My definition of a genuine talent pipeline is that it only exists if you understand which candidates are cold, warm and ‘hire-ready’ in real time. If you don’t know this, you don’t have a talent pipeline.
Candidates’ behavior has totally changed
When I started in recruitment in 1999, candidates had very limited information at their disposal. They could review an advert in a magazine or newspaper and then had to contact the recruiter for more information to go through the education and consideration phases of their recruitment journey.
Today, however, candidates have an abundance of information freely available.
They can become aware of opportunities through an advert online. They can educate on a careers site and they can more deeply consider at Glassdoor or the hiring manager’s Facebook page. They are in control and they don’t need to talk to a recruiter until they’ve run out of self-generated information.
When direct sourcing on LinkedIn, on other social networks and even from their own CRM, recruiters are shooting in the dark. They don’t know who is cold, warm or ‘hire-ready’ and are wasting a lot of time. The biggest inefficiency in recruitment as far as I’m concerned is the amount of time recruiters spend cold contacting potential candidates.
Why traditional talent pipeline methods don’t scale
According to The FIRM’s (Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers) annual survey, for the last three years, the creation of talent pipelines has been a top priority for in-house recruitment leaders and the reason I am sure it remains an unfulfilled priority is because incumbent software, applicant tracking systems and recruitment CRM products are systems of record, designed to store information and enable workflow.
They are not systems of engagement, designed to stimulate relationships automatically.
The only way to create talent pipelines up until the last year or two has been to make contact with each candidate regularly and find out their position at the point of contact. If you even have a small database of, say, 300 potential candidates and someone in your team is doing this all day, they will be able to have an absolute maximum of 10 conversations per day and take 30 working days (a month and a half) to get through the database. There are various reasons this doesn’t work:
1) It’s not scalable. A database of 300 is tiny. A database of 3,000 is very small. A database of 30,000 is pretty standard for a large employer. You’d need 100 people to service this size of database in the timescales I’ve suggested above. That’s impossible.
2) It’s not immediate enough. 1 week after talking to each person their situation may have completely changed and it will be a further 5 weeks before you get to find out they’ve already been on and off the job market again. You’ve missed out.
To create talent pipelines you need to personalize your candidate communications, at scale
Using mainstream recruitment software, ATSs and CRMs, what you can do is distribute emails to your candidate database. You can schedule drip campaigns so each person receives an email from your organization in a sequence and cadence you determine. But here’s the problem with this approach;
If you don’t know which people are cold, warm and ‘hire-ready’ in real time, you need to send every potential candidate on your database the same content. You can segment by job families and location, yes, but not by the stage they are in their decision on whether to make a job move or otherwise.
To really nurture your candidate database, you need to be able to send each person content which is useful and relevant to them and in line with where they are in their job move cycle. According to LinkedIn, 80% of people are not in the job market.
They don’t, therefore, care about your employer brand and your job descriptions are pure spam.
A personalized content experience which really hits the mark and drives candidate demand
From my experience, those people who aren’t in the market today are interested in useful and relevant content which will help them with their careers; skills, industry insights, networking events and similar.
Those in the education phase want content about the employer. Employer value proposition, career stories, mission, vision, and values are all things people want to know about when they’re trying to find out a little more.
Once candidates want to go deeper and into the consideration phase, they want a window into the organization. What’s it really like to work there? That’s where employee-generated content becomes useful.
What I’m saying here is that everyone wants something different, including through different channels and in different formats. If you can provide things to people that they want, more people will remain engaged with your organization.
How to make sense of this and create an actual talent pipeline
You need to score what each candidate is doing. We recommend a balanced scorecard with channels and formats making up the X-axis and content subjects as the Y-axis.
X-axis rationale might be, for example, when people open emails it scores low as it’s an easy-to-do activity. When they review your infographic, video or white paper, it would score higher.
Y-axis rationale might be, for example, when people are looking at content about industry insights or skills it will score low and when they are looking at content about your careers event, job search or job description it will score higher.
Crucially, your talent pipeline technology needs to be able to score a wide digital footprint to be able to place each person at the appropriate part of the pipe.
Digital technology is allowing significant advancements in candidate experience, sourcing, and recruitment as a whole. The ability to track and score each candidate’s interactions with your content serves up five major abilities:
- To filter candidates on a real-time engagement score.
- To identify what candidates have been doing so your recruiters know what to say when they make contact.
- To serve a highly personalized experience to each person and drive engagement.
- To understand which of your candidate marketing efforts are driving interest and which aren’t.
- To generate ongoing GDPR compliance as your relationships with candidates are maintained and you can show legitimate business interest as the legal basis for retaining their data.
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