One of the most anxious times in any manager's tenure is when a mission-critical role is suddenly open and you can't seem to get it filled fast enough. I know that I've been in that seat and it kept me awake at night. As a manager or CEO, you should spend 50 percent of your time on your people, and that includes recruiting.
When you have an unexpected open role at your company, you're hemorrhaging cash and productivity because your team is taking on that burden. Making sure your company has an adequate talent pipeline for when those roles open up is the most important thing for your team and your business.
There are a few steps you can take to ensure you're talent pipeline is always full:
Showcase your employment brand.
For my company, we made a culture video in our spare time about three years ago. Candidates still tell us that it's the number one reason they applied for a job with our company. It cost us nothing and it has brought in about half of our hires. We also list our benefits, core values, and employee testimonials on our career site.
Another way to show off your brand is by consistently having job openings posted on your career site, it shows you're a successful and growing company, which will ultimately make candidates want to hop aboard your rocket ship.
Avoid reactive hiring.
Most companies only open a job when a sudden need arises: an employee quits or is let go or is out on medical leave. At my company, we're very clear about setting our headcount plan well before the year even begins.
One year, we knew we were going to hire about 20 people staggered throughout the year. Early that year, we received another round of funding. At that time, we had three of those 20 positions open on our website.
The funding made us change our thinking. Instead of staggering, we decided to invest in the business immediately and hire the 20 people as soon as possible, so we could grow our business faster.
If we'd opened all of those positions on our website as soon as we made the intention to hire them, we could have already had a great applicant pipeline and shortened our time to hire. Learn from us: As soon as you make the intention to hire, open the job on your site.
Build a network of quality candidates.
You may be thinking: What's the point if I can't hire them right away? Even if you don't have an immediate hiring need, you can build a network of quality candidates for when you're ready to make a hire.
I met a consultant that I thought would be a great fit for our team while at a conference. We didn't have the resources to hire her at the time but I made sure that our team had the opportunity to meet this potential great hire over the course of two years. We kept the lines of communication open and a time came when a role at our company became available and luckily for us, we already knew the right person for the job.
Top candidates are everywhere: at conferences, car washes, dinner parties, volunteer board meetings -- you name it. You should always be on the lookout for the right fit and building a relationship with those potential hires, especially if they've raised their hand to work at your company by applying to an open role on your website.
If you're not ready to make a hire at that time, consider inviting your top candidates in for an informational interview or to get coffee every couple of months or you can just email and check in with them. When you need to hire for an open position or replace a low performing employee, you'll already have a list of potential candidates to fill the role.
With a full talent pipeline, you'll be prepared for the worst-case scenario and sleep more soundly.