How to Engage with Talent Whenever and Wherever You Find It

To win the battle for top talent, you need to be proactive in connecting with active and passive job seekers whenever and whenever you can.

Recruiting is more than just filling vacant positions. It’s a continuous process that involves sourcing talent, engaging with candidates, and even connecting with individuals who may be a good fit somewhere down the road.

“The best companies want the best talent—even if they are not currently hiring,” says Dr. Tricia Callender, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Thinx. “All the processes, paperwork, and planning are great, but what makes the engine run is the talent. Top companies know this and are always recruiting even when there is not an open position currently.”

Maintaining an “always be recruiting” mindset is crucial in today’s competitive hiring landscape. After all, Monster’s Work Watch report found that 92% of employers plan to hire in 2023. To win the battle for top talent, you will need to be proactive in connecting with active and passive job seekers whenever and whenever you can.

At Grainger, Jody Catanese, senior director of talent acquisition, knows how challenging it can be to find quality candidates in a competitive labour market. “We believe it’s important to maintain strong branding that builds awareness and reinforces organizational values while promoting career opportunities,” she says. “The more active we are in maintaining a connection with top talent, especially among diverse candidates, the higher the likelihood we will have great people available as opportunities occur. This also creates a positive candidate experience and shortens cycle times for hiring.”

Below, we’ve outlined several ways you can find and engage with top talent.

Get in Front of Talent with Digital Advertising

Digital advertising channels, such as search, display, and social media, can allow you to quickly build awareness and drive applications, even among passive job seekers. “Your candidates may not even be looking to move roles and, therefore, will not be active on job boards,” says Liam Read, head of recruitment operations at The Curve Group. “Therefore, display and social media advertising can be a great way to make them aware of suitable opportunities on platforms they are using, by catching their eye and encouraging them to look at job advertisements they otherwise would have missed.”

With digital advertising, you can target top talent by job function, years of experience or seniority level, geography, skill sets, interests, and more. “With the right audience targeted, you should tailor the language and creative assets used in your ads to the audience and regularly conduct A/B testing to identify messages that resonate best,” Catanese says. “Continue to optimize your campaign by allocating more budget to top-performing ads, and these campaigns will quickly round out your recruitment marketing strategy to attract the best talent to your company.”

Retarget Candidates to Stay Top-of-Mind

Retargeting is a form of online advertising that continues to work for companies long after a customer has visited their website. The technology works by following people around the web as a way to keep their brand in front of their target audience. Retargeting is so successful it’s been shown to increase click-through rates by 180%. When used for talent acquisition, retargeting can help you stay connected to candidates by placing your job postings on websites where interested candidates are likely to see them.

“Retargeting plants a seed and is a very effective brand-building strategy,” Callender says. “It speaks for you long after the potential customer has left your website. This is much the same for talent acquisition—reminding talented people that, ‘hey, this amazing company is somewhere you should be working’ and hopefully turning that into a conversation, meaning a hire somewhere down the line.”

Build Awareness Through Social Media

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, allow you to showcase your brand, values, and what life is really like working for your company, which can help build brand awareness among potential candidates.

“It is essential in this day and age to leverage social media to amplify not only the sales of your products and services, but your company’s brand and what it stands for,” Callender says. “Job seekers now demand this. And businesses, in turn, must respond to those demands. Leverage social media to amplify your culture and values and—this is key—be candid about areas where your company needs to improve.”

Leverage Your Employer Value Proposition

Communicating the value, recognition, and rewards that employees gain from working for your company is critical to winning the competition for top talent. An employer value proposition (EVP) can help you communicate what you, the employer, will give to your employees in return for their time, loyalty, and productivity. It’s also a great place to mention what your company stands for and its values.

“Now more than ever, employees are looking for and are attracted to EVPs that go beyond the job/work and offer other, more meaningful values,” Read says. “For example, commitments from a business to support diversity, inclusion and equality, the environment, mental health, or communities.”

Attend Industry and Hiring Events

Attending events—both in-person and online—can help employers draw in candidates from many different backgrounds. College job fairs and networking events, for example, might help you get in front of younger job seekers, while specialized, industry-focused events could present opportunities to connect with more seasoned workers. Also, consider attending or even sponsoring events geared toward diverse audiences, like veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour, and those with disabilities.

“In order to find other sources of untapped talent, put yourself in that talent’s position and think about where they hang out and spend time,” Read says. “For example, they may attend virtual and physical events aligned with their roles—from webinars to networking events. Consider trying to secure a speaker slot or a sponsorship deal, so you can get in the room or be more visible to them online. The same applies to job fairs. Consider building relationships with your local educational providers who run courses aligned with the roles, industries, or specialisms you’re hiring for.”

Create an Employee Referral Program

Another way you can engage with talent and expand your network is through your current workforce. Often, great in-house talent has connections within their fields and can point you in the direction of other like-minded individuals who may be a good fit for the roles you’re hiring for.

“Referrals are always a great source of what is often passive talent,” Read says. “If you do a great job with recruiting and onboarding a new starter or continue to demonstrate an ongoing investment in your existing employees, they’ll be the biggest advocates of your employer brand and can really help you to talent pools you can’t access directly.”

Communicate Through SMS and Email

It’s time to hang up the phone, recruiters. These days, most candidates, especially Millennial and Gen Z job seekers, would rather communicate via text or email. It’s the best way you’ll reach them in today’s competitive labour marketplace.

According to Read, contact with candidates through SMS and email can also speed up the recruitment process. “As a recruiter, it’s important to remember that candidates have lives,” he says. “For example, they could be at work and unable to answer calls during the day discreetly, so SMS and email provide great channels through which you can communicate swiftly.”

Optimize the Application Process

With about 70% of job applications completed on a mobile device, it’s important to ensure that your career site and application process are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Catanese says, “At Grainger, we’ve found that a simple, clear, and enjoyable user experience drives conversions, and maintaining this ideal experience across desktop and mobile is key to staying relevant with job seeker expectations. A mobile-optimized experience from career site to application makes it easy for candidates to find what they’re looking for from anywhere, at any time, and apply in minutes. As reliance on mobile devices for online access continues to grow across generations, including the up-and-coming Gen Z workforce, maintaining an efficient and enjoyable experience across career sites will help companies more effectively compete for talent.”

In addition to making your career site mobile-friendly, consider eliminating redundancies, like forcing candidates to fill out the information that can already be found on their resume, to speed up the application process and decrease bounce rates. Also, make sure your career site is accessible for people with disabilities by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Build Your Talent Pipeline with Monster

Finding the right talent in a candidate-scarce market is challenging. That’s why Monster’s recruitment solutions are designed to help you build a talent pipeline and streamline the hiring process. From promoting your jobs on social media and the Monster Audience Network to creating a compelling company profile, we can help you target and engage with candidates wherever they may be.