Talent Circles

Friday, April 27, 2012

Relationship-based hiring in a highly competitive world

By Kevin W. Grossman


It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to retain an employee.

Now maybe you don’t buy the comparison, but you should. With all the touchy-feely talk about talent communities, this is the one context where it truly means the most.

When it comes to tackling talent acquisition, talent management and retention, technology has changed dramatically, but we haven’t changed the way we hire – the way we do business. If recruiting is marketing and sales, then human resources, hiring managers and future colleagues are customer service. But all of marketing and sales should also be customer service, and vice-versa, but it’s not, hence the business problem with retention.

When the “business community” doesn’t work together to retain, then turnover is much higher than the normal churn. Sure that’ll vary from company to company, and industry to industry, but the fact when “it’s not my problem” is the mantra, then there’s a big problem.

Recently I heard about a talent acquisition leader at a Fortune 500 company literally say, “I’ve got hundreds of positions to fill every other week, around the world, and I just don’t have time to worry about retention.”

I don’t have time to worry about retention. Wow. And I don’t have time to worry about bleeding out either.

This week I spoke with recruiting industry veteran, Ed Newman, chief analyst and founder of InsideTMT and one of the founding board members of the Candidate Experience Awards, and we talked about relationship-based hiring, a concept that he evolved out of Dr. John Sullivan’s relation-based recruiting. This is when the recruiters, human resources, hiring managers, executive management and future team members are all involved in recruiting. Time is invested in getting to know potential employees before they’re employees, or even if they never are.

In fact, adding more steps in the recruiting/hire process by meeting more people and getting to know them over time (again, potential applicants and friends of those applicants) will help solidify the business community relationships and workplace culture immersion.

I mean, don't you want to hire the people you know? Not the people you talked to a few times at most.

“I don’t have time to worry about retention.” Again, wow.

Trying to get to know someone in the least amount of time while creating a huge funnel of warm bodies that may or may not give a crap about my company and my positions makes no sense at all anymore. Building a talent network of people I get to know – and getting referrals from – makes all the sense in the highly competitive world.

According to Ed, if we know how many hires we’re making, we should be able to extrapolate how many we need to keep in our talent "circles" in order to source from, creating a circle for each specific manager and a set of positions. Our primary metric should not be how many hires we can make in less than 45 days, but how many hires can we make when we’ve had interactions with people for more than 12 months. If we can touch a group of 25 people 4-6 times per year with relevant, but non-job specific info, and those “touchers” include the hiring managers, HR, team members as well as the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, then again we’re (hopefully) binding community and improving retention.

These “circles” are then an opportunity to create scalable and interactive "Golden Rolodexes" – private talent networks that help facilitate a relationship-based hiring program utilizing modern social networking principles (which are really the best parts of time-tested sourcing and recruiting principles applied to new technology, right?).

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to retain an employee. And it takes talent circles to create relationship-based hiring.

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