Until very recently, the hardest part of building out a talent bench was finding people who were actively looking for a new position. Now, due to the current economic situation, businesses have an extremely rare opportunity to find new talent that would have otherwise been unapproachable. 

Here are some of my tips on how to find top talent and build a bench during the Covid-19 crisis. 

1. Cast a wider net.

The entire world is looking for remote work right now. And if you find yourself in a position to work in a virtual environment successfully, you can use that to your advantage when looking for new team members.

This is especially true for businesses that were once focused on local candidates who could commute to the office every day. Now that you have pivoted to a "remote" model, you are able to look for talent in other parts of the country, thus casting a wider net and giving you access to higher quality talent. Customer service, sales, marketing, and technology are all positions that could easily be done by someone in another part of the country (or even the world) if you have the right systems set up. 

2. Enlist the help of a recruiter.

Not sure where to start? Try talking to a recruiter. I have been using a recruiter for several years now to help us find a good pool of candidates to choose from. Not only do recruiters have a database of talent that is actively looking; they should also have access to talent in the marketplace that may not be formally on the market yet. 

Let's say that your competition recently laid off Sally, a rockstar sales person that you have had your eye on for a while. This would be the perfect time to connect and explore the idea of working together. A recruiter can help facilitate the introduction and start the conversation. 

3. Work on your bench.

Not looking to hire right now, but still want to take advantage of the current job market? Consider building out your talent bench for future use. We call this the "gold standard of hiring." The idea is that you think of hiring just like you would a sales pipeline. When you create a sales pipeline, you identify a great prospect and work to open up a relationship with that prospect. It may take time to close a sale, which is not unlike a hiring relationship. 

Think about the last time you hired for a position and you had more than one great candidate, so you chose one of multiple great candidates. What did you do with the other ones? If you are using the conventional method of hiring, you wished them well and never thought about them again. But if you are actively working on building a bench, you stay in communication with them, knowing that eventually a position will open up. 

In the current economic situation, it makes a lot of sense to begin building those relationships now. Maybe Sally is planning on going back to her job once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, but six months from now when she decides to move on, you want her to consider your firm.