Talent acquisition

The importance of continuous talent conversations

Back in 2018, I wrote about this topic for TLNT. And several startups, years, and life events later, I thought the article deserved to be refreshed since AI is invading the way hiring platforms and companies engage with the talent market.

Building outstanding teams has always been a competitive process. Companies must constantly be on the lookout for unique ways to meet their talent needs. Even in a post-COVID economy filled with layoffs, attracting the best talent requires focused effort. In the age of quiet quitting on TikTok, it is more important than ever to emphasize your employer brand distinction, unique talent acquisition programs, talent technologies, candidate experiences, and the communication of core company values both internally and externally.

In order to remain truly competitive for top talent, both active and passive, organizations must hack their practices, strategies, capabilities, perceptions, and assumptions. The most crucial change to make? Instead of communicating with the talent market only when there’s an approved headcount, consistently engaging with the talent community can prevent the greatest self-inflicted wound for a People’s Team.


Stuck in reactionary hiring

For too many companies, talent acquisition is reactionary and not — despite being called strategic — actually strategic. Instead of treating the mission to hire top talent as an ongoing endeavor, most organizations don’t look for talent until there is an actual role to fill. As a consequence, they miss out on having ongoing interactions with the talent community and evangelizing their brand.

Ask any forward-looking CEO what the three most important jobs in the company are, and they will list the hiring team as the #1 or #2 priority. They will unanimously say that to remain competitive and succeed long-term, great people are always needed. So why do they stop looking and engaging when the positions are filled?


Always leave the door open

The common underlying thread for most recruiting organizations is that talent acquisition cannot, or should not, happen in a socially organic continuous way. Recruiting is almost always treated as a project or outsourced effort to achieve a specific hiring goal. Once this goal is met, all efforts cease until the next need arises. This is why companies tend to cut back on talent acquisition teams in the first round of layoffs (a massive mistake that we can discuss in another article).

The unfortunate hiring reality has remained largely unchanged for as long as the word ‘recruiter’ has existed. Recruiting is viewed as a need-driven activity, but the needs beyond the hire are often not fully appreciated.

In 20+ years of talent acquisition, I have yet to see an organization that could accurately predict attrition, the availability of highly sought-after candidates, or exactly when their employer brand would need rehabilitation. In all these areas, and more, the Talent Acquisition Team is the only one truly equipped to deal with them—but only if the door is left open.

By always leaving the door open, we create opportunities to engage with the talent community and showcase the best of our company culture. Simply put, the ‘Continuous Talent Conversation’ allows for something special to happen. It enables us to build engagement and relationships that we can tap into when needs arise, or to secure a game-changing candidate when one becomes available.


Creating continuous conversations

Try some or all of these ideas to transform your talent efforts:

💡 1. Leave common core positions open:
Every thriving organization tends to have between 5 to 10 core positions. Always leave the most common ones open on your career site. ‘But we have no open headcount!’ True, but you do have natural churn, underperforming individuals (5%-12% in most companies), and future projects that will require key hires.
My guess is that if a superstar walked through your door, you could make room, right? So list these positions and be transparent in your postings that you welcome CVs for future consideration. If you are transparent,  you are not doing something ick. 

Bonus tip → Contact each person and acknowledge their interest in the role. Send them some information and make yourself available for a 10-minute coffee call if they have questions. DO NOT automate this with AI. Every interaction is a chance to display your company culture and what makes you unique. This is 100% a human only activity. 


💡 2Engage, engage and engage again.

Every brand marketer worth their Instagram will tell you that you must engage your audience. Talent acquisition has always been a marketing and sales effort. So gone are the days of putting up a billboard or taking out a newspaper to generate interest. 

In case you missed the memo, Gen Z and younger Millennials develop trust only through social media. If you don’t create conversations on social media or if you confine your efforts only to LinkedIn, you might as well post a link to your competitors on your career page.


And you don’t need an army of influencers to do this. User-generated content always outperforms ads and big company accounts. So show off your culture, be silly, evangelize your values, and talk to your talent audience like you would your bestie from high school. You’ll be amazed at how many great people will knock on your door. 


Illustration by: EQUALS TRUE


💡 3. Connect through your newsletter 

When marketing departments start newsletters, it’s often for business development or branding reasons. However, a little-known truth is that most subscribers are potential or aspiring candidates. Starting a newsletter is a great vehicle to inform people about your products, services, values, culture, market perspectives, and much more. It’s also the perfect platform to announce future hiring needs that will attract attention. At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is a great way to have an ongoing conversation. 


💡 4. Jump on hot topics

Engaging in conversations that are already happening is a powerful organic way to draw attention to your employer brand. Don’t be scared to join discussions with thoughtful comments. And don’t be scared to challenge a post that goes against the grain of your company values. Post, post, post! And make sure this remains a purely human activity—AI cannot convey sincerity, wit, and empathy the way your team can.


Keep the door open…with people

The only way we, as humans, truly get to know anything or anyone is through interaction and conversation. We are wired to feel more comfortable the more we understand something or someone. Even if we don’t agree with an idea, product, service, or person, we feel more confident in our position the more we learn. Therefore, the key to keeping the door open to great people is by continuing the conversation. And yes, these are all human-driven activities. 

While AI has its place in talent management, we can discuss that another time. For now, let’s agree that humanity is essential for these types of conversations. So, please refrain from deploying the customer service chat bot.

What’s your take on hiring? Let us know in the comments below. We would really love to get your thoughts on this topic. 

And don’t forget to check out our blog for articles on inclusive hiring, leadership, and more. Got questions about EQUALSTRUE? Hit us up at hello@equalstrue.team, follow us here, or visit us at https://equalstrue.tech for more.


Copyright © 2024 EQUALS TRUE. All Rights Reserved.


Follow Us:

You may also read

Sign up to get job alerts sent to your inbox.

By clicking send you’ll receive occasional emails from EQUALS TRUE. You always have the choice to unsubscribe within every email you receive.