The Value of Silver Medalists in Your Recruitment Strategy

Kid_w_Trophy_cropped_yoh_blog.jpgRobert Metcalfe, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Apolo Ohno, Mark Spitz… What do these famous Olympians all have in common? They all started out as individual silver medalists. But, as the familiarity of their names prove, they did not let the fact that they didn't receive gold medals bring them down or stop short their athletic career. Instead, they went on to become Olympic superstars and won gold medals as well. Robert Metcalfe even went on to win a seat in Congress! Keep this in mind as we get ready to watch the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. You never know where that person standing beside the gold medal winner may end up in their career in a few years.

But silver medalists aren't just for the Olympics anymore. In staffing, silver medalists are what we call previously vetted candidates that were the second runner-up to the person that was ultimately given the job offer. It's one of the most obviously qualified, but under-tapped pools of talent.

There is a lot of time and money that goes into vetting talent. There could be several qualified, almost perfect candidates that may lose out on a job by a very small margin. This doesn't mean they should be disregarded. As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. So, perhaps it's time to revisit past applicants who came in second for a previous hiring to fill your company's current hiring needs.

If you aren't already engaging in a silver medalists recruitment strategy, you are behind the curve. Some progressive and competitively aggressive organizations are either creating a standard process to engage the silver medalists effectively or creating a process to get these candidates further engaged by connecting them with other opportunities within their organizations. By tracking silver medalist candidates in your ATS and prioritizing them for placement, you will reduce your average time-to-fill and cost-per-hire. For example, a little company called General Motors was one of the first companies to implement a successful Silver Medalist Strategy for effective results in recruitment.


4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Silver Medalists Recruitment Strategy


They are already sold on working at your company.

Think of all the time and effort that you or your recruiters have put into vetting the top candidates and preparing them for interviews. These candidates have already done the research on the company, showed an interest in the culture and may have made it through several stages of interviews. This is why it is essential to focus on the full candidate experience. Making sure they have a good experience from start to finish, even when they are rejected from a job, is important to your company's employment brand. It will make your company look attractive to other candidates, and the rejected candidate may be willing to take a second look at the company if they are qualified for another job you are filling.


"Overqualified" may be "Qualified" somewhere else.

Sometimes, an excellent candidate can come in being very experienced and ready to go, but the hiring manager doesn't hire them with the fear they are overqualified. When a candidate is overqualified, managers fear they may run at the first chance they can get for a position at a higher level, or the job will not be challenging enough to keep them happy. As the market changes, revisit those who were designated as overqualified when there is a surplus of candidates. The job market is consistently changing, and hiring managers may now be more willing to take a chance on them. Your candidates that were "overqualified" for one position may be perfect for another. Keep nurturing the candidates with any potential opportunities you may feel is more at their level.


The "Almost Qualified" will be "Qualified" soon.

A candidate may be passed on because they need a little more experience. They also may have been perfectly qualified but missed out on a job because an algorithm or company standard resulted in recruiters completely bypassing their resume. These are great candidates to keep in your pool and strategically revisit in another year or two. They will gain more experience and may be in a better place to work in the organization. They are continuously building skills and experience that will help position them to excel and take on more responsibility down the road. Also, the algorithms and standards that may have bypassed them are continuously evolving so, in a little bit of time, that candidate may be precisely what you (and the hiring manager) are looking for.


A Hiring Manger's requirements aren't the be all, end all.

Sometimes you find the perfect candidate, but they didn’t fit the hiring manager's standards. That can be due to being a good fit for the company, but not that particular manager or team. Or, the manager can have somewhat difficult requirements or a poor history of accurate candidate selection. If that's the case, you can forward the resume to other managers without mentioning that they were rejected. Leveraging the efforts and costs spent on vetting talent should not end when the hiring manager makes the final hiring decision. Some companies now also include a step in their recruiting process that includes asking candidates that are rejected for a permanent job if they would be interested in contract work. There are a lot of creative ways that you can find a place for a good candidate in your organization, if you keep the candidate engaged.


So, next time you disregard the candidates who weren't chosen for a certain role, create a strategy to track and nurture them for other possible roles in your organization. They were narrowed down as a finalist for a reason and soon enough they will be ready to earn that gold.


About the Author: Amy Williams is a Digital Marketing Manager at Yoh and alumni from the University of Pittsburgh, having earned her degree in Media Communications. In her spare time, you will find Amy performing with her operetta company, as well as enjoying all things pop culture, food, and Philadelphia.

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