We know that our people are the biggest contributor to our company’s growth and success, so why do the vast majority of businesses still have a reactive approach to hiring and recruiting? In today’s climate you can no longer rely on the right candidate actually applying, let alone applying when you need them.
Just like a great baseball coach has a bull pen full of pitchers with various strengths and talents ready to jump into the game at any moment, a great company should have a stable of interested, committed candidates poised and ready to take the reigns of any key role.
How do you set your HR department up for success? Your HR plan should always be on the lookout for tomorrow’s great talent. Who do you want to attract? Where do you find them? How do you keep them interested and engaged until you find the ideal place for them? Two key tools will help you answer these questions: A Talent Pipeline and a Talent Pool.
First, let's take a look at the talent pipeline. It focuses on building long-term relationships and alliances with potential candidates, and funnels them from every channel. Your pipeline is an extensive network made up of people you know and people you don’t. The friends, family, and associates of your employees and colleagues. People you find in physical locations, such as high schools, colleges, trade schools, universities, conferences, seminars, trade shows, exhibitions, job fairs, and recruitment agencies. It is also made up of people from online places, such as your followers on social media, LinkedIn, and industry-related forums and boards. It is made up of every quality applicant who has ever submitted a resume, or interviewed with your company.
Why wait for an employee to resign before searching for an exceptional replacement? The talent pool engages, grooms, and nurtures potential hires so they are ready to jump into the perfect role when a position opens up. A properly functioning pipeline dramatically reduces hiring time and cost.
How do I build a talent pipeline?
Define your ideal candidate. What are the characteristics, skills and traits that make up your perfect hire? What kind of education and experience would they possess?
Be proactive. Create opportunities for candidates to meet your amazing team. Host a friends and family night, open house, or similar networking event to allow potential applicants a firsthand glimpse into your company and the team they’d be working with. Maybe your industry isn’t the most glamorous. That’s okay. Every business has something amazing going on. Something fun, exciting, or interesting. Talk about it. Be talked about. Job seekers in your industry should know who you are, and what your company is all about.
"Your HR plan should always be on the lookout for tomorrow’s great talent."
Track your past quality applicants. Store and analyze resumes and applications. Keep information current, and remind them that you are still interested. Why invest all that time, energy, and money, getting to know candidates, then cast them aside? You’ve already shortlisted and vetted them--your work here is essentially done. Keep them engaged in your talent pool until a suitable position is created or becomes available.
Be the kind of company people want to work for, and showcase your corporate culture on your website and in your postings. It is simple, but effective. Just as your website should attract customers, it should also attract potential quality hires and give them a reason to return. A truly effective pipeline introduces the talent that your organization is lacking. While you’re taking a closer look at your website, apply for one of your own postings. Was it easy to apply? Were communication methods effective? How were you treated? Did you have to jump through too many hoops? Did you get a sense of your company from the posting? Is your hiring manager asking the right questions? Would you want to work for this company? Ensure that your website is funneling applicants to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A guilt-free social media platform that doesn’t require a formal application is a great way to attract the attention of people in the industry, currently working for your competition. It attracts the right kind of people and introduces them to your company on their terms. It can serve as a benign introduction, and eventually turn a passive applicant to an active one. It’s a ‘no strings attached’ method to reach individuals who haven’t leapt into the job search with both feet yet. These candidates need to be approached like prospective customers: identify them, target them, and sell them on your company, and eventually, the position.
Next, let’s look at the talent pool--that theoretical place you keep all these suitable candidates. Most people tend to think of the talent pipeline as active, and the pool as passive, but why shouldn’t your talent pool be active as well? Why wouldn't you want to have an up to date, engaged, and inspired group to draw from? Go-getters are pretty easy to spot at every stage and this is the perfect opportunity to address any skill gaps and provide ongoing training.
The talent pool is an ideal place to:
- Assess strengths and weaknesses
- Organize candidates according to your company’s needs
- Engage potential hires and let them get to know your company
- Inspire excitement about a product launch or community initiative
- Initiate onboarding and showcase corporate culture
- Educate potential hires about advances in your field and current opportunities with your company
The way candidates interact with organizations and apply for jobs has fundamentally changed. A great HR manager is always on the hunt for top level hires, and ensures that the talent pipeline is driving candidates of the highest caliber towards the company at every turn. Your talent pool and pipeline will ensure you have the right person for the job when you need them.