What do you do with the serial applicant? That candidate whose name is forever appearing in your active job requisition list. The person who seems to be one of those candidates who has taken the approach of, I’ll do anything for your company just give me a shot, please.
There’s a few schools of thought about what the best approach is in this type of situation. No one approach is necessarily better or worse than the other, and in many instances, time is going to be the biggest driving factor for affecting which approach your serial applicant is best suited.
Sometimes, a direct approach is the easiest thing to do. Due to the advent of technology, our society has become accustomed to the immediate response and gratification that technology can provide. However, there’s sometimes no better approach than taking it back to the “old school” pick up the phone, engage that candidate directly and ask them: “Hello, I work as a talent advisor/recruiter/talent acquisition specialist for such and such company. I see that you’ve applied for 10-12 positions with our organization in the last week or two. We appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in our organization. I was wondering if you be willing to talk with me for a few minutes so we can perhaps zero in a bit more on what you’re really looking for and perhaps make your search a bit more targeted.”
In this scenario, less really can be more, and perhaps a more sound approach would be focusing on a position that seems to have the attributes that the candidate is MOST identified for, rather than essentially throwing darts at a dart board and hoping for the best.
Some candidates will respond really positively to the personal touch, as it shows you are taking a genuine interest in their career and the route they are looking to take and where they want to go. Now, in some situations this is going to be much easier than others, based on what you as the talent acquisition professional have on your plate. Let’s be real, most of us don’t have huge blocks of time in our day that we can dedicate to these types of outreach efforts. Other candidates, will continue to take the “numbers game” approach and the more people they find themselves in front of, the greater the odds of them getting to where they would eventually like to go. Each individual is different, but if nothing else at least you’ve made the effort.
The alternative approach: Socializing the candidate amongst your colleagues who might be working on different aspects of the business for which you are recruiting. Reach out to your peers. For example, you could say “Listen, I’ve got candidate Jill here, she’s not a match for the roles that I am working on, but I can recognize that her skill set could be of value to our company, it’s just a matter of finding the right place to plug her in.” The name of the game is getting the position filled in the shortest time with the best possible candidate and sometimes the path of least resistance for that candidate could be in the capable hands of one of your peers.
Every serial applicant is a different case. Often times, the company you represent isn’t the only company this candidate is applying to. The best approach will often vary from individual to individual, but there’s certainly value you can add to the overall candidate experience by taking that extra step of individual outreach to that candidate you see in your inbox time after time.