A great talent strategy doesn’t just fill positions. It fills them as fast as they arise. Zero is the ideal time-to-hire, and while it is probably an utopian situation for most companies, a wisely constructed and painstakingly nurtured ‘visionary’ talent pipeline can make sure you don’t stray too far from that magic number. That’s not all: It minimizes the probability for errors, optimizes your time and money, and is a great tool to plan ahead with.
The industry concurs. Microsoft’s Executive Recruiter Heather Parrot is of the opinion that “Talent pipelining…. is building long-term professional relationships with passive talent for future opportunities.” She adds that it “requires a shift from reactive recruiting to proactive recruiting.” In other words, staying a step ahead of the candidate who could be entertaining thought about a switch, even as you read this.
It’s not all theory, of course. Research reaffirms the consistently tangible and valuable benefits a ‘Talent Pipeline’ can bring to the recruiting table. In a poll, 66 % respondents have shared that a talent pipeline has shrunk their time to hire appreciably, while 54% confirmed that it lowered their cost per hire. These learnings may be telling, but so is the revelation that only 38% of companies are actually able to hire consistently round the year.
Here are some tested ways of building your very own talent pipeline:
Be in sync with your business goals
A talent pipeline works only if it’s relevant to your actual hiring needs. To anticipate the latter, you need to keep a tab on ‘high attrition’ roles in the company, find out which departments are planning to expand in the near future, and where the upcoming projects are about to pop-up.
Network, network and network
Even if you don’t need to (read: even if you think you don’t need to). So be it social events, networking conclaves, highly recommended candidates, interesting social media profiles or informational interviews, remember that everyone you meet is a potential hire, and treat these moments as vital opportunity windows towards building a talent pipeline that’s not only rich in diversity, but relevant enough to save you time and money in moments of crunch.
In other words, strengthen you Employee Referral Strategy (including that incentive program) in every way you can. According to Linkedin’s Global Recruiting Trends Report, Referral Programs continue to remain a great way of catching talent. Dig up dormant acquaintances. Go out of your way to solicit referrals from influencers in your industry. And don’t forget that you current employees – with their obvious understanding of culture and role fitness within the organization – are potential goldmines of contacts as well.
As you build your pipeline, you’ll be needing to back-and-forth on communication quite a bit. Not least because the way you position the opportunity will go a long way in attracting top talent. Here, it pays to remember that not everyone will respond to the same tone, language and medium. Whether it’s email, social chat or skype, try to figure out preferred channels of communication of each candidate. And go about building your bridges accordingly.
No matter what your strategy, it needs to have sufficient space to accommodate relationships – sometimes seemingly just for the sake of it. Be it people who were once working in your company, chance meetings at networking events, a find on ‘social media’, a recommendation by a friend or a promising profile on a job board, it helps to remain on their radar with the occasional Hi, update or birthday greeting. After all, the first meeting may have gone dry, but that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve into something meaningful later. Never burn your bridges, is what it all boils down to.