Part 8: How Talent Networks fit into a comprehensive recruitment strategy

This is the seventh 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

Part 5: Keeping Your Talent Network Fresh

Part 6: Where do Talent Communities Fit In?

Part 7: Measuring the Success of your Talent Network

So we’ve discussed a number of different aspects of Talent Networks (see the posts above) and in this post, I want to sum it all up and really give a full look into a Talent Network’s place in a robust recruitment marketing strategy, where it fits in and the value it provides in making sure you are getting the most qualified candidates to apply.

How do you get a candidate into the hiring process?

When you are getting candidates to apply or be considered for positions, there are three main ways it typically happens

First, you advertised that the position is open.  You’ve posted the job to job boards, social networks and niche sites.  Created an SEO friendly job page on your Career Site.  Told employees if they wanted to make referrals.  Basically you got the word out about the position to attract new candidates.

Second, you may have a sourcing team that has created talent pipelines.  They are able to either reach out to existing candidate contacts that are potential fits and start new searches for candidates that fit the needed skill-set.  These candidates are then passed to the recruiting team for screening.

Third are candidates that apply that you’ve interacted with before.  And in some avenue have come back to your employment opportunities to apply.  Whether it’s by visiting the Career Site, following a social profile or receiving an email communication, they’ve come across the open position.

This is where the Talent Network comes in.  If you build a Talent Network you are capturing candidates through a variety of means.  This could include candidates that have opted in for a previous job, visited the career site and/or interacted with a recruiter.  In all these cases, you continually engage with these candidates.  How this is different from other distribution campaigns is that you’ve already developed report with these candidates and are going after candidates that are probably more passive in nature.

You’ve already put work in for these folks and this work is meant to drive candidate traffic.  You’ve created and distributed messaging around your careers, relevant news, skill development and other information helpful information.  This is all to keep you top of mind for when that right job opportunity fit comes along for the candidate.  So while this is also a campaign of sorts, if done right this should be a more targeted campaign to a group of more qualified and interested participants.


Where a Talent Network fits into the overall strategy?

Your Talent Network should touch a number of different facets and initiatives within your recruitment strategy and be integrated so you can get the most benefit out of the relationships you build with these candidates.  From job distribution and marketing to skill evaluation to using your other initiatives to begin building it, your Talent Network should be ingrained fully into what you do from a recruitment perspective.

Here are a few examples of how it should fit.

Job Apply Process:  I went over this a little in my “Building a Talent Network” piece (see above) but in order to really build your Talent Network, I would start by using your job distribution campaigns to drive candidates to opt-in.  All this would be is a simple opt-in form within the job apply process.  It will help you build your database quickly and in turn have you get more value out of the job ads you post to the recruitment sources you use.  Most importantly, it will help you limit the on average 40-60% of candidates that drop off during the apply process by capturing their information for further communication.

Candidate Sourcing:  Your sourcing team is constantly looking to not only fill requisitions but to create relationships with candidates that fill specific skill sets that would thrive in your organization.  While many of these searches start from scratch, your sourcers can also start with using your existing database of Talent Network contacts to begin narrowing down and identifying high potential candidates.  And in this case, candidates should be receptive to being contacted since they’ve shown interest.

A Talent Network will also help in keeping a candidate warm between an initial conversation and when a job opens up, helping a sourcer to remain engaged with the candidate through different mediums.

Free Recruitment Source:  Once you build your Talent Network and create meaningful Talent Pipelines, you’ll be able to create and target messaging and job opportunities to the different candidates populations you’ve attracted.  Now when a job opportunity comes available you’ll be able to engage with the appropriate Talent Network contacts to gauge interest in opportunities and in most cases get them to apply.

This should be done every time you distribute a job ad to job boards, social networks or other niche sites.  Your Talent Network is another recruitment source albeit a free one that should be able to drive qualified candidates.

Information Gathering:  As you are building relationships with candidates and proving value in your messaging and communications, you as an organization will have permission to collect more information on candidates.  First, you get to understand the content and messaging that interests them.  This can help you improve your overall messaging as well as determine the involvement of the candidate.

You can also reach out to the candidates to try and get more information on the candidate their skills and interests.  This should help you better evaluate and screen candidates once they enter the application process.

Those are some of the ways that a centralized Talent Network can integrate and enhance your recruitment and sourcing strategy.  But there are a number of other ways that you can integrate into your process.

What does the process flow of a Talent Network look like?

So let’s take a look at what a Talent Network looks like from initial attraction of a candidate to get them to apply to put everything in perspective.

First, a candidate will decide to opt-in to your Talent Network.  This will either be through a dual purpose job ad or through the forms you include on your recruitment portals such as your Career Site.  Once a candidate joins they will receive a message thanking them for joining the Talent Network while providing an expectation for what they should expect in terms of communications.

Now, you will send them communications about your company, your careers, subject matter articles and other helpful information.  Probably not every day but moreso on a weekly basis.

Once a job opportunity opens that fits the candidate’s skill-set, you will send an email about the opportunity.  If the candidate is interested in the opportunity, they will then apply.  If not, they will continue to interact with your campaigns and messaging until another job opportunity comes that fits their interests better.

The key here is that the whole life-cycle of this may take several months and in this time you need to prove value so that the candidate doesn’t opt back out of receiving your communications and is receptive to hearing about new opportunities.

Overall, this process requires some great content and patience.  However, once you get it up and running it should provide more applicants and if you do a better job of screening and identifying high potential in your Talent Network better applicants.  Just like any other recruiting initiative, you do it is important to track the performance of these campaigns with recruitment metrics.  These metrics will should be uniform so you can compare and evaluate it against the individual recruitment sources you use.

Check out our other posts

I truly think a Talent Network is integral to a comprehensive recruitment marketing strategy and can provide tremendous value to your recruiting organization.

If you missed any of the Talent Network posts in this series I encourage you to go to the links at the top and read them.  We tried to cover most of the aspects of a Talent Network, however, if you have any other topics or issues you want us to cover, let us know on Twitter @smashfly or in the comments.

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