We promise this will be the last holiday-inspired post, but we can’t help but draw a parallel: Shopping for your loved ones during the holidays is crazy. Retailers are out of all the popular presents, you’re fighting the crowds and if you didn’t plan ahead, your online orders aren’t going to make it in time for Christmas. However, if you took note of what people wanted, shopped throughout the year and stockpiled those items, you pluck them out of your closet, put a bow on them and you’re done. You got your loved ones great gifts, probably at a better prices and delivered them on time.
Similarly, stockpiling talent helps you deliver the best candidates to your clients right when they need them. How do you do that? By constantly building and nurturing a talent community. Doing something every day to build your talent community will enable to create and nurture relationships with top talent. Instead of scouring LinkedIn, messaging and cold calling candidates when you have a position to fill, you can tap into your network of qualified candidates.
Give yourself and your clients the gift of a strong talent community with these techniques:
Share original content. Commit to posting relevant, original content at least once a week anywhere you connect with job seekers: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog. Industry-related thought leadership content, news about your clients and other companies, salary information, statistics and trends impacting the workforce are all great topics. Post questions along with your content and encourage others to join the conversation. Always reply to comments to keep the conversation going and your community active. Hint: Be sure and include an image with your content. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views.
Post to your social networks regularly. Make sure you’re staying active on all your social networks. Set a goal to post, comment or share others’ posts a couple of times a day. It’s great to share content and promote your jobs, but social networks should be about having conversations versus making announcements. The more active you are in your community, the better response you’ll receive from them.
Ask for referrals. Ask candidates that you’ve placed to connect you with three of their peers. Don’t wait and ask for referrals when you’re actively recruiting for a position. After you’ve placed a candidate is the perfect time to ask them for a favor and a time when they’re likely to sing your praises to other professionals and job seekers. Be specific about the qualifications you’re looking for in other candidates and have them send an introduction to their referrals.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn groups are a great way to participate in thought leadership and engage with candidates. You may have to join a dozen to find three or four that are really active, but if you can find four really good ones and focus your efforts, you can engage with talent outside your network and have a warm intro if you’d like to approach them about a position.
Give connections virtual high fives. Recognizing accomplishments is an easy way to stay in touch (and in front) of potential candidates in your talent community. LinkedIn makes it easy with work anniversaries and other notifications. Take note of new certifications, promotions, published work or leadership roles and send a quick congrats.
Stay in touch with past placements. Once you’ve placed a candidate, consider them a lifetime client and referral source. Proactively checking in with them a couple of times a year establishes you as a career partner, rather than a recruiter looking to collect a placement fee. It encourages them to come back to you if they are ever looking to move and makes it easier to ask for referrals when you have an open position.
Make new connections daily. If you have a premium LinkedIn subscription and unlimited inMail, try and make seven to 10 new connections that fit your talent community profile daily. This should only take a few minutes a day if you view the “People also viewed” section of your current connections and have a boiler-plate intro you can just add some personalization to. Your number of connections will soar.
The goal of a talent community is to create an active environment where community members can share ideas, network and yes, be recruited. If you can successfully build and nurture a talent community, shopping for talent will never be the same.