Building a Talent Bench: Why Passing on Candidates Doesn’t Mean Goodbye

Building a Talent Bench

So, you’ve just passed on a candidate. They seemed promising, but circumstances didn’t align. It’s easy to let them slip out of mind, but consider this:

Just because they weren’t the right fit for your team right now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future.

This is where the concept of a talent bench comes into play with hiring.

Who Goes on the Talent Bench?

Anyone you put on your talent bench must have a vision and values that align with your company. These are people that didn’t work out today, but may be a great option in the future.

There are three main types of people who go on a talent bench:

  1. They’ve expressed an interest in working for you, but the timing isn’t right for them.
  2. They pass culture fit, but don’t have the skills or experience yet and you don’t have an apprenticeship program.
  3. The timing and experience was right, but for some reason they rejected your offer.
Explanation: They Took Another Offer

Candidates who have accepted another offer might still be open to future opportunities. Life is unpredictable and circumstances change. Maybe the role they accepted wasn’t what they were promised or they’re looking for new challenges down the road.

In sales, there’s no such thing as a “No.” The same can be said about recruiting. Keep pouring value into them by sharing the interesting projects your company is working on. Share how your company is investing in your team. Eventually, all the great things you’re doing may help them realize that they’d rather be working for you. Even if they never make the jump, they may refer their friends to your company.

By maintaining a talent bench relationship with your high-quality candidates, you keep the door open for future opportunities.

Explanation: They Were Too Inexperienced

In some cases, candidates may be a great culture fit, but they’re just a little too fresh when it comes to skills and experience. While they may not be the right fit for your current needs, consider the potential they hold. With time and experience, they could develop into a valuable asset for your team.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over half a million apprentices working on the skills they need to build a successful career. Unfortunately, most small blue-collar businesses simply can’t maintain an apprentice program. But this is where the larger players in the industry come in. Job seekers can build up their experience at a bigger company, then come back to you for their dream job when their career is a little more established.

By keeping candidates like this on your talent bench, you acknowledge their potential and let them know your company is waiting for them when they’re ready.

Explanation:  The Timing Was Off

Consider this scenario: You interviewed a highly qualified candidate who fits your company’s culture. They’re perfect – except for one minor detail. They’re not ready to relocate at the moment because their youngest child is just two years away from graduation.

Understandably, they prioritize stability for their family right now. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t be open to considering an opportunity at your company in the future.

When you recognize the timing wasn’t right for them at this moment, you can keep them on your talent bench. In just a few short years, their circumstances may change and they could be ready to explore new opportunities.

By maintaining a relationship with this candidate and staying in touch periodically, you keep the door open for potential down the road. After all, timing is everything and sometimes it just takes a bit of patience and persistence to find the right fit.

Explanation: You Found a Better Fit

It happens. Sometimes a different candidate just clicks better with your team or has skills that align a little closer with your current needs. That doesn’t mean your runner up should be forgotten. They were top two for a reason and will probably still have a lot to offer in the future.

By maintaining a talent bench of top candidates, you set yourself up to have great options when new opportunities arise. Even if they weren’t your top pick today, they might be the right fit for a future opening.

Always Be Recruiting

Recruiting isn’t just about filling immediate vacancies. It’s about building relationships and nurturing talent over time. By proactively managing your talent bench, you create a pipeline of potential candidates who are already familiar with your company and its values and vision.

Creating and maintaining a bench doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavor. With the right systems and processes in place, staying in touch with candidates and supporting their growth becomes second nature.

And the return on investment? Priceless.

When the need for a new hire arises, you’ll have a pool of talented individuals ready and waiting to step up. By strategically managing your talent bench, you can develop relationships, support growth, and build a pool of talent that will benefit your company in the long run.

At Core Matters, we understand the importance of building and nurturing relationships with candidates, even if they weren’t the right fit today. That’s why we have a process dedicated to creating and managing your talent bench. So next time you pass on a candidate, remember that it doesn’t have to be goodbye – it might just be an opportunity to grow your bench and strengthen your team in the future.