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Originally contributed to the 2016 Recruitment Marketing Ideabook – but here I get to write a little more. 

I’ve been in recruiting, corporate and agency, for twenty years. In those years, one thing has stayed very constant: I was always looking for a gold mine of talent.

You know what I’m talking about. That one source that is super simple to use and pluck out great hires. That one source that your competition, or anyone for that matter, doesn’t have access to. That one source that is all yours and makes you look like a total recruiting rock star!

It’s a purple squirrel, though, it doesn’t exist, does it? Or does it?!

There is one recruiting source that is routinely the most underutilized in every industry, every organization, across the world. It’s your own ATS database! Wait, don’t go. Let me explain!

First, I get it. I know you hate your ATS. It’s a pain and doesn’t do what you want. I feel your pain. That’s actually the biggest reason your ATS is a gold mine! You hate using it, so you don’t.

Candidates come in, they get screened, they get forgotten about, they get interviewed, they get passed on, and in the end, they get forgotten about.

Here’s a normal talent acquisition process for 99% of organizations:

Step 1: Find, attract, source candidates

Step 2: Screen and assess candidates

Step 3: Pass on 3 – 5 candidates onto hiring manager

Step 4: Interview candidates

Step 5: Make offer and hire best candidate

Pretty close, right?

What happens to the other two to four candidates who didn’t get hired? They weren’t garbage (well, maybe a few were), but most were actually good candidates that just didn’t get selected over your number one choice. But, if your number one choice declined, many of these candidates would have gotten offers.

Fast-forward six months, twelve months, two years, doesn’t really matter, you start at Step 1 again and post the job. Rarely, like almost never, do you just go back into your database and reconnect with those you already connected to!

The philosophy is always the same. “Well, let’s see what new fresh blood is out there. We already know about this ‘crap’ we have in our own database!”


Those folks in your internal database aren’t crap. In fact, they now have more experience doing whatever it was you wanted them to do to begin with. They’re actually better. Maybe, better than what you actually hired the first time around!

That recruiting gold mine you’ve been searching for?  You’re sitting on top of it.  It’s in your database, but your ATS doesn’t make it easy for you to get back in touch and find them again.  Sure would be nice if there was some sort of system that could help with that…

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