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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.