Why – and How – to Build a Talent Pipeline
Your people got your company where it is today and they’re the driving force for tomorrow’s growth. If you want to stay competitive, you can’t rely on business as usual when it comes to your recruitment strategy. You need a proactive approach that not only brings in qualified talent, but keeps top candidates engaged and interested in future opportunities with your organization.
Simply put, you need a talent pipeline.
Historically when a company needed to fill a position, they’d place an ad in the local paper, post the job online, visit a career fair and ask for employee and other professional referrals. All good tactics, without a doubt. In the past, they’d simply sit back and wait for the candidates to flow into their HR department. This reactive approach is no longer sufficient.
- Recruitment must be an ongoing initiative. Even if you’re not hiring right now, you should always be on the lookout for top talent. The effort you put in now to recruit for the future will result in fewer hiring mistakes and a greater return for all involved.
- The way candidates conduct job searches has changed. Today’s job seekers are more resourceful than ever before. They know exactly which benefits, working environment and culture they want and they won’t settle for anything less. In addition to job boards and personal referrals, they turn to social and professional networking sites and talent communities when they research prospective employers. You need to utilize every tool at your disposal to connect with leading candidates – from your company’s career site to social media and mobile marketing.
- Competition has intensified. The recession of the last decade is over and in its wake, more employees are venturing forth and leaving their less-than-ideal positions. According to a recent survey, 40 percent of employers are worried that they’ll lose high-performing talent as the economy continues to improve. Think about it. If you’re competing with a company that has already built a relationship with a candidate, who do you think has the hiring advantage?
- It’s cost-effective. By pipelining, you save overall time and cost associated with recruiting. Frantic, immediate needs to hire often lead to costly mistakes. Productivity suffers when business-critical positions remain open.
How to Succeed
Establish and cultivate your talent pipeline by thinking about how each position within your organization aligns with your business priorities.
- Identify your high-impact roles. These are the positions that drive your company’s mission. Define what exemplary performance looks like in these jobs in terms of behavior, mindset, skills and experience. Ensure that your recruitment and selection processes enable hiring managers to differentiate between adequate candidates and those who will perform at those optimal levels.
- Develop well-crafted job descriptions. They should outline performance expectations – not just tasks—in specific, concrete terms. Interview questions and processes should do the same, enabling interviewers to assess a candidate’s prior success and evaluate their future potential.
- Ensure you have a shared commitment to selecting the best person for the job. This may on occasion mean choosing against an otherwise great performer who lacks the key characteristics required for the role. It also means not settling for an adequate performer. Everyone on the hiring team must be unwavering in this philosophy and practice.
- Make connections. Once you establish your hiring needs, you can build channels to create viable candidate pools. Employees and other company stakeholders, as well as your external networks, are great starting points. Hold managers accountable for ongoing recruitment by making it part of their performance evaluation standards.
- Develop people internally. Review your current staff at least quarterly. Seek management feedback about how to best challenge and develop star employees.
- Utilize social media. Job seekers are already online pursuing their options. Strategic use of social media connects you to the largest pool of active and passive candidates and sends an authentic message to your target audiences.