Given the historically-low unemployment rate, employers across industries are tasked with thinking outside the box with their recruitment and hiring efforts. And one way to fill open roles quickly -- despite the tight labor market -- is by having a pool of available talent to turn to as new roles open up. 

A recent study from SmashFly Technologies, an enterprise recruitment marketing company, found that talent networks have doubled among Fortune 500 companies since 2016 -- from 22 percent to 44 percent. A talent network is essentially a database of job seekers who have expressed interest in joining your team but could not be hired immediately for one reason or another. 

Building relationships with prospective candidates who have already reached out to your team or directly applied to open roles can help you ensure you're not starting from scratch each time you have an immediate opening. Below, I've pulled together some key tips to better communicate with interested job seekers. 

1. Maintain a database of interested job seekers. 

Your team likely shares open roles on your careers page each time you have an open role you're looking to fill immediately. But given today's competitive job market, it's also important to build a database or network prospective job applicants for roles you fill on a regular basis or will likely open up in the near future. 

To capture the contact information of job seekers who visit your careers page but don't see any immediate open roles that are a fit, you can include an option for interested job applicants to join your network and hear about open roles down the road.

One company that has seen success with building a database or network of talent is Zappos. In just a few clicks, interested talent can fill out a form and sign up for the Zappos Insider Program. Once they sign up, they'll start receiving regular updates about relevant job openings from the Zappos recruiting team. This approach ensures Zappos is never short on potential applicants and helps keep job seekers engaged and excited.

Your team can take a similar approach to Zappos and by doing so, you'll already have a network of prospective candidates to tap into each time you have an open role, rather than starting your search with a blank slate. 

2. Excite prospective applicants about joining your team. 

The study from SmashFly Technologies referenced above found that of Fortune 500 companies that regularly communicate with their talent networks, 95 percent of them only share job openings. But a talent network offers your team many opportunities to engage with candidates outside of job openings. You can share company updates and other relevant information to help prospective applicants understand the opportunity joining your team presents. 

Content to share with job seekers in your network can include: culture awards like "Best Places to Work" recognition, your employee video highlighting what it's like to work on your team, company milestones such as surpassing an exciting number of employees, employee testimonials and success stories, and more. 

3. Meet with qualified talent informally. 

If you're like most HR or business leaders, you've likely run into instances in which you've met ideal candidates but didn't have the resources to hire them right away. Or you've had to make a tough decision between two final candidates who were both qualified for your open role and were a great fit for your team. 

For top applicants you can't hire right away but don't want to lose touch with, consider meeting with them informally every so often -- either for lunch, coffee or in a similar setting. Then, when the right role opens up, these candidates will remember the effort you put into staying in touch and be more interested in applying. This will also help you decrease your overall time to hire, since these candidates have already been initially vetted.  

Now more than ever, it's important for employers to come up with unique recruiting techniques to engage with top talent. By building a pool of prospective candidates, you can set your team up for continued hiring success, even in today's competitive hiring market.

Published on: Sep 30, 2019
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