“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.“– Winnie the Pooh
I lost my passport a few years ago. It sucked. As I was due to fly to India for a friend’s wedding in less than two weeks, it really, really sucked. I panicked. I looked everywhere, or so I thought, and came up with nothing. I was so mad at myself because I had the passport the last time I traveled internationally, and where oh where could it have gone in those short six months between trips?
I was able to secure a new passport after spending what seemed like an entire week of my life plowing through the arduous process and ponying up a significant amount of coin to the passport office. I made it onto the plane, but my excitement for the trip was somewhat diminished by just how exhausting it was to even get there. Then, as I was unpacking upon arrival in Mumbai, what should I find tucked deep into an interior pocket of my suitcase? My “lost” passport, of course. Grrrrrrr.
You may be asking, what in the name of Bollywood does any of this have to do with recruiting? Well, much like my passport, the ideal candidate to fill that job requisition you so desperately need to fill may be found much closer than you think. No, not in your suitcase… that would be weird… but rather, somewhere in the multitude of HR and recruiting systems you’ve implemented in recent years.
Talent acquisition teams today have a wealth of tools at their disposal to find the best candidates. They use technology that automatically scours the global social landscape, using algorithms to find profiles of the perfect candidates. They employ “Big Data” solutions to “boil the ocean” that is the Internet. They rely on sophisticated referral solutions, attend virtual job fairs, host elaborate corporate recruiting events, and utilize many other means to source hidden talent.
But often times, the perfect candidate is right under our noses, hiding within the cavernous depths of the database, CRM and ATS solutions we use every day. The difficulty is getting at these candidates, and ensuring that their information is current and accurate. I looked in that suitcase at least a dozen times during my panicked passport search a few years ago and didn’t find it. But it was there. I just wasn’t looking the right way. And when I finally did find it, it was useless to me because it was outdated, much like the multitude of candidate profiles trapped within your systems today.
Oh, and those “trapped” candidates? They belong to you. You most likely spent ad dollars to attract them to your organization in the first place. Your recruitment marketing spend and efforts were used to bring their information into your systems, so what a shame to just let them waste away within the bowels of your ATS or CRM.
Enter the next generation of talent databases, also sometimes referred to as talent communities, networks or pipelines. This new breed of solutions allow organizations to look inward to source candidates that may not have been a fit when they first interacted with your company, but may be perfect now. These systems are much easier to navigate than their predecessors. No longer do recruiters need to be hampered by slow, ineffective search functionality. No longer do they have to be experts at Boolean search to mine internal systems for matches.
But getting at this talent is only part of the equation. Once you do get your hands on their information, how do you know it’s accurate or up to date? Often times, it’s not. If a candidate applied for a position two years ago, the information captured by your ATS or CRM is likely stale at this point. But the new solutions coming to market now allow for intuitive and dynamic ways to keep this information fresh. They are true talent communities, in the sense that they work to intelligently and frequently engage with candidates who have previously shown interest in your organization. They allow talent acquisition teams to easily maintain an ongoing dialogue with candidates, both passive and active. And they strengthen employment brands and act as the first step toward a truly optimized candidate experience.
But they won’t find your passport for you. That said, the wedding was fantastic.