Chapter One

Finding People

Chapter One: Part One

Finding People


We began in July 2016, with a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, delivering the news that the US economy had added 287,000 jobs. The market jumped 250 points at this news, taking the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) to 18,146.74. This was no small feat, considering we had just seen a volatile couple of weeks in the aftermath of Brexit.

In 2018, it is predicted that globally, there will be 192 million people in some sort of job transition, an increase of 49 million in just six years.2

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5 percent as more people joined the workforce and began searching for work—a healthy sign of people having confidence, believing there to be more opportunity out there and that they’d be able to find a job. Analysts who track the job market breathed a sigh of relief, given the reports from April and May, where we saw the economy add 160,00 and 38,000 jobs respectively.1

Although we have seen variability in the last few months, we are still in the best job market in decades—“the best” meaning there is plenty of opportunity. If you are an employer looking to fill open vacancies, it is more challenging than ever to find qualified talent that fits your company culture.

Top talent is hard to find, and in many cases, even harder to hang on to.

We are also seeing trends that should give every employer pause: In a global study by Universum on the current state (2015) of the job market, it was reported that 28 percent of employees in the US and Canada have considered leaving their current employer and going to a competitor. The sentiment of the job seeker is quite positive, with most people believing they can find a new job and increase their salary within six months. The outlook is even more positive if you are in the technology sector, where the timeframe is reduced to two months.

Today, it is increasingly difficult to fill open jobs and there is no sign of easing this talent shortage. As we head toward 2018, where the market for talent will be even tighter, we will see fewer available people for every open job, which is hard to believe in a way, since we ended December 2015 with only 1.5 people for every open job—not necessarily qualified people—just 1.5 available people.3

The story here? More transition, fewer qualified people in the external talent pool, and a more challenging environment in which to fill open jobs.

So, the market is candidate-driven, people are becoming much more selective, and the fact that talent is less available is impacting your ability to grow your business … so what are you going to do? Well, let’s take a look at the current state of recruiting and how you can both survive and thrive in today’s tough talent economy.

Not long ago, recruiting was pretty simple: You posted jobs and people showed up; applicant-tracking systems were considered an innovation that gave you a systematic way to present your openings; people could easily apply for your open jobs; and of course, you could track who had applied and whom you hired, among other things. Over the last few years, however, recruiting has become more specialized and complex.

In today’s market, engaging candidates within your organization requires a social network presence and the ability to use social and mobile tools not only to communicate to prospective candidates, but to allow them to apply for a job anywhere, anytime. We have seen the growth of consumerized tools, like video job descriptions, mobile career apps, career blogs, and online-chat features, to immediately capture the attention of anyone interested in your company.

According to the CEB Recruiting Innovations Survey (2015), organizations using video job descriptions report mixed impact in terms of driving recruiting outcomes, with 47 percent saying it had a high impact, and 20 percent saying it had a low impact.

Despite mixed reviews, video job descriptions are now more important than ever, with 60 percent of organizations reporting a high increase in importance. What video job descriptions do is respond to the job seeker’s need for a more personal connection—a more real way to find out about the company and the job.

Social recruiting is a must-have in today’s job market. It is nonnegotiable. If you do not have some presence in social sites, you need to begin to think about what your strategy will be, and how you will execute it. Over 95 percent of modern recruiters use LinkedIn.4 The use of Twitter as a social-recruiting tool

has grown dramatically, from 16 percent in 2010 to 93 percent in 2015. Hiring managers are also seeing the benefits of social-recruiting tools. In 2009, only 12 percent of hiring managers used social sites to look at candidates. Today, that number has grown to 93 percent, and here is the news behind that statistic: 55 percent of hiring managers have reconsidered candidates based on the information they have found on social sites. So for the prospective candidates, the lesson is: How you are seen online matters; it matters a lot. Candidates need to think about the story that their online profiles tell, and then shape that story to communicate the best, true version of who they are and their experience.

The results from using social recruiting tools are impressive: 33 percent of companies report a decrease in time to hire; 49 percent report an increase in candidate quality;5 43 percent report a surge in candidate quality;6 and one third report a boost in employee-referral quality and quantity.7

Clearly, the competitive nature of the talent market is calling for new skills and perspectives. What can you do to be more competitive?

Attracting great talent in this market not only requires HR expertise, but an understanding of marketing, too.

The Power of HR with the
Mind of a Marketer

What is it that marketers do to attract customers to their product? Quite simply, they create buzz—whether it is through social sites, blogs, online advertising, product information—because they want to attract people who don’t know, or perhaps know little, about them. The goal is to learn more—to become interested in their products or services. They want you to click on their pop-up ad or their site, hoping that their incentives eventually convert you to a loyal repeat-customer. They want to learn your likes and dislikes, understand your buying patterns, and see what actually gets you to respond. In other words, they want to close the deal, and most importantly they want you to be happy—and tell everyone you know.

They want you to become a raving fan: like them on Facebook, give them five stars on Yelp, talk about them on Twitter, and Pin them on Pinterest. Sometimes, they even incentivize you for a “like” or positive feedback. Ultimately if they can delight you as a customer they know the positive feedback will be great for the brand and you start doing some of the positive marketing for them.

Let’s take a look at what the marketing funnel looks like:

We can learn from marketers…

If this is how marketing goes—from attracting a lead to closing the sale—how similar is it to what recruiters do to attract a candidate? In the same way that marketers want to generate leads, recruiters want to generate possible candidates for their jobs today and tomorrow. They want to generate interest in the company, create a buzz; they want a possible candidate to be able to picture him or herself in their organization, as they explore a career site or click on a job posting. Recruiters want to learn more about them and place them in their pool of potential candidates. Ultimately, recruiters want people to apply for jobs and refer others to the organization. They create segmented candidate pools that reach out to potential employees at the appropriate time with jobs that may be of interest to them.

Recruiters want the outcome to be the right hire at the right time, ensuring they sustain and grow their business. When they transition a candidate to employee, just like the marketer, they want to create loyalty and internal endorsements. They want new hires to tell their friends that this is a great place to work—that it is a great culture with opportunity for growth and development

Let’s look at how the recruiting funnel works:

…And apply the same principles to recruiting

Understanding the similarities between how marketers approach customers and how recruiters attract candidates is the key. Applying marketing principles to recruiting is applying new thinking to talent attraction.

In this finding-people section, we will explore this further, as well as look at:

  • What defines companies that are talent magnets
  • Social Recruiting 101
  • Candidate Relationship Management—a step-by-step approach
  • The value of building relationships

Chapter One: Part Two

Talent Magnet

Is Your Organization
a Talent Magnet?

As the talent market has tightened for available, qualified candidates, there is an emerging designation for companies that are successful in recruiting and retaining top talent… we call them talent magnets. These companies attract people who inevitably want to join, but more importantly, want to stay.

When talent-magnet companies recruit new employees, they are clear about their vision and purpose. They engage prospective candidates by showing what it would feel like to be a part of that vision. This helps candidates envision how they would fit into the organization and what it might be like to work there.

When designing their talent-acquisition strategies, these companies do not post openings alone; they create great candidate and employee experiences—thinking about all the ways their brand can engage with the prospective candidate.

Talent-magnet companies recognize that the people they want to connect with are often not actively job-searching—nor even passive candidates. What is really clear is that they are often able to talk about their culture in a distinctive way—they can articulate what makes them special and why people should join their organization. Culture is not

viewed as a slogan or a set of PR announcements; it is how they live and breathe.

Fundamentally, it is who they are—and there is no mistaking it; you see it through and through. They attract top talent because people know authenticity when they see it.

So what is the secret behind
companies that are talent magnets?

A key factor is culture, and the values that define the organization. In the recent study, Four Keys to becoming a Talent-Magnet Company, conducted by Oracle and the Talent Strategy Institute8 we found that in talent-magnet organizations, trust is most highly valued, and there is honest and open dialogue. People are more engaged, and leaders focus on what they can do at the individual level to drive engagement.

There is a pragmatic business focus as well; people need to know what the goals are and how they can contribute—providing clarity of focus and making an effort to connect every job to the strategy and objectives of the organization.

The chart below provides insight into the frequency with which particular values were openly discussed or considered in

The Top Four Cultural
Values in Talent-Magnet Organizations

  • Trust/Character
  • Engagement
  • Energy
  • Focus

talent-magnet organizations. The higher the score, the greater the frequency. The greater the frequency, the more top of mind and real the value is for an organization. While trust, engagement, energy, and focus are the top four, there are other values that strongly shape company culture. You can think of it in terms of what values guide day-to-day behavior.

The Frequency with Which a Value Is Observed
or Considered Before Taking Action

Energy: It Can Be Positive and Negative

A powerful aspect of culture is energy. Have you ever been in an organization where you can feel the energy and enthusiasm for work from the moment you walk through the door? Conversely, have you ever been in a culture where fear rules the day, and after just five minutes you feel like you have been depleted? It may not be visible to the naked eye, but you can feel the energy of an organization. Fear-based organizations function much like the fable The Emperor’s New Clothes—people may see what is going on, but no one talks about it—no one tells it like it is. In these organizations, much like the Emperor, those most in the dark are the leaders themselves—they just do not see it. They kill off dissension and new ideas in overt and covert ways.

There are a lot of meetings after the meetings, where people get together to discuss what is really going on, because no one says it in the room. They often have low engagement that may even show up as value destroying behaviors. In these organizations, innovation is low and trying something new and failing is a career-limiting or career-ending move. There is little room for innovation and great ideas don’t bubble up to the surface easily—it’s far too risky.

Above all, people protect themselves, stay under the radar, don’t want to be called out, don’t take chances, they bide time until retirement—the next job—a different manager.

A peer once described her organization, revealing that every day all she looked forward to was going home and just crashing—literally crawling to the couch and falling asleep because she was so drained by that point. It takes a lot of energy to hide your best self and not show up in an authentic way—to always be on the defensive, preparing yourself for negativity at every turn.

These organizations are not great places to work and grow, and consequently, in this talent market, they will have a hard time finding and keeping high-performing talent.

By contrast, the energy of talent-magnet companies is vibrant. There is a positive buzz and excitement about the possibility of what people can create and achieve together. Communication is more honest and open, and people are encouraged to try new things. There is a focus on training and developing at every level, not just high-potential. In organizations where there is higher retention, it is common to see a great deal of attention paid to cultural fit—is a prospect the right fit for the role and for the company? Fit is everything.

Fit is Everything

Remember when the Houston Texans were the Houston Oilers? Back in the day, the Oilers were coached by the iconic Bum Phillips and playing for the Oilers was one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game, Earl Campbell. What was unique about Earl was that you often saw him moving forward with four or five people hanging off of him as he carried the ball. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored 74 touchdowns during his career. He was rumored to have 34-inch thighs—you put him in the game when it was 4th down.

At the beginning of every training camp it was customary to have a number of strength and endurance tests—and one in particular, was running a mile around the Houston Astrodome. On opening day of training camp, everyone was required to run a mile. As the team started running, one of the reporters observing and covering the Oilers noticed that Earl Campbell was struggling to get beyond a quarter of a mile. Folklore says that he made it a quarter of mile and then could go no further.

Later that day at the press conference, the reporter asked Phillips what he thought of his star running back’s inability to run the mile. Phillips paused for a moment and then deliberately stated: “Well, the next time it is 4th down and a mile, I will give the ball to somebody else!” Understanding your talent’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to leverage their best qualities is critical to success. Organizations that do this will create positive environments in which people can thrive. People join them and want to stay.

Talent-Magnet Companies Create Exceptional Employee Experiences

We began this section of the HCM periodic table of elements by discussing the power of HR with the mind of a marketer. Great marketers consistently create exceptional customer experiences, ensuring customers have a stronger affinity for the brand. They want the customer to have a positive experience and study everything about how the customer interacts with their brand—including socially and in person. Jim Tincher, in Heart of the Customer (2013), summarized the process for understanding the customer-experience journey. He recommended five elements as essential for mapping the customer experience:

  1. Measure touch points along the customer journey.
  2. Capture your customers’ attitudes and emotions.
  3. See your experience through your customers’ eyes.
  4. Understand the customer experience across the different touch points.
  5. Focus on your customers’ true needs.

Talent-Magnet Companies Focus
on the Employee Experience

In the same way that marketers want to see the company through their customers’ eyes, focusing on the employee experience helps you see the organization through your employees’ eyes. You want to understand how the organization works through their experience.

Treat your employees like your best customer.

If you are trying to bring a new person into the company, it is helpful to map out what that experience may be like for a new hire. What are the various touch points along the way—how do they go from candidate to employee? How do they integrate into the organization?

How would you focus on the true needs of a new employee? Are you measuring employee experience at different times in the employee journey?

In order to better understand the employee experience, you can use employee-experience journey mapping.

This involves consciously crafting key employee experiences with the organization. Understanding these touch points helps form an individual’s belief system about the organization and, in turn, his/her attitudes and behaviors. Begin journey-mapping the employee experience by focusing on the key points in Figure 1 (below). They represent opportunities to help shape the stories employees will tell about their time at the organization, including how to join, learn, contribute, and grow within it.

We take a look at an employee journey in terms of their interactions with their employer and/or potential employer, map the emotions triggered by these interactions, and the eventual outcome—if we want to change the outcome, we adjust the emotional journey.
—Oracle Corporation

Once identified, the ideal scenario involves living the employee experience as opposed to just thinking it. The emotional journey is laid out through identifying a persona—literally giving an identity to someone in the experience. Who are they? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What are they likely to do? What attitudes do they hold? We learn this by identifying how individuals move through employer processes.

This step-by-step approach includes:


Documenting the initial


Evaluating emotional,
psychological, and behavioural
impacts of the experience


Considering trends and
imminent changes


Identifing points of risk
and opportunity


Designing new experiences

The Employee Journey

One exceptional example of how effective this tool can be comes from recently working with an organization to understand how to use the journey-mapping methodology to improve their performance-management process. What was the employee experience through performance management? Key stakeholders—HR, line-of business managers, employees using the system, IT, HRIS—were trying to figure out why people were not using the performance processes that were in place. To start with, small teams documented their journey—this is where things became really interesting! There were multiple perceptions of what the process even was and how it was supposed to work. No two groups had designed the same “as-is” process—not even close. Is it a wonder that it was confusing for employees and managers to follow? When we looked at the emotional and behavioral impacts, we learned that at a certain point, some people just gave up. The process did not support healthy dialogue and developmental conversation—so they simply did what they needed to do, regardless of process. It was eye-opening. Everyone in the room began with the notion that there was a common process that employees could articulate—and in fact, that was not the case at all.

In the end, they created a new experience with clear touch points and outcomes—all with the goal of creating a better employee experience based on performance. Every organization can take action that will increase the probability that people will stay longer and produce better business results.

Figure 1. Oracle Corporation: Employee-Experience Journey Mapping

There are many ways you can become a talent-magnet company. It starts with knowing what you value and how you live those values. You can look at employee experiences and seek to create more engaging experiences, as well as strive for a great fit with every employee in the right job for them.

What Can You Do to Increase Employee Retention?

This may sound simple, but if you want to create loyalty and reduce attrition, there are two things you can do right from the start. In a study reviewing effective onboarding, published by the Aberdeen Group (2012), they found two common factors that really make a difference to onboarding:


Tell people what you expect
of them in the job.

Again, this sounds ridiculously simple, but it makes a huge difference. HR leaders mention that expectations around retention and performance need to be clear from the beginning, with a straightforward vision of what “great” looks like. However, others reveal that often managers never have that conversation with people until it is time for their performance review—and sometimes not even then. This is a really simple thing to get right—tell people what “great”

looks like for the job they are going to do and describe the outcomes. Explain the tangible actions they can take to deliver great performance. Provide resources when they need assistance. Help them think through where they want their job performance to be a year from now—what will they have accomplished? Then support them with the tools they need to succeed.


Now that you have defined metrics for high performance, connect them to your performance-management process. What are the goals? How will this person deliver on those goals—what are the checkpoints along the way? Do you have social tools so your team can look at the overall progress of their goals? Can managers provide “in-the-moment” feedback on goals? Have you enabled goal management with social and mobile technology? Can people receive feedback from their manager or team in real time? Why does this matter? In companies that connected onboarding and performance, 96 percent of first-year employees were retained, as compared to only 18 percent in organizations where that connection was lost. It is a funny thing, when you

actually tell people what you expect from them at work and show them what “great” looks like, they are more likely to deliver high performance. In addition, 82 percent of employees meet their performance goals, as compared to only 3 percent in companies where they do not connect onboarding and performance.9

If you want people to stay and deliver great work, be clear about what “great” looks like—and connect it to goals from the very beginning. The results are powerful.

Chapter One: Part Three


The Power of
Social in Finding

Imagine you are a company
of 100 people and you are
looking for new talent to
join your business. In this
candidate-focused market,
recruiting and acquiring talent
is increasingly challenging.
Where are these new hires
going to come from? Where
will you find them?

The answer is right under your nose, within your organization. It is the social network of people in your company—and it is time for you to leverage all of those connections.

Why is social so powerful? 92 percent of recruiters use social media as a way of sourcing and hiring candidates.

74 percent of recruiters report that they are using social-media sites to post their jobs, followed by company-career sites at 63 percent. Traditional sources such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter provide great avenues to tap candidates.

What Does Social Change? Everything.
Simple Math. Amazing Possibilities.

With $85 billion spent annually on recruitment and retention, HR leaders are interested in how to best leverage that investment.

Over the last three years, we have seen social have a positive impact on recruiting results:


71% of recruiters reported improved candidate quality.10


61% saw enhanced employee engagement.11


20% saw a reduced time to hire.12

Professional networking groups and associations formed around specialty topics are important as well—they not only give a view of your membership base, but also what their interests are and what they are talking about.13

The best source of candidates remains the employee referral, with 78 percent of candidates onboarded through direct referral.14

Employee referrals are more likely to bring you engaged employees and people who will stay longer at your company. When you hire through referrals, having that connection in the organization improves the speed of onboarding, producing a shorter time to productivity and a performance connection. People are loyal and do not want to disappoint or embarrass colleagues and friends, inevitably increasing the drive to become a high-performer.

Strong brand presence on social media is important to people becoming familiar with your organization. HR organizations are increasingly becoming the stewards of employer brand. Just under $9 billion is spent on employer branding. 83 percent of HR leaders believe that their employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire top talent.15

To be effective at social recruiting, you have to begin with a basic question: Whom do we want to find? Remember, first and foremost, social is about a relationship. It is a connection where you want to generate a response, interest, and buzz around your organization and brand. You do not want to talk to just anybody; you want to connect with the right people for your company and brand at the right time, so you have to think through:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they?
  • What matters to them?
  • What are their interests?
  • What do they value?
  • What are they
    passionate about?
  • Why should they connect
    with you?
  • What communities do they
    belong to?

You can discover many of these answers by opening conversations of interest on social media. Focus on job- or specialty-related topics. If you are looking for engineers, what is cutting-edge thinking to their discipline? Perhaps post an appropriate article and generate a conversation. Have leaders in your organization host an industry focus group to better understand attendees and their values. Sponsor local association events. Remember that you are building long-term relationships and not just trying to fill a job—although that is the desired outcome.

The Power of Mobile

It is difficult to maximize your investment in recruiting technologies without having a strategy for candidates to respond to you on a mobile device.

It is difficult to maximize your investment in recruiting technologies without having a strategy for candidates to respond to you on a mobile device. Nearly 92 percent of all searches start on a mobile device. That is up from one in five just two years ago. The impact of mobile on recruiting is significant. The results below include those using smartphones and tablets.16

When you are looking at active candidates in the market:

  • 74% have viewed opportunities sent to their inbox.
  • 72% have visited a company site to learn about careers.
  • 67% have browsed career opportunities on job-board sites.
  • 64% have browsed career opportunities on social and professional networks.
  • 45% have applied for a job.
  • 43% have uploaded a resume to send or attach for a job application.
  • 22% have downloaded a company app to apply for a job.

But what about the
passive candidates?

In this talent market, knowing how to get to the passive candidate is essential. You always know an issue has risen to a significant level of importance when it becomes a Dilbert cartoon.

The concept of the passive candidate now has Dilbert status. In this particular cartoon, two recruiters are standing behind a Dilbert character—portraying a passive job seeker—with a rope and a butterfly net. The recruiter with the rope ties him to his chair, suggesting that this job seeker now belongs to him.

Unphased, the Dilbert Character tied to his chair holding a cup of coffee wakes up and simply asks one of his colleagues to place a long straw in his cup.17

The power of mobile is extremely helpful in generating pools of passive candidates:

  • 60% have viewed opportunities sent to their inbox.
  • 62% have visited a company site to learn about careers.
  • 53% have browsed career opportunities on job-board sites.
  • 58% have browsed career opportunities on social and professional networks.
  • 24% have applied to a job.
  • 21% have uploaded a resume to send or attach to a job application.
  • 11% have downloaded a company app in order to apply for a job.

What is remarkable about these statistics is that these people are not even looking for a job!

Often, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to mobile recruiting is that people do not design for it—they use what is on their talent-acquisition site, and hope it works on a mobile device.

To be effective at mobile recruiting, you need to:

Design for mobile:
Create a positive

Think simple,
usable, engaging,
“clickable,” and

Use your available
technology (gamification,
texting, push polls) to
determine your target
candidates 18

Mobile Is Here to Stay

It is important to create a sustainable mobile strategy—there are over 350 million mobilesubscriber connections today, and by the end of this year, mobile devices will outnumber Earth’s population. Over half the people in the US own a mobile device, with many having multiple technologies.19

So what can you do to make mobile recruiting work for you?


Make sure your career site is easy to use and “clickable.” If you get people to your site but the right information does not come up, or if it is difficult for them to find the information they are looking for, they will most likely abandon it.


Critically evaluate your site for simplicity. People can order anything on retail websites with one click—they are not going to slog through 20 clicks to apply for a job.


Frequently check your career site pretending you are a job seeker—what do your potential candidates see?


Make sure that people can upload their resume and view everything on your site from a mobile device. It is frustrating when content is truncated or does not appear in a mobile-friendly format.


Create a place where people can join your talent network—that is the critical click to begin to build your talent community and your future talent pool.

Remembering the Power
of Social in Your Organization

It is possible to develop a mobile and social strategy and think that it is just to reach the outside market—remember that your employees are on those social sites as well.

When your employees see the positive messaging on social sites, it increases their affinity to the brand and organization. They are “proud to work here” and talk positively to their friends and family.

Focus on using social recruiting internally—you have both an internal and external market for talent. Using the same tools that you use for recruiting external talent for internal talent can help capture the interests of your employees and can help you build talent pipelines for the future.

Social media allows you to make your jobs more human.
Tell talent about the people behind your products.
Trust your recruiters to be your digital warriors.
Don’t second-guess it.

—Celinda Appleby, Digital Media Program Manager, Hewlett-Packard

If I were running a company, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire the best people as I could [because] the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.
—Jim Collins

Chapter One: Part Four

Candidate Relationship

Customer Relationship
Management = Candidate
Relationship Management

Have you ever bought shoes online at Zappos or Nordstrom?
Ordered a book from Amazon, found that amazing Patagonia
fuzzy and just had to order it right then? If you have shopped
online, even without purchasing, you know what happens the
next time you open your browser: Your wish-list item appears
in a pop-up advertisement or a similar product is advertised.

Marketers have picked up on your preferences and buying patterns. Analytics can predict the likelihood of you buying a product—with every click, they are learning about you … what you like, what you are willing to spend, where you stay on vacation, and—most importantly—what increases the probability that you will buy something on their site.

Case in point: If you have ever abandoned your cart only to later receive a 10- or 15%-off coupon if you go back and complete your purchase, you have been a part of marketing efforts based on people analytics. In today’s talent market, candidate relationship management is a critical component of the talent-acquisition puzzle.

The same tools that marketers use to connect with you as a consumer are easily translatable to finding and attracting candidates for your organization.

How Does This Work?

Marketers understand that competition is fierce, and it is difficult to attract and retain customers. It is crucial to maximize every interaction by capturing customer data and centralizing it in a common, proprietary database. This is done through special offers, free trials, and valuable free content.

Once in this central database, marketers can qualify and market to these prospects over time. Some will become customers right away, while others will not.

Focus is placed on engaging and nurturing consumers who do not purchase right away by using customized promotional

offers, based on the stage of that buyer’s customer journey. For prospects identified as qualified buyers, integrated and personalized campaigns are designed to provide incentives that keep them engaged, and ultimately convert them into customers.

Over time, this strategy of creating long-term relationships results in lower cost per acquisition, instant access to potential purchasers for new products, and a framework for operational efficiency and a more predictable revenue stream.

Recruiting organizations can use the lessons learned in modern marketing and execute similar strategies to attract candidates and create access to ready-now candidates.

Enter Candidate

What every recruiting organization aspires to do is create a ready-now talent pool so they can sustain and grow their business. How can you do this? By doing what marketers have been doing all along: applying the principles of customer relationship management to building your database of qualified and interested candidates—creating Candidate Relationship Management (CRM).

As you begin by applying the principles of traditional CRM, you first have to understand candidates and determine how they will fit into your talent strategy. You can do this by creating centralized talent pools, segmenting talent pipelines, sourcing, engaging and nurturing talent, and studying the impact of your CRM strategy on your business.

Let’s Begin with the Centralized Talent Pool

A great way to summarize the centralized talent pool is to understand it comprises everyone you know and everyone who has ever touched your brand. It is a core principle that can be leveraged for talent acquisition across HR organizations in the same way marketing institutions leverage their prospect databases for future sales.

Several streams flow into this talent pool, including:

  • Past applicants; connect your CRM and Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

  • Current employees and their network of referrals

  • Former employees and their offboarding experience

  • Potential candidates from third-party resume databases

  • Potential candidates from social sources like LinkedIn and Facebook

  • People who have opted into your talent network

  • Candidates who have been gathered through recruiting events or individual recruiter outreach

Create a Centralized Talent Database

Centralize your internal and external talent pools in your CRM system. Then, focus on growing, analyzing, segmenting, and optimizing it until it becomes the primary source of your best hires. You can start by identifying and maximizing all of your sources of candidates.

Build a Centralized Talent Database

  • Use your past-applicant database as a foundation. You have dedicated resources, including time and money, to acquire candidates—there is likely great potential hidden within your ATS.

  • Import candidates who have been gathered by individual recruiters in spreadsheets or contact-management systems.

  • Routinely funnel results from external resume databases and social-network searches into your talent pool. This can be a manual process, or you can use a CRM tool that enables you to run searches against external talent sources and bring results directly into your talent pool.

  • Create dedicated talent-referral networks for your employees to recommend colleagues and friends.

  • Execute campaigns using rented external lists, inviting candidates to join your talent pool.

  • Import candidates using external resume-database subscriptions.

Manage Your Talent Pipeline

Your talent pipeline must be monitored regularly to help you understand whether you will be able to meet demand for positions—before it becomes a performance issue for your organization.

A talent pipeline is a list
or folder within your CRM
system that is aligned with an
open requisition or a family of
jobs for which you regularly
hire. Keep your recruiting
efforts “always-on” to ensure
a healthy pipeline.

Organizing your talent pool into strategic pipelines is called segmenting, and it requires the ability to search your talent pool—based on key criteria—and save those searches into a folder or list. The better the search capability in your CRM system, the more targeted your pipelines become, and the more valuable your talent pool is for meeting and exceeding your hiring needs.

Ideally, you will set up your recruiting process to move candidates from dormant to active. For example, you may classify candidates as:

  • New
  • Reviewed
  • Sent warm-up email
  • Sent follow-up email
  • Added to job pipeline
  • Invited to apply

Organize Your Talent Pool in Stages

You want candidates to complete a process that ends in a successful hire for the best-fit candidates.

With a segmented and
staged talent pool, you
have the infrastructure
to fortify weaknesses in
your strategic pipelines.

If you need to hire 300 nurses in the coming year and you know that you typically interview 10 for every hire, then you need 3,000 nurses
in your talent pipeline. It is crucial to be actively attracting and sourcing more registered nurses to meet this demand!

Engage and Nurture Your Talent Pools

In order to get the most out of your talent pool, you need to develop ways to engage members and nurture them with valuable content that is targeted to their interests.

Your pipelines (how you segment candidates) help you divide people into groups that have similar interests and motivators. You want to create communications and touch points that will capture or deepen the interests of potential candidates, helping to turn them into raving fans!

Nurture campaigns, often called drip-marketing, are simply a sequenced series of communications. They are designed to educate a potential candidate about the value of your offering, keep them interested, and address common questions that might exist in the recruiting process.

Three Proven Strategies for Turning Candidates into Fans

1. Appreciation:

Initial emails should revolve around showing your appreciation towards candidates and their interest
in your organization.

2. Education:

Ongoing emails should provide valuable content about
the areas within the company that relate to specific target
candidates, and detail ways to effectively engage with your organization. This can be done through job-search tips, insights into job markets, and targeted local events.

3. Branding:

This is a continual thread that reinforces your core employer-brand benefits, combined with periodic communications that highlight your value as an employer.

When developing nurture campaigns, think like a candidate, and use your imagination to create compelling campaigns:

  • Provide discounts on your products
    or other offerings related to the candidate’s interests.
  • Offer incentives for candidate referrals.
  • Provide free or low-cost training resources associated with their professional interests.
  • Offer a free “how to get a job at this company” e-book—teach them what you’re looking for at organizational and departmental levels.
  • Provide content relevant to their interests, including videos, newsletters, etc.
  • Send surveys asking for opinions on your organization and on current topics within their individual profession.
  • Create links to candidate profiles where they can update personal information, experience, and qualifications.
  • Highlight employee profiles and accomplishments relevant to the candidate’s potential role in your organization.
  • Educate employees on organizational news, such as milestones and events.
  • Always include hot jobs that match the candidate’s job preferences.


When your talent pool is active and a vibrant source of candidates, it becomes the central go-to place when people in your organization are trying to source jobs.

You need to develop regular outreach programs to fill your open jobs and your job pipelines, including:

Ongoing outreach to
invite candidates to
apply for high-volume
job pipelines.

Campaigns to
drive invitations
to apply for all
active jobs.

It is important to remember that
building healthy talent pools
takes an ongoing always-on

Regular searches of
external job boards
and social-network
databases to identify
and capture candidates
for current and future

Regular referral
campaigns as part
of other talent-pool
outreach activities.

Understanding the
Impact of CRM in
Your Organization—
How Are You Doing?

Analysis and Refinement

Advanced CRM supports analytics for the refinement and optimization of your recruiting organization.

Begin by Asking

How fast are you growing your talent pool?

How engaged is your
talent pool?

What percentage of
your talent pool are converting
to hires?

What percentage of
your individual pipelines
convert to hires?

Are individual pipelines
large enough to meet

What is the makeup of your talent pool by source?

Which sources of
candidates are converting
to hired employees at
higher rates?

Begin by Asking

How fast are you growing
your talent pool?

How engaged is your
talent pool?

What percentage of
your talent pool are converting
to hires?

What percentage of
your individual pipelines
convert to hires?

Are individual pipelines
large enough to meet

What is the makeup of your talent pool by source?

Which sources of
candidates are converting
to hired employees at
higher rates?

You want to have a talent pool that continues to grow at an aggressive pace, especially as you are establishing your predictable hiring capabilities.

Having a large pool is great, but having people you consistently communicate with and who are seeing value in the connection is infinitely better.

This is a fundamental barometer of the health of your talent pool, and a key metric for predicting your ability to meet future demand.

There can be job families that are more or less responsive to sourcing and engagement strategies. Some pipelines may be filled with unqualified candidates. Understanding the conversion rate of each pipeline will guide your sourcing efforts and alert you to structural problems within your talent pool.

Knowing the conversion rate of individual pipelines gives you the building blocks for calculating whether you have enough candidates in the pipeline to meet future demand.

Tracking the source of your talent-pool members gives metrics—which sources yield the most high-potential candidates? If specific job boards fill your talent pool at high rates, continue to use those boards, and possibly increase your usage of them.

Looking at hires by source can help you identify areas to fortify within your talent pool. If candidates from a specific resume database fill a small portion of your talent pool but convert to hires at a high rate, you can increase your usage of that database to fill your talent pool.


You want to have a talent pool that continues to grow at an aggressive pace, especially as you are establishing your predictable hiring capabilities.

Having a large pool is great, but having people you consistently communicate with and who are seeing value in the connection is infinitely better.

This is a fundamental barometer of the health of your talent pool, and a key metric for predicting your ability to meet future demand.

There can be job families that are more or less responsive to sourcing and engagement strategies. Some pipelines may be filled with unqualified candidates. Understanding the conversion rate of each pipeline will guide your sourcing efforts and alert you to structural problems within your talent pool.

Knowing the conversion rate of individual pipelines gives you the building blocks for calculating whether you have enough candidates in the pipeline to meet future demand.

Tracking the source of your talent-pool members gives metrics—which sources yield the most high-potential candidates? If specific job boards fill your talent pool at high rates, continue to use those boards, and possibly increase your usage of them.

Looking at hires by source can help you identify areas to fortify within your talent pool. If candidates from a specific resume database fill a small portion of your talent pool but convert to hires at a high rate, you can increase your usage of that database to fill your talent pool.

Centralization and standardization are important for optimizing your CRM approach, but they’re also crucial for compliance.

From spam regulations to data acquisition, and privacy liability to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations concerning diversity, and documenting candidate interactions, centralizing your activities and adhering to a common interface can significantly reduce liability.

In general, there are three
areas to optimize: data, people,
and programs.


is the number of candidates and the quality of information you can track around work experience, qualifications, and other information needed to match them to your open jobs.

These three levels of optimization will guide your refinement activities, enabling you to improve your recruiting outcomes and overall efficiency over time.


are the HR generalists, managers, recruiters, and sourcers who implement programs and drive different mixes of activities with varying levels of success.


are the campaigns and activities that you run against your centralized talent pool to drive applications and fill pipelines.

Chapter One: Part Five


Element Relationship:
This Time It’s Personal

People are looking for more from work today—connection matters more than ever before. We form relationships via social media and seek to connect with people 24/7. When we begin a new job, we want to be recognized for our unique contributions—what we bring to the organization—not just for filling a headcount. People join organizations because of connections, and will leave because of a lack of connection.

Relationships are so important at work that they can determine how long we will stay and the effort we are willing to put in. In its engagement-survey results, Gallup maintains that having a best friend at work and having someone who cares about you as a person drives better business performance and higher engagement.20

Forming great relationships with people during the interview process can help you determine fit—it can also give you that great experience where someone just clicks with you and your company. Lorna Borenstein, founder and CEO of Grokker—an online wellness company—looks for the power of relationship from the moment she meets someone who may be a fit for her company.

Borenstein emphasizes the need to demonstrate a genuine care for people, beginning with the recruitment process. “You do this because it’s how you connect with people, and that’s how you truly build a strong relationship,” Borenstein says; “I start by sharing life stories.”21 People love to share their stories, and in doing so, they can genuinely create a connection that is positive both for the individual and the company. Borenstein wants to ensure she hires the right person: someone who is not only capable and passionate, but who will also fit well within the Grokker organization. Making sure you get human chemistry right is essential.

How do you build genuine business relationships—the kind that will lead to long-term friendships and personal growth, which contribute to optimized organizational performance?

Mike Muhney explores this question in his book Who’s In Your Orbit: Beyond Facebook—Creating Relationships That Matter. Muhney states: “Social media has injected a sense of imbalance. People think they are staying in touch with everybody, and it’s not true. You have to have a segment you focus on (in your networking).” The importance of a personal touch in networking cannot be overstated, whether on social media or face to face.

From a candidate perspective, relationships determine the business opportunities you’ll be presented with, for open jobs you may be eligible for, company projects, or consulting assignments. Because this is so

powerful, you have to consider how you build both in-person and virtual relationships. Muhney reminds us that being purposeful in the ways we connect is very important.

He recommends that we:


Make a personal one-on-one
connection whenever possible


Do not put anything on social media
we would not want a prospective employer to see


Remember key things about each
of our contacts 22

For people either actively or passively in the job market, the power of personal connection can make
a big difference. Have you ever
had someone reach out to you on LinkedIn asking for help in their job search, or for an introduction?

Maybe they are a third or fourth connection and you have no idea who they are or what capabilities they possess—yet they are asking for your influence in helping them make that connection. Job seekers and recruiters know the value of personal connections and understand that reaching out for help from their extended social circles can build the connections desired and help extend their network.

In short, you need to become the person people want to connect with—the call they want to take, the conversation they want to have.

Remember that
Relationships Are

I suspect it is practically a daily occurrence in this talent market that you receive requests for recommendations of names of candidates who would be good in a particular role. It seems this type of networking is often one-way—people want something from you. And while there might be a thank you at some point it is not guaranteed. Reaching out to colleagues to source candidates is nothing new, but it appears to be on the rise. If you really want great recommendations from your network, do not just be in “ask mode all the time; become a connector.

How can you turn your managers into connectors?


Offer something of value—a great article you just read, inforation from a conference you attended, recommendations of books.


Reach out periodically in person—ask how you can help others.


Introduce people in your networks to one another so they can make more connections and grow their individual networks.


Become active in conferences and professional associations; do not just go to meetings to listen and attend—give a presentation, or volunteer for a role.

How can you turn your managers into connectors?


Ask your leaders …when they go to conferences, who do they connect with? Whom are the thought leaders in your industry? As they connect, add those people to your external database.


Hang out in social media where people you want to hire are hanging out—what exciting projects and ideas can your leaders share with them?


Ever thought about putting out an initiative or a problem to solve? You can do it where you offer pay or where you offer internships or for the person (people) that solve them. Consider a competition.


Have every leader in your organization create and external “Top 10” list the top 10 people they would want to hire—start a social conversation with that group—led by your leaders—share new thinking, upcoming projects, breakthrough technologies.

Use the Power
of Conversation

At the core of a close business relationship is the conversation. Tacy Byham, CEO of DDI, a global leadership-development consultancy, says that there are two needs to every interpersonal interaction or conversation: personal needs and practical needs. 23

Simply put, the personal needs address a person’s need to feel valued, and involve listening with empathy, maintaining the other party’s self-esteem, being supportive, and sharing thoughts and feelings.

Practical needs provide a framework of conversational steps, such as opening, clarifying, developing, agreeing and closing, and ensuring that the person is heard and understood. Both personal and practical needs have to be a part of the connection, or you may find yourself walking away from the conversation with less than you had hoped.

Advice for Making a
Personal Connection

Whether face-to-face or on social media, it is always good to keep in mind the three Ps: Positive Impression, Personal Connection and Purposeful Case.24

Positive Impression:

Start with a positive
comment, show
enthusiasm, focus
on the person.

Personal Connection:

Listen with intent to
understand rather than
to respond, establish
a personal connection
before doing business, refer
to a mutual acquaintance or
interest, ask good questions.

Purposeful Case:

Prepare a statement of
what you do or what
you are working on
and be concise. Explain
importance and benefits;
offer to help before
asking for help.

In Closing…

Naturally, we are social creatures—we crave friendship and positive interactions—so it makes sense that the better our relationships at work, the happier and more productive we are going to be. Positive working relationships give us several other benefits, as described below.

Our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us, people are more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement, and we are more innovative and creative.

What’s more, good relationships give us freedom: Instead of spending time and energy overcoming the problems associated with negative relationships, we can focus on opportunities.25

Gallup says employees who enjoy their work and feel positive about it are better motivated, take more pride in their organization, and are more closely

connected to their teams and the organization in general. They are also the most likely to share their positive feelings about the company with their customers, friends, and family … all sources of talent.

Investing in relationships at any stage of the hiring and employee process makes good sense. Your competitors may try to match you on product or services, but it is very hard for them to compete on relationships that are unique and personal. In order to survive and thrive in this talent market, personal is your key differentiator.

For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect—people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us—then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes. The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with.
—Jim Collins

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