Evolving Just In Time Talent

May 3, 2014
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

If you’re in the talent/recruitment game you are well aware it’s a Just In Time (JIT) game. It has been that way since we were called the Personnel Dept. and will be that way for the foreseeable future. Executives and hiring managers hate this about recruitment. They think we should have this ‘pipeline’ of great candidates waiting to come into our organizations the moment we lose someone, or have a need to add additional talent. But, we all know that while in theory that sounds really nice, it’s not reality.

There is a faction that tries to sell that this can happen, through things like talent communities, etc. Again, the reality is this is these types of things are just a show for our organizations, they really don’t do what our hiring managers are desiring. Having a pipeline of candidates, who have yet to be screened, interviewed and offered (i.e., your talent community) is still just JIT talent. Maybe a little quicker, but still far short of expectations from hiring managers.

So, how to you get On Demand Talent?

Eventually, we are going to see companies take a page from the contracting talent world and they are going to ‘bench’ their next hires. In contracting great talent gets ‘benched’ in between their projects. They actually get paid not to work, but be ready for the next major project they’ll be working on. Could be a week, could be a month. Corporate benching will be slightly different. Let me give you a peak of how corporations will eventually evolve JIT Talent to meet the expectations of their executive teams and hiring managers:

1. Active sourcing of top talent, even when they don’t have an opening.

2. Full screen, interview process and selection decision of this talent, even without an opening.

3. Contractual offer and benching bonus to be the next hire for a certain position.

What does all that mean?

Let’s say you have a group of Engineers. You know at some point, based on your annual metrics over the last 10 years, you will lose an engineer to turnover within the next 12 months. It’s critical that when you lose that engineer you have a replacement quickly, but the current cycle time of sourcing, interviewing and accepting is taking 8-12 weeks for your critical skill set. Sound familiar? Your hiring managers expectation is you’ll have someone in 2 weeks. Which is impossible in your current process.

An On Demand Talent model would have you, without an actual opening, go through your full engineering search. Find that person who is right for you and extend them a hiring contract for the next available opening in the next 12 months. For accepting this ‘spot’ on your depth chart, you will pay this candidate a bonus. Could be a one time bonus, could be a monthly bonus. In the mean time, they continue to work at their current position and company, and wait. When they get the call, contractually they have two weeks to give notice and start.

You meet the expectation of your organization, you have succession ready to go, you just created a better talent demand system. Yes, it costs money. But, so does having an opening in your organization for two to three to six months, while projects sit idle.

What do you think? Blow holes in my theory of On Demand Talent in the comments.

This post was originally published on Tim’s blog.

image credit: bigstock

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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