Uncover Passive Talent in your Applicant Tracking System

By Arena Analytics

Jan 3, 2022

Do you know how many records you have in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Each record is a candidate with a resume who was interested, at some point, in working for your organization. Every new job posting creates an influx of resumes and kicks off a new cycle of searching to find the right person for the role.

Until now.

Today, most employers are facing an unprecedented staffing crisis. Many positions go unfilled because of no or low applicant volume. Many employers today are desperate for warm bodies to fill positions, resorting to extreme measures and unheard of hiring incentives for select roles. The reality is that no employer can afford to ignore the trove of candidates they already know. 

Some recruiters hesitate to reach out to a candidate who applied more than six months ago, fearing they may be unwilling to talk because they were not contacted after their initial application. Think again.

According to a study by Future Workplace, job seekers are 3.5 times more likely to re-apply at a company if notified about new opportunities. Less than half of businesses surveyed actively reach out to rejected candidates, yet almost all (99%) believe that re-engaging talent could strengthen their talent community and brand. Nurturing and maintaining relationships with your past applicants is crucial to augmenting your candidate flow, now more than ever.

If you're wondering how to find more candidates, the answer is likely "in your ATS." These four tips can help you rediscover the talent within your ATS and increase your talent flow:

1. Un ”ghost” your candidates

Several studies report that the top source of frustration among candidates is never hearing back from an organization to which they have applied (also called “ghosting”). In fact, 77% of job seekers report being ghosted since the onset of the pandemic, according to a report by Indeed

Avoid being part of this statistic! On a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, or another regular cadence), plan communication to candidates who have applied to your organization but were never contacted. Your ATS should have a status to help you identify these candidates.

Once you have your list and a way to update it automatically, write a simple email that can be sent on an automated schedule to thank candidates for their time spent on the application. A small token of appreciation for their time will go a long way in generating goodwill and creating a positive lasting impression of your organization. 

2. Nurture, nurture, nurture

For the roles you source regularly (and even if you don’t have a current opening), search your ATS for candidates who have previously applied. Use the contact info from your search to build an email list to keep them engaged so you have a pool of talent to tap immediately when job openings become available.

Communicating with these candidates regularly helps you stay ahead of demand and keeps your employer brand front and center with this audience who has expressed interest in working with you.

Expand this strategy by creating email lists of past candidates by job category to which you can post new job openings, send invitations to job fairs or open houses, and share other relevant resources to maintain engagement.

3. Broaden your experience search

Your ATS contains candidates who have applied since you first implemented it. Over time, these candidates naturally gained more experience and skills. Find talent with the experience level you seek by running a search for candidates who were entry level when they applied between 2015 and 2018, but now offer between four and seven years of experience!

Target this group with an email campaign to recognize their accomplishments since they last applied and invite them to receive notifications about new job opportunities that more closely match their current experience.

4. Find roles for every applicant

Sometimes pressures to fill a role quickly can mean that the fastest applicants get the job. According to new research from StartWire, people who apply earlier get hired at a greater rate than those who apply later.

From the employer perspective, this means that recruiters are reviewing only a portion of applicants before finding one to hire. About two-thirds of applicants don’t receive any follow up communication from the employer, which amounts to a lot of untapped and even unseen talent going largely ignored. 

For your most frequent and hard-to-fill roles – review the list of candidates who applied but didn’t make it to the interview process. Their backgrounds might be a great fit for your existing or future open requisitions – and they’ve already expressed an interested in your org!

Make a shortlist of these candidates and set up an email cadence about job opportunities. This shortcut will boost your talent pool and kickstart sourcing efforts for upcoming positions.

Start mining for gold

Using your ATS as a resume database when searching for specific jobs should be number 1 on your sourcing flow strategy. As shared previously, even if the candidate applied two or three years ago, they may still want to talk to you. But while a candidate wasn’t a fit for the initial role they applied for, they could be a great match for five other jobs at your organization.

Past candidate records from your ATS offer the advantage of already having resume and contact information readily available. Put that information to use by revisiting the talent already in your system, and finding other career pathways for which they will succeed. Your ATS is a goldmine of talent waiting to be rediscovered. By applying these tips to your talent sourcing strategy, you can more efficiently and effectively add to your talent pipeline.

Sometimes looking within an ATS can be difficult. Arena Analytics’ team of sourcing experts can help. Learn more how our Talent Discovery and ReDiscovery solutions can help you better utilize your ATS and expand your talent pool.

Arena Analytics

Staff Writer