Prior to the pandemic, recruiters focused on building a pipeline of talent, so that when their clients handed over a job req, they had candidates at the ready. Despite a completely different labor landscape than we’ve ever seen in the past, this recruiting tactic is still practical. Even if all hiring is on hold, recruiters should continually grow their talent database (or pipeline)… that way, you won’t have to start anew when things do open up. When this pandemic is over and the economy rebounds, those roles that were put on hold will open back up and employers will be overwhelmed with applications. You want to be one step ahead of the game and have that top talent ready to present to them.
When COVID-19 happened, a lot of jobs were suddenly put on hold or cancelled altogether. The pandemic and economic collapse resulted in record-high unemployment, so for those passive candidates who were keeping an eye out for other opportunities, many have made the choice to stay where they are — feeling lucky to even have a job. So with top talent reluctant to leave their current roles, what is a recruiter to do?
To continue building your pipeline, even in times of economic uncertainty, it’s important to continue to foster relationships with current employees, former employees, past applications, and runner-up/silver medalists — those candidates who were interviewed or considered for a role, but ultimately weren’t selected. Keep in touch with these candidates and ask questions to stay abreast of what’s going on in their lives — maybe they don’t like their current job, or were recently laid off, or want to relocate due to family. Even if they are happy where they are or are hesitant to make a move now, they might have a referral — the next hire you’re looking for. Additionally, be proactive and keep your eyes and ears open on rivals’ employees. Court the competition and reach out – ask them if they are content/satisfied with their work, and build a relationship from there.
Just because the market isn’t uber-competitive right now doesn’t mean it’s not the time to fill your pipeline. It’s always the time to network and keep your eyes open for potential top talent. When your client is ready to pull the trigger on hiring, you’ll be ready with talent at the ready.