While the applicant data your company collects in the form of resumes and employment applications may become outdated over a period of time if left neglected, you can and should take steps to prevent it from losing all its value. Resumes and applicant records are like fine wine – they have the potential to simply get better with age.
Read this as: The value of human capital data can actually increase over time.
If you receive a completed employment application/resume from a human resources coordinator with two years of experience today, you may retain that information in your applicant tracking system, and over time that person may gain experience and expertise in the field of HR. It is probable that the individual’s career will advance along the way. While the person may not be the right fit for the positions your business is offering today, you have the unique opportunity to nurture that candidate (assuming his/her qualifications demonstrate the potential for job fit once more experience is gained) with future periodic messages about company news and opportunities at your organization. This can even be automated, yet personalized, through email tools and templates available in your ATS.
Fast forward five years, and that same applicant will in many cases now have seven years of HR-related experience, and perhaps even be an HR manager or specialist. Now possessing more experience, this candidate who has stayed engaged with your company through career-focused newsletters and new job alerts may be just the person for the HR Business Partner role for which you will be interviewing candidates soon. The same is true of nearly every profession – accountants, attorneys, physicians, customer service reps, mechanical engineers, recent college grads, etc. – they will all gain experience and likely advance in their careers over time.
No matter their career path and progression, staying in touch with candidates who stay opted-in to your updates, and routinely inviting them to update their information will keep them engaged, as well as accurate in your applicant tracking software portal – regardless of their current job search status.
Some Applicants Need to Mature
Some resumes are posted on job boards but not kept active for long. And, as for social media outlets (like LinkedIn or Twitter), applicants can change their profiles to private on a whim. Their information is now rendered invisible to those looking for just the right applicant.
However, if you are using an applicant tracking system, you can easily capture information from these applicants who may have expressed only a fleeting initial interest at one time when applying via Careerbuilder or Monster, or responding to a friend’s status share about a new job on Facebook. While timing will be everything as you mine your pool of passive applicants, at some point, many applicants will learn of an intriguing opportunity with your organization just at the time they are open to a new challenge. This is the point at which these applicants are like a rare “vintage” wine.
With a large pool from which to seek out potential applicants, you may do a keyword search for a particular candidate (one who perhaps originally applied two years ago) – who may currently be passively looking or not looking at all – and then present the person with an opportunity that is well aligned with the next step in his/her career. You may be one of the few people to have access to this applicant since he/she is not necessarily in the market at this time.
A well-stocked ATS candidate database is likely to consist mostly of applicants that are only casually looking, or at least not proactively seeking jobs. Some of the best fits come when an applicant is not expecting to make a change, but the right opportunity comes along out of the blue. Put yourself and your company in a position to approach individuals that will be the best fit for your job openings and company culture. Cheers to that!