How To Keep Job Candidates Warm

Once a job-seeker enters your recruiting pipeline, you and they have a relationship. You have to keep them warm by staying in touch with them. If they have questions, you have to answer them.

Once you decide that you want to interview someone, you’ll give them a name and an email address of someone in HR — yourself or someone else. Every day, you’ll devote some time to responding to queries from job-seekers and to following up with them to keep them warm.

You’ll communicate with every job-seeker in your recruitment pipeline at least once per week. You can send a quick email message if there’s no news. Of course, part of your job is gently nudging your hiring managers to make faster decisions about which candidates to interview and which candidates to hire! We are learning new skills as Ministers of Culture in the Human Workplace.

One of the new muscles we’re growing is the muscle called Advocacy. You are an advocate for your company, and advocating for job-seekers who are waiting to hear whether they’ll be working for you or not is part of that role.

We are leaving the era where HR people were passive clerical and administrative workers. You are a Minister of Culture now. The health of the organization is your top priority. If managers are dragging their feet on hiring decisions, your job is to bug them about it. You can say “How can I help you take the next step in your hiring process?”

They have a lot of other issues on their shoulders, of course. Still, when each hiring manager took the step of creating a job requisition and get it approved, he or she committed to making a new hire quickly and thoughtfully.

There is no excuse for managers to delay getting back to applicants. Every person who has come into contact with your recruiting process is a valued collaborator, and sometimes as HR people we need to grab hiring managers  by their figurative lapels and say “Hey! If you don’t hire somebody soon, you’re going to lose all of your applicants!”

At Human Workplace, we take hiring and employment very seriously. We recommend to our CEO clients that when a new job requisition is approved in their companies, the job requisition stays open for 45 days. If the hiring manager doesn’t move the process along and make a job offer within 45 days, there is a requisition review. The hiring manager will have to explain why his or her hiring process isn’t moving faster. There are people’s livelihoods at stake, and your organization’s brand is also at stake.

Here is a simple “Keeping warm” email message you can send to applicants in your hiring process when there’s no news to report:

Dear Amelia,

I hope your week is going well. I wanted to touch base with you so that you wouldn’t think I had forgotten you! Jerry Smith expects to make decisions about second interviews for his Manager of Inventory Control position next week. I’ll be getting back to you as soon as I can after I hear from him. In the meantime, please let me know of any questions you have for me or anything new on your end that Jerry should know about. Thanks again Amelia and have a wonderful weekend!


Keith Miller

Human Resources

It is critically important for job candidates to be able to reach you while they are active in your recruiting process. Way too many HR folks have been surprised to call or write to a candidate to schedule a second interview or to talk about a job offer and to learn that the candidate was no longer interested or had accepted another job. “I’m surprised to hear that!” these HR folks said. The candidate said “I tried to reach you, but your voice mail box was full and I didn’t get a reply to my email messages.”


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