Talent Circles

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The War for Talent is Local

A lot of discussion has emerged concerned the skills gaps and impending labor shortage, but nothing resonated with me until now.  A couple weeks ago, I was sitting at a local HR and recruiting board meeting for the OKC Metro Employer Council when the idea hit me like a brick wall.   I had the equivalent of a recruiting epiphany as I listened in on other board members conversations and challenges.  I realized the war for talent is local. 

OKC vs. Yuma:  A Tale of Two Different Candidate Marketplaces  

Listed as the third strongest metro economy in the US by Bloomberg in 2012, Oklahoma City has been insulated from most of the country’s economic downturn.  This city and community is currently the place I call home.  The local economy is going strong, and our metro area’s unemployment rate is ridiculously low at 4.9%.   It’s hard as heck to recruit here which is something I heard over and over again at our board meeting.  Quality job seekers have their pick often from multiple offers making your job as a recruiter extremely competitive.  That’s in stark contrast to Yuma, Arizona’s, unemployment rate, which stands at 29.8%. 

The markets are completely different; yet I can almost guarantee your company’s recruitment strategy in these two different cities is exactly the same.  Imagine courting a candidate in Oklahoma City versus Yuma and presenting them with what is your best offer.  In Yuma, that candidate accepts your offer immediately while the Oklahoma City candidate stalls not even returning your call. That’s because recruiting and the war for talent is local. 

Recruiting Gets Specific.  The War for Talent is Local

As recruiters, business leaders, and HR professionals we are faced with a challenge especially when managing multiple position requisitions and competing for talent in Oklahoma City versus Yuma.  Our hiring and recruitment strategies should differ because the local market and the candidates in which you pull from are very, very unique.  As a recruiter you have an obligation to research your local candidate marketplace to get a sense of what recruitment strategy would work for you. You are spending your precious time in Oklahoma City posting and praying to a candidate ecosystem and economy that dictates a different recruitment strategy altogether.

In these uber competitive local marketplaces like Oklahoma City, Omaha, and the Dallas Metroplex, building a talent pipeline is the best way to help elevate the stresses of a competitive candidate marketplace due to a robust economy. 

How to Build a Talent Pipeline

Recruiting is local and building a relationship matters.  When it comes to building a recruitment strategy even to fill a single position in a metropolitan area like Oklahoma City, the devil is in the details. And those details in extremely competitive markets in Oklahoma City require you to build and develop a talent pipeline 6 months, 12 months, and 3 months before you even begin looking to fill an open position there. 

This starts with creating a conversation and an opportunity starting with a talent network of eligible, qualified, and interested candidates before the need for a specific position arises.  Because a relationship is built on time, reputation, and trust and a talent network affords you these things.     

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


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