In a talent crunch, it’s easy for recruiters and hiring managers to focus on filling open slots. But that approach can give you tunnel vision when it comes to the candidates who could be a good fit for other roles.

Organizations need to move away from a requisition-style talent strategy and build candidate-centric recruiting models, says Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Montage. “You’re not looking just for the gold medalist for a specific position; you’re building talent communities and pipelines and finding ways to place those silver medalists, too,” he says. “If you get too refined in your selection process, you might not be fast enough to win the gold or silver candidate, or even the bronze.”

Here are three tips for rethinking your recruiting process.

Think Proactively

First, examine your business and workforce, and consider where you expect them to go. Your talent strategy should take a more holistic and long-term perspective to take advantage of a deeper pool of candidates, Heikkinen says. Determine the kinds of skills you’re looking to acquire and the kinds you can develop, as well as the personalities and traits that are the best cultural fit. Doing so will make you proactive rather than transactional when mapping out talent needs, Heikkinen says.

“You want to interview someone on who they are, not just on the basis on how they might fit for one job,” says Krista Allen, branch manager of finance and accounting at Addison Group. If they are a culture fit or have good communication skills, you may be able to train them on the skill sets they need to know for a position that may come up later.

Measure and Record

Using digital tools will take your interviewing process past “gut feelings” into pinpoint accuracy about a candidate’s suitability for your organization. Assessments can help indicate how and why a second-place candidate might be good for your organization in another capacity, Heikkinen says, eliminating the need to start the search process all over when it’s time to hire again.

Enabling candidates to use digital tools on their end can help you create a searchable record that makes second-place finishers easier to recall when you have a new opening. “If you follow the traditional process of a resume and a phone screen and interview notes, over the course of a couple of months that information is limited and recall is difficult,” Heikkinen says. “But if you’ve provided the candidates with a chance to share skills and experiences through video, you have a recorded profile with deeper information and faster recall.”

Stay Connected With Second Place

Even if you don’t hire someone you’ve interviewed, you know they made it through several hoops to get where they did with your organization. To build a deep talent pool, you’ll now have to keep those candidates interacting with your company even as they consider their other choices, Heikkinen says. Use on-demand text messaging and chatbots to keep those second-place finishers informed about new job openings and opportunities with your company.

Building and sustaining these connections with candidates who almost (but not quite) made it will give you a talent community you can tap into when the need arises. “Relationships matter,” Allen says. “Use technology to keep in touch with these people so you’re ready when a hot job comes in — then you’re not scrambling and reactive.”

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