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Database Automation in the 21st Century

Posted by Alexandra Kane on Jul 1, 2020 10:28:17 AM
Alexandra Kane

Making Your ATS Work For You

Introduction

In the blink of an eye we went from a candidate driven market to an employer driven market. Many staffing firms feel the pressure of being forced to "do more with less" - whether it's reduced headcount from furloughs, strapped budgets, and increased demand from candidates. Plus a labor market in flux, shifting demand from industries -- it's a lot to take in. Firms need to keep costs low, drive placements, maintain productivity, invest in new client development, maintain business agility, and still keep that high quality engagement across the candidate lifecycle.

While there are several key differences between the “haves” and “have nots” right now in staffing and recruiting, one factor stands out from the rest: The most successful and forward-thinking staffing firms today are investing in database automation. 

Oh no, you might be thinking, another new term to learn?!

We feel you on this, but stay with us. database automation isn’t exactly a new thing, but its importance and impact on staffing and recruiting is more recently emerging as a critical component. 

What is database automation?

To start, let’s examine a high-level definition of database automation:

Database automation is an umbrella term at Sense that includes data enrichment, database nurturing and marketing, and large-scale database cleanup, where you communicate directly with your prospects (or in many cases, your talent). It involves collecting (and updating) data like names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, placements, skills, experience and more. Then, you use this information to create a personalized, super-engaged experience for every candidate, contractor or prospect. 

Why should I care about database automation?  

Looking at that standard definition, it might jump out at you right away why database automation is so impactful for staffing firms in particular…

Just about every firm is sitting on a goldmine of data in your ATS! You have the names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, skills, history and MORE for thousands, if not millions of candidates. Effectively and responsibly using this data to market to those candidates can (and already does) have a dramatic impact on the success of your firm. 

What’s hiding in your candidate database? 

For most staffing firms, the reality is that they don’t know what’s hiding in their candidate databases. Their artifacts are largely unknown. So many one-off candidates apply and tap out during the hiring process (or are never spoken to at all), or the client didn’t choose them for one reason or another—there are a litany of potential reasons, all with the same outcome: many MANY dormant candidates in your database.

Database automation empowers you and your staffing firm 

Database automation puts the robust data sitting in your ATS to work. Combined with a powerful engagement platform, successful staffing firms are designing and implementing effective database automation strategies that are improving redeployment, garnering more referrals, reducing job board spend, and more. It also gives recruiters hours back in their day often spent rote, impersonal tasks such as data entry, cleanup and parsing into more productive, personal and revenue generating activity - making them over 33% more productive on average.

Database automation helps you maximize spend and resources by automating key messages and communications whenever possible, seamlessly integrating with human communications when it’s most impactful for you and your candidates. Here at Sense, our clients have implemented robust database automation strategies with incredible results. Since our platform integrates seamlessly with ATSs like Bullhorn, eRecruit, JobDiva, Avionte, TempWorks, Salesforce, JobAdder, TargetRecruit Bond Adapt and more, taking advantage of database automation is simple, efficient and powerful.  With today’s technology and empowered talent, tapping into your database to build and leverage stronger relationships is a potent tool in your arsenal. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of database automation so that you feel ready and excited to design and implement your own database automation strategy. Specifically, this guide is broken down into the following sections:

  • Why database automation?
  • Understanding your data (and how you can use it)
  • Using your data to generate ROI
  • Next steps

I. Why Database Automation

There are plenty of buzzwords and technologies scrambling for your attention (and your dollars) today. It can be incredibly challenging to know where you should be focusing your attention. Which begs the question -- 

Why database automation? Why now? What makes this such a compelling trend? Let’s dig in...

Why is database automation so important for the staffing industry?

Some experts were calling this the “Golden Age of Recruiting.” With more data, insights and technology than ever, recruiting should be a piece of cake. You should be sitting pretty like Scrooge McDuck on piles of cash. Then, early 2020 happened and many staffing firms were forced to do more with less, and find new ways to do more with less, keep costs low, and still maintain that personal touch.

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In the staffing industry, the tension is palpable. Candidates are still more tech savvy than ever. They have higher expectations of employers than ever. And many of them are reeling with anxiety, looking for new roles or expanded skill sets. Maybe new shifts from new demands at home. 

For these reasons and more, the staffing and recruiting industry (including us!) can’t stop talking about candidate engagement, redeployment, and contractor care. That’s because incorporating innovative solutions in these areas can help overcome those challenges noted above. 

Challenges like…

Reducing costs

Candidate acquisition is expensive. Many firms were spending thousands of dollars a month (not to mention your annual costs) on job postings with the “big job boards.” Your recruiters were spending countless hours sending cold LinkedIn emails and other outreach to try and entice passive candidates. They were going to job fairs and community centers and so much more.

That all adds up. Big time. 

Staffing firms have caught on, and are now putting their $$$ towards targeted recruitment marketing campaigns.  Recruitment marketing and employer branding are more important than ever. Which means spending money to stand out from the pack. 

These campaigns can be hugely successful, resulting in hundreds or even thousands of new candidates in your database. But unless you have the perfect jobs for them to immediately apply to (and be placed), guess what? They’re going to sit dormant!

Enter: database automation. 

Rather than spending thousands of dollars (and many, many hours) to add dormant candidates to your database, database automation lowers candidate acquisition spend and sourcing time by engaging the candidates you’ve already acquired and ultimately, increasing the likelihood they are placed. Without adding man hours and further taxing your recruiters. 

Now, as budgets are squeezed, demand is fluctuating (sometimes hourly!), database automation empowers recruiters to search within their own databases and applicant tracking systems to find qualified candidates that were never available to them previously. This can drastically lower their candidate acquisition costs and recruiter costs by freeing up their time-to-search, ultimately resulting in more placements by increasing their productivity when times are tight, or demand is off the charts, as in healthcare.

One of the biggest blockers to using one’s own database has been database health. Many recruiters complained of old phone numbers or emails, out of date skills and zipcodes. With database enrichment, you can use automated texts and emails at scale to reach out to candidates and have them update that information for you! No need for 1x1 recruiter outreach and data entry, keeping your data refreshed and up to date in your ATS in the background. A self-cleaning database? Well that’s making your ATS work for you!

Yes, that means database automation helps you maximize the spend you’re already putting out there!

Retention

How many times have you had a candidate accept the offer, only to disappear when it was time to start the assignment? We frequently hear from clients who are struggling with a high dropoff or ghosting rate after offer acceptance.

Involuntary contractor turnover is often as high as 25%

Do you know what else is as high as 25%? Offer to start drop-off rates...

Putting aside thinking about the cost of turnover for a minute (which we know is astronomical!), what about the impact to your client satisfaction? When you have good contractors, you want to keep them! Great talent means happy clients. More than 3/4 of staffing firms expect to generate the majority of their revenue from current clients—gotta keep them happy!

Plus, higher tenure and lower turnover can have a major impact on your candidate acquisition costs and bottom line revenue. In other words, the longer your candidates stay in their roles, the more profit that is made by your staffing firm!

Redeployment

Our research shows that most staffing firms only redeploy 5% of their contractors. 

Let that sink in. 95% of your contractors move on. Only 5% stick around for another placement. 

With so many employers fighting to impress and attract such a small pool of candidates, those numbers aren’t terribly surprising. But they sure are sobering.

But let’s flip it and look at the potential. Because if only 5% of your candidates are being redeployed, there’s nowhere to go but up! And with database automation as part of a sound engagement and contractor care strategy, you can absolutely expect those numbers to go ⏫

These challenges are just the tip of the iceberg! database automation (and particularly automation of your database automation), puts consistency in place throughout the entire talent lifecycle (including months after a placement has ended) by:

  • Guaranteeing delivery of a consistent brand message and experience
  • Focusing recruiter productivity on building relationships
  • Fostering and nurturing relationships with existing candidates to reduce your future costs

Especially now as so many contractors are more than willing to expand their skills and shifts, are open to industries and roles, keeping talent informed through redeployment automations can open up a whole new world of job recs for these contractors right from your own database. 

Why do so many staffing firms fall short when it comes to database automation? 

Certainly the struggles and challenges being faced by staffing and recruiting firms today are not new or isolated issues. So why do so many firms continue to struggle? Here’s why so many staffing firms are falling short when it comes to database automation: 

They don’t have enough candidate data to create personalized, engaging experiences.

Some staffing firms may believe they don’t have enough data to create the personalized, engaging experiences we promote here at Sense (and that so many others discuss across our industry). 

In reality, that belief is a fallacy that is holding you back. 

To start, your ATS is a treasure trove of data. From past jobs to future interests, and education, experience and contact information, your firm has a wealth of data points on your candidates! 

Is it everything you need to create wholly engaging experiences for your candidates and your contractors? Well, no, but it is one heck of a start. 

Overcoming this challenge is, in a way, a shift in mindset. You may feel like you’re so far behind when it comes to database automation, you’ll never get caught up. 

You’ve already tiptoed past the starting line, whether you intended to or not. Now, you just have to pick up the pace!

Their databases are stale and full of “junk” data.

Recognizing the tremendous potential of database automation is one thing. Actually implementing a successful database automation initiative is another. Unfortunately, many staffing firms have the desire to implement database automation and fully maximize their candidate database, but their data is, well, junk. 

Stale. Outdated. It’s pretty much impossible to market to your database when you don’t have accurate and up-to-date data! 

You’ve been collecting candidate data for years (maybe even longer!), so it’s understandable that some of your data is stale. But all is not lost. Technology today empowers you to automate communications that help update candidate data to maximize your database automation strategy. 

In fact, Sense’s automated data enrichment and large-scale automation tool will do exactly that. Use automation to keep your database sparkly clean and up to date—without taxing your recruiters further. Helping you to maximize every dollar spent and ultimately, to place more talent. Orchestrate large scale outreach campaigns into your database and automatically write-back right into the ATS field to keep it updated - simple as that! 

They lack the resources. 

When we first meet with them to talk about their goals and challenges, we hear this one a lot. Your staffing firm is really busy. You’re trying to find new candidates in a market that is extremely tight. 

Who has the extra manpower to reach out to your entire candidate database (or even your currently active candidates) in order to gather more data? Then, to use that data as part of a database automation strategy?

Thinking about finding the resources to move into a database automation role may cause you to break out in a cold sweat. 

But we have good news (trust us!): Your team doesn’t need to do this stuff by hand, one-on-one, or however you want to phrase it. Because technology (like Sense, designed specifically for you and your colleagues in the staffing industry), has evolved to help you gather, sort, and use data for successful database automation. 

Technology not only eliminates the need for more resources, it can help create even more time for your team to work on their highest-priority tasks. Pretty neat, huh?  

And while the technical term is ‘database automation’, it’s really database engagement and activation—everyone can do it! With database automation, operations, talent acquisition and marketing functions all come together. We know, it’s pretty darn powerful!

They haven’t set up the systems and processes that enable successful database automation. 

This one’s really important, because technology alone doesn’t instantaneously create results. There are LOTS of technology “solutions” on the market, but entering your credit card number doesn’t magically activate results. 

We hear from so many staffing firms who have been burned by technology that promised them the world. But when they signed the dotted line (or clicked “register” after giving their payment information) there was ZERO guidance on how to use the technology to get those results!

Your staffing firms needs a few things to successfully integrate technology into your operations, including:

Buy-in

This one’s big. Unless your team understands and believes your new technological investment will get results, you’re setting yourself up for failure (or at least lackluster results).

Systems and Processes

Workflows, timelines, internal processes—all of these things matter, and will profoundly impact the success of your new tech. Here at Sense, our clients receive a dedicated Customer Success Manager who not only knows our Sense platform inside and out, but also knows the staffing industry and best practices to get results. 

You’re not alone! Once you are on board, we work with you to successfully integrate our engagement platform into your operations, developing the systems and processes you need to maximize your investment and results. 

What kinds of opportunities are out there for database automation? 

50% of job board candidates are already in your ATS. You're engaging with less than 1% of them at any given time.

That means you’re spending a LOT of effort to recruit candidates you know! Candidates you know, and have data on. 

And let that second number soak in for a second. You’re engaging with less than 1/10 of one percent of them. Just like with the redeployment numbers we shared above, there is a glaring message here:

THERE IS SO MUCH POSSIBILITY! 

With so much of your database untapped, just imagine how much your candidate database could be worth. 

Digital transformation arrived for every staffing firm in March of 2020. Whether you were prepared or not. This technology can drive meaningful results for your bottom line if deployed correctly and effectively. Bump up that redeployment rate by 5%, 10% or more. Increase that .1% engagement rate to 1% or 2%. 

The potential impact on your bottom line is truly dizzying. 

TIP: If you go into database automation with a service mindset, it will treat you well. That’s because using database automation to create value for your contractors and candidates means happier talent. And we’ve already touched upon how happier talent can improve your bottom line (just through retention and redeployment alone!). 

Why is database automation an effective use of resources for staffing firms? 

Up-to-date data empowers you to send personalized, relevant communications to thousands of candidates in your database. But let’s come back to resources.

Because most staffing firms are maxed out nowadays. 

Texting, calling, emailing hundreds or even thousands of candidates would eat up days or weeks if your recruiters attempted to do it on their own. 

Then, consider how much time would actually be needed to update the data. Let’s just say it’s a lot. 

Did you know that your recruiters are spending 33% of their time on data entry?

And another 33% of their time on prospecting?  That’s ⅔ of their time spent on rote administrative tasks.

This industry is called the “people” business for a reason, isn’t it? Where’s the time for your recruiters to actually BE people?!

Forward-thinking staffing firms use technology to maximize time and results. For example, Sense works together with your ATS to pull, update and use candidate data to create a seamless talent experience. 

Your Customer Success Manager will provide guidance to help you create workflows, templates and triggers (we’ll talk more about these in a bit). From there, the technology does the rest, sending out personalized communications, updating data and then handing off the conversation only when it’s the right time for a member of your team to get involved. The amount of time (and ultimately $$$) saved is dramatic. 

And the potential increase in revenue through automation and database automation (remember, just tiny percentage points can be game-changing) is incredible. 

When we think about automation for recruiters and staffing firms, we can think about two types of tasks: transactions and interactions. 

Recruiters can restore a bit of productivity by automating elements of database automation that encompass transactions, like sending text messages to dormant candidates asking for updated information. In these instances, any responses from candidates that are anticipated, common questions can be answered through automation. 

An interaction may start with the transaction noted above. But in some circumstances, talent may have questions or responses that cannot be answered with automated responses. In those instances, artificial intelligence (AI) can trigger an alert to one of your recruiters to enter the conversation and add the human touch to the specific interaction.

You can think about these types of tasks as autopilot and co-pilot. Automation can be used to put many database automation tasks  on autopilot, no person required. AI can be used to put tasks on co-pilot, where automation handles part of the load, augmenting those areas that still need a person to provide human involvement. In both instances, your recruiters gain improved productivity, and your candidates receive more personalized, efficient interactions. 

How can different teams in your staffing firms use database automation? 
Recruiters 

We’ve covered this one pretty well so far, but to recap, your recruiters can use database automation to send personalized, engaging messages to both candidates and contractors. Keep your ATS sparkling clean and up to date so that it becomes an asset and not a decaying burden your recruiters have to continually maintain throughout their day. This can result in better retention, more placements, increased redeployment, improved engagement rates, and ultimately, more revenue.

Sales & Marketing

Speaking of revenue, your sales and marketing teams LOVE useful data! While you should be collecting, updating and using data to create personalized experiences for your talent, you can also use database automation to send personalized messages to prospects, current clients and past, inactive clients. As new business development becomes increasingly more important in an employer driven market, take the administrative load off your sales’ teams by helping clean their lead and contact records and help their prospecting efforts by maintaining their CRM, and helping nurture into their contact pool.

HR

Besides candidate engagement, employee engagement is a hot topic in HR circles today. Just think about how hard you’re working to try and lure passive candidates. Guess what...so are your competitors? And they’re aiming for YOUR employees! Database automation can help you stay in contact with your employees, providing them with fun, helpful information in meaningful ways. Which can significantly impact your internal retention rate. 

II. Understanding your data (and how you can use it)

It’s a pretty safe bet that you know data is important. Just about every staffing firm wants to collect data. Large, popular companies are under fire for covertly taking it from their customers—but why? Because it’s valuable. These companies use data to make smarter business decisions and ultimately, to generate revenue. But when we think about candidate data, it’s important to think about the different types of dormant candidates who are likely sitting in your database, including:

Never converted

Whether they turned down an opportunity with your firm or simply weren’t the right fit at the right time, these professionals never made the leap from “candidate” to “contractor.” 

Alumni

Congrators or FTE who were once placed with your staffing firm, but now sit dormant in your database.

Silver medalists

Talent who, at one point or another, was among your top performers. You could count on them to fill some of your most in-demand roles, and your clients could count on them to deliver exceptional results.

Understanding these types of candidates will help you better identify where opportunities exist to update data, and how you can best leverage database automation to re-engage (or even initially engage, in some instances) each group of talent. 

Take the right approach to data

While the headlines tout companies that covertly take data from their customers, you don’t have to sneak around in order to gain candidate data. In fact, you are likely sitting on a treasure trove of data already! Forward-thinking staffing firms know this, and are taking a strategic approach to candidate data. Here’s how:

They keep their candidate data up to date.

Data is not “one and done.” In order to fully leverage candidate data, keeping it up to date is critical. Not only does current data allow you to better target your messaging and create a more personalized candidate and contractor experience, reaching out to candidates in order to update their data can serve as a powerful tool to increase redeployment rates. 

A couple things to keep in mind when contacting candidates to update their data:

Use their preferred communication method

Today, for the most part, that’s going to be through text. We’re using our phones more than ever—but we’re using them to surf, scroll and text increasingly more often than we’re using them for actual phone calls! When you reach out to candidates, using their preferred communication method ensures you get a response (and more than likely with texting, a timely one), rather than sitting in inbox oblivion, or playing phone tag. 

Parlay the request into a conversation

Once you’ve re-engaged dormant candidates or contractors to update their data, don’t let the conversation stop there! As I mentioned above, updating data can also help you increase redeployment rates. Confirm data or ask for updates, then, take the opportunity to share relevant opportunities or otherwise keep the conversation flowing. Looking for some inspiration? Check out this post for some example messages

Leverage automation to simplify data updates

ICYMI: We dug into automation and the importance of updating stale data in the previous section. It bears repeating—database automation without up-to-date candidate data is difficult, to say the least!

Today’s technology, though, (including Sense), automates data collection and updates to ensure your data is sparkly clean and fresh—without adding to the to-do list of your already maxed out recruiters. 

Take Infinity Consulting Solutions, for example. They were sitting on a database of 6.6 million dormant candidates (hello!). They used Sense to create and deploy data cleanup workflows, which verified more than 5.5 million valid email addresses.

From there, they designed a database automation campaign to re-engage these candidates in batches with a survey touchpoint (powered by, you guessed it, Sense).

Let’s just say, their campaign was a massive success. For Infinity Consulting Solutions specifically this included:

  • Over 2.5 million candidates contacted so far
  • ≈10% click through rate
  • 84,000 email opens
  • 7,000 clicks
  • 6,000 responses

Think of how long it would take to send out over 2.5 million candidate communications. Or, don’t. Because thinking about it makes our brains hurt!

Automation powered this campaign, and has led to over 6,000 responses from otherwise dormant candidates. Candidates Infinity had already spent considerable resources to attain, only to sit dormant. 

It’s SUPER exciting, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg!

What kind of data is most important?

The term “data” is thrown around quite a bit lately. In the literal sense, data is defined as facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis

You have access to a LOT of data on any given day, week or month. But what data is most important for your staffing firm? Which data will allow you to effectively leverage database automation to improve retention, deployment (and redeployment) and ultimately, increase ROI? 

Here are some of the key areas where accurate, up-to-date data is especially important:

Contact information

This one should be pretty obvious, but it’s also one of the easiest to become outdated rather quickly. We change email addresses and phone numbers pretty often, so keeping this info up to date is key to best leverage your candidate database. 

Personal information

Candidate and consultant birthdays, anniversaries, information about hobbies, likes or dislikes, kids (if they bring them up), and other personal information can be hard to remember for hundreds or thousands of candidates. Keeping that information in your ATS or engagement platform ensures that your automated database automation efforts can fine tune personalized messages that are more likely to be read and engaged. 

Plus, it’s just the right thing to do to recall information that’s important to your talent. They will absolutely notice and appreciate your effort and recollection!

Professional background

Whether it’s certifications, degrees or specific experience, it’s of course extremely important for you to track everything you can when it comes to the professional background of your talent. Combined with database automation, you can send perfect job openings and personal messages to the right candidates at the right times. Imagine checking your texts to see that your literal dream job was just sent to you. How cool!

Your candidates will feel the same way.

Experience with your staffing firm

Whether it’s the jobs they’ve applied for on your website, the people they’ve interviewed with or the anniversary of their first placement, you should be tracking every possible piece of data that pertains to talent and your staffing firm. 

As always, it comes down to personalization. A “happy anniversary” text to a consultant helps individuals feel like more than a number or a resume. It can be that simple! Or, you can get even more specific with your database automation messages and workflows based on specific information. The possibilities are seemingly endless. 

How much is your candidate data worth? 

This number will be different for every staffing firm. But it has the power to be, well, huge. Let’s focus on redeployment in particular. Our research shows that a vast majority of staffing firms redeploy between 2- and 5% of their consultants. 

This leaves up to 98% of your placements waiting for redeployment. 

Now, take a look at your revenue. Imagine the impact a jump in redeployment could have on your numbers? And with database automation, using automation to send personalized, perfectly timed messages to these candidates, the increase in revenue will be massively efficient compared to your spend (which will also help you, as mentioned earlier, lower your cost to acquire NEW candidates). 

There is simply so much potential. We get super excited about it, and we hope you’re getting excited too 😄

III. Using your data to generate ROI

Today’s candidates demand a better experience from recruiters, staffing firms and employers. The days of treating candidates like resumes are gone. Instead, talent today expects to receive a personalized, engaging experience from potential employers and the agencies that represent them. 

Candidate data empowers you to create the personalized experience your talent craves. From a simple “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” text on important dates, to relevant job openings and more (the possibilities really are endless), it’s actually pretty easy to leverage data for an improved candidate/contractor experience.

In previous sections, we’ve covered some of the mistakes staffing firms make when it comes to candidate data and database automation. Here are two ways forward-thinking staffing firms approach and leverage candidate data to increase their ROI:

1. They leverage all their technologies for database automation 

Your staffing firm is spending a LOT on your tech stack. Imagine if all or most of those technologies could work together to maximize ROI and implement powerful database automation! 

Forward-thinking staffing firms know how to leverage their ATS—their system of record—together with as system of engagement (like Sense), to gather, update and use candidate data for effective marketing. 

There is a literal treasure trove of data in your ATS. The right engagement platform taps into that data and puts it to work for you. 

2. They use candidate data for effective database automation—without maxing out their teams

Manually texting, calling, and emailing hundreds or even thousands of candidates would take an awfully long time. Need an idea of how much time? Ask your recruiters! Seriously, go ahead and ask them; we’ll wait!

Then, figuring in even more time for entering data, setting up calendar reminders...it’s a to-do list that never ends! We’ve mentioned this a few times already, and you know it, but it’s important enough to repeat—your team is BUSY. Maxed out. 

Sense works together with your ATS to pull, update and use candidate data to simplify and maximize database automation. You can create workflows, templates and triggers, and your staffing technology handles the rest. It’ll send out the personalized communications we’ve discussed, update that old, stale data, and then hand off the conversation when it’s the right time for a member of your team to get involved. 

The amount of time (and ultimately $$$) saved is dramatic. And the potential impact on your revenue is powerful.

The secret weapon of successful database automation

Automation really is the driver behind efficient, successful database automation. The right technology is crucial to simultaneously simplify and maximize your efforts. Peeling back the curtain of automation for a second, you’ll find the workhorse of database automation. 

Workflows.

Workflows are simply a series of communications that are sent to your database. They begin with a “trigger,” and continue through a series of communications until the workflow “ends” (there are literally no more messages) or more commonly (and ideally), until the candidate or consultant requires a human touch (and is handed off to one of your recruiters for human follow up). 

Sometimes you’ll send candidates in your database one-off or only a handful of messages. Sometimes, the workflows will involve more touchpoints. Depending on the type of candidate and desired goal, your workflows will change and evolve along with your needs. 

To really understand a workflow, and how it can help you maximize your database automation efforts, let’s look at some examples for the types of dormant candidates we mentioned earlier:

Never converted

Communications with these dormant candidates could include situations from “submitted a resume and never moved further” to “went through two interviews but wasn’t selected” and many more in between. However far they went in your hiring process, though, candidates who have never been converted have some sort of expectation of the process with your staffing firm. 

A lot of hesitation among talent today stems from uncertainty of the unknown. This is especially true for how long the hiring process will take, how much engagement they’ll receive, how they’ll be treated, and so on. Candidates in this group may have very little idea of what it’s like to work with you, or they could have a very strong idea of the experience of working with your firm.

A super simple way to re-engage these candidates and, at the onset, re-introduce yourself with a positive touchpoint is to automate birthday texts. Who doesn’t like getting “Happy Birthday” texts?

From the standpoint of your staffing firm, they’re a super small gesture that leaves nothing but positive sentiment with talent. When you couple that “happy birthday” message with either an open-ended question (eg. How are things going with your career?) or a specific call to action (eg. I was just thinking about you for an XX job. Are you looking for new opportunities right now?), you can immediately get things started (again), and your touchpoint turns into a small workflow. 

If and when it’s possible, be sure to address the fact that the candidate wasn’t a fit before, but that this person could (or potentially is) a great fit for another role! 

Taking a slightly different approach, you could also automate birthday texts to your dormant candidates as a way of staying top of mind and keeping the line of communication open. Instead of strategically sending birthday texts with a specific call to action in mind, staying in touch with messages like this can make talent more receptive to targeted, specific workflows down the line.

Alumni

Your consultant alumni are particularly prepared for the experience of working with you—the uncertainty is all but eliminated. That means you’ve already got way more than one foot in the door 👍

Effectively re-engaging alumni starts by tapping into the rich data you have entered into your ATS, while ensuring that it integrates seamlessly with your engagement platform. Remember, database automation with integrated technologies operates more seamlessly and efficiently, empowering your team to do what they do best—the human elements of recruiting!

Keeping up with every alum in your database would require one or more dedicated resources to sift through and manually line up criteria with your current job openings. Even doing a search using your ATS would require significant extra manpower to prepare and send re-engagement messaging. 

Of course, you can stay in contact during and after their placements. This one step alone can significantly impact redeployment. Checking in during placements helps you get in front of any issues and keep talent happy.

Following up after a gig has ended is especially potent at keeping that door open while also demonstrating your investment in their success and happiness. You can further engage alumni by sending regular emails with career resources and new openings, and other automated communications to keep the relationship warm. 

All of these messages can be built into a workflow. Candidate is placed, candidate automatically gets a first day text asking how things are going. Subsequent check-ins are automatically sent two weeks later and two weeks before the end of the assignment (or whenever!). 

If the candidate redeploys, the cycle starts over. If not, their workflow will send regular communications with new openings, candidate resources, pings to update data, and so on. 

See where we’re going with this? 

When creating workflows and messages for dormant alumni, It’s important to personalize these messages as much as possible. This helps to re-establish the rapport and relationship that your recruiters built initially. Here are some sample messages to build from: 

Hey [NAME] - are you still open to contract [ROLE] jobs? If so, I think I may have a job that would be perfect 👍

Hi [NAME] - Happy spring 🌳 I know we haven’t touched base in a while, so I wanted to see how you’re doing.

These are great starting points, but then go further to build out workflows for specific roles (depending on background, skills, etc), or with specific calls to action in order to re-engage. 

Silver medalists

The A-listers of your database. For whatever reason, these silver medalists are no longer active with your staffing firm. Getting this talent back on board (and reaching “gold” level status!) can be a major goal of your database automation initiatives.

While the first two groups of candidates are probably larger in quantity, your silver medalists probably make up a small minority of your database. 

Aside from continuous engagement moving forward, the plan of action for silver medalists is very similar to that of standard alumni. However, in this circumstance, the increased level of familiarity and rapport requires even more personalized messaging. When coming in cold with re-engagement, take advantage of your extensive data and the power of your engagement platform to craft highly engaging and personalized messaging. Again, considering the value and popularity of texting right now (not to mention the incredibly high engagement rate),  let’s go on the assumption you’ll be sending texts. Here are some mini-workflow suggestions with warmer, more personal language to build off of: 

1st TEXT: Hey [NAME] - it’s been ages! How have you been? Are you still open to [POSITION] roles?

2nd TEXT: No worries if you’re not looking anymore -- but shoot me a message if you’re interested 👍 

 

1st TEXT: Hi [NAME] - Time has flown by, hasn’t it? It seems like forever since we’ve talked! 

2nd TEXT: Are you still considering [POSITION] roles? If you’re still on the lookout, let’s catch up.

For candidates with whom you’ve had a particularly strong relationship, you may want to personally call those individuals. This can signal you are truly interested in working together again. Even if you’re unable to reach talent this way, you can follow up by initiating your workflow, while getting the “bonus points” that come with a personal call.

Be sure to respect the close relationship you’ve had with silver medalists in the past. That means being up front (regardless of communication method) with all the details you know about the positions, and total transparency about what they can expect. You’re much more likely to receive a favorable response when you treat these special candidates with the care they deserve. 

Database refresh workflow

Remember, data is only as helpful as it is accurate. database automation and automation helps keep your database up to date and fresh so that your rich pool of talent is ready and current when the right job comes along. Setting up a database refresh workflow can help you stay top of mind with candidates while periodically ensuring your database is up to date. To start it off, a simple text can work very well:

Hi [NAME], is your zip code still 90210? 

Of course you can swap out zip code for email address, roles/skills, and just about any other delineator. Suddenly, an innocuous-enough text not only helps you stay in touch with dormant candidates, it ensures your database is refined and at its most powerful 👊 In fact, the database refresh can be used with any group of dormant candidates. 

Conclusion

Now that you understand why and how candidate data is most important to your staffing firm, and how database automation can be deployed to send your results (and your revenue) through the roof, it’s time to get started.

Getting started with database automation

Congratulations—investing in database automation is a powerful way to usher your staffing firm into the 2020s! Here’s how you can kick things off:

Set your strategy

Together with key stakeholders on your team, determine the following:

  • Where do you want to impact the talent lifecycle?
  • How do you want to engage and re-engage candidates?
  • What touchpoints matter most?
  • What KPIs determine success?
  • What tools, resources, and data do you need?
Clean up your database

In case we haven’t hammered this home throughout this resource, cleaning up your database and syncing responses back to your ATS is critical. The Sense platform integrates seamlessly with ATSs like Bullhorn, eRecruit, JobDiva, Avionte, TempWorks, Salesforce, Bond Adapt to ensure your data is consistent and up to date wherever (and whenever) you may need it. 

Engage, engage, engage

Prioritize candidate engagement to give your talent a positive experience and reduce your future spend. Keeping candidates engaged throughout the lifecycle is cheaper and easier than re-engaging down the line, and especially compared with replacing them with new candidates!

Create those workflows

Remember that database automation is a commitment, and should impact your entire candidate engagement strategy. Automating communications like first day check-ins, plus other touch points throughout and after placements (as mentioned above in the sample workflows) requires some up front time and effort, but removes the manpower needed to keep talent engaged and eager at every stage of the candidate lifecycle. 

Your redeployment workflow will also be a powerful source of revenue from your database automation efforts. Trigger this workflow to begin mid-assignment for current placements to keep them from becoming dormant. 

Set up another redeployment workflow to re-engage and redeploy dormant alumni in your database as well. Remember, this could start with something as simple as a database cleanup text or a “happy birthday” message. You can also follow up post-placement asking for an updated resume, information or new skills.

Create a referral campaign

Referral campaigns can not only send you new candidates, they serve as an excellent opportunity to re-engage dormant candidates and set them upon redeployment or initial placement journeys. There is so much potential here!

Re-engage dormant candidates

And of course, don’t forget to check in with dormant candidates in your database with a simple, automated check-in or survey. Take the conversation offline by giving it to a recruiter only when the time is right. Otherwise, this will primarily be automated and hands off. 

There’s a lot to chew on here, but you are armed and ready to take action and leverage database automation for your staffing firm—congratulations for making it through to the end. We know there was a LOT here! 

Of course, another recurring theme you probably noticed throughout this resource is that the right technology is crucial for successful database automation. Here at Sense, we built our platform specifically for staffing firms. We are industry experts and veterans who understand the challenges and frustrations you have with technology. And we’re here to make life easier while helping you blow past your projections to take your results to another level. When you partner with Sense, you not only get access to our cutting-edge technology, you gain your own personal Customer Success Manager, a CSM who understands the staffing industry, your goals and frustrations, and helps you use Sense along with your other technologies to get the best possible results. 

Sound good? We know it does! Schedule a demo with our team and start leveraging database automation to set your staffing firm up for success in the 2020s and beyond.

Topics: redeployment, candidate engagement, texting, staffing engagement, productivity, database automation

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