Is Candidate Management Really That Important?

By Sara Pollock

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Over the next several months, hiring initiatives may be somewhat unpredictable as they wax and wane to accommodate the economic uncertainty ahead. Because of this, talent pipelines need to be well organized with a strategy to keep both active and passive candidates engaged.

An ATS system helps hiring teams develop strategic candidate relationship management priorities to keep the talent pipeline full and fully engaged while unearthing A Players faster. Whether you’re actively hiring, planning for the future, or nurturing candidates with whom you want to maintain a close relationship, candidate management is crucial to finding the right talent exactly when you need it. And in today’s job market, it may be your best competitive advantage.

What Exactly Is Candidate Management?

Candidate management refers to overseeing, building, and maintaining relationships with job candidates. Building relationships with candidates gives recruiters the ability to develop a diverse pool of talent, which helps with hiring decisions and ensures that the right competencies for each role are accounted for within your talent pipeline, no matter when the job opens up. With a robust pipeline, recruiters and hiring teams are able to make better matches between candidate skill sets, performance potential, and core competencies of the role.

But hiring efficiencies aren’t the only benefit in candidate management. Candidates today expect a certain amount of speed and simplicity throughout their application process. 9 out of 10 candidates will drop out of an application process because they find it too frustrating. Candidate management helps you create a better candidate experience so that you don’t lose out on talent, and your employer brand remains intact. The more your brand aligns with candidate expectations, the more likely it will be that the talent you want completes the application process.

Why is Candidate Management Important?

Candidate management is not just about organizing your strategy and keeping applicants from dropping out. It serves the full function of your talent acquisition strategy, too.

Candidate management aids your talent acquisition by:

  • Building trusting relationships beyond hiring. A large portion of company culture starts with hiring and onboarding. Good candidate management sets the tone during the hiring process, and the difference between a good and bad experience can affect the long term perspective of the employee. By building a process that’s relationship-first, candidates enter the process with a much more positive perspective that will carry over into their employment — and make it more likely that they’ll refer a friend.

How to Manage Candidates Strategically

Putting the pieces in place is an important first step, but how do you make it play out in real-time? Here are a few ways to effectively manage candidates during the hiring process in order to find, engage, and ultimately win over your best candidates:

  • Communicate. Talk to your candidates — honestly. Be open about the process, where they stand, and your progress along the way.
  • Build relationships. Don’t simply rely on those candidates that come to you. Keep in touch with those you think are a good fit, and reach out to them when you have an opportunity.
  • Streamline applications. Set screening questions that can quickly eliminate candidates who aren’t a good match, allow for video interviews that can speed up the process, automate scheduling and routine communications, and make it easier to reach candidates where they are by leveraging texting and mobile capabilities.
  • Engage the whole team. Make sure the hiring team is a part of the process to help set the right qualifying questions and help sift through applications faster to isolate top talent based on the specific needs of the role.
  • Nurture your leads. Follow up with good candidates, even if they’ve gone silent. Managing how and when you communicate with candidates can have a positive impact on the responses you receive.

An effective ATS that has all of the key pieces of your candidate management strategy is critical for successful hiring, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. A strong understanding of how to engage with your applicants and how to give them a positive experience will make all the difference in your quality of hire.

This article was originally published on the ClearCompany blog by Meredith Wholley.

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