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Tired of “job candidate roulette”? Build a talent pipeline!
by Nancy Ahlrichs

Whether I am speaking to CEOs or human resource professionals, all are tired of losing the game of “job candidate roulette.” The best candidates to work in your organization are either already there or working for someone else. They don’t notice passive “respond if you want to” ads or signs in a window. In this two-part column, we will explore how to build a Talent Pipeline—actually, multiple pipelines—of potential future hires to ensure that you will never have to play “roulette” again.

Whether you most often hire entry-level employees or specialized, needle-in-a-haystack technical gurus, you can create a pipeline of interested, qualified candidates for future openings. There are five steps to creating a customized Talent Pipeline:

  1. Involve your employees to help select the candidates and the “attention grabber.”
  2. Determine the candidates’ needed skills and behaviors.
  3. Determine where to find your needed long-term and short-term talent.
  4. Develop a creative, two-prong communications plan.
  5. Reward your best pipeline fillers.

Involve your employees to help select the candidates and the “attention grabber”

While an individual needs to be charged with pipeline management, it takes every employee to make it happen on a large scale. Do your employees have easy access to all current openings and their requirements? Do they know how to make recommendations? Are they armed with company facts about benefits? Are they armed with a “give away” so that potential new hires can easily contact the company or the employee for more information? Even the back of business cards can include your organization’s website, your employee value statement (why should you work here?) and benefit information.
Determine the candidates’ needed skills and behaviors

Where is your organization going? What skills and behaviors are needed to get your organization to market leadership position? Are the hard skill sets needed to take it into the future readily available or will you need to develop new hires? At a minimum, according to an Accenture study of 500 executives, four skills and behaviors are required for anyone hired today in any function in any organization:

  • Decision-making
  • Ability to work in cross-functional teams
  • Effective project management
  • Customer focus

Additionally, you need to define the skills and competencies (behaviors) that all employees must have to be successful in your culture. A good place to start is to look at your organization’s values. Values and core competencies often overlap. Hard skills are easy to teach, but behaviors that are success factors—initiative, innovation, flexibility, customer orientation, etc.—must be uncovered in the interview. They do not necessarily “come with every package” like cereal boxes with a toy inside. Make sure every employee knows and uses the five to seven core competencies that set your organization apart.

In the second part of Nancy’s article, learn how to determine where to find your needed long-term and short-term talent, develop a creative, two-prong communications plan and how to reward your best pipeline fillers. Log on to www.grainandfeedmanager.com and click on “White Papers.”

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