Modern recruiters know it is not good enough to simply advertise jobs and approach candidates on social media. The modern recruiter knows that there is so much more to recruitment than being able to find candidates. If you are stuck in a cycle of just finding candidates, how will you ever know if a person actually wants to work for your business or if they are just looking for a job! More so if a candidate is not engaged with you brand before the recruitment process starts how can you, or they, know that it will be a good fit when it comes to behaviours and values?

Only last week we saw an excellent example of this. On the show ‘Who’s the boss’ local Aberdeen brewery Brew Dog was featured as they were recruiting for area sales managers. The show was designed to track the use of an alternative hiring process which gave the hiring control to the employees of the company, rather than the boss. The candidates, selected by a recruitment agency in London, turned up on the first day of a week long interview process in their suits and boots. This made me cringe, the lead up to this point had featured the Brew Dog team who go to work in jeans and t-shirt, most of the guys have have beards and most of the employees have either piercings or tattoos. To me this looked like an ultra cool place to work where your performance is valued rather than what you wear to work. Unsurprisingly two of the candidates left the process early and one was offered the job, he accepted at the time but didn’t start with Brew Dog in the end. The recruitment process was a failure.

If the candidates had been engaged in the Brew Dog brand and culture, would they have turned up in corporate style suits? In fact, would they have applied? Probably not, it was obvious from their arrival in the office that they were uneasy and possibly shocked by the office style, never mind 2 out of the three candidates had no experience in the job their agency shortlisted them for! I am all up for transferable skills but it is not likely to work when there is no cultural fit.

With the onset of the importance of employer branding, a new era of talent competition is coming and the ones to come out on top will be the companies who engage their talent pools. Until recently recruiters from both agencies and direct employers boasted about the size of their database and used this as a definition of success.

Talent pool engagement is the future of recruitment

With the skills shortage in various industries tightening all the time, the engagement of talent pools is gaining more importance by the day. It is no longer good enough to have a huge database of candidates, now you need a huge database of engaged candidates that want to work for your business.

It’s all about content!

In the same way that business creates huge amounts of data and opportunities to use data, we also create lots of opportunities for content to engage our talent pools. Here are a few ideas;

  • Employee profiles
  • A day in the life of
  • CEO’s blog
  • Live speaking events
  • Social responsibility efforts
  • Graduate program stories
  • Employee career stories

The list can go on and on, but I won’t bore you as every business is different and will have a different story to tell. Have a brainstorming session with your marketing and communications colleagues and see what opportunities for content there are in your business. Need help? Book a call with me here to talk through how to get started.

What Channels Can We Use To Engage Talent Pools?

Each business will be different as your audiences will use different channels, but here are some you may want to consider:

Social media

People like to choose what websites and social platforms they visit. To ensure your content is engaging your target audience you need to know where your target audience is and how they use the platform. Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are by far the biggest but be careful not to intrude peoples’ personal space. Many people see Facebook as a personal social network and will be reluctant to engage with their current employer, never mind a potential future employer. Talk to your employees, find out which networks they use and understand how they could be engaged and which networks would be suitable/unsuitable.

Mobile app

Mobile apps have a huge benefit of being able to push updates to peoples phones and tablets. The biggest challenge here is, there needs to be a reason to download the app. For candidates the reason is simple, they want to work for you. It is a lot more difficult to persuade the rest of your target audience. If your company already has a widely used app, it could be made easier if your target audience has already downloaded your app and you have the ability to engage them there. If not think about making sure your content is easily found and utilised by news feed apps by including rss feeds on your website and blog.

Offline media

Offline media like newspapers and TV are much more likely to pick up on good news stories like contract awards, the creation of new jobs and social responsibility efforts. Be careful to engage a public relations professional to manage any potential negative spin that could be picked up on by the media.


Mass emails can be a great way of putting your message in front of your target audience. It can also be a great way to spam people so be careful not to dis-engage your target audience. A few careful steps can be taken to make sure you do not spam; don’t automatically enrol people without their permission, carefully decide your content calendar to engage people, but not too regularly and seek feedback to make sure you efforts are engaging.

Future talent

To be truly sustainable in your recruitment strategy you need to be looking at what the long term goals of your business are. One of the most basic goals of any business is long term success. Long term success means you need great talent now and in the future. To ensure you have great talent in the future you need to start engaging tomorrows talent today. Consider engaging with university students and possibly even younger school kids, there are lots of opportunities to do so if you look for them. Contact your local university or schools and they will likely be excited to be able to offer their students career talks and events.

How Do We Know It Is Working?

Its all about data! Most of the channels you use will be able to provide you with data on how people are interacting with your content. This will be presented in different ways such as views, clicks, social engagement and interactions. The more difficult audience to track is students but ask the organiser to perform a survey or to gain feedback from the students.

Why Is It Important?

By engaging your talent pools you are ensuring that in the future you will be able to recruit the people you need to continue your businesses success. Attracting people into your ATS or talent pools is not enough, you need to engage them. By engaging with your talent pool you will help people decide if they WANT to work for your company and if they are a cultural fit. You will attract more talent and hire better, more engaged, employees and you will create a truly sustainable recruitment strategy.

Image: Shutterstock

About Iain Hamilton

Iain is the founder of People Traction. Based in Aberdeen Iain works throughout the UK. People Traction provide recruitment strategy consultancy, in-house recruitment teams and recruitment project delivery. Connect with Iain on LinkedIn.

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