Part 5: Keeping Your Talent Network Fresh

This is the fifth 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

Part 3: Building a Talent Network

Part 4: Talent Network Campaigning and Engagement

In this series, we’ve gone over how you begin building your Talent Network and the different ways you can use to enable candidates to opt-in and be sourced so they can engage with your organization. We’ve also talked about how you can start thinking about your communication and campaign strategy.


In this post, we will address how to keep the data in your Talent Network fresh.  Candidate contacts experience and skills improve over time and as organizations, we need to make sure that we are apprised of this improved skill-set.


Moving from Static to Dynamic records

It used to be that you captured a candidates resume and then you kept it on file until you have a position that may fit their skill-set (the real question is if organizations actually ever tapped into these records.)  With the creation of the CRM, we updated this process to get the resume parsed as an easy way to access and tag candidate profile.  This made it easier to find candidates within your database that fit the criteria of what you were looking for and contact these candidates of opportunities.  These records only got updated or changed in the system if the recruiter went in to update the information.


With the social and search revolution, nearly every candidate you run into has some sort of online profile.  And due to the social nature of these profiles, they are also usually more up to date than any other piece of information we have on candidates.  Obviously the resume that was just submitted is probably the most accurate, however, what happens to that resume 4-5 months from now.  I’ll tell you, it gets outdated.  So the real question is how do we incorporate the social data we have on candidates into the Talent Networks we create and how do we make sure our data is as accurate as possible when we evaluate candidates?


As an aside, I also look forward to the day where we have in the candidate record a timeline of what they are doing from new blog posts or articles by or on them to career moves to discussions they have online.  I see this as being a great tool for recruiters when interacting with high potential candidates.


Keeping your data fresh

Building a successful Talent Network is all about capturing the data necessary to evaluate and better engage with candidates.  However, it’s not a one-time capture.  Candidates don’t remain static when you are not talking with them and their careers and skills evolve in the time between these engagements.  Most importantly, a candidate under-qualified for a position 2 years ago could be more than qualified for a similar position today.  And it’s important to build these relationships now so you can benefit from them as an organization in the future.


So how can we go about making sure this data is fresh and we stay in touch with what candidates in our Talent Network are doing in their careers?  Here are a few ideas:


Ask them: If a candidate joins your Talent Network and opts into communications they are more than likely interested in hearing more about your organization and opportunities.  If you did a good job setting expectations as they opted in and are able to send them valuable and targeted content, you should have built some rapport in order to ask them to provide you with more information

At this point, it can be a good idea to ask them to update their profile in your system with new skills and career changes that have developed over the past few months as well as provide more information on themselves.  This shouldn’t be done constantly but a quarterly or bi-yearly basis may make sense.  In terms of technology, typically this can be an email campaign that has a link to a simple form.  The information provided should then sync with the candidate record upon submittal.

Recruiter Engagement: With any Talent Network, it should be easy to identify and tag candidates that are the best and most qualified.  Recruiters should be able to easily rate and and file candidates that fit this criteria.  With these candidates, recruiters will most likely want to follow up with candidates consistently to keep them warm and learn about what has been going on in their professional lives.  Recruiters should then take these conversations and be able to update the contact record with the new information.  Also, whatever system is used should alert the recruiter to reach out to these candidates and let them set the conditions.

Web Automation: This is where it gets a little tricky but will be a very important evolution in existing technologies.  With social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as other web data from Google, Blogs and other sites, candidates have a number of places that touch their online brand.  All these places are updated continuously and systems want to be able to tap into this data. In a perfect world, this data automatically populates and updates the data you currently have on candidates.

Technologies are going to have to do a better job of tapping into these sites and pulling back and capturing this data in candidate profiles.  The hard part is first working with the API to pull back this data and figuring out what what the right data is to utilize.  Systems are getting there but this will necessitate companies willing to work nicely with one another which may be a huge hurdle going forward especially for some sites.

Using marketing data:  As you share content, another piece to the candidate puzzle is to understand the content that candidates are interacting with.  What blog articles do they click on?  What jobs are they perusing?  What emails are enticing them to interact?  By having this data, you should be able to learn more about the candidate overall and better target them in the future.  It also can provide some great talking points when a recruiter reaches out to them.

Keeping up to date with candidates and their careers can be time consuming and that’s why many organizations just start anew for every open job position they have.  The problem is this is not a sustaining strategy and finding the good to great candidates for your organization requires a more continuous process.  And the longer we have relationships with candidates the more data we can capture to be able to evaluate their fit and skills for our organization.


Next Week

Next week we will continue our series on Talent Networks by focusing on the recruitment metrics needed to determine success and the importance of comparing it to the other channels and recruitment sources you use to find qualified talent.

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