The Recruiting Plumber: Fix the Leaks in Your Candidate Funnel (part 1 of 3)

When you have a leaky pipe, you call a plumber.

But when you have a leaking talent pipeline? You need to be your own recruiting “plumber.”

Symptoms of a “Leaky” Candidate Funnel Include:

  1. Not seeing enough qualified candidates.
  2. Too many job seekers dropping out of your recruiting process somewhere along the way.
  3. Candidates being “poached” from you by other staffing or recruiting firms.

How to Fix the Leaks

No matter what kind of recruiting process leaks you’re experiencing, this series of posts will teach you how to fix them (no duct tape required).

Leak 1: The Communication Vacuum

What’s your communication process for when:

  • An underqualified professional applies to one of your online job postings?
  • A highly placeable candidate completes your standard phone screen?
  • A front-runner makes it through the second round of client interviews?
  • An employer’s second-choice candidate doesn’t get the offer?

If you don’t have solid protocols for scenarios like these, you’re frustrating, alienating and ultimately losing talented candidates.

Communicating with candidates is essential at each juncture within your recruiting process. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to keep talented job seekers in the loop, while building your employment brand with individuals who aren’t a good fit for your staffing firm:

Think like a candidate.

Bring your internal team together to map your candidate’s experience at each step of their journey with you. Put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes: what kind of questions would you likely have? What kind of information would be helpful? How could your staffing service do a better job conveying expectations or allaying concerns? Creating a candidate “journey map” is a time-consuming process, but understanding where communication vacuums occur is the first step toward addressing them.

Do more than the bare minimum.

Once candidates hit the “Apply” button for one of your jobs, what happens? Too often, the answer is “absolutely nothing” – or, at best, the candidate receives a generic “your application has been received” message. Then, the silence begins, and that potentially amazing candidate has no idea where they stand.

Take advantage of this opportunity to make a great impression with every candidate who applies. Send a timely, automated response to each applicant that acknowledges application receipt, thanks them for applying, explains your standard recruiting process and points the job seeker to additional resources (e.g., your Job Seeker FAQ).

Keep prospects well informed.

In today’s job market, top candidates have LOTS of options. They can be lured away by competitors, simply because they don’t know their status with your client! Once a candidate makes it through your initial screening interview, keep them in the loop (and in the fold) at each subsequent step of the interview process:

  • Provide feedback on their interview, with constructive suggestions for improvement.
  • Explain the next steps in your recruiting process.
  • Let candidates know how and when decisions will be made (so they’re not worrying needlessly).
  • Provide insider information about the hiring manager’s personality, the employer’s corporate culture, or any other information which could be helpful.

Follow up with every candidate you interview.

Even if you can’t place a candidate, they will remember the way they were treated by your staffing service. And remember – underqualified candidates can quickly acquire skills that make them highly desirable. Treat them well now, and they may return to your agency in the future as a top candidate.

The same holds true for second- and third-choice candidates. Take good care of runners-up, updating them on the job’s status so they know exactly when and how they will receive communications. If the employer’s first choice falls through, the extra attention you’ve given to runners-up will help ensure you have another qualified candidate primed for an offer.

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