By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We live in a fast-paced world. We expect things to happen quickly and often don’t have much patience when they don’t. We send email, texts, meeting requests and more from one of our many mobile devices and expect to hear back quickly. We are wired to be able to make decisions on a moment’s notice and we’ve gotten quite good at it. But there’s one aspect of a hiring manager’s job that seems to not want to follow suit: the recruiting process.

From start to finish, recruiting and hiring can take anywhere from just a couple days to more than 100! It’s a big job to find a good candidate and start the interview and hiring process and the unfortunate aspect of that is that life goes on. That empty position is probably slowing down business and slowing down your days as you continue to search for the right candidate. So what’s the solution? Filling the position before it even opens up.

We know that turnover is inevitable, so it only make sense. If you’re constantly recruiting, there’s less lag time when you’re ready to pull the trigger and hire. It’s the secret to success for any HR professional. The key is to seek out passive candidates – they will be your next employees! In 2011, a study by LinkedIn revealed that two-thirds of HR professionals place an emphasis on hiring passive talent and 82 percent use at least one method of staying continually engaged with that group.

The great thing about this is that it’s not that difficult. There are so many simple things you can do daily to start building that pipeline of candidates. Check out these four tips to start building your arsenal of potential employees.

Become a networking rockstar – at all the right places
Whether you’re a rockstar at recruiting or not, you’ve got to be doing it in the right places to be successful. Think about the best places for your industry. For instance, a high-tech company in Silicone Valley frequents wine festivals and tastings where many potential candidates often visit. Go to luncheons of professional organizations that are relevant to your business and make contacts there. To recruit the best new talent, don’t just go to career fairs at colleges; reach out to professors who know who the top students are. Network everywhere you go – the grocery store, lunch with friends, fundraising events – they’re all opportunities to fill that next job opening.

Tweet, post and connect
Social media has become such a valuable tool in the least few years. Use it to your advantage by connecting with potential candidates that you feel meet the criteria of someone you would hire. Looking at profiles now might mean you won’t have to sift through resumes later. It can be as simple as commenting on a post, retweeting or adding that person as a connection. This isn’t necessarily the time to reach out with a generic message about your website’s careers page. Use this opportunity to build a personal connection. It’ll be more memorable and will open the door to build a relationship. Think outside the box, too. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn aren’t the only social sites where you can build connections.

Don’t let a previously-rejected candidate fall through the cracks
Ok, we all know that some applicants who didn’t make the cut will probably never be a good fit. But what about the ones who left you wishing you had two open positions so you could hire them also? Don’t forget about them! There are several reasons they may have gotten looked over the first time – maybe their salary requirements were too high, they didn’t have enough experience at the time or there was just a slightly more qualified applicant. Keep a conversation going with these candidates and reach out when you have a job opening you think they’d be great for.

Keep a record of potential candidates
As you start to build a pipeline of candidates, you’ll probably run into the same problem that most do: it’s difficult to keep track of them. This is actually the key to successfully building a pipeline. After all, what good is all that networking if you can’t remember anything about that person? Keep a good record of all your potential candidates using a spreadsheet or software made just for this purpose. Note as much as you can so that when it’s time to reach out about a job opening, you know their qualifications, motivations and important factors in making a decision. The more you know, the better.

Whether you use just one or all four of these tips, keep the conversation going. Continually engaging candidates is vital to finding the best fit in your talent acquisition search.

What are your secrets for successfully building a talent pipeline?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Photo Credit.

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