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10 Tips for Filling Up Your Talent Pool

In our recent Talent Acquisition and Retention Trends survey, companies of all sizes identified finding and sourcing talent as either their biggest, or one of their biggest, talent management challenges. But is the talent pool really so shallow? Maybe you’re trying to swim in the wrong bodies of water or aren’t venturing much beyond the beach. The following are 10 tips for expanding your pool of candidates, altering your view of the ideal employee, and finding and nurturing top talent to fill all of your vacant and mission-critical positions.

  1. Don’t be shallow. When searching for candidates, don’t just seek out the people with the fattest resumes. People with the right behavioral attributes for the job can be trained in the skills needed to do the work. By focusing on candidates’ behaviors and values, instead of the usual educational pedigrees and exact work experience, you will deepen your talent pool. Not to mention, behaviors are fixed characteristics, while skills and experience can be learned.
  2. Take the long view. Consider what the job and company might look like over time and what type of person is right to fill that role. This will expand your field of potential candidates. For example, identify if your candidates have management potential and if they’re capable of growing to meet the future needs and objectives of the organization.
  3. Embrace your soft and fuzzy side. Hard skills, from years on the job, are helpful, but don’t let them eclipse your view of the whole person. Soft skills, like how someone gets along with others, matter, and if you’re only looking at what they’ve done and not how they’ve done it, you’re missing something.
  4. Don’t be boring. If your company isn’t boring then your job descriptions shouldn’t be either. Candidates have a choice of jobs and need to be intrigued when searching for potential employers. Make sure your job descriptions capture the true individuality and personality of your company and brand.
  5. Get your toolkit out. Don’t wait until you’ve narrowed your talent pool to use tools like behavioral assessments. By gathering behavioral data early in the process, you’re better able to prioritize your time and effort to focus on the candidates that look to be the best fit.
  6. Keep your toolkit out. Be sure to use the data you gathered in the pre-hire stage to customize your interviews and structure an offer that’s built on the specific values of your chosen candidate (if they like details, give them a very thorough offer letter, if they don’t like details, give them a one-sheet with bullets). Use what you learned early on to increase the likelihood of winning the candidate you want.
  7. Make it personal. All new hires are not the same, so why would you put them all through the same onboarding program? Match the program to each candidate’s drives and needs to make the experience resonate and stick.
  8. Make it interpersonal. Any new hire will most likely be joining a team, so get the team involved. Use behavioral data to educate the team and the new hire on how to best interface with each other. This will expedite a natural integration of the newest team member and start the gelling process early.
  9. Don’t check out. Your job isn’t done. Once new hires are productive on the job, don’t forget about them. You need a coaching program to keep them engaged, growing and challenged in new areas. Help them continue to be successful in their roles but also build skills for the future.
  10. Support your managers. Managers should be held accountable for retaining and developing people, but don’t assume that they already know how to do this—they may need to be shown the way. Partner with managers to help them interpret behavioral data and understand how to best adapt their management styles to the needs of their direct reports.

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