January 24, 2024

What did we learn from building our own talent pipelines?

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To be honest with you, I don't like the term talent pipeline. It gives you the image of a recruiter that asks you if she / he could add you to their talent pool. That talent pool actually is an excel file full of names and you'll never hear of the company ever again.

By talent pools, I mean meaningful communities that are beneficial for both parties. Read more about how we started building them!

But why did we decide to build talent pipelines?

When we first started planning our own talent strategy, the situation in the world was a bit different. Our hypothesis was that it is much harder to acquire best talent than it is to acquire customers. Little did we know back then.

Even though the hiring world has changed, we still believe in building attractive brands, strong relationships and warm communities and using them as a powerful way to hire the best talent.‌

Talents need something in return. In many cases that something companies can offer is higher salary and/or shares of the company.

In my work, I have learnt that jumping into startup is always a risk for a talent. Especially, when you are an unknown brand and have no trust built, talents need something in return. In many cases that something companies can offer is higher salary and/or shares of the company.

A powerful way that any startup can use when it comes to acquiring new talent is to offer an interesting and relatable brand. In this case, your only benefit won't be money.

Here's what we did & learned from building talent pipelines

When we posted to Linkedin that we are hiring TA professionals, we got quite a number of inbound discussions on August - 27 of them! We wanted to get to know them to figure out if there's a mach!

1. We went through recruitment processes with them

With 10 of the candidates, we went all the way to the finish line - did a growth plan and everything (and used a lot of our own time and effort to those processes). We tried to be as honest as possible to all of them and communicated as well as we could our current situation and about the timeline.

There were amazing people we got to talk with. They were not only amazingly talented in what they do, but also warm and nice personalities. We truly have enjoyed every encounter.

Some of the people were laid-off, some of them were tired of their current job and some of them were happy in their current role but we seemed interesting bunch of people to them.

The truth is that we weren't able to hire them all just in that moment. But we were certain, that we want to work with them somewhere in the future.

We believe that deals are won between meetings.

2. What to do with great talents we can't hire just yet?

We came up with a plan to build a relationships with talents:

👉 We will take a regular catch up individually to meet up and update situations from both sides.

👉 We will create a community that truly benefits both sides. We get to strengthen our relationships with talents and talents get to learn about the latest recruitment stuff going on and give them new ideas for their work. Once a month people with a same mindset will meet and share their thoughts, learn and get inspired together.

👉 We believe in the fact that deals are won between meetings. We have met our future talents randomly in different events (like Slush) but also messaged with them informally on social media. We have, for example, shared training stuff with them (e.g. interesting books, online courses and many more).

3. The learnings we got so far from building talent pipelines

I personally think that we failed in many things while building our pipelines. We struggled how to organize our talent community (when do we meet and what we do) and I know for sure that we haven't had the best possible communication noe experience with candidates all the time. For these I am deeply sorry. But that's the thing: When you try new things, you will fail and learn. Here's our biggest learnings:

👉 Running towards is better than running away.

The most interesting finding in this experience was that people who were happy in their current job have been more engaged to us after their recruitment process than those who had the need to get a job straight away. This actually proves our point, that focusing on building a brand and doing EB can really make a difference in a long run.

👉 Ensure a great experience.

We used a lot of our time but also a lot of talents time and afterwards we started to wonder if we gave a good impression? I think that most of them we managed to give a good impression with open and honest communication and actually gave value to our potential talents. For example, the personal growth plan was a big hit!

There's always a but: I learned, that when you are escaping your current situation and you bump into something promising, you easily close your eyes for the bad stuff. You really want to believe that this will happen now and you will get a job. In those cases it takes extra power to get the message understood: we're building long term relationships with our future colleagues, not hiring everyone right now.

Communication is huge thing but I think we already knew that. If you are not sure what will happen or everything is not figured out, remember to tell that.

👉 Always start with why.

Not many companies are recruiting in the way that we're doing it. We want to take the recruitment process as far as possible - Even that far that we have agreement ready and just waiting for the start date to be filled. This was weird, even for people with long experience in recruitment.

For us it was logical: If we really really want to hire you and you really really want to come work with us, we are just waiting for new customers to be signed and you will start when it's okay for both parties. Explaining our business logic made it easier for talents to understand why we do this.

👉 It is all about the timing - But in a really different way than we have learned to believe.

I actually had an interesting discussion with one of the talents about timing in recruitment process. The bottomline was that the timing needs to be perfect when contacting candidates and publishing a job ad: The candidate needs to be open for new opportunities. I agree and I disagree. At the same time, timing needs to be there so the candidate is willing to jump to new opportunities and we are able to hire, but can't we affect on the timing?

By creating this pulling effect we might be able to create a need to change jobs and actually knock off all our competitors when the candidate is truly engaged to us. One good example is that we have one candidate in our pipeline, who said that they would be willing to jump in sometime next year. After every discussion, this talent has advanced the timeline because of strong interest towards us.

👉 The power of community.

People have the need to come together and surround themselves with inspiring people. In addition, there isn't that much educational content or communities around TA and the work is quite hectic so there's no time for learning. We got a super warm welcome to our community that gathers together monthly, and we have huge plans to grow it! Our group of talents is filled with TA professionals that want to do things differently and change the industry.

If you want to join our community to learn about modern TA, hit me up because we still have some room for couple of talents to join!

Connect with me on Linkedin!

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