Have you ever looked at the candidate profiles in your database and just known you had an amazing hire somewhere in there?

Sorting through old applicants can be tedious and difficult. But here’s a pro tip: if you’re trying to find a hidden gem in a pile of candidates, you should look into your older referrals.

Many staffing firms have databases of “stale” referrals. Maybe contact was never made or you haven’t connected in a long time. But a resounding 82% of employers say referrals have the best return on investment of all their hiring sources. And 88% of employers say referred employees end up being their top quality hires. 

So if you’re looking for a new source of top talent, you might want to give those stale profiles a second glance.

Strategies you can use to re-engage older referrals

Maybe using the word “stale” to describe referrals you haven’t reached out to in a while isn’t quite right.

Instead, these referrals might have aged like a fine wine. They might have acquired new skills since you last spoke to them. Or maybe they’re more serious about their job search. 

Regardless, someone thought well enough of them to recommend them as a potential new hire. Your job as a recruiter is to go down into the dusty wine cellar of your candidate database and find the right vintage referral to complement a new job opening.

Keep reading to learn how you can locate and get in touch with older referrals. 

Use an ATS or recruiting CRM (if you don’t already)

If you find yourself looking at a stack of stale referrals due to the disorganization of your candidate data, you need a better system. Luckily, an applicant tracking system (ATS) or recruiting CRM can make creating and maintaining a candidate database much easier. 

With an ATS, you can use tags or other markers to flag your referred candidates, keeping them at the top of the applicant pool so you can easily find their profiles. Especially if you integrate an automated referral platform with an ATS, you can track referred applicants and the employees who referred them in one place.

Easily access an organized database of referrals with an ATS or recruiting CRM.

An ATS or CRM will also help with regular communication to prevent referrals from going stale in the first place. Here are just a few things you can do in most ATSs that make communication easier:

  • Create email templates so your recruiters never have to search for the right words to re-engage a referral.
  • Set up a special pipeline that reminds recruiters to get back in touch after a referral has spent a certain amount of time in your database.
  • Combine these two features to send automated emails based on the date your recruiters last spoke to older referrals. 

Automating your referral program using the power of an ATS or recruiting CRM will make regularly engaging referrals—even those you can’t place immediately—second nature for your recruiting team.

Capitalize on all available communication channels

These days, a multichannel approach is your best chance of reaching out to anyone effectively. But, when it comes to reconnecting with referrals, you already have data on what works. So, keep the channel where you first connected with a referral top of mind. If a referral has already responded to emails from you, for example, new emails are more likely to get opened.

On average, 81% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. That means you can reach most people through voice, text, email, and social media on a single device. And when 70% of job seekers use a mobile platform to search for jobs, that means recruiters should access any and all of these platforms to reach applicants.

And although the fate of the U.S. Postal Service is up in the air, don’t write off direct mail outreach just yet. Most Millenials say receiving personalized direct mail makes them feel special. By coupling a personalized invitation to apply to a new position with a QR code that leads a candidate to an online application form, you might stand out from the all-digital recruiting crowd.

Even younger applicants might appreciate an invitation to apply for an open job via snail mail.

Fine tune your outreach strategy

When reaching out to an older referral, here are a few things you should do, regardless of your method of outreach:

  • Reintroduce yourself. If it’s been a while since you last spoke with a candidate, remind a referral when you last spoke and why.
  • Tell them about a new job opportunity you have in mind for them. If you’re reaching out because they’re a good fit for a new job opening, don’t skimp on the details or make them search for a job posting. Tell them about the company and the role in detail to pique their interest.
  • Clearly outline next steps to apply. Include a link to a job application, or suggest a time to schedule an interview. Let them know when you need to hear back from them to prompt a sense of urgency.
  • Gather updated information. If you don’t have a specific position in mind, ask for their latest info. An updated resume will help you learn about new skills, their availability, and their current focus. 
  • Let referrals know they can opt-out of future communications. If a referral has already found a job they’re happy with or just isn’t interested, that’s important information to know. Culling your database of disinterested candidates helps you:
    • Avoid creating a negative association with your client’s brand by continuing to reach out to people who don’t want to hear from you.
    • Maintain a clean database of top talent eager to find a new role.
    • Spend your time focusing only on highly engaged and interested applicants.

Make your reapplication process as easy as possible

This should go without saying in 2020, but candidates don’t like redundant applications. If you’re reconnecting with a candidate who’s already shared information with you, they’re likely to be frustrated by having to resubmit data you already have. Especially if the candidate you’re trying to re-engage is a referral, you should do everything in your power to make the application process as easy as possible.

Keep track of your referrals with an automated referral program

Staying engaged with candidates is important, no matter the source. But since referred hires are so well liked by employers, it just makes sense to give referrals extra attention. Make sure to stay on top of communication with technology dedicated to nurturing them.

Especially when used in tandem with an ATS, automated referral software can help you avoid losing touch with top talent. Automated referral systems make it easy for:

  • Employees to recommend qualified applicants 
  • Referred candidates to apply for positions
  • Recruiters and hiring managers to track referrals and connect with top talent
  • Companies to reward employees who engage with their referral program

See how Staffing Referrals can help you stay engaged with old and new employee referrals. Schedule your demo today.