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Strategies and Frequency of Outreach to Mentor Applicants

An important element of Screening work is following up with applicants about their necessary next steps. The attention we give applicants determines the quality of customer service they experience, as well as how smoothly and quickly they move through screening. We also evaluate applicant feedback through the Screening Exit Survey.

Tools at Your Disposal
Within Salesforce, the email widget is your best friend. This is located in the ‘Activity’ tab to the right of the Salesforce application. When sending through the widget, emails are automatically logged in the application. Our email templates live there also, and you can add your own. 

Frequency of Following Up
When it comes to phone/email outreach, a good rule of thumb is to contact applicants an average of once per week for applicants who are on track and relatively responsive. This can vary depending on an applicant's circumstances. Where possible, outline remaining tasks in one email, rather than inundating with separate emails (for instance following up about a TB test appointment and their application in one ask). 

**If you are covering for someone during a sick day or vacation, ensure that follow ups are not doubled up on. Communicate carefully with team members about coverage plans.

Time of Season
Follow up strategies may change depending on where the team is in the recruitment and matching cycle. Generally, urgency for applicants to complete screening ramps up in August and lasts through matching. Follow ups may therefore increase to every few days. When the urgency is higher, more transparency with the applicant is a fair approach. For eg., “Matching will begin in a just a couple weeks and in order to set you up for a match in time, we ask that you complete your online application this week." 


**If you think you’re reaching out to an applicant too much or too little, it’s possible that you are. Remember to step back and think about the level of urgency you need to convey. As always, you may strategize with your manager!

Vary Your Modes of Contact
It’s easy to simply send emails, but remember to diversify your outreach to increase the chances of a response. Do not send repeat templates - change up the language in each email. If an applicant has not answered via email and/or has not opened emails (per the Salesforce ‘Activity History’), call the applicant. Always leave a voicemail. It’s important that the applicant be available by both phone and email, so we know they are accessible during the program itself. If it seems they never open emails and only respond to phone calls, confirm their email and potentially make a yellow flag to discuss with your manager. 

Reaching out to References
When contacting references, send the automated email through Salesforce three times before sending manually. Automated emails should be sent every other day during the off-season, and every day close to matching. Always check your Outlook spam folder after you first send references to ensure none went undelivered. If there’s a bounce back, contact the applicant for an alternate email address for that reference (there is a widget template for that). If a reference does not seem responsive, call the reference and collect their response over the phone. Always call lingering references first before asking for a new reference from the applicant. For additional guidance on references, please read this article.

Deadlining and Predeadlining Applicants
For this process, follow the standard procedures outlined here. (Timewise, this is two weeks of unresponsiveness before predeadlining, then a week later you may deadline if no response, and then another week later you may withdraw if still MIA). Once an applicant has been deadlined, do not contact the applicant by phone OR email. When an applicant is in the predeadline phase, calling is ok. Log all actions in the ‘Deadline note’ field of Salesforce with date and initials. Remember to set a Salesforce task for yourself or an Outlook reminder for those predeadline, deadline, and withdrawal turnarounds. Lastly, ALWAYS ensure applicants got at least one phone call before starting the predeadline process.

Background Check Reminders and Check-Ins
For all regions, the Fingerprint Reminder Email is automatically sent by Salesforce the before an applicant's appointment date. This email reiterates region-specific background check instructions and links to necessary fingerprinting forms. Send the Fingerprint Check-In Email the day after the appointment. We want the applicant to confirm their attendance so we can make them 'Fingerprinted' in Salesforce.

During our busiest time, we may choose to send fingerprinting reminders 3 days before to mitigate as much rescheduling as possible and supporting smooth pipeline movement. NOTE: The automated Fingerprint Reminder Emails will NOT send if there's a Date Fingerprint Reminder Email sent populated in Salesforce. In other words, if we send the reminder email ourselves or manually populate the date, this will stop the automation and gave screeners that control in circumstances when that's necessary. 

TB Follow Ups - Bay Area
Because the Bay has the unique TB requirement, there is more intentionality needed to ensure that progress is made on that step at a reasonable pace. What’s reasonable? Do your best to get a specific projected TB test or TB Risk Assessment submission date/timeline from an applicant during interview/in follow ups. If they cannot give a timeline, continue to follow up weekly, combined with any other outstanding tasks if needed. If some time frame coaching is needed, you may say, "typically, we like our district to get submissions of these materials within two weeks to allow ample time for review." This allows the applicant to assess their schedule within a fair time window. If the step is still incomplete after 2 weeks or Bay is near matching, you may suggest a tighter timeline. Always note TB related responses in the ‘Background Check Note’ field.

Always Log Your Emails
Should you send any emails to applicants from Outlook, log them. This does not mean you need to log very short emails that lack important context, but for those that help screeners and their buddy approver follow the trail of communication. It's especially important for your manager to see the last time you communicated with an app. More information about logging can be found here.

Consider Each Volunteer 
Lastly, remember we are working with volunteers who are offering their time. We should assume best intentions, even when their follow-through lags. Consider each applicant individually and use your judgement in circumstances where your follow up strategy may need to shift. You may strategize with your manager when necessary.