Not hiring? Building a Candidate Pipeline is Still Important

During the current climate, you may have felt the urge to build a stockpile. It could be toilet paper or hand sanitizer or chocolate chip cookie dough. But have you thought about stockpiling job candidates?  It may seem strange to think about looking for your next great hire especially in these tumultuous times. However, now is an excellent time to shift your approach from a reactive hiring mindset to a proactive one.

Even if you aren’t currently hiring, building a candidate pipeline is still important-now more than ever. building you candidate piple

As the nature of work adjusts to the new normal, businesses will once again find themselves with open positions to fill. After a period of historically low unemployment in which employers often lamented the lack of qualified candidates, we can expect to experience an overabundance of job seekers.  

In a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management, Lina Graves, the chief people officer for a New York City real estate development company sums it up best when she says, “The truth is that even though we will potentially get a ton of responses to a job post, it will be that much more difficult to find the right people with the right skill set.” Building a candidate pipeline NOW will save you the time and expense of weeding through a mountain of resumes later.  

Getting started may seem overwhelming, but the first step to take is to decide which positions you are going to build a pipeline for. We suggest those that are typically difficult for you to fill. Maybe they have a high turnover rate or maybe you need a very specific skill set.  

Once you have that figured out, you may want to jump right into searching for your ideal candidates but a better strategy is to build your employer brand first. LinkedIn suggests looking at all of your social media accounts and how current employees discuss your brand. We’re a huge fan of Glassdoor reviews and recommend our clients encourage employee testimonials.  

We love to talk about employer branding and recruitment market around here and you’ll probably get sick of hearing us say the words “company culture.” But there’s a good reason why. If you build it, they will come. Instead of having to spend your time looking for top candidates, they will gravitate towards you. Boom. Time and effort saved already.

Let’s get back to your existing employees for a minute. Think about your best employees. The ones who have the skills and are tapped into your company culture. Ask them for referrals. We’ve said it once already in our blog “How to Get Your Employees to Recommend Their Great Connections” but it certainly bears repeating.

Chances are the talent within your organization is connected to other great talent.

 So leverage their networks as well.

That blog also has some great tips on exactly HOW to encourage employees to make great referrals. You should really check it out if you want to add employee referrals to your candidate pipeline. I mean you’re probably already using customer referrals in your sales funnel right? Apply that thinking to building your candidate pipeline. 

A few other ways to build your candidate pipeline can include networking events and industry-specific training or conventions. This may be a little difficult now but you can take advantage of online networking events. Another great idea would be to set up virtual coffee chats. Those candidates that may have been hesitant to actually meet in person for fear of their current employer finding out might be more likely to connect with you from the safety of their work from home office.  

Once you finally start building your pipeline, you’ll want to keep all of your candidates in a centralized spreadsheet, database, or in an applicant tracking system. Keep this information easy to access and update. Trust us, this idea is way better than getting someone’s business card and putting it down somewhere. You had THE perfect candidate in mind and now you’ve misplaced their information. 

You’ve got your candidates. You’ve got your pipeline. Now comes the part where things can sometimes fall apart. You have to stay in touch.  

Schedule occasional emails to your candidate pipeline. It can be something as simple as a newsletter on down to a personal message asking about how their new hobby is going. Keep scheduling those coffee chats. Put together a webinar about a hot topic in your industry and invite your list. The possibilities are endless. CEO to CEO Inc. has some great tips on exactly how to build your touchpoints.  

The goal with building a candidate pipeline even when you’re not hiring is to build relationships. You want to identify potential candidates and nurture a relationship with them. That may sound like it only benefits the candidate but trust us, it is mutually beneficial. They start to think to themselves, “Hey, If things change, I could really see myself being a part of that team.”  

By sending the occasional email to check in with a candidate, you stay top of mind. Remember, if you build it they will come.  

When you’re ready to hire, you already have a shortlist of candidates. There’s no reason to sort through a massive pile of resumes. Just pull up your spreadsheet or your database you’re ready to go. 

Being forward-thinking by building your candidate pipeline even when you are not hiring may seem like a lot of work to get started (and yes it can be). However, you’ll be building your brand as an employer and you’ll be saving yourself headaches down the road. 

If you’re still overwhelmed by the hiring process, let us create a stress-free recruiting experience for you. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about our candidate pipeline packages.