Retention Strategies for Recruiters: Building Long-Term Relationships with Candidates

Retention Strategies for Recruiters: Building Long-Term Relationships with Candidates

A high retention rate indicates that employees love working with your company. When employees are happy, they tend to stay longer and recommend the company to others, ultimately attracting more candidates. This is a dream scenario for every recruiter.

However, achieving a high retention rate does not happen by chance. It begins with building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with your candidates. This relationship should be based on respect and convey the value that your company offers. To achieve this, you must maintain regular communication with your candidates and be willing to change your recruitment process as needed.

Personalizing Communication and Maintaining Regular Contact with Candidates

Keeping regular contact with your candidates is integral to establishing trust and loyalty. Touching base regularly also opens the way for referrals and positive feedback—both necessary in building your network.

To take advantage of these benefits, implement the following:

  • Send them personalized communications no more than once a week for the first month, then once per month.
  • Call the candidate around 10 am. They are twice as likely to pick up the call at this time.
  • Send emails from 9 am to 12 pm or 12 pm to 3 pm. These time blocks have the highest open rate, especially on Tuesday.
  • Include personal details in the subject line. Emails are more likely to be opened if the subject contains their first name or anything else you know about them.
  • Send an email on their birthday. This gesture lets a candidate know that you value them.

Finally, send invitations to upcoming job fairs or networking events and encourage invitees to bring guests to maximize reach.

Providing Constructive Feedback and Guidance to Unsuccessful Applicants

Informing a candidate about their unsuccessful job interview is one of the most challenging aspects of recruiting. Just the thought of sending that dreaded email can evoke anxiety and stress, which is why many recruiters avoid doing it altogether.

To ease the tension, think outside the box. Instead of simply notifying candidates that they didn’t get the position, provide them with constructive feedback and guidance. This helps candidates learn from their mistakes and improve their chances of success in the future. They’ll also have a more positive outlook on your company and are likely to tell others about it.

To offer constructive criticism and general feedback to unsuccessful candidates:

  • Start with words of thanks to convey a positive company culture.
  • Summarize why they were unsuccessful so they’ll know what to improve.
  • Wish them good luck with their future endeavors as a token of goodwill.

Offering Support and Resources for Career Development and Growth

Offering support or resources for career development motivates candidates to improve and develop new skills. Additionally, candidates who feel their growth is supported are likely to stay with a company.

Support your candidate’s career development by following these tips:

  • Offer mentorship: Mentorship programs help candidates better understand their position and your company’s values.
  • Provide re-skill or upskill training courses: Both courses expand your candidate’s ability to advance or transition into other positions.
  • Provide career coaching: Coaching helps candidates develop professional goals and ways to achieve them.
  • Host a networking event: Invite candidates to participate in career networking events such as conferences, seminars, and workshops.

Creating Alumni Networks and Engaging with Past Candidates

A successful alumni network can significantly benefit your organization and employees. Alumni understand your company’s culture and values, which they can share with potential applicants. This can save your company time and money that would have been spent on recruiting efforts. Furthermore, alumni networks provide a platform for your current employees to access career advice and industry insights, which helps to improve employee retention rates.

To get past candidates involved:

  • List everyone who worked in the role you’re recruiting for.
  • Contact each person by email or phone and ask if they’re interested in an informational interview.
  • Mention the position you’re recruiting for and inquire about a potential fit.
  • Sweeten the deal by offering an employee referral bonus for finding a potential candidate. (Remember, they were once in this role and know exactly what it takes to succeed.)

It’s essential to maintain contact with your alumni after this first interaction. Inviting them to an annual alumni event is an excellent way to achieve this. You might also keep in touch by sending newsletters or inviting them to join your alumni networking group on social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

Soliciting Feedback and Implementing Improvements Based on Candidate Experiences

The candidate experience refers to how an applicant perceives your organization’s hiring process, regardless of whether they were hired or not. A positive candidate experience can benefit your organization in many ways, including attracting top talent to apply for future positions.

One way to improve the candidate experience is by gathering feedback from both successful and unsuccessful candidates. This feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and lead to a more positive experience for future applicants.

To obtain feedback, use one of the following communication methods:

  • Post-interview surveys
  • Follow-up emails
  • Debrief sessions
  • Social media polls

Polls are an excellent way to source information, receive feedback, and gain insights. They require minimal effort to set up, and respondents can take part without impeding their daily tasks. In addition, the answers are segmented by percentage, giving you immediate insight into areas that need improvement.

Recruiting Top Talent in Your Industry

Gaining insights from your candidates, whether current or previous, can significantly impact your recruiting strategies. To obtain these insights, you must focus your efforts on building mutually beneficial relationships. Begin by adopting a value-centric approach and maintain the relationship with regular, personalized communication.

If you need assistance recruiting top talent for your organization, MRINetwork has you covered. For more than five decades, we’ve successfully matched companies to quality candidates in their industries. To learn more about how we can help, locate a nearby MRINetwork office.


Investing in relationships with candidates can strengthen your employer brand, increase referrals, and ultimately contribute to a more engaged and loyal workforce.