This is the third post in a series on Talent Networks.  You can view the other posts here:

Part 1: What is a Talent Network?

Part 2: Developing a Talent Network Strategy


In our first post, we set the stage for what a Talent Network is and the value it can provide to employers and candidates.  In post #2, we went into developing and setting the foundation for your Talent Network strategy.  In today’s post, we’ll take a more pragmatic look at Talent Networks and go into the first steps in executing your strategy so you can start building your Talent Network database with qualified candidates you attract.

Where do you interact with candidates?

The first thing you need to do when thinking about building a Talent Network, is to understand where you are currently interacting with candidates.  Your Talent Network should be a central location where you begin collecting these candidates through the interactions you are already having in your recruitment strategy.  When I think about building a Talent Network activities you need to have strategies that are aimed at both active and passive candidates:

Capturing the Talent Organically

As candidates are looking at your opportunities you need to make it easy for them to opt-in to engage with you and receive future communications that are targeted to their skills and interests.  By opting in the candidate is giving you permission to reach out to them in the future which can be a huge win for the organization.  In order to opt-in, you need to have in place a way to simply capture candidate information in most cases through a simple form.  These capture forms should not reside in just one location but should be used to where-ever candidates interact with your employer brand.  Here’s a few scenarios to think about:


Career Site: The best and most popular place to have a Talent Network form is the Career Site.  It’s a place that candidates go to in order to learn more about the company and find the right opportunities.  It’s essential that when adding a Talent Network form to your site that you add it into the page template you use so it’s available on every page of your site.  This is to make it easy for candidates to opt-in at any time they would like as they are navigating your site.  It also provides a great option for them to take if you want to work for your company but don’t yet find a job that fits their skillset, experience or interest.

Dual Purpose Job Ads: One of the most overlooked aspects of recruiting is the amount of candidates that drop-off before they submit an application.  This percentage can be anywhere from 20-60% of candidates and represents a significant loss of value from the job distribution campaigns you run.  Many organizations are looking to mitigate these losses by using Talent Network forms as part of the recruiting process.  With this, you drop a simple opt-in form between when a candidate clicks to apply for a job and the application.  This enables you to capture candidate information so you can engage with them if for some reason they don’t apply for a job.  Think of it as a customer service rep taking your phone number in case a call gets dropped.  This is a simple fix and one that can help you reach and connect with more candidates.

Recruiter and Events: Your recruiters are the front-line of your recruiting efforts and can be a great way to build your Talent Network.  Recruiters should be able to create custom forms to capture candidates and then use them on the sites they go to find talent, in their email signatures, on social profiles and via LinkedIn.  Also, if you are like most organizations, you will attend industry events and career fairs to find talent as well.  Instead of just collecting resumes, you may want to think about having a way for candidates to opt-in via their mobile phones or capture candidate information via a mobile enabled form on an iPad.  Combined with an automated trigger email campaign and you can capture more information on the candidate including their resume with much less work.

Proactively Sourcing Candidates

Building a robust Talent Network isn’t just about setting the stage and hoping candidates opt-in.  Truly successful organizations will also proactively source and find talent that fit the skills that you are looking for on a consistent basis.  The key is identifying the skills that you need to recruit to be successful and setting up a process for vetting these sourcing contacts and getting them to apply.

I didn’t go too deeply into methods here as their are much better people than I that talk about sourcing.  Check out Boolean Blackbelt to start.

Tracking Success of your methods

While we will get more into metrics in a later post, I did want to mention the importance of tracking the source of the candidates that are opting in or being sourced into your Talent Network.  By tracking this, you can make better decisions on where to make opt-in available and reward recruiters who are doing a great job at building out these pipelines.

What Now?

Once candidate are in your Talent Network, it’s time to begin figuring out how to group them and most importantly what your engagement and communication strategy will be.  The next post in the series will go over how you should begin thinking about the how to build out your pipelines and engage with them in a targeted fashion.

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Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 11, 2013 at 8:21am

Enjoyed the series Chris. As always thanks for sharing and adding your voice to the RBC.


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