I heard a great joke the other day. It goes something along the lines of, “Oh! I just got a great deal on 130 box sets of the first season of Hoarders!”

I bring that up because I suspect (and in speaking with a handful of you, I know it be true) that you are all hoarders. You work so hard to collect the names and email addresses of potential prospects, embedding easy-to-use forms in your website and social channels – but what do you do once you have them?

You hoard them.

You are so proud of that pile of names, stacked neatly in the database you never look at. They go from floor to ceiling, and you never touch them. Whether that number is three thousand or three hundred thousand, it’s just a number. You don’t really know what’s in that list. They could all be Nigerian scammers or dynamically generated fake email addresses input by a bot, or they could all be the next senior vice president of operations. You don’t know.

Some of you will stop me here and say, “Hey, we have a tool that automatically sends out job alerts to those people when relevant jobs are available.” Sure. Great. You ask potential prospects for the least amount of information you can get away with for fear of spooking them away. Somehow, knowing their location and job areas, you think you can automatically craft relevant interaction and engagement.

It takes a lot more than that to build and manage a killer talent pool that wants to hear from you and doesn’t consider you akin to spam. It doesn’t matter what tool set you have: it’s not about the hammer, it’s about whether you pull it out of the tool box once in a while and actually use it.

Attraction in Action

You know that little widget that you slap on your site, the one that says, “Stay up to date with job alerts” or what have you? You know that’s only the default text, right? I did a search on “‘stay up to date’ job alert” and Google returned 2.6 million results. That’s a lot of sites that are saying the same thing. Is that what you want?

If you want to increase the quantity and quality of your talent pool, start here. What exactly is the reason they should sign up? Job alerts? They can get updates from Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and plenty of other places. What are you offering to differentiate yourself?

Allow me to suggest that you offer some content. Each job alert email should kick off with some piece of content that shows how amazing your company is and why someone should apply. Include content that doesn’t just help you, but content that helps them. You could give industry news; you could tell your prospects about hiring trends or what recruiters want to know. If you make your talent pool smarter, that only helps you. And if you market your talent pool as a way for them to get smarter, they will be far more inclined to sign up.

Engagement and Interaction

So once you’ve signed them up, how do you keep from just hoarding them? Engage them and interact with them. It’s how you start to turn your talent pool (staid, semi-stagnant water) into a talent community (people who care about your company and engage actively with it).

First off, not every talent pool tool set naturally allows for deep engagement. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done with smart application of your email and social tools. Once signed up for talent pools, ask people in each job area to sign up for closed Facebook groups just for applicants to your company who are interested in logistics, or finance jobs, or marketing. Within these groups, which you can monitor and manage, they can communicate with you and with each other. You can post found and created content. You can ask and answer questions. You can create localized and engaged talent communities where your talent pool acts as the door.

Or do the same kind of thing with separate email lists. Send people who are interested in store management articles about being a better manager, asking better questions in an interview and enhancing hard or soft job skills. The link to jobs is less important than the content and the fact that your company is actively helping these people succeed. That’s something that won’t quickly be forgotten.

Why is managing your talent pool so important? It’s more than connecting dots. It’s about creating conversions. Emma, who did a survey of their millions of email campaigns they run for agencies and companies, say that nurtured leads make 47% bigger purchases. The same data set says that welcoming people to your list leads to a 33% higher likelihood of purchase. The parallel to recruiting is that nurtured prospects are more likely to apply and engage. And your talent pool is how you begin to nurture those prospects.

Regardless of what tool you’re using to collect and manage your talent pool, you need to stop hoarding these names and start engaging with them beyond simple job alerts. That’s how you start to attract the best prospects to your organization.

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