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Candidate Sourcing > HR Software > Talent Pipeline

Four Characteristics of Effective Talent Networks

Have you ever received an application and thought to yourself, “Right candidate, wrong position” – whether it was because the applicant was missing just one crucial skill set, you’d just filled the position or due to some other outlying circumstances.

Or perhaps you’ve met someone at a job fair, conference or networking event who made you think, “This person would be a great fit at my company. Too bad there are no positions available right now.” These instances are a shame when they happen, but they also present opportunities that perhaps you might be missing.

Chances are you have some sort of applicant tracking system at your organization, but are you really taking advantage of the database of talent you have created? Are you working to not only build your pool of candidates but keep them engaged and interested in your opportunities? In other words, are you working to build your network of talent?

In my previous post in this series, I reviewed the signs your organization needs a talent network (also known as a talent pipeline), and discussed how a talent network can help bridge the communication gap with candidates. Now, I’ve outlined some best practices to keep in mind as you build your talent network.  Below are four things successful talent networks have in common.

  1. It Is Designed to Support the Business Strategy. The quality of your talent is central to your organization’s success and has an impact on the bottom line; therefore, your talent network should be treated as a core business initiative. When creating your talent network, ask yourself, “How does this support the business strategy?” – whether lowering your cost per hire, decreasing time to fill or lowering turnover rates…Think about the talent you have now and the skills you will need in the future in order to drive your business forward.
  2. It Is Measurable. Just as you would for any other business initiative, you need to set measurable goals for your talent pipeline. For example, you might center your goals around getting a certain percentage of applications from your online job postings, careers website, Facebook page or employee referrals. From there, you might want to create a goal around hiring a certain percentage of candidates from the talent pipeline you’ve built. Set another goal to retain those hires for a certain number of years. Remember to go back and re-evaluate these goals every six months or so, which will help ensure you are focusing your time and money where it is most effective.
  3. It Has Universal Buy-In. Everyone involved in the hiring process needs to understand and believe in the value of building and maintaining a talent network. Communicate to executives how a talent pipeline benefits the overall business (it saves on costs associated with hiring, it will help bring better quality talent into the organization, it lowers turnover, etc.), and engage employees at all levels to get involved in building your talent network as well. Employee referrals are one of the best sources for quality candidates, so if you have an employee referral program, make sure your employees know about it, and what incentives are involved for participating in it.
  4. It Is An Ongoing Effort. A talent network is not a one-off project. It’s great that you’ve collected applications and resumes, but that’s only step number one. Now you have to keep the conversation going. How? Engagement can be as simple as encouraging job candidates who apply to positions or visit your career site to sign up for email alerts about future opportunities. You may even go so far as to create a regular newsletter containing job search advice and other relevant content, in addition to opportunities. Social media is a great way to stay top of mind with candidates. Consider the way Ernst & Young uses Facebook to engage potential employees, the way Southwest employees blog about their day-to-day experiences, or the way Chipotle uses YouTube to feature the work environment and career possibilities. Mobile technology is also a great way to stay in touch with candidates, especially as smart phones use become increasingly ubiquitous (especially as a means to search for jobs). Again, these are just a few of the many opportunities available to build your brand and stay top of mind with candidates.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, that’s because it can be…at first. But once you’ve created a strategy with measurable goals in place, the rest will start to fall into place. Again, this is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation, so there will always be adjustments to make; however, over time, maintaining your talent network will become force of habit and an integral part of a proactive recruitment strategy.

If you’re unsure where to begin or whether you have the resources to source candidates and engage them through multiple channels – all while measuring your efforts – there is technology available that makes it easier to integrate these efforts. CareerBuilder’s Talent Network solution, for example, is designed to help employers connect with candidates across multiple channels, measure the success of their efforts, and decipher exactly how they can adjust their processes to optimize their results. It is also designed to augment your current recruitment processes and complement your use of recruitment technology systems.

One final thought: When it comes to your talent network, remember that you get out what you put in. That is, the more you are able to build and maintain your talent network the more it will benefit you in the end. The sooner you start building your talent network, the sooner you can stop saying “too bad” the next time you meet a stellar candidate for whom you don’t have a position available (…yet).

Learn more about CareerBuilder’s Talent Network Solution – Your always-on recruiting engine.

Jennifer Seith

About Jennifer Seith

As Practice Leader, Emerging Technology at CareerBuilder, Jennifer Seith focuses on developing products that maximize the recruitment process through innovation and integration. A business development professional with 15 years of experience in the recruitment technology industry, Seith has developed mutually beneficial, revenue-generating and customer-focused integration with over 200 recruitment technology vendors worldwide. Before coming to CareerBuilder, Seith managed technology partnerships at Peoplefluent (formerly Peopleclick).


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