10 Reasons You Should Add Talent Pipelines to Your Recruiting Strategy

Obviously 2020 sourcing and recruiting is not same as before. If you haven’t already adjusted, it’s time to face some changes. As you search for recruiting success in these post-COVID times, a talent pipeline strategy should be included in your deliberations. Let me tell you why.

We are living hyper competitive / low response labor market. Besides looking for the same talent at the same time, we are also dealing with candidates that are unwilling to switch jobs during uncertain economic times. If you are a candidate that is in demand, you can sit on the sidelines and wait for sourcers and recruiters to message and call you. And we will call, email, text, join your communities, create events, and flood cyberspace with emails and job ads.

This hyper competition has taught us that we need to think about making some changes. Advertising a job is no longer the tactic of choice. Highly sought after talent are not even reading the cleverest of job postings. That means that the omni-channel recruitment marketing platform you invested in will not provide the ROI it once did. The in demand talent is employed, and it will take a “better job” to get their attention, if at all. It will take more than money to attract this talent as well as interesting work, work/life balance, award winning diverse cultures, etc. Who better to market that better job than a recruiter/talent sourcer?

The tech giants understand this. They know that it takes a highly personalized outreach to get the attention of the target talent. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have hired thousands of recruiters that are focused on a highly personalized outreach to target talent. Their recruiters are segmented and specialize by talent type. The recruiters/talent sourcers focus on building relationships with the target talent. Relationships take time and the recruiters/talent sourcers only handle a handful of requisitions. And if big tech cannot recruit enough recruiters/talent sourcers, the start their own bootcamps and academy to train people in the art of recruiting.

Heads of recruiting are faced with a strategically important question: how do I create a recruiting model that can adapt to volatile hiring needs and fast changing labor market?

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If you don’t have the budget to hire hundreds of recruiters, then I suggest you go a little old school and take a pipeline of talent approach. Talent pipelines are like a third party recruiter’s network that existed in pre-internet days. A recruiter would specialize in a segment of talent and build relationships with target talent even when there was not a job for them. They focused on a profession or an industry. They did not attempt to be all things to all people, just the target talent audience. They became known as SME’s (subject matter experts) in an area of specialization. Those recruiters were top of mind when talent in that area of specialization decided to look for their next role. That was called winning.

A critical thinking approach to talent pipelining is to focus on the type of talent that your organization will need over the next 3-5 years. Imagine if you could identify the target talent in those segments and have a relationship with them before there is an open job in your organization. That target talent knows about your company, your vision, your people in that profession, and your success in your marketplace. In this context, implementing a talent pipeline strategy offers a scalable, agile, and short/long-term solution to a hyper competitive talent marketplace. I have discovered…

  1. A talent pipeline is very GIGO (garbage-in/garbage-out) a 20th century term is still relevant today. Think of this as building a pipeline from a pool of profession based talent to a relationship with your brand. The first principle of talent pipeline building is to target talent is qualified for your roles.
  2. A talent pipeline provides better quality. Identify as many prospects as possible. Don’t stop with your initial effort, keep adding to your talent pool. This will give you have access to a larger and more diverse pool of target talent.
  3. A talent pipeline is a solution to speed, quality and cost dilemma.  There is a trade-off in the speed vs. quality vs. cost equation. If you want quality, you may need to sacrifice quality and pay a little more. If you want speed, you may need to sacrifice costs or quality. A pipeline of talent approach can mitigate the harshness of that calculation as there is no waiting for talent to come to you i.e. advertising or third-party assistance.
  4. A talent pipeline reduces recruitment costs. A talent pipeline can mitigate some expensive aspects of recruiting. Job advertising, hiring third-party firms and beefing up your recruiting staff all take time to ramp up. These investments in those approaches can be moderated with a pipeline that focuses on engaging the already identified talent.
  5. A talent pipeline provides education on your brand. Talent brand wars have become a real thing. Organizations create competing brand stories, monitor company review sites, and share what it really like to work for their organization. Incorporating your brand story in your communication with your pipeline helps inform and build a relationship before the prospect is interested in changing roles.
  6. A talent pipeline creates Trust has become the currency of the digital age. Trust is built by multiple interactions with a brand as well as the reputation your brand has based on the experiences of others. The nurturing aspects of a pipeline afford multiple touches with each prospect to deepen knowledge & relationship with your profession and your brand.
  7. A talent pipeline brings predictable results. Predictable analytics is a thing of beauty. Capturing and tracking pipeline metrics will allow you to make predictions on how many people you need to identify and contact in order to ensure success.
  8. A talent pipeline maximizes short term success. The Gartner CEB data indicates that 82% of a target audience is open to new opportunities, while only about 25% of a target audience is active in pursuing a new job. In the short term, engaging the talent that is ready to move or tempting the more passive prospect to check you out will bring desired results.
  9. A talent pipeline ensures future success. In the long term, a pipeline gives you the element of timing. Simply stated, your pipeline gives you access to the right talent and puts your brand top of mind when the prospect is considering a change.
  10. A talent pipeline offers a competitive advantage. While the talent wars are being fought, you can avoid the conflict as you already have the ear of the target talent. Your pipeline provides an ever expanding audience of talent that can meet the demands of your workforce plan.

In Conclusion

Done correctly, a talent pipeline can also be a great equalizer as it leverages the great HR technology. Just as the internet leveled the playing field for information, technology can enhance what we do with that information. Incorporating outbound recruiting methodology into a talent pipeline strategy will allow an organization to compete with tech giants and their armies of recruiters/talent sourcers. The elements of outbound recruiting (competitive talent mapping, people social profile aggregation/unification, iterative engagement, personalized content marketing, and a nurturing approach to relationship building) will become the cornerstone of your talent pipeline model. Having a relationship with the target talent prior to your need will yield the short and long term results that are required for 2020 and beyond.

Marvin Smith is a veteran talent acquisition practitioner who focuses on strategic talent sourcing, talent community building, social recruiting, employment branding, and the use of technology to drive talent identification and engagement strategies. He has been on teams that were at the forefront of resurgence of talent sourcing as a strategic weapon in talent acquisition. These teams piloted groundbreaking programs (ERE-Media-award-winning) work that used business intelligence, data, and technology to segment the target talent audiences and build talent pipelines and communities. His current role is a strategic talent sourcing consultant with Lockheed Martin, where he is responsible for talent pipeline building for critical skills talent; project management of a RMP (recruitment marketing platform); and driving corporate-wide, talent community initiatives. Previously, he served as senior research recruiter on an internal executive recruiting team with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; a strategic sourcing program manager with Blackberry (Research In Motion); and a talent sourcer/program manager for Microsoft. He is a writer and speaker on the topics of talent communities, strategic talent sourcing, Moneyball sourcing, and talent acquisition strategies. You can follow his blog or join a community that he created on talent community development or follow him on Twitter.

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