Candidate PipelineOne of the biggest mistakes employers make is waiting until they desperately need to fill a position before they look for candidates. Recruitment is often seen as a one-time project, with a clear beginning and end: An employee leaves or you need to add to your team, so you post, screen, interview, and make an offer. Seems pretty simple, and once you’ve filled that open position, you’re done. And all of this is possible in under two weeks…right?

Candidate sourcing has to happen year-round, not just when you’re desperate and can’t get candidates.Twitter_logo_blue

Wrong. Effective recruitment isn’t just a one-time activity. Especially in a tight labour market, competing for top talent requires planning. Candidate sourcing has to happen year-round to be effective, not just when you’re desperate and can’t get candidates. The truth is that there’s no silver bullet for sourcing, and the best candidates often aren’t looking for a job. Building your pipeline of top candidates requires consistent, ongoing effort and means proactively building relationships with the kind of people you want on your team.

So how do you go about building a pipeline of rock star prospective employees?

1. Know what you’re looking for. Of course, depending on the industry you’re in, what you need will vary from job to job, but every organization has certain core qualifications and experience that they look for in new hires, and certain positions that routinely become vacant. Identify and articulate what kinds of experience and expertise your new hires need to have.

2. Build your employer brand. It’s easier to attract candidates when your employer brand is clearly articulated and consistently represented. So talk about yourself! Let customers and clients know what kind of organization you are, and what it’s like to work with you. Provide current employees with opportunities and platforms to brag and share their positive experience. The more you share your organization’s culture with prospective candidates, the more likely you will be to attract the kind of people you want to hire.

3. Consistently add to your pipeline. Turn to LinkedIn, job boards, professional associations and networks to identify people you’d like to know more about. Reach out and introduce yourself and find out more about what they do. People like to talk about themselves, and there’s no need to wait until you have an open position to learn more about them and share some information about your organization. That’s what networking is for!

4. Keep them warm. Maintaining a strong candidate pipeline is about building and nurturing relationships. Once you’ve made that initial reach out, keep in contact – it’s the first step to promoting a positive candidate experience. This is where taking a few minutes to check in with potential future prospects on a regular basis could have a big payoff in future!

5. Get everyone involved. While it helps to have a key person responsible for building your pipeline, it doesn’t have to be the sole responsibility of only one person. Many qualified applicants come through employee referrals. To attract diversity and lighten the load, get your whole team involved with building your pipeline. Make sure everyone is on the same page with the kind of people you look for, then encourage them to nurture relationships with folks who fit the bill! When you do have a posting, pass it along for distribution to employees’ networks. Make social media postings easy to share, and give employees wording to pass along, so it’s simple to do, and the messaging stays consistent.

Your Engaged HR Assignment: Not thinking about hiring anyone at the moment? Perfect – now’s the time to start building your pipeline of future hires. Start small by spending a few minutes this week identifying and writing down what makes an ideal candidate in your organization. If you have job descriptions (and they’re current), pull them out and circle the key pieces you’re looking for.

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