Cultivating a Candidate Community: Maximize Your Return on Investment

attract more candidates

For decades, the staffing industry has relied heavily on job boards and manual sourcing for growth and delivery on client expectations. However, the talent market has evolved over the last several years, and staffing firms with eyes on growth and retention realize that this historic strategy is no longer the most effective path.   

The term “Candidate Community” has become a buzzword in the staffing industry over the past year. Cultivating a Candidate Community means long-term relationship management with candidates through value-based communication strategies and automations. Candidate Communities have a relationship with your organization and, when they have a need, they think of you rather than your competition.

Why Establish a Candidate Community

  1. Candidates expect a different experience based on how they interact with businesses in their personal lives.  The self-service-oriented, Amazon-like experience is the norm. Candidates have high expectations for interaction with businesses that want their continued loyalty.
  2. Macro data is clear that we didn’t just have a “great resignation” or “great reshuffle.” We have a significant labor shortage in the United States across industries, up and down org charts, and the competition for talent is going to continue for the foreseeable future.
  3. Your competition isn’t defined by geographic location anymore. Neither is your talent pool. This shifting market dynamic means competition is only going to increase and require staffing firms to operate more efficiently.

How to Create a Candidate Community

To create a Candidate Community, you must communicate at scale while keeping a personal touch and delivering value.

Three key components to communicating at scale:

  1. Communication Strategy
  2. Technology
  3. Data

Results we’ve seen clients experience when communication strategies, technology, and data are working in harmony:

  • 30% of placements from database
  • 40% redeployment rate
  • 2:1 or 3:1 Number of contractors on billing per recruiter
  • 50% reduction in job board ad spend
  • Thousands of hours saved per recruiter annually



Communication Strategy

Who are your candidates? This may be an obvious first step, but your depth of understanding of your candidate segments, what they care about, and what they go through throughout their life cycle is at the crux of creating an effective communication strategy. Communication strategies must go beyond brand awareness and thought leadership content to deliver content that solves candidate pain points and drives value for them throughout their entire life cycle.

For more on creating communication strategies, visit What Types of Content Will Your Candidates Respond to the Best?


Of candidates who look negatively at recruiters, 43% say it is due to poor recruiter communication, according to Bullhorn’s 2022 Global Recruitment Insights & Data (GRID) Trends Talent Report. Recruiters are the most highly valued resource in a staffing firm. They are also humans who work full weeks, get sick, go on vacation, and simply have high demands on their time and can’t get to everything. They must choose the activities likely to have the highest return, which leaves inactive candidates or candidates on contract toward the bottom of the priority list. Depending on recruiter activity alone doesn’t track with developing a Candidate Community and maximizing your return on investment. 

The staffing industry has historically had few options outside of HR Tech to deliver on lifecycle communication strategies through automation because ATS systems have had limited integration capabilities.  But great news: SaaS companies are also seeing market changes in talent demand, and there are increasing options for staffing firms to level up their tech stacks and deliver personalized communication at scale throughout the candidate lifecycle. 

For example, Bullhorn’s acquisition of Herefish to create Bullhorn Automation and continued efforts to build out their talent platform and marketplace partners offer opportunities that have historically been limited for staffing firms dependent on ATS platforms.  

Hiring recruiters to communicate regularly with every candidate in your ATS is not cost-effective. But with the right tech stack and communication strategy, not only can you communicate regularly with high volumes of candidates, but you can create scalable processes that replicate and expand upon your highest performing recruiter’s communication with your most valued candidates.  


A great communication strategy and the right technologies won’t work as well as they could if your data is a mess. To leverage technology and automation to create Candidate Communities, you must be able to trust your data and have visibility into what is working/not working.

“The #1 hesitation Bulhorn hears from staffing firms looking to implement automation is that they don’t trust their data. Clients don’t hesitate because they don’t believe in automation; they hesitate because they don’t know how to overcome their data issues to make the jump to automation.” — Eddy Lee, Bullhorn

Building a measurement strategy and purposefully structuring your data and operational processes helps you run your business, but it also allows you to build personal relationships and candidate experiences through technology and automation. This is the power of creating Candidate Communities.

The whole premise of a Candidate Community is to engage your talent at every stage of the candidate lifecycle.  The best place to start is by building an organizational culture that is obsessed with understanding the hopes, fears, and pain points of your candidates and finding scalable ways to solve them.

Staffing firms leading the pack are investing in scalable processes, technologies, and communication strategies to ensure long-term growth and drive enterprise value. Parqa exists to get you there faster, with less risk and stronger returns.  

Get help developing an effective candidate community faster with Parqa.

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