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Cultivating a Candidate Community: Maximize Your Return on Investment

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. Candidates in these 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 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 requires 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 

Here are some results we’ve seen clients achieve 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 during 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 subject matter that solves candidate pain points and drives value for them throughout their entire life cycle. 

More Great Communication Strategies

For more on how to create great communication strategies, read about what types of content your candidates will respond to the best 👉

more parqa blogs


For candidates who look negatively on recruiters, 43% say it is due to poor recruiter communication. Recruiters are the most highly valued resource in a staffing firm. They are also humans who work X hours/week, get sick, go on vacation, and simply have high demands on their time and can’t get to everything. They must choose the activities most 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 allow your organization to build effective candidate communities or maximize 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. 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 stack and deliver personalized communication at scale throughout the candidate lifecycle!  

For example, Bullhorn’s acquisition of Herefish and continued efforts to build out its 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 recruiters’ communication with your most valued candidates.   


A great communication strategy and the right technologies don’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 Bullhorn 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, Director of Sales at Bullhorn 

Building a measurement strategy and purposefully structuring your data and operational processes helps you run your business, and 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.  

Need help?

Develop an Effective Candidate Community Faster. 👉

contact parqa

Author Bios

Jared Hummel, President of PARQA

After years of leading high-growth organizations across multiple industries, I transitioned into staffing as the CFO of a mid-sized staffing firm and shortly after began working to build Parqa into a data-driven digital transformation and communications agency for the staffing industry. I enjoy working with staffing firm leaders to integrate digital and automation strategies into overall business decisions – with an emphasis on nurturing clients and candidates to drive revenue. 

Julie Haldorson, Executive Vice President of PARQA

I’ve spent 20+ years in business consultation and lifecycle marketing focused on driving mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and their customers. Over the years, I’ve developed and implemented communication, technology, and data strategies to drive business outcomes for global organizations like United Airlines, Medtronic, Electrolux, and Masco Corp. I am passionate about business outcomes, talent development, and creating environments that enable all varieties of businesses and people to stretch and grow quickly. 

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