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Most organizations struggle to identify and engage with niche talent pools, let alone add these individuals to their own talent communities. What is worse is when an organization thinks they have built a robust talent pipeline of niche and highly skilled candidates only to find it is actually pretty shallow.

Employed candidates today, especially those of the niche and highly skilled variety, are essentially dipping their toes into the water when it comes to job searching. Your recruiting and pipelining approach needs to take that into consideration.

Here are three areas to take a deeper look at when pipelining for highly sought-after, niche candidates. I encourage you to adjust them for your organization and the specific type of talent you want to hire, but they are a good place to start.

Technology. When it comes to senior-level, niche and highly skilled talent, now is not the time to be doing administrative work sourcing, matching, initial candidate outreach manually. Use technology for these tasks and let human beings do the higher-value work that requires the compassion, understanding and intellect of a person. (Learn more about this from Sevenstep Chief Solutions Officer Paul Harty in this podcast: Finding the Right Balance Between Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence.)

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just younger generations driving the need to automate. Because they remember time-consuming, multi-stage, manual application processes, senior-level, niche candidates respond favorably to a tech-heavy recruiting process. They are OK with chatbots and not interacting with a human being until it makes sense to do so.

And while I’m at it, don’t be afraid to call a chatbot a chatbot. Everyone knows it is not a person they are “chatting” with, so don’t pretend otherwise. Recruiting technology is powerful use it and call it what it is. People appreciate the honesty.

Productivity. Being overly proactive with niche talent communities is not always the right answer. Of course, it is always a good idea to bring talent in from an employer brand and company awareness perspective, but unless you are approaching these candidates with a specific job in mind, do not consider them to be an active part of your talent community because they are not. Hard-to-fill recruiting is evolving for a variety of reasons and environmental factors, including the pandemic, and a candidate’s job search status is never static.

When building a talent pipeline of niche candidates, be mindful of budget and time. Do not invest a lot in advertising spend or in time recruiting until you have something tangible for this population.

Candidate experience. Be thoughtful in how you engage with candidates, especially niche and highly skilled individuals. I recommend targeting a highly specific group versus casting a wide net. In general, companies are not good at forecasting their talent needs. Now more so than ever, many do not know all of the positions they will be hiring for within the next 30 days, let alone the next six months or year. Consistent, targeted messaging helps with that. Bake your employer value proposition into your messaging and tailor your communications in order to tap into a cultivated, deliberate candidate pool. And, do this at targeted times versus during ramp-up times long after a need has been identified. Which, by the way, is too late for top talent. Reactionary talent acquisition tactics are a sure way to disengage and turn off high-level candidates, not to mention this population requires at least a little bit of lead time for courtship and to provide notice to their current employers.

When you reach out, focus on the overall opportunity at your organization the why of the company versus leading with the details of the specific job. This is the difference in pipelining versus recruiting. Should the job not work out, you should have at least shared more about the company and what it means to work there, and this is how you can still loosely keep these candidates engaged for future opportunities. Be genuine, be honest and be targeted. Now is not the time to be leading people on.

This is not a land grab. More candidates do not necessarily equate to more or better hires, especially when it comes to niche and highly skilled candidate populations.


To learn more about Sevenstep’s partnership-driven total talent solutions, including RPO, MSP and our technology platform, Sevayo, visit our solutions overview page.