Top 4 Reasons Talent Pipelines are A No-Brainer

Let’s take a look at the U.S. labor market, shall we? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in February 2016, the U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at a low 4.9 percent; in addition, 1.8 million people were “marginally attached” to the labor force, down by 356,000 from a year earlier. By definition, these individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.

Among the marginally attached, there were 599,000 “discouraged workers” in February, down by 133,000 from a year earlier. “Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”

But then let’s add to those figures the whole realm of passive candidates, people who aren’t actively looking for a job. Older definitions of passive candidates included people who weren’t on the hunt, but would be willing to listen to a relevant offer. Now, everyone is a passive candidate. In February 2016, about 121.76 million people were employed on a full-time basis, and let’s assume every one of them is up for grabs.

So, my math tells me that there are quite a few people out there who may one day be on your radar for employment. So how do organizations attract and hire the right people?

  1. They nurture them. Like baby chicks. If they don’t, someone else will. The candidate journey is a whole ball of wax, but I highly encourage you to think of a talent pipeline as a warm, nurturing, holding space for people who may be your next employee. It’s absolutely critical to have a functional, up-to-date, communicative talent pipeline for several reasons, but here are my top three.
  2. They use Talent Pipelines as major time-savers. Having potential candidates in a pipeline where you know their contact information, skill set, job and salary requirements (and more) obviously saves a whole lot of time. Starting job searches from scratch and going through the entire interview process is lengthy and apparently getting longer. Last June, Glassdoor released a study that stated the average overall job interview process takes 22.9 days in the U.S., up 80% from 2010 (when it was 12.6 days). The thought that any company starts at ground zero for each new job opening makes me twitch.
  3. Talent Pipelines Make Business Sense (in Dollars). According to Bersin by Deloite’s Benchmarking Talent Acquisition: Increasing Spend, Cost Per Hire, and Time to Fill report in April 2015, the cost per hire in 2014 was nearly $4,000. There are built-in costs here that would likely still exist in hiring from your talent pipeline, but a reduction in cost is evident. Paying to complete a search when there could be a properly loaded talent pipeline is simply wasteful. It makes business sense to manage this expense with frugality in mind. There will always be opportunities to utilize the recruitment function, but once a search is “complete” (that’s a subjective term), the remaining candidates need to be placed somewhere. Where, you ask? A talent pipeline, of course!
  4. Talent Pipelines are a place for nurturing leads. Like I mentioned before, if you properly build a talent pipeline, access to quality candidates allows you to communicate effectively. From job openings to employer branding initiatives, this pipeline of people can (and should) be treated with respect and dignity – which a lot of job seekers crave.

The TalentBoard’s 2015 Candidate Experience Report reports data collected from 130,000 candidates who applied to over 200 companies. According to the report, “communication with candidates is very weak.”

It states, “Although most companies send an immediate ‘thank you’, nearly half of candidates never received an indication of the status of the application, or information about why gender, race and ethnicity questions were asked or the option to save their application for a later date.”

Hmmm. I think we can do better than that.

If you build it, they will come. Build a talent pipeline and use all means you can to fill it up. Think of those millions of people in different stages of employment. A talent network on your career site is a great way to encourage people to opt in to your pipeline.

According to SmashFly, make your career network accessible from as many ways as possible and keep it simple. “Ask for a few key fields: name, email and job family they are looking into it. Once they opt in, you have time to build on their preferences, their skillsets and their interests. You can send preference emails asking the types of content they want to receive and the types of job positions they are interested in, as well as track what emails they are opening and which links they are clicking on.”

Depending on your employer brand, build a talent pipeline that suits your needs. Are you global? Do you have a wide or narrow variety of job reqs? Are you in demand as an employer? How can you communicate effectively with proper cadence? Whatever your nurturing style, just remember to keep it warm.

Click here to download an extremely helpful eBook on this topic, “Nurturing Candidates from Attraction to Hire.”

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

photo credit: Week 4 via photopin (license)

How Simulating Work Loyalty Could Help Drive the Winning Output

“The No. 1 thing we want to do is create competition, create opportunities for guys to show what they’re capable of.” —Jack Del Rio, Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders

Only one starter started for the Oakland Raiders in the last preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. This isn’t unusual in preseason since the point is to tryout your rookies, your trades and your returning players to find your team depth, who will eventually start during the season and what will the final league mandated 53-person team roster look like.

I’m a Raider fan to the last. That said, I’m also fascinated by the seemingly efficient way in which professional players from nearly every professional team sport are sourced, recruited, vetted and offered a job. Star power and media gawking aside, these are multi-million and multi-billion business that strive to win and thrive when they do so.

The team itself is about the output – the output of winning. You could put all the predictable player and coach rhetoric in a blender and serve it up every game day and it will still only be as sweet at the win itself.

This efficiency is refreshing, because if the franchise isn’t winning, then the players and coaches will continue to be changed up until there’s consistent winning output. Of course depending on what’s been agreed on contractually, the teams can look for new employees and the employees can look for new teams.

It’s business. Everything inside and out is continuously transactional and transitional and you’re only as valuable as you are contributing to the winning output. So all these brands we read about including Amazon and Netflix where the cultures are tough and if they no longer need you, then you’re no longer needed. We shouldn’t be shocked then by only measuring the winning output. Employee loyalty and hard work have little impact on tenure anymore in these companies.

And yet, employer investment in building winning teams doesn’t always impact tenure for the better. Either way, companies still need to source and screen for the best regardless and offer a better recruiting experience. According to Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – most companies are using a variety of automated screening and assessment activities and most applicants today expect these screening practices and for the most part are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experiences.

This is critical in such a competitive global environment – pro teams constantly recruiting for continuous winning outputs. So instead of trying to screen out the kitchen sink and on the front end via an arduous application process, why not get outside of your own requisitions and get more applicants in the door early on to create the proverbial talent pipelines (or people pools – whatever you call them). This means reducing the time it takes to get people in your door.

I know, I know, I’ve talked about this before and too many companies today already get too many resumes per open job – over 200 on the average per the latest CandE data. But by shortening the length of the online application process, and depending on the recruiting technology in place, employers can assess and develop talent pipelines around job types, skills and competencies to which they can turn to fill key roles.

Because of all the people data, we can easily aggregate and maintain it on all external and internal candidates. Add to that the myriad of skills-based, competency-based and role-based assessments on the market, and the magical recruiting and talent management software available to companies whether integrated platforms or stand-alone recruiting systems, and the computing power available to make the magic work – people pooling makes competitive fiscal sense.

Co-chair of the Human Resource Executive’s HR Technology® Conference, Steve Boese, wrote recently and shared with us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that a continuing theme in 2015 has been the realization and maturation of the importance of bringing more analytical approaches and rigor into the HR discipline. The importance of data; the strategies to gather, compile, assess, and make meaning from that data; the role technology plays in support of these efforts, and the ways that data enhances our understanding of people and talent are all hot topics being explored by organizations big and small and will be one of the major themes at this year’s HR Technology Conference and Exposition.

And with HR and recruiting technology companies taking in over $2.3B in private investment funding since 2009, where are the virtual job tryout platforms?

Seriously. Why aren’t there more realistic job previews and virtual job tryouts (some of what we’ve called gamification in the past)? Even with how far the industry has come with sourcing and screening technologies, talent analytics and the like, why aren’t there more virtual playing fields where rookies and veterans alike can challenge themselves to whether or not they can fill a specific role? What’s wrong with creating a little competition and mock career opportunities so that individuals can show what they’re capable of?

The most progressive of companies are incorporating virtual job tryouts, like those showcased as the CandE Winners or others that have been working on elevating their recruiting experiences, but adoption is still slower than what I would’ve anticipating a few years ago. This is an opportunity to educate candidates on a variety of workplace conditions and demands of the performance environment and inviting candidates to self-select out. This kind of preview gives potential employees an understanding of what they’ll be doing and more likely to increase their commitment to the winning output.

And there it is again – the winning output. We’re free agents loyal to the work we love to do first and foremost, then those we do it with, around and for. And if we had the opportunity to simulate how that “loyalty” could help drive the winning output, combined with the past hiring data, quality of hire data, and the talent analytics we now have today, it would add another important dimension to people pooling and talent pipelines and could be yet another win-win for the recruiting world, and the companies, rookies, trades and internal transfers.