Originally published and written for RecruitLoop by cofounder, Paul Selzak.
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Corporate recruiters without a talent pipeline are like groundskeepers irrigating a sporting field with a watering can. They simply ‘spray and pray’.
The explosion of social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, has rapidly accelerated the ability for internal recruitment teams to build talent pipelines, making it easier than ever to simply ‘turn on the tap’ when a job opening comes in and watch high quality, validated candidates come flooding in.
‘Spray and Pray’ Recruitment looks like this:
You get briefed on a vacancy by a hiring manager. You head over to LinkedIn and/or the plethora of online job boards and fill your folders with potential candidates that ‘on paper’ meet the specific requirements of the role. At this stage you may not even phone screen the candidates to pre-qualify them or gauge their interest. You then take a few of them back to the line managers who hopefully select one. You empty the rest out. When the next vacancy appears, the whole process starts again.
On the other hand, a Talent Pipeline keeps a constant flow of potential candidates filling your talent pool (or ‘community’) – even if they’re not actively job seeking.
You might assume the majority of internal recruiters would keep a list of candidates they’ve previously been in touch with, but research shows less than 20% actively maintain contact with ‘passive potentials.’
It’s not just laziness (we hope!). Before now, the pure logistics of maintaining this network was incredibly time consuming. Candidate details quickly get out of date, people don’t bother to reply, and the sheer number of candidates to be nurtured puts this task into the Too Hard Basket.
LinkedIn has changed all that.
Here’s how you can best harness LinkedIn features to connect with candidates and keep a constant flow of potential top talent swirling around on stand by for that next critical job opening.
If you can afford LinkedIn ‘Recruiter’…
We should probably mention LinkedIn Recruiter is an expensive option, at around $10K/seat. We’ll show you how to take advantage of free features below, but first let’s look at the some of the most powerful features of Pipeline.
1. Sign up for LinkedIn Pipeline
Built specifically for the purpose of keeping in touch with inactive candidates, LinkedIn Pipeline is an add-on for LinkedIn Recruiter platform users allowing cross management of all talent leads, both with LinkedIn profiles and without. Pipeline dynamically updates profiles of candidates you have been in touch with and allows you to sort and organize all your candidates into files and folders. You are also able to conduct in depth searches based on keywords, location and other connections.
2. Collaborate together
LinkedIn Pipeline allows networking between multiple recruiters across the same candidates. Your fellow team members can see notes made by you about a particular candidate and notes made by other team members pop up in your Activity feed, keeping you in touch with their activity, in case any of it is relevant to you.
3. Follow, follow, follow
It’s physically impossible to be a LinkedIn Connection with every single candidate you think might be suitable for a job you may have at some time in the future. How would you keep in touch with them all?
LinkedIn makes this easy with a Pipeline feature called ‘Follow’. Candidates can be classified into categories and your personal recruiter news feed will be kept up to date with changes to their profiles as they move throughout their career.
4. Talent Brand Index
LinkedIn aggregates the vast amount of information it has access to from hundreds of thousands of companies to provide indexing on how strong your talent brand is. Gain insights into how many people are aware of your organisation compared to how many are actively engaged with it. Break down the type of people your organisation is attracting on LinkedIn and compare your own results with similar organisations.
And now the free stuff!
5. Take LinkedIn’s advice
LinkedIn has developed a suite of white papers on the finer aspects of building your talent pipeline. There’s plenty more to building a talent pipeline than simply using LinkedIn’s features, including developing a Talent Brand, on-boarding internal organisation influencers and determining the right people to focus your efforts on. Check them out here.
6. Remember your candidates’ birthdays!
If you’ve ever wanted all the information you know about one person stored in the one place, you’ll love LinkedIn’s contact features. You can sync calendar meetings, Evernote files and contact details online with your LinkedIn Profile as well as write notes against particular contacts so you never forget their daughter’s name again.
Set reminders for birthdays or to share an article you think they might find interesting every few months in order to keep in touch with potential candidates on important dates.
7. Tag candidates for future reference
LinkedIn Contacts also allows any of your connections to be ‘tagged’ with a label of your choice. You could list a certain person as ‘warm’ or having a ‘technical background’ in order to make searching easy the next time you are looking for a particular type of candidate.
File your contacts separately to your candidates and quickly see anyone who you shouldn’t contact again.
8. Send your company news feeds directly to candidates
Company News Feeds work the same way as a Facebook Page, popping updates into a candidates’ news feeds, keeping them constantly abreast with news and information about your organisation.
After discussing a particular role with a candidate, suggest they follow your company on LinkedIn. Even if they don’t secure the role, they will remain in touch thereby staying warm for the next suitable opportunity.
9. Online check-in (without the baggage restriction!)
You’ll never have to manually enter all those student and graduate details into a database again. Ask them to do it themselves with LinkedIn’s mobile app, ‘Check In.’ This app allows an interested graduate to enter their details into a form on their iPhone’s LinkedIn App, adding them – and all their LinkedIn Profile information if they have it – directly into your talent pool of potential candidates without you having to lift a finger. They are now ready to be targeted with your tailored informational emails.
10. Join groups
LinkedIn Groups attract some of the most influential people in any particular space. If you are focussing on a niche, become part of the discussion, providing career advice where you can or sharing interesting articles. Your name will become synonymous with the members of the group as an authority and someone clearly well versed in the space.
You won’t build a Talent Pipeline overnight. But the investment will pay dividends when you post your next job vacancy, and the high quality candidates come to you.
Then when the time comes for you to actually reach out to these candidates to let them know about a particular role, these tips will certainly come in handy.