Internal candidates are a critical source of talent for all organizations. Most companies have an internal policy that guarantees qualified internal candidates an interview, but hiring managers don’t always follow up. Maybe they don’t know where to find internal candidates in the system, or perhaps they don’t know what to say to a candidate who doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications.
From the candidates’ perspective, not hearing back can be very disheartening and give the impression that the company doesn’t care. So how can we ensure that internal candidates get the attention they deserve?
We wrestled with a number of approaches before settling on a solution. First, we tried giving hiring managers a report in iCIMS that highlighted their internal candidates. But hiring manager platform utilization always varies. Then we tried having HR conduct follow up with hiring managers, but HR didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain that effort.
Then it occurred to me: why not involve the candidates themselves? The only reason a candidate would hesitate to follow up with a hiring manager is because they don’t know what type of follow-up is appropriate. Should I wait a week? Two weeks? Should I talk to the recruiter? HR? I decided that if I clearly defined what sort of follow-up behavior was appropriate, the candidates could be empowered to conduct some follow-up on their own.
So I created the below email template and started sending it on a weekly basis to anyone who had applied to a job internally over the past seven days.
The email has two key elements:
The line, “Hiring managers have been informed that this type of follow-up from candidates is appropriate and expected,” which reassures the candidate that they are not crossing any lines by sending it.
The sample email, which relieves candidates of the burden of crafting a follow-up message.
The first time we did this, we immediately noticed emails coming in from internals who, for one reason or another, had slipped through the cracks. And we were able to connect them with the right people the same day!
This isn’t a cure-all, of course. We also send weekly scheduled reports to senior managers with lists of internal applicants in their divisions so they can follow up with their direct reports in supervision. And we still monitor the progress of internal applicants in HR. But this third piece—empowering candidates to follow up on their own with clear instructions about what is appropriate—just may be the missing ingredient.
How do you use your applicant tracking system to follow up with internals?