· 3 min read

Candidate Recycling

What Is Candidate Recycling?

Candidate Recycling is a technique used in mid-size and larger firms to effectively place candidates within the most appropriate teams.

It is common that an interview pipeline for a specific opening contains more highly qualified candidates than can be hired. As a result, companies not wanting to miss out on great talent often “recycle” the candidate to adjacent teams.

Make Sure The Candidate Is a Good Fit

Do a “Free Trial”

Startups have a bit more flexibility regarding the interview process, so why not take advantage of that?

If you work at a smaller company, consider doing a paid trial run. Get the candidate onboarded and give them a several-week project. This puts candidates’ problem-solving skills to the test and lets you observe their behavior and verify culture fit.

Another version of this is to set up a paid academy or intern program. A digital marketing company uses this strategy, advertising and selling SEO, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads courses to recent grads or people looking to switch careers. The star students in those courses end up being excellent pre-vetted hires.

Take Reference Checks Seriously

Today, reference checks are treated like a formality, but they should be an essential part of your hiring process.

Candidates will only share the names of their big fans, you can still learn about a candidate’s work habits, dedication, and compassion from their peers. Ask for 5-6 references and actually contact every single one.

That may seem like a lot, but you want to get a holistic idea of who the person is, how they work, and what they are like as coworkers. When you get in touch with a reference, ask deep questions, like:

  • What are [candidate name]’s biggest areas for improvement?
  • Would you ever start a company with this person?
  • What was the best part of working with [candidate name]?
  • [Candidate name] mentioned they had trouble with ____ in this role. Do you have any insight into that?

Most references don’t want to give negative reviews, but little signs of hesitation or obviously false praise serve as good warnings. Push people to give answers by rephrasing questions. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but references are the most critical factor in reducing false positives in your hiring process.

Why Use Candidate Recycling

If a candidate expresses interest in your company, demonstrates high competencies of a different role, and is a fantastic cultural fit, there’s no way you should pass up that opportunity. Redistributing impressive candidates to other teams only increases the likelihood of a good hire. So build this into your process. Ensure there’s a way to send candidates to other teams through your ATS and set up the new interview process right away so that the candidate isn’t living in limbo.

Even if a role that’s perfect for a particular candidate isn’t ready yet, make sure there’s a way to get them in front of the sourcer. That person should be first on the list to contact as soon as (or even better, right before) the JD is published.

When candidate recycling occurs, it often allows the candidate to move into the adjacent hiring process several steps ahead of a typical new applicant. Not only does this allow teams to hire faster, but it significantly improves candidate experience.

Properly establishing a candidate recycling practice requires sufficient documentation around your interviews – or even interview recordings on a tool like Chatkick. This allows for easy sharing of candidate qualifications and helps avoid having to re-interview for the same competencies on other teams.