How do you prepare for candidate winter?

In response to the recent Labour Market Statistics, this series will offer examples of the ways recruiters and employers can thrive during periods of low candidate availability. Here we will explore the long-term value of talent pipelining.

Talent pipelining is the gathering of candidates to grow one’s talent pool in abundant times in order to prepare for future scarcity. By sourcing talent leads and maintaining relationships with them, they can be quickly and efficiently aligned with the right role when it arises. Rather than waiting for a vacancy to appear, recruiters can proactively search for appropriate talent to draw from when roles present themselves.

The benefits of talent pipelining include:

  • Quick responses to vacancies and reduced time-to-fill. Wait until you have a role to fill, and you're already too late.
  • Reduced stress during lean times
  • Extra time to build a rapport with candidates, which earns you the right to escalate your consultant/candidate relationship to the next level when necessary
  • Over time, the candidate gets a chance to see what options are available to them, meaning their expectations are more realistic
  • As candidates become more scarce, the speed with which the interview process is carried out becomes very important; the sooner a shortlist can be given to a client the sooner the best candidates can be offered a role
  • Regular candidate conversations in the pipeline provide consultants and clients with valuable market knowledge

Thanks to the current ‘vacancy vacuum’, recruiters are having to draw from a fast-dwindling talent pool in order to stay afloat. Of course, this cannot continue. By, for instance, keeping a running dialogue with previously interested candidates, sharing leads with colleagues and intelligently organising your candidates into applicable prospective roles, hiring managers and their teams can make it very easy to identify candidates and respond with swift professionalism.

Many recruiters currently use very ad-hoc, manual means of pipelining, keeping physical folders, endless Excel spreadsheets or keeping separate files on their hard drive. This pedestrian approach has obvious limitations, as it cannot effectively keep talent leads and candidate information fresh.

As a hiring manager, you need to be on-board with the value of this process. Take a little time to measure how long it takes to identify, analyse and engage a new candidate and to establish and maintain a relationship with them. The benefits of saving yourself and your recruitment team that time will become blindingly apparent. Nurture your talent pipeline, and save your time and your tempers.

In the next edition of Sustainable Solutions, we explore the lasting value of candidate experience, demonstrating how to nurture the journey candidates go on from looking for work to settling in at their new job.

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