At any given moment, thousands of companies are online in search of new employees. They post job openings on LinkedIn and websites like Glassdoor and Monster. Others contact recruiters or reach out to friends, acquaintances, and former colleagues for leads. If they get lucky, a candidate with the ideal skillset, experience, and personal characteristics will fall into their lap. But then again, maybe not.
You may be asking yourself if there’s an easier and more effective way to recruit the right candidates. There is, and it leverages LinkedIn — just in a different way from what you would expect.
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for building a talent pool — forming an expansive network of the kind of people you will need as you grow your business, introducing yourself, and building relationships over time.
This method is designed for companies that need to scale quickly — especially those that will need to hire 5 to 10 people with similar skillsets. For technology companies, this often means either software developers or salespeople. However, the same process can be applied even if your hiring needs are simpler.
How to Build Your Talent Pool
The first step is to identify the criteria for your ideal candidate. Once you have the criteria, search LinkedIn for local people who have the experience, skills, and personality you are looking for and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
If you have a current job opening, you can reference the open position. Your message might look something like this:
We have an open position for a Ruby on Rails developer, and someone like you could be a good fit. Do you know anyone with a similar background who is looking for a new position?
Note that this approach asks for a referral rather than inviting them to apply. That’s important for two reasons. First, you can contact more people. You don’t have to avoid people who have recently started a new job or who work for partners. Second, it encourages them to think about all the people they know rather than just themselves — you are able to tap into their network.
If you don’t have an open position, you could change the message to this:
We are going to be hiring Ruby on Rails developers in 3 to 6 months, and someone like you could be a good fit. Do you know anyone with similar skills who is likely to be looking in that time frame?
In our experience, 40-50% of the people you reach out to will connect with you. Many will connect even if they are not currently interested in your open position. Once connected, they will see your updates and company news as you share it on LinkedIn. This helps build buzz about your company and allows potential employees to get excited about what you are doing.
Even the people who don’t accept your connection request will now be introduced to your business and aware of it.
Usually, reaching out to several hundred people will generate enough interest that you can fill your job opening. But what’s even more useful is that you have built a network of people with the skills you need who are already aware of your business and connected to you, who you can reach out to the next time you’re hiring.
Benefits of a Talent Pool
This recruiting strategy delivers both long-term and short-term strategic advantages. Here are some of the benefits:
- Access to passive job seekers
At any given time, there are far more passive job seekers than active. Passive job seekers are open to a good offer, but they are not checking job postings, so they are unlikely to become aware of your opening unless you reach out to them.
- Broader reach
People tend to know people like themselves — talented software developers know other skilled software engineers, top producers know other top producers. When you become part of their networks, highly qualified people can become aware of your business. Increased familiarity with a company encourages people to consider a job or refer others.
- Cost efficiency
Most job sites require you to pay per job posting. Recruiters charge about 20% of the first year’s salary of the new employee. You can build a talent pool for a fraction of this cost.
- Long-term value
Recruiters tap into their network to look for candidates. With a talent pool, you build your own network of candidates. Once you create a pool of qualified individuals, future hiring is easier, less expensive, and delivers better results faster than traditional methods.
To get the best results from your talent pool, make sure you strategically formulate your LinkedIn profile to tell the story of your company, your solution, and your culture. The people you contact will check out your profile before responding, so take this opportunity to educate them and get them excited about what you are building.
Your company is doing amazing things — with a talent pool, you prepare now to scale your team so you can grow even faster.