The cornerstone of any successful relationship is communication, and that holds true for candidate relationship management.

When it comes to healthcare talent acquisition, frequent, meaningful communication between recruiters and candidates is essential to successful hiring. But this doesn’t only apply to active candidates who apply for specific positions. It’s just as important to maintain relationships with passive candidates, who did not recently apply for a specific role and may not be conducting a job search. If you regularly show passive candidates some love, you might find yourself spending less time looking for viable candidates and more time filling your open positions.

Ashley Seitzer, HealthcareSource Client Success Manager and former healthcare recruiter, agrees that cultivating strong relationships with passive candidates is the key to filling more positions with the right people. Before joining HealthcareSource, Seitzer experienced many of the same challenges as today’s recruiters who don’t use modern candidate relationship management (CRM) technology. “One of the biggest challenges was getting high-quality candidates, especially for the more advanced positions like ICU nurse and OB nurse,” she recalls. Without recruitment technology or an engagement strategy she struggled to find qualified candidates.

In retrospect, Seitzer wishes she could have leveraged a number of modern tools and strategies back in her recruiting days. For instance, in helping her clients use HealthcareSource Recruitment Marketing, she now sees the value in developing a talent network, or in other words, encouraging passive candidates to leave their resume and contact information for future openings. “I remember I would hear from applicants who were upset we didn’t have a position posted where they could at least leave their information for the future,” she says. Today, she sees how talent networks help healthcare organizations source and recruit more strategically.

Of course, there’s more to cultivating great candidate relationships than talent networks. Below are Seitzer’s top recommendations for creating and maintaining relationships with potential candidates.

Use Modern CRM Technology to Streamline Sourcing

“Whenever I had an open req for physical therapists or speech therapists, my gut would sink,” says Seitzer. “Those roles are so hard to find. I wish I had the ability to easily search resume databases to target individuals who were experienced in the fields I was recruiting for and send them emails.” Today, Seitzer helps clients use HealthcareSource to aggregate resumes from their multiple sources to increase their likelihood of finding qualified candidates for hard-to-fill positions.

Seitzer also noted the value clients gain from integrating their own passive applicant database into this single source of information. “We pull over 10 years of applicants into some clients’ databases. For some clients that’s 15,000 applications and for others it’s 850,000,” she explains. When clients gather all these applicants, they can start sourcing from existing, once engaged candidates—rather than start from scratch.

Target Your Messages to Nurture Candidate Relationships

Recruitment marketing software allows recruiters to communicate with passive candidates regularly. But there’s more to the art of recruitment marketing than regularly sending emails. Seitzer advises recruiters to put on their marketing hats from time-to-time to develop more targeted, personalized messaging that will resonate with diverse groups of candidates. “Say we want to target nurses in our applicant pool,” Seitzer explains, “we can develop a message to send out to our nursing candidates during Nurses Week, thanking them for their service and prompting them to check out our job site for openings.” Using this same strategy, she provides another example of how to target different groups of candidates: “We can also decipher based on resumes, who in our audience are veterans. Then, we can send messages to these people letting them know we hire veterans and point them to our job board.”

You might think this sounds like a lot of extra work. After all, if you’re laser-focused on filling positions as quickly as possible, how can you make time to interact with passive candidates in this way? But to truly evolve your recruiting strategy, how can you not?

In marketing, the rule of seven states it takes at least seven touches for a prospect to take action – this also applies to recruitment marketing. Spending more time communicating relevant messages to your candidate pool will help you do your job more effectively in the long-run.

Take Advantage of Resources You Already Have

Recruitment marketing technology certainly helps you streamline processes by helping you track and sort candidates, as well as develop and schedule automated messages. However, along with great technology, recruiters also need a great strategy. Developing a recruitment marketing strategy to improve candidate relationships isn’t easy, and it’s going to take teamwork.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” says Seitzer. “You either need to have someone dedicated to creating this change or have a really good team effort to move forward with your strategy. You can’t be a recruiter and a marketer – you need help.”

Some organizations have enough resources to pull together a recruitment marketing team, but many don’t. For smaller organizations, leveraging your resources wisely is the key to developing a strong strategy that you’re able to consistently execute on. Whether you work with a HealthcareSource Client Success Manager like Seitzer to guide you, or you partner with your marketing team to help you develop content and programs, having a team of some sort in place will help you achieve more hiring success without burning out.

Healthcare talent acquisition is changing, and you can either work toward a solution or let your competitors take the quality candidates. “You have to change your philosophy of recruiting in your organization and be ready to accept change,” Seitzer says. “When you do, you’ll see how much more effective you are at recruiting and reducing your time-to-fill.”

Want to learn more about how candidate relationship management through recruitment marketing can transform your hiring process? Download our free Recruitment Marketing Toolkit.

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About Diana Bishop

Diana Bishop was the Content Marketing Manager at HealthcareSource. In her role, she developed and optimized content for healthcare talent management professionals.