Essentially it involves building relationships with potential employees, even if they aren’t quite ready to start a career or make a role change just yet. The potential employees may be students at a local university or from a larger, local employer which you know provides a good grounding in terms of skills training for your business needs.
Therein marks a clear strategic change; instead of responding reactively to recruitment needs, you’re acting proactively.
Where should I start?
Firstly, research is required in order to locate specific talent pools. Does your local university have an especially relevant course which produces grads with a useful skills and knowledge base? What is your competition locally for staff? Often, small businesses can benefit by taking experienced staff from bigger, local companies who may need to shed some layers.
Then, once you’ve located these pools, you’ll need to ingratiate yourself and your business in a positive, helpful way. Attend careers fairs, offer internships, be active in local and trade press. Build a strong local profile. Nothing works better than positive word of mouth.
Then you need to put the infrastructure in place to be able to manage this pipelining recruitment method effectively and efficiently.
Whether it’s a fluid and flexible database or just a well-edited Excel spreadsheet, your system should be sufficient to manage the lion’s share of the work for you.
Tagging candidates and providing as much useful information as possible will mean it will be a breeze to whittle down the talent when you have a new position to fill.
You should also get into the habit of always remembering to add candidates to the system, even if you have no suitable role for them now, and probably won’t for a while. You never know what might happen.
Putting tools in place to make sure you separate the wheat from the chaff is similarly crucial. Invest in adequate security for your network, make sure your spam filters are thoroughly set and organise specific email addresses for communication. Once you start getting in touch with new people and putting job ads out there, you’ll appreciate a really good spam filter.
Brief Up Current Staff
Once this is all in place, get everyone involved in recruitment for your company on board with the idea of talent pipelining. Whilst it may seem like a lot of time and effort now, it will ultimately pay off in the end by saving you man hours, recruitment fees and advertising costs in the future.
Think about how nice it would be to simply pluck a few people from a talent database instead of having to start from scratch every time you want to fill a position.
Of course, you should also assess your current process too. What works? Look at the success rate you’ve had with different recruiters and websites in the past and decide whether to continue working with them.
Social Media and Engagement
Someone will have to be committed to engaging with potential talent, and the best way to do this is via social media. LinkedIn is particularly useful to this end, as is Twitter. LinkedIn has a useful whitepaper which goes into more detail on how to use their website for developing a talent pipeline.
It goes without saying that you should also have a devoted careers section of your website as well as case studies and a section on company culture, to highlight the pros of working at your company.
Once you’ve got this system set up you should set yourself some goals, like achieving a certain number of likes on Facebook or a certain number of employee referrals. Getting tangible evidence to prove that talent pipelining works is a great way to improve your recruitment process and sell it in even more internally to your business.
Additional Benefits of Pipelining
Having a good background overview of a candidate can help you assess whether they are right for the role almost immediately, not only within the job but within the culture of the company.
Creating a pipeline will save you recruitment fees, advertising costs and human resources.
In addition to this, candidates will feel a stronger affinity to your company if you develop a personal relationship with them earlier on, making it feel like they have an honest and open relationship with their potential new employer; an employer that they have plenty of time to come to understand and appreciate.
The bottom line with this method of recruiting is that relationships matter. In this increasingly social age, candidates will appreciate companies that reach out and make themselves available.