Get on Board with Just-in-Time Recruiting
Posted by Eric Friedman
In the HR world of business recruiting—whether you’re working for a staffing agency or a private company—finding the best candidates exactly when you need them is rarely simple. More often than not, the hiring process is muddled by an overwhelming number of less-than-qualified candidates for the position you need filled, along with a small number of qualified candidates who are not really available or interested.
The traditional recruiting approach has been to develop a talent pipeline as a way of cultivating potential candidates for future employment opportunities, by building and maintaining relationships with a number of desirable applicants. The idea is that when an opportunity becomes available, you’ll have a number of people you can approach who have already warmed up to your company. Unfortunately this method tends to be wasteful and ineffective.
Why is the traditional talent pipeline method no longer the best approach? Let’s take a closer look:
- Over-processing. They say time is money, so you don’t want to waste it. When you spend time cultivating potential candidates who may or may not be interested in a job that may or may not come up, you’re wasting time. You’re spending time building relationships with people who may not be available, interested, or qualified for an opportunity when it comes up. In any case, you’re making more work for yourself by cultivating relationships that most likely won’t come to fruition.
- Unused inventory. Talent pipelines can also be wasteful in terms of the shear number of candidates you have amassed. Do your contacts in “relationship maintenance mode” help you hire smarter and/or do they help your company’s bottom line? Chances are they don’t. Toyota Motor Company originally came up with the idea that inventory equals waste. It affects a company’s efficiency and profitability, and diverts resources from where they can be better used. To avoid having any inventory, Toyota came up with the Just-In-Time method of production, but more on that later.
- Lack of quality. Say you’ve spent months, maybe years, developing a traditional talent pipeline, and now finally a position that must be filled immediately opens up. You turn to your pool of candidates and find… what? Chances are your talent pool is filled to the brim with candidates, but are any of them the one? It may even be that you’ve scoped out a candidate in your pool who’d be perfect for a certain position. However, by the time the position opens up, the position requirements have shifted because company priorities have changed, so the candidate is no longer perfect for it. You end up facing the possibility of hiring a now less-than-perfect candidate because you’ve already spent so much time cultivating a relationship with him or her.
Now you’re asking yourself, if traditional talent pipelining wastes so much time, money, and talent, how exactly should you approach your recruiting? The answer may lie in Toyota’s innovative idea—Just-In-Time recruiting.
With Just-In-Time recruiting, you don’t waste any time building and maintaining relationships with candidates while there are no positions available. Instead, you only look for candidates in real time, when a specific position is open.
And instead of spending time building relationships with candidates who may never have anything to offer, you only look at the resumes and candidate profiles of people who fit the job. These people can be immediately identified as good matches for the position when it’s needed, without you’re spending time maintaining a relationship with them. You search for and contact candidates only in direct response to a hiring need.
In order to make Just-In-Time recruiting work for your organization, you’ll need access to a lot of resumes that can be available to you on-demand. To do that, you should develop a candidate database using an ATS system in which all the candidates who respond to a job posting or who you find through searches or referrals are stored automatically.
You can even link your system to social network profiles, for example via the LinkedIn Recruiter Platform, which features a talent pipeline solution in which you can upload information about candidates to be matched with the person’s personal profile on LinkedIn. And even if the candidate doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile, it will save the information for you. With this system, you can count on information that is updated regularly, so you’ll know when a candidate has added something to his or her resume like another job description or a new skill.
Letting go of the traditional talent pipeline can be difficult. You may face an urge to maintain the status quo, but consider this: Just-In-Time recruiting can not only save you time and money, it can also help you find the one, the best candidate for the job at the right time, instead of settling for someone just because they were floating in your talent pool.
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Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.