay in touch.
    If you are genuine in your contacts with the person, that genuineness and authenticity can build a strong relationship. I would contact the person every two months, just to see how their job search is going. Do things that are helpful to them. Send them interesting articles; ask for their opinion on some issue, check on their progress. Ask the person to be one of your contacts on a business networking site.
    The drawback is that this takes some of your time, but the connections you can make with another human being, in their time of need, is worth the time, in my opinion.

Leave a Reply