By Matt Alder

Recruitment is difficult for many employers at the moment, with skill shortages and a lack of available talent in multiple industries. The pandemic is undoubtedly one of the root causes here, but there are several other long-term trends in play that mean recruiting is not going to get any easier for a long time to come.

Quite understandably, many employers will be just operating in the here and now to deal with their immediate problems. However, the innovative organisations are also focusing on deep-rooted initiatives to make sure they are prepared to deal with the talent challenges of the future.

An emerging strategy here is building long-term engaged relationships with potential future employees. This approach brings many advantages: it ensures the employer is top of mind; allows the opportunity to create a positive impression over time; and provides vital insights into where skill shortages might lie in the future.

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Long-term talent engagement is a trend many large organisations are embracing, particularly those who need highly-desirable technical skills. An increasing number are building programmes that communicate with potential employees regularly at scale, using technology to do something that would only be possible on a one-to-one human basis in the past, for example, by a recruiter keeping in personal contact with individual prospective hires.

However, this approach doesn’t have to be exclusive to global technology companies. It should be something that all employers of all sizes consider for all kinds of roles. As recruitment technology improves, candidate relationship management software is becoming very accessible to all. There are also many low-cost, more generic CRM systems that can be used for this purpose.

It would be a lie though to say that implementing this kind of strategy doesn’t take considerable effort. Populating a database with previous applicants, interested people, and proactively sourced prospects is only half the story.

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The real key to success is regular communication to make sure people stay engaged. This communication has to be relevant and valuable – please don’t go through the effort to build this kind of strategy if you are just going to spam people with open vacancies. Examples of non-job opportunity content might be company news, exclusive insights into the industry, and even special offers or discounts in the case of B2C organisations.

Competition for employees is only going to get more intense, and the employers who win the race for the best talent in the future are the ones who put the effort in now.

Matt Alder is host of The Recruiting Future podcast