How to Use Your Applicant Tracking System to Re-Activate Past Candidates

The job market is in an interesting time. We are experiencing our longest period of economic growth, which is great for staffing agencies. However, for the past two years, it’s become increasingly difficult for recruiters to find qualified job candidates.

An extremely valuable tool to find qualified job candidates is sitting right in your office – the candidate database in your applicant tracking system. For some staffing agencies, that number is in the thousands, and for others, it can jump into the tens (or even hundreds) of thousands. Maybe they worked for your staffing agency previously and earned a full-time job. It could have been an application that never panned out. Or maybe they worked for a few months and had something arise in their personal life. Whatever the reason, they applied to work for your company and now you’ve lost touch with them.

A simple export of that database provides your staffing agency with an audience that already has a connection to your business. In the summer of 2015, I did research which showed returning website visitors were twice as likely to convert on a staffing website than a new website visitor.

PREMIUM CONTENT: North America Staffing Company Survey 2017: Candidate flow: Declines, firings, quits, extensions, conversions, returns

With that in mind, how can you and your team target and re-activate the job candidates in your database? These marketing strategies will help:


With nearly two billion people worldwide on Facebook, and the average user spending 51 minutes per day on Facebook (we only sleep, eat and watch TV/movies more), the king of social media needs to be part of your marketing plan.

The most effective Facebook technique is to upload a CSV file of their email addresses. Then, Facebook will compare the list you uploaded with all user accounts on Facebook. If the email address in your CSV matches a Facebook account, that profile is in your Custom Audience. A typical match rate is 50%, but I’ve seen it range anywhere from 25% to 75%.

Share blogs, jobs, eBooks, videos,etc., by creating Facebook ads with content your audience wants to see. Don’t think about what you want to see, think about what your audience wants. They are the ones who must click!

The affordability of Facebook advertising makes it an attractive option. A strong Facebook campaign, which means a big audience, large ad budget and well-written ads, can produce a cost per click (CPC) under $1. This works well with light industrial candidates, healthcare, clerical staffing and lower-level professional staffing. Higher-level positions and other industries (think IT and C-Suite) will bring results, but with a higher CPC.


Like Facebook, the tactic on LinkedIn is the same. Recently, LinkedIn allowed companies to upload an email database and show ads to users whose email address matched the email address in the uploaded list.

The downside of LinkedIn advertising is the cost, which is much higher than Facebook (I’ve seen CPC range from $5 to $30). While that’s expensive, the return on investment for an expensive LinkedIn advertising campaign makes it worthwhile. We would all sign up for a $5,000 investment to return $30,000 in revenue.

Consider the industries and people who spend a lot of time in the platform. While everyone is on Facebook, everyone isn’t on LinkedIn. Target IT, high-level professional recruiting and C-Suite employees.

E-mail marketing

Does your company send a monthly newsletter? Are you advertising top jobs? Will you wish candidates a “Happy Fourth of July?” Yes, we all get a lot of email, but staying top-of-mind is better than not being in their inboxes at all. A cost typically comes with sending to each email address, but if I told you that you could stay top-of-mind with someone for less than $1.00/year, I think you would be thrilled with that cost.

Recruiting is always difficult, especially in this candidate-driven market. Think about where your candidates spend time and get your staffing agency visible in those places. The cost is affordable and with a little hard work, the results will be there.

MORE: 3 Mistakes that Keep Your Staffing Firm from Growing

Matt Lozar

Matt Lozar
Matt Lozar is social media marketing advisor at Haley Marketing Group.

Matt Lozar

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