Hannah Vincent, Marketing Manager at Hireserve, has written this guest blog for the January 2018 edition of our newsletter ‘Shared Agenda’. We hope you enjoy it.

2017 has seen a steady rise in staff turnover and an increased time to hire for the Third Sector. With the average time to fill a position rising to 40 days this year (People Count 2017*), everyone is looking for ways to source hard-to-find talent quickly and cost effectively.

Today, we’re looking at developing your own talent communities and engaging with the passive candidates within them.

We’ve put together practical suggestions as to how you can build a talent pool and connect with your passive candidates throughout your hiring process. You may just find the person you’re looking for is already right in front of you.

Building your talent pools

Now if you already have a talent pool, you may want to skip to the next part about how to engage with the candidates swimming around in it. If not, we’re going to get started with how to start building your talent communities.

With some recruitment technology platforms, you should be able to search your candidate database for applicants with specific skills, experience, location and more.

You can then add candidates which meet your criteria to specific talent pools, which you can look through when sourcing for certain roles.

Keep in touch with candidates in your talent pools

When candidates apply for a role with you, encourage them to register for job alerts. If you can, allow candidates to choose to receive relevant job alerts based on criteria like location, sector or salary. When you post new jobs, passive candidates will automatically receive vacancy alerts that are relevant to them.

Ask passive candidates to update their profiles

Storing passive candidates in your talent pools is only valuable if their data is still accurate. A way around this is to contact candidates and ask them to update their candidate profile with skills, experience, location and more.

This should mean you have more confidence that applicants’ data is accurate. It is also going to be particularly important under the GDPR, whereby candidates’ personal data will need to be kept up to date, and candidates will be able to submit a request to access, update and erase the information you hold about them.

Asking candidates to update their data is also a practical and valuable way of keeping in touch with passive candidates and ensuring they have semi-regular interactions to your brand and organisation.

Maintain a careers social account

Creating a ‘Careers@…’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account can prove effective in attracting talent and complementing recruitment campaigns.

Social media can also help you maintain engagement with passive candidates. Even if you’re not currently hiring, consistent updates will forge a connection with your passive candidates and will keep your brand at the forefront of their mind.

Think ‘behind the scenes’ videos, photos from staff socials and updates from current employees to communicate your company culture and working values.

Offer candidates an ‘insider view’

If you have an internal newsletter, consider sharing this – or an edited version – with passive candidates, particularly the ones interested in those hard to fill or niche roles. This will help strengthen candidates’ understanding of your organisation and company culture.

Keeping in touch with passive applicants via a newsletter helps to maintain consistent levels of communication, and will signify that you place value on your passive candidates.

Go offline

You could consider holding a recruitment open day or some kind of activity to promote a particular role, and invite relevant candidates from your talent pools to attend.

We heard about a great idea from North Yorkshire County Council, who were looking for a new way to fill social worker roles. ‘Take Out the Sofa Days’ were created to help attract candidates to health and social care roles.

The team took a sofa out to small market towns and encouraged people to sit down, ask questions and talk about the realities of a career in health and social care. Initiatives like this can work really well to put a personal face to your employer brand, and may be a great way to connect with your passive candidates in the ‘real world’.

Engaging with passive talent a cost-effective and proactive approach to sourcing talent.

You may have a great untapped resource of potential candidates just waiting to be connected with or approached for a role. If you have a volunteer database, some of these candidates may be open to employee roles too.

We do need to make one more mention of the GDPR here. Under the new legislation, you cannot store individuals’ personal data indefinitely. The GDPR does not provide a recommended retention period, so you will need to undertake an internal assessment to decide how long it is valuable and fair for you to retain candidates’ data in your talent pools.


Hireserve ATS recruitment software is trusted by third sector organisations across the world, including the MND Association, RNLI and Marie Stopes International.

To find out more, contact the Hireserve team on 01256 634 140 or drop us a note at info@hireserve.com.


*Agenda Consulting’s People Count 2017 survey. Find out more about the study.

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