According to HCI (Human Capital Institute), less than one quarter of organizations feel they have a strong enough talent pool to fill their most important positions. And, as the number of new jobs is expected to continue to outnumber the candidates available to fill them, especially as the baby boomer generation retires, that could pose a real problem for many employers. If growing and maintaining a solid network of talent—for current and future hiring needs—isn’t at the top of your recruiting strategies list, it needs to be.

Generating interest in your organization and the jobs you have available is the first step in building a strong talent network. Here are some strategies that can help.

Use automated recruitment options – In addition to posting on job boards and your own website, there are many options now available for getting your job openings in front of your desired audience. Working with a vendor who offers things like automated emails and messaging, cloud-based recruiting software that works directly with social media accounts, and specialized tools for automatically engaging with potential candidates will greatly enhance your recruiting efficiency and effectiveness.

Create enticing job ads – Understand who your target audience is and speak to them directly with your ad. Make the job title interesting and be specific about the key responsibilities and expectations. Convey your company culture and use an inviting voice that sells people on why it’s a great place to work. Try using video and great graphics. And don’t go overboard on the details. Put your top few serious requirements that you’re unwilling to compromise on in the description, but don’t list unnecessary restrictions that could alienate good people.

Put effort into a positive candidate experience – Be sure you are making it easy and inviting for candidates to join your network and apply for jobs. Make it simple to find your organization’s job offerings; offer single sign-on so they can access multiple websites with just one user name and password; use applicant-friendly job applications that integrate with social media; and always respond quickly and kindly to your job applicants.

You also need to ensure that recruits don’t lose that interest halfway through the process. To keep them engaged, show them that you have their best interests in mind and that remaining in your talent community will open them up to good opportunities.

Make it personal – Responding to applicants with personalized messaging doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming—but it does need to be fast. There are many automated options that can provide an immediate response while still adding a personal feel. At the same time, a personal phone call still goes a long way in making a candidate feel valued, so make the effort to reach out to people you don’t want to lose.

Talk about success – Be specific about expectations and opportunities. Appeal to the people who are likely to be well matched to a job by pointing out what success in the role entails. And talk about the skills they get the opportunity to use. By focusing on challenges, results and success, you’ll keep ambitious people interested.

Be honest – If the individual doesn’t seem to be the right fit for the current job, that doesn’t mean he or she wouldn’t be great for a future position. So, don’t alienate good candidates by giving them false hope or mixed messages, and then never getting back to them. Telling applicants you’ll be in touch soon, keeping them hanging on when you have no intention of hiring them for the job, is not only rude, it will also reflect poorly on your company.

Stay connected – Actively engage with people who show some interest. Whether it’s in a virtual community, a newsletter, or through email or engagement on social media sites, keep in touch. Send holiday cards and continue to provide significant information and resources they could find valuable.

While some of these steps will require some work up front, when done correctly, much of it can become like a well-oiled machine that almost runs itself. And the work you put in up front to get the right tools in place will be well worth it in the long run.

To find out more about building a strong talent community, contact us at 415-835-0202 or

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