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How to build a talent funnel

We talk a lot in this column about hiring—where to place your ad, how to write it, etc. But what if you could actually cut back on the amount of publicity you need to do for each and every position? Building out a long-term talent funnel is one way to have potential qualified candidates at the ready.

“Long-term talent funnels” are the relationships you develop that ensure you and your company are top of mind with the people who know when the type of people you want to hire are looking for jobs.

Here are a few groups to form relationships with to start to build your long-term talent funnel:

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Veterans groups
Hiring veterans offers a host of potential advantages: They understand discipline and structure, they have had to work as a team and demonstrate leadership, and they often have specialty skills that suit our industry. There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping veterans find gainful employment. Reach out to let them know about your company and the types of positions you often have available so they can help connect the right people back to your firm as they become available.

Immigrant groups
Many new Americans were professionals in their home countries,but may be unable to work in their trained field here. Traditionally, they are hungry for opportunity and therefore are very appreciative and very loyal; therefore, they often are a great fit for positions in which you have had a lot of turnover because previous employees got bored or were unwilling to do the work. Connect with the local associations and resource centers in your area that work with new Americans or those learning the language.

Groups for the disabled
Most persons with disabilities are highly capable with reasonable accommodation. Though a disability may limit the ability to do one task, there are plenty of other areas where that same person may excel. There are many organizations you can connect with that provide a job coach and assist the person in becoming a contributing member of your team; in many cases, that person will be able to do the job independently over time. This is another opportunity for you to hire people who are grateful to have a job and, therefore, are loyal.

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For many businesses, developing relationships with schools can solve your hiring challenges. As long as you have the systems to be able to train and grow your people, reaching out to schools is a great way to get in front of young talent. Universities will connect you with candidates for entry-level professional positions; trade and tech schools will connect you with talent for skilled trades or hourly positions. High schools can connect you with more entry-level hourly workers as well as with students who are headed to college for a relevant degree that you can hire part-time and groom for when they graduate.

•    Working to develop a relationship with a career services representative will ensure you are top of mind when a student walks in and says they are looking for a job. If they maintain files of companies, make sure yours is included, and see if you can post jobs on their boards.

•    Inquire about alumni outreach opportunities. Some have job boards or email blasts through which you can promote your job directly to the alumni of certain school divisions. This is ideal for targeted searches.

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•    Go old school and post your jobs on bulletin boards around campus. (You may need to get approval.)

•    Sponsor targeted group events. For example, a marketing firm might sponsor events for the marketing club on campus. Offer to speak to the group about the industry.

•    Advertise at athletic events and in programs.

•    Connect with professors of classes in your industry, and offer to speak to their classes about what your business does.

•    Advertise in or partner with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants that students frequent.

These are just a few of the places to start building your long-term talent funnels. Always have the funnel in the back of your mind—who else is invested in getting people to work and has candidates ideal for your company? If you can build those relationships and develop them, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come

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