For any open position, there is a community of talent who can fill it. It is the job of recruiters and staffers to find, connect with, and bring in that talent to fill open positions. In this blog post, we discuss the value of connecting with the talent community early, before you start trying to tap it to fill open positions. The post is based on a recent webcast by marketing and recruiting expert Joel Capperella, in which he discussed connecting with the talent community alongside Jason Heilman, co-founder of Herefish. Herefish is a company that assist staffers, recruiters, and other companies with maintaining connections with prior candidates as a way to cultivate a community of talent that is available to recruiters and staffers when they need new hires.
Recruiting and staffing success is based on the quality of talent brought in and the speed and efficiency with which recruiters and staffers fill open positions. This process can be chancy if recruiters and staffers only begin to reach out to the talent community when they need to start the recruiting process. When they start the connection process as the clock is ticking, they spend valuable time trying to establish a presence, make connections, and attract interest, and the quality of the new hire can suffer as they rush through the process. Connecting with the talent community early and consistently means that the connections and interest are already in place and ready to be tapped, so filling open positions is expedited. Additionally, building and maintaining interest in your company gives you a better chance of bringing on what Heilman calls “transformative hires” – new hires who bring in value to the company far in excess of their cost.
Many companies don’t realize that they have untapped, easily accessible way to connect with the talent community already within their reach. Capperella and Heilman make the point in their discussion that every company’s list of previous candidates, applicants, and individuals who have reached out to or expressed interest in the company is a part of that talent community. Since these individuals have already connected with the company, cultivating their interest is significantly easier and has the potential to be more successful than trying to generate interest from nothing. For companies in more specialized fields where the talent community is smaller and candidates are concurrently more difficult to find, those previous candidates may be a significant portion of the available talent. Connecting with them on an ongoing basis makes sure that everyone has the information they need at the right time to transform them from previous candidates to current new hires.
Once you’ve identified the talent community, connecting with them over the long term isn’t a matter of spamming them with job openings. Rather, it’s a matter of providing them value. For previous candidates, Heilman suggests giving them job hunting tips or snapshots of what it’s like to work at your company and in your industry. Generating valuable content and getting it to your target talent community is the best way to connect with them over the long term and have them regard you as a provider of value, one that they want to be more involved with. An additional benefit of this early connection is brand development and protection, particularly for your company’s employment brand. When you cultivate the talent community of previous candidates, you give people a positive experience applying for your company, and it gives you more touchpoints to explain what your employment brand is. Finally, by connecting with this portion of the talent community, you avoid taking the brand and reputational hit that comes from being seen as an unresponsive, uncaring application black hole.
Capperella and Heilman’s discussion can be found on Capperella’s blog Leading Matters at The webcast can be found at Joel Capperella Leading Matters with Jason Heilman.