Greetings from 37,000 feet! This morning at 7:45 a.m., while waiting in line to take my seat for my secondflight of the day, I realized just how much I had already been performing this mundane and mindless task:
- Waiting in line to present my boarding pass and ID to the TSA Agent
- Waiting in line to place my bags and myself through the X-ray machine
- Waiting in line to present my boarding pass to the gate agent
- Waiting in line to stow my bags and take my seat onboard the plane
- Waiting in line to retrieve my bags and get off the plane
- Waiting in line to get a bagel and coffee during my brief layover
And my day was just getting started!
As I stood there observing the jet bridge full of passengers who were slowly shuffling toward the plane, it occurred to me how amazing – and yet discouraging – it is that we spend so much of our precious time waiting in line. Mind you, I’m an A-type personality so whenever I’m traveling, I prefer not to simply stand quietly in line and wait to move forward. I’ve determined that I enjoy the experience much more when I engage those around me in casual conversation. I find that it not only helps to pass the time, but to create potential opportunities. Therefore, I look for common ground with other passengers and speak with them about any number of topics (i.e. what they do for a living, where they work, where they went to college, etc.).
Then I got to thinking, this must be exactly how candidates feel after submitting their profile/résumé to a potential employer’s career site. Every candidate in the system is essentially doing the same thing: waiting in line. They’re all waiting for an email, a phone call, an interview, an offer, let alone a job. Perhaps those candidates – like me – would enjoy the experience much more if they had the option to engage those around them in casual conversation. Wouldn’t it help them to not only pass the time, but to create potential opportunities? They too could then look for common ground with employees and/or candidates and speak with them about any number of topics (i.e. what they do for a living, where they work, where they went to college, etc.).
Nowadays, we would typically call this type of arrangement a “Talent Network.” At Talent Function, we generally define a Talent Network as:
An opt-in, interactive forum where individuals with particular skill sets and interests can interact in a personal and meaningful way with employees – and in some cases other candidates – in order to better understand and be a part of the company to which they’ve applied, and all that it has to offer from an employment perspective.
There are a number of ways to implement a Talent Network solution, likely using your company’s existing CRM and/or ATS technologies. However, Talent Networks aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. They must be supported not only by a technology and strategy that align with the business needs, but by one or more individuals who are willing to provide personal attention to candidates – assuming that meaningful relationships are to be developed. And isn’t that the real goal – to develop meaningful relationships with candidates?!?
So, the next time you’re traveling – or managing candidates in your pipeline – I encourage you to look for ways to engage those who are standing in line in casual conversation. I have no doubt that both you – and they – will feel better about the experience – and create potential opportunities in the process.
Learn more about talent networks by reviewing our criteria matrix.