In the recruiting world, it's business as usual to have a candidate in your database who isn't the right fit for a position you're hiring for at that time. It may be that they are overqualified, simply not suitable for your office's culture, or any other factors.
But when another opening comes up that might be a better fit, what do you do?
It's tempting to ignore the person who came so close to being hired before, even though now it seems like they would be an ideal new team member. However, take a moment to consider why this person didn't work out last time around and how things might have been different with this new opportunity. You could find a great way to reach out to someone who has already expressed interest in working for your company.
If you want to give them a chance at a different job, follow these tips:
Make sure they’re the right fit
You want to ensure that the new role is a good fit for them, so give them an idea of what the job entails. This way, they'll be able to decide how interested they are and if it's something they'd like to pursue.
You don't want to waste their time or yours by going through the job interview process only to find out that they are not as interested in the position as they could have been when they got here.
Reach out and be honest
Include specific details about the new vacancy and why it's a better fit than what was available before—be honest about why the candidate wasn't right for the first position. If you can think of ways their skills are still a good match for your needs, mention that! You may even want to reach out again with an entirely new job description tailored specifically toward this person.
Be detailed in your response
Give as much information as possible about why this role could be better for them than any other open or recently filled roles. Providing context will help give your candidate insight into how their skillset is valuable to this position and why you consider them a top choice.
Remember, even if you think someone is a good match, don't assume that they'll automatically see it that way—it's up to you to sell them on this opportunity.
Personalize the email
Many recruiters make the mistake of sending out mass emails that sound like a form letter or don't provide enough information about the job itself. This is a huge red flag for candidates who are wary of being bothered by recruiters simply to be discarded by an employer later.
To avoid this, you need to describe your ideal candidate and what makes this position different from all other jobs in your database. You also want to ensure that you let them know they're free to apply on their own if they're still interested. This shows that you trust they're already interested in the job, encouraging them to apply if they haven't already.
Suggest that you would like to interview them
Many people are willing to apply again at the same company if they have already been considered once. You can make it easy for them during the hiring process by telling them about the new opening and emailing the link to the job description. Tell them that you’re excited about possibly getting a chance to tell them about the new role, and if they exceed the hiring managers’ expectations, a formal offer could be on the cards.
Useful emails to help you reach out to them
In case you’re clear that you need to talk to them again, but don’t know how to formulate the situation easily, here are two email templates that might help you talk to them and take it from there.
Dear [candidate name],
I hope you are doing well.
I am writing to let you know that we would like to interview you for a different position than the one we discussed previously. We recently posted a new job opening, and I think it perfectly fits your qualifications.
If you are still interested in working with our company, please apply on our website at [website address]. If not, thank you so much for your time.
Hey there, [candidate name]!
You've already been through the interview process with us, and we're sorry to tell you that we have chosen another candidate in your stead.
But—we still think you're great!
We have another perfect opening for you, and it's a little more technical than what we were looking for with the other job. Would you be interested? Please let me know, and I'll set up an interview immediately!
When a candidate applies for a job, it's important to remember that you have a responsibility to treat them like any other candidate. You can always reconsider even if you initially screened out candidates because of their qualifications. If someone got to the interview stage in the past and didn't get the job, don't just assume they won't be interested in a different one. You never know when their circumstances could have changed or when an internal change in the department may mean they're now qualified for this position.
Keep your top candidates engaged and invested in the process by sending them new opportunities as they become available. Treating candidates as people, not just a number, will ensure you can continue building a relationship with them.
Your workers' loyalty will increase if you make them feel they were hired because it was the best choice for your company, instead of just filling an empty slot without regard to whether there was anyone better suited than them.