The Best Talent Pool Your Recruiters Aren’t Using

As recruiting leaders, we’ve tapped every source for talent out there to help our businesses hire the best...

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Lauren Pease

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As recruiting leaders, we’ve tapped every source for talent out there to help our businesses hire the best: from agencies to LinkedIn, catch-all job boards to niche talent marketplaces. We invest an average of 10% or more of our annual budgets on marketing to capture active candidates, and yet most (if not all) companies must still deploy a passive search strategy to boot. However, there is one stone left unturned and it’s a well-kept secret among the most data-driven Fortune 1000’s. What is this sacred talent goldmine, you ask?  Your own employees!

Consider this scenario: one of your team members gets an email from a corporate recruiter a few blocks away.  The recruiter has a practiced elevator pitch, says something that resonates about an exciting role with new challenges and more responsibility, and all of a sudden, your prized team member is surreptitiously meeting them for coffee on a Friday afternoon.  It’s happening in cafes across America as we speak.

Perhaps we’ve all accepted turnover to be an unavoidable challenge as leaders of top talent; our superstars will inevitably get snatched up by our fiercest competitors.  Yet instead, imagine if that email had come from a recruiter within the employee’s organization.  We should take a cue from our competitors who are already sourcing from our employee population: we must source from this talent rich pool, as well, or lose top talent to them.The allure of hiring external superstars is powerful. Hiring externally brings new ideas, best practices, and relationships into your organization, which are critical to innovation and growth. However, there are strong business benefits to turning your sights internally, such as:

  1. Lower Cost:  internal hires cost 18% to 20% less and take less time to fill than external hires[1].
  2. Better and Faster Individual Contribution:  external hires generally perform at a lower level than internal hires for their first two years on the job[2].
  3. Stronger Team Performance: it takes time for an external hire to get up to speed on your culture and the ways of getting things done. The performance of teams that are absorbing external hires often goes down while team members work to get the new hire up to speed [4].
  4. Retaining Internal Knowledge & Expertise:  while, generally, external hires tend to have higher levels of education and training[3], there is deep value in retaining internal know-how and expertise.

As recruiting continues to move from a focus on active-only sourcing to a dual passive-active strategy, there is a business imperative to counteract the inbound marketing to and poaching of your current employees. There are some important themes to keep in mind as you build out your internal sourcing strategy.

HR Business Partners/Talent Managers make great facilitators.

These partners can help a Talent Acquisition navigate the passive talent engagement process within the organization. While getting HR partners onboard with internal sourcing as a valid strategy is step one, once they are bought in, they play a valuable role as sounding board and talent engagement partner.  By nature of their role, HR BPs understand the value of retention and internal mobility and how these factors positively impact employee engagement and they possess vast knowledge and strong relationships with top internal talent and business leaders.

They are also a great point of contact once an internal candidate is targeted for a new opportunity, as a means of providing performance and skillset insights. The HR BP as a member of the recruiting process prior to alerting the internal candidate’s hiring manager is a great starting point.

Ready managers for team members climbing the ladder.

While it’s easier said than done, getting hiring managers comfortable with an internal sourcing strategy is imperative, particularly for what comes before the recruiting conversation. Most managers are aware of the skills their direct reports should be developing in their current roles, but are much less certain of the areas in which their current teams should be developing to prepare for future opportunities.

As seasoned recruiting leaders, we all have a war story or two of a time a manager held up their team member’s transition to a new internal role (out of fear of losing the talent or concern over the time to get a new hire up to speed), which inevitably led that transitioning employee to look elsewhere and ultimately accept an external opportunity instead. Managers need to be willing to let their team members climb the ladder but it’s up to us as strategic partners to ensure that the internal employee population is mobile.  Meaningful collaboration between Business Leadership, HR Business Partners, and Learning & Organizational Development teams is necessary to create development programs such as formal mentorship or leadership skills training to develop next level skills for succession planning.

Roll out the red carpet for your internal candidates, too.

Simply put, treat internal candidates the same way you treat external candidates.  It is just as important to leverage internal employment branding and messaging that makes candidates want to stay and reminds them why they joined in the first place.  While much of corporate culture influences employee motivation to leave or stay, their experience with the internal recruiting process is just as important.  Many organizations monitor candidate satisfaction levels and regard this input as a key performance indicator of the recruiting process.  Internal candidate experience is no exception.

Building rapport with the internal candidate to learn their motivations and priorities, providing regular touch points with the candidate to let them know how the process is progressing and treating them as if they are considering other offers (especially because they might be!) communicates to them that they are a desirable candidate and a valued employee.

Give recruiters access to internal talent.

Performance History adds an incredibly powerful layer of data to any individual’s profile. Far more insightful than a resume, historical performance and manager reviews are a key strategic advantage you have over external recruiters in finding the best fit for an employee’s next role. But is there a way to tap into the employee population for top talent recommendations into newly opened reqs beyond simple shoulder-tapping? In short, yes!

It isn’t witchcraft; it’s part of HiredScore’s algorithm and big-data backed technology solution called Internal Fetch! Internal Fetch leverages data science and recommendation algorithms to help talent acquisition teams automatically and instantly source from internal employee populations (HRIS Systems). Aptly named, the Fetch product suite retrieves recommendations from organization’s passive candidate pools, including CRMs and Talent Communities, past ATS candidates and current employees within 24 hours of opening a new requisition.

Thanks to the power of machine learning technology and seamless ATS & HRIS integrations, Fetch delivers value across an organization by automating the process of searching prospect databases and recycling past TA manual efforts and marketing spend, as well as enhancing employee retention and engagement by evaluating the employee base each time a requisition is opened. TA teams gain instant recommendations, proactively sourcing warm leads for a requisition as soon as it is live, dramatically reducing time to source, enhancing the candidate and Hiring Manager experience, improving candidate quality, and enabling recruiters to focus on the human-touch parts of the process.

In conclusion, by creating an internal environment and strategy that fosters true internal mobility by unlocking your organization’s internal talent pool, businesses can capture greater employee engagement, talent retention, higher performance, and greater cost savings.



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