By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Engaging your talent network is a significant effort that involves time, commitment and an investment in being engaged yourself. After all, at the heart of engaging potential candidates is the interactive conversation that must take place, which requires ongoing involvement on the part of human resources professionals. You share, film videos, connect with candidates on LinkedIn and use Instagram and Pinterest to give a visual identity to your company, but what happens when at the end of the day, you’re not ready to hire? After all that work connecting with and engaging your talent network, it’s important to have a plan for keeping them around until you do have open positions.

This kind of engagement is the type that builds a long-term pipeline of candidates and doesn’t specifically focus on filling a single open position. It’s arguably even more important, but building a long-term pipeline can also be a lot more difficult. There are ways to achieve it, but just as it takes an investment in time to build your network, it can take even more time and effort to maintain it. The good news is that it can bring a major return on investment! Here are four ways to help create long-term engagement and make all the work you put in worth it:

Share resources 

The phrase “you must give in order to receive” is just as true in our professional lives as it is in our personal ones, so it stands to reason that if we want candidates to continue to connect with and remember us, we must provide them value. This also makes me think of the WIFM, or “what’s in it for me,” theory. What does a potential candidate get from you? Well, through your talent network blog, videos and downloadable content, you can provide them with resources customized to the talent circles they are members of.

Webinars 
Both live and recorded webinars are a great way for hiring managers to meet job seekers and for job seekers to learn more about the company. It also gives you the unique opportunity to take an extended amount of time to position your company just as you need to for a specific audience. Another great aspect of webinars is that they can be a perfect combination of words, pictures and human interaction.

Live chat 
In our day and age, people want answers and they want them now. It’s not just simple impatience. It’s the culture of being able to access information within just a couple of seconds that has conditioned us to expect it. Meet your candidates where they are by offering live chat that connects recruiters directly to the candidate. To take it a step further, rather than just making it available, proactively offer it when someone visits your career page.

Email updates 
Email updates may be a bit old school but if you’ve looked at your inbox lately, you’ve probably noticed that the most successful retailers still use them. Why? Because they work. Use regular email updates to share resources, information and news that’s customized to your job seeker community directly to their email inbox. Focus on adding value and staying resource focused and you’ll stay top of mind while also providing useful content.  

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder ofBlogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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