In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, many employers across the country have had to make unfortunate layoffs and temporarily pause hiring. While nobody knows how long Covid-19 will impact the employment market, it's still important to prepare for future job openings to avoid starting from scratch once hiring picks back up.

One way to prepare your team for hiring down the road is by building a talent community or talent network. Through such a community, interested job seekers can fill out a simple form to let you know they're interested in joining your team. Once you have their contact information, you can let prospective applicants know about job openings as they come up, and share other company updates such as awards and employment milestones. 

As an example, consider Southwest Airlines. Due to the decline in air travel as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Southwest Airlines careers page doesn't have any immediate job openings listed at this time, but the website does include an option to join the Southwest Airlines talent community

Once prospective applicants click on the link to join the community, they're prompted to provide basic information, upload a resume and sync social media accounts like LinkedIn. Once job seekers join the community, they can receive regular updates on open roles, invitations to recruiting events and stay informed of other opportunities.

The talent community also features a career discussion forum, where prospective applicants can ask questions about becoming a Southwest employee. Your team can consider doing something similar, by either encouraging job seekers to ask questions about joining your team, or simply including a list of frequently asked questions on your careers page. 

Similarly, Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, created a talent network which it calls an "Insider Program." Instead of regularly opening roles and accepting traditional job applications, the Zappos Insider Program is a network of job seekers who are interested in working for the company at some point down the road.

Just like the Southwest Airlines program, in just a few clicks, interested talent can sign up for the program, and in return, they receive regular updates about the company, its culture and team updates about potential roles Insiders might be interested in. 

Your team can follow in Zappos' footsteps by maintaining relationships with prospective applicants. Include an option on your career site for job seekers to receive updates about future roles on your team. And excite potential applicants by sharing an overview of the opportunity joining your team presents-- such as a strong company culture, detailed career paths, benefits and more.

Given the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19, many employers don't have a defined timeline in place as to when hiring might pick back up again. But by being proactive now and tapping into a talent network similar to Southwest Airlines and Zappos, you can set your team up for success once you're actively hiring again.