Caffeinated Recruitment: 3 Ways to Improve Your Top Talent Pipeline

by Shannon Callarman


Last December, a passionate college student from Ohio looking to move to Chicago after graduation reached out to us. While searching for companies in the area to work for, she stumbled upon Red Caffeine. For her privacy, I’m going to call her “Rachel.”

From what Rachel gathered from our website, she was drawn in by our company culture and the type of work we do for our clients. She researched our team and found a way to connect with me and our Digital Lead, Jimmy. Over the phone, Jimmy and I discussed her career aspirations with Rachel. We gravitated towards her astounding energy, so we told her to keep in touch as she gets closer to graduation.

During Spring Break, Rachel reached out to let me know she would be in town and asked if we could grab a coffee. I said, “Sure!” After meeting her in-person, I was eager to write this post! Why? Because when it comes to building a team, talent recruitment is an ongoing task. Even if you’re not hiring immediately, it’s crucial to be networking with talented people as much as it is to be networking with sales prospects. Sometimes, you don’t even know you’re looking for someone until you meet them. (I know. Cheesy, right? But it’s true!).

These connections become your talent prospects. Building relationships allow you to get to know them on a more personal level and gives you more time to measure whether or not they are a true culture fit.

Here are three ways to improve your talent pipeline:

1. Informational Interviews

The type of meeting I had with Rachel is known as an “informational interview.” It allows the candidate to ask questions about your company and industry in a more casual setting. It alleviates a lot of the pressure and stress of a real interview. During an informational interview, the candidate is focused on learning more and is given more time to ask questions or to understand how their skills can match up to a company’s unique needs.

For an hour over coffee, Rachel was able to ask questions like:

  • “What are some things I should learn before I graduate?”
  • “Looking at my resume, do I have enough experience?”
  • “How did you build your career?”
  • “What are agencies like yours looking for in an ideal candidate?”

The list of questions goes on.

Vice versa, I was also able to ask her questions like:

  • “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • “What are your after-graduation goals?”
  • “What are you looking to do in your first full-time position?”

At the end of our meetup, she handed me an updated resume, and I was able to share my thoughts with my team. When it’s time to hire, I’ve already taken a few steps towards finding the ideal candidate. Phew, that’s a relief!

2. Website Content That Speaks to Top Talent

Rachel found us by stumbling upon our website. She commented not only on our company culture but also the type of work we do. She loved the photos of our office dogs and parties and was interested in learning more about our office remodel. But more importantly, she already knew so much about how we work with our clients. Without giving her too much insight, Rachel understood the four different phases of our services and how much emphasis we put on strategy. She has a keen interest in not only writing but consulting and thought that RC would be a great place to improve her consulting, writing, and marketing skills.

Using your website as a recruitment tool, showcasing company culture, and having an engaging careers page are great ways to attract top talent. But keep in mind that today’s top talent is looking for companies that are also doing engaging work. Be sure that your services are highlighted in a way that not only speaks to prospects but also to the type of talent you’re hoping to attract and hire.

3. Give Them Something to Talk About

When candidates are actively searching for jobs, they’re willing to share online content to further connect with prospective companies. Rachel mentioned she loved sharing the content Red Caffeine creates. I told her to look out for my LinkedIn updates since I’m always sharing job opportunities (with RC or through my network). Active job seekers interested in your company are also great company advocates. They’re often on LinkedIn keeping up with their favorite companies and are willing to like and share the content you produce.

If you continue to develop unique and engaging content, and you’re active on social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, then you’re more likely going to stay on the top of your candidates’ minds. And on the flipside, you can measure how engaged the job seeker is with your company, so when you’re ready to hire, you know who has already shown a high level of interest and has gone above and beyond submitting a resume.

Want to learn more? Take a look at our Employer Branding services and our other impact areas.