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Author: Claire Jarvis

With the biotech market hungry for candidates, and the average employee changing jobs every few years, recruiters cannot never assume that the end of a job search is the last time they’ll work with a particular applicant. Both recruiters and candidates may worry about the etiquette of reconnecting after an unsuccessful job match or application when another opportunity arises, but the process does not have to be awkward or unproductive. This is how to reconnect with previous candidates.

Laying the Groundwork

These days, biotech recruiters should plan their sourcing and recruitment process with the understanding that they may need to reconnect with screened candidates at a later date. This means personalizing the recruitment process to the candidate, so they are more likely to remember you and respond positively to your future overtures.

To personalize the experience, take extensive notes during initial screening calls that you can keep on file. Record the candidate’s work preferences, career goals and technical skills, even if all of those aren’t relevant to the opening in question.

Be reliable and trustworthy in all your dealings – reach out to the candidate when you said you would, give feedback on the interview performance or application process. As discussed elsewhere [link to Hiring in a Candidate’s market/Meet the Recruiters Meg and Laura], candidates value honesty over hype.

If a particular candidate isn’t a fit for your current opening, thank them for their time and explain you’ll be back in touch if and when other suitable opportunities come up. That way they’ll not be surprised when you reach out several months’ later – in fact they may even check in with you first.

Consider checking in with the most promising candidate a few months after your initial interaction: are they still looking for opportunities, do they have new skills or experiences, are they still looking for the same type of jobs?

The Art of the Email

When another opportunity arises, a tailored email from the recruiter will increase the likelihood of a successful and productive reconnection with the candidate in question. Start your email by reminding the candidate who you are, when and how you connected with them in the past. It might be helpful to add a sentence about the candidate’s skills or preferences you think connects them to this new opening.

After giving a brief overview of the opportunity that’s now available, conclude the message with a call to action that makes it clear how you’d like the candidate to respond (e.g. email, phone call). Suggest the time and method of reconnecting. Of course, not every former candidate will be looking for new opportunities, but with a careful approach you’ve increased the likelihood that they will respond to your email.

Lastly, remember that any information on file about the candidate can turn stale within 6 months. If possible, check LinkedIn to see if the candidate is listing new skills or employment before reaching out.