Today’s tight labor market is a challenging environment for talent acquisition teams. More often than not, candidates are in the driver’s seat, with high expectations when it comes to salary, benefits, and work locations and schedules. With you and your rival firms competing over the same talent pools, the process of staffing positions can be frustrating.
There is, however, a secret weapon to help employers — talent networks.
Essentially, a talent network (sometimes called a talent community) is a database of candidates who have shown interest in your company. Learning to use talent pools will give your organization a competitive advantage in the candidate recruiting process, along with additional benefits.
Benefits of talent networks
A talent network functions as a lead generation tool for recruiting teams. Not every candidate who visits your company’s site or browses your job listings will wind up submitting an application. And that’s perfectly fine. Maybe the job wasn’t right for them. But that doesn’t mean a position more suited to their preferences won’t open up in the future at your firm.
By using talent networks, companies can keep the lines of communication open with skilled candidates. You can collect contact information for potential new hires and then update those professionals on your most recent job postings. It’s like saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” — but actually meaning it.
Talent networks also improve efficiency in the hiring process. When job roles are open, hiring managers can go directly to their talent communities to find candidates who meet the requirements, rather than spending time posting a job listing and waiting for resumes to roll in and be vetted. That also makes talent networks cost-effective: The more candidates for open positions you reach via your networks, the less you spend advertising on job boards.
Finally, talent networks can improve the candidate experience and foster goodwill. Whether or not they accept the first job offered to them, candidates are often pleased and flattered to be approached by talent acquisition teams. That makes them more likely to recommend your organization across their own networks, thereby expanding your talent community even further.
When interviewing job candidates, what are the best questions to ask? See this post for a list of 15.
How to build a talent community
Here are a few tips to help you start a talent network for your organization:
Collect information for your talent network
This first step is the most important: You need to get candidates to provide a way for you to stay in touch.
Consider adding a simple contact form to your job applications. If a candidate times out or abandons the application, ensure that a form is generated with an offer to stay in touch. If you haven’t already, set up a general careers email address or a form and place it on your site so interested candidates can get in touch with your organization directly. Generally speaking, the shorter and simpler the form, the better.
Develop a communications strategy
If visitors do leave their contact information, don’t just let it sit in the company inbox. Develop a plan for regular communication with these individuals to keep your budding network engaged. This can include things like weekly or monthly updates on job postings, product releases or even networking opportunities.
If possible, consider segmenting your contact lists and sending targeted communications for specific types of job openings, including remote work opportunities.
You can also vary your forms of communication. Some candidates may like emails, while others may prefer to receive text messages. It’s always a good idea to encourage them to follow your company’s social media channels, too.
Refine and expand your talent network
Keep your network current by updating contact information and adding new names. Advertising your network and providing ways to connect on social media is a helpful step.
A flourishing talent network won’t develop by itself. But if you take the time to build and maintain one, you will have a pool of promising candidates at your fingertips who you may be able to hire when the time is right.