Cloud“People are a company’s most valuable asset,” as the saying goes. So, why don’t companies invest more time in creating pools of quality, experienced candidates?

Businesses can be incredibly reactive when it comes to finding the right talent. They’ll often wait until there is an immediate hiring need before beginning the search for a replacement, instead of being proactive and creating a talent pipeline from which they can pick and choose qualified candidates. 

To help you start cultivating your talent pipeline and ensuring that the hiring process — which can be stressful enough — gets off to a good start, follow these five steps:

1. Recruit at Events

At the risk of being overly obvious, to find the right talent, you need to go where the talent is! Every day, in almost every city, there’s a meetup, a group coffee, or some other low-key gathering focused on a specific discipline, industry, or technology. Search and social media can help you identify the most promising events, but you can also poll your growing talent network to find out which local events — and even national conferences –they recommend.

2. Lean on Referrals

Your current employees are your best ambassadors. Establish a referral bonus program that encourages your staff to vocalize the benefits of working at your organization to friends and those they meet in the course of their professional lives – for example, at trade shows, networking events, or meetings. There’s power in numbers: the more people talking about your company in a positive light, the better. Simply put, talent pipelining is something that the whole organization should get behind!

3. Try Before You Buy

An ongoing internship program opens the door for suitable talent to come your way without having to make long-term commitments. Internships are a great way to test candidates while growing your talent pipeline.

4. Tap Local Resources

Is your company in a town or city with colleges or universities? If so, these institutions can act as great sources of young candidates for your talent pipeline. Establish a relationship with the school’s career department, which can refer outstanding students who are ready to enter the work force.

5. KIT (Keep in Touch)

Lastly, you should never burn bridges. If you’ve had an employee leave your company, you should absolutely keep in touch with them (assuming they were a good employee, naturally). Some of the best recruiting and hiring managers know that boomerang employees (ones who have left and then returned) make the best candidates. Occasionally send an email or an invite for lunch or coffee to touch base and share exciting updates about the company since the employee has been gone. If the employee never returns, you’ll at least have made a positive impression on them, and they’ll be more inclined to refer friends to you.

Cultivating a talent pipeline should be treated as an ongoing project within hiring departments. The need for skilled candidates compatible with your culture is a constant. If you can avoid starting from scratch every time you need to make a hire and instead have a group of qualified candidates always ready at hand, the hiring process will go from daunting to delightful.

And, P.S.: It will be less costly in terms of both time and money!

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