6 End-of-Year Techniques to Build Your Talent Funnel

December 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

bulbs_blog.jpgKnow who you’re hiring in 2015?

Even if you just filled the last open req for the year or if the team’s activated a hiring freeze, stocking up your company’s funnel with qualified candidates is one of the smartest ways to get ahead of competitors. Having a talent pool prepped and at your disposal before the new year kicks in takes some weight off your sourcing team and can give you the extra support to hit the ground running as soon as the open reqs start coming in.

Before turning on vacation mode for the holiday season, run through this checklist to help your team meet their hiring goals for the upcoming year.

Take advantage of holiday networking opportunities.

’Tis the season…for company holiday parties and meetups. While we fully support merrymaking, don’t forget these events are a great time to meet candidates, or to get connected with those who know other talented people looking for a new job. Look at your company party’s list of attendees for an idea of who’s who, and do some homework on your guests to find key conversation topics to bring up when making your rounds.

“I liked that article you recently wrote on your blog,” and “Tell me about the new app you created” are better ice breakers than an outfit compliment, although that can’t hurt either. Don’t forget to also check out sites like Meetup, Eventbrite, and Facebook to find out which groups and companies are hosting open-invite, holiday parties. In many cases, the guest lists on these networks are public and often link back to the person’s social profile, making it easy to build rapport and understand their background before meeting in person. 

Build lists of candidates for positions you’re hiring for now.

Your company may be already closing off the year with aggressive interviewing or hiring, but it isn’t too early to start prep work for the open reqs to come. In tandem with making your current hires, measure out the budget you have for the upcoming year and meet with the team to get a general sense of the positions they plan to have filled before the end of the next year.

Start sourcing and create candidate lists for these roles, and put them on the back burner to gradually add to through the year. Interviewing candidates now who seem like they’ll be a better fit in a few months? Put them on the “Reach out in 6 months list.” Meeting someone who’s currently an SDR who’d be a good candidate for the AE position opening up in Q2? Add this person to the “AE, Quarter 2” list.

Create a “legends” list.

This one’s the Pro Tip version of the previous point. BetterWorks tech recruiter Lindsay Dal Porto swears by this technique, as it helps teams take a more thorough, thoughtful approach to the sourcing process. A “legends” list includes candidates, interviewees, people you’ve met whom you can’t shake off – the must-haves your company would hire in a heartbeat, if you had the resources and bandwidth to do so. Think of candidates who turned down a job offer, or people you met during a conference you’re interested in collaborating with. Add them to your legends list even if a position doesn’t yet exist for them at the company to keep them on your radar when the timing and availability is right.

Revisit and remind the team of the employee referral network.

Remember the employee referral program you touted at the beginning of the year? Maybe the rest of the company doesn’t remember as clearly. The activity in your employee referral network may have come to a near halt, but a quick email and added incentive, if possible, can spark some life back into the program. Run through the list of candidates who’ve come in through this channel, as there’s a chance someone has changed their status from employee to job seeker. 

Audit your messaging.

Whether you’re ramping up on outreach, interviewing or hiring, the end of the year is an easy-to-remember marker for making adjustments to your external messaging – prospectives, candidates, new hires, employees, competitors, customers. Consider syncing up with the marketing, product, and engineering teams to make edits to your company website and social pages.

Does the messaging on these pages still align with what the company wants to communicate about its product and employer brand? Naturally, there’s less traffic and eyes on your sites at this time of year so take advantage of the seasonality to make the changes. Do the same review and assessment of your job descriptions, email outreach, and interview questions. Are all members of the team on the same page when understanding role duties and business goals, and qualifying candidates?

Audit your employer brand.

Similarly, meet with fellow team members for an end-of-year review of their onboarding, training, or employment experiences and come up with a list of what worked and what didn’t work to understand how to improve in the upcoming year. Communicating the company is proactively working to make their employees happy increases engagement and retention, builds a more attractive, accurate representation of your employer brand, and encourages current team members to refer their network for the company’s open positions.

What other end-of-year recruiting and hiring methods will you implement with your team? Spread the wealth and share ‘em in the comments! Be sure to add the final event in our tech webinar series to your calendar. We’ll cover three more networks to find candidates, and we bet a few stickers and a coffee mug you haven’t tried sourcing on at least one of them.
how to recruit top tech talent