What Is Talent Relationship Management?

We’re always looking for ways to hire more effectively and efficiently, and to keep a strong pipeline of resources and potential places to find new talent. As the unemployment rate shrinks, the pool of available talent does the same and makes our efforts to find and cultivate top talent even more critical.

Many of us are familiar with customer relationship management (CRM) systems as a way to enhance, streamline, and improve the consistency of customer relationships. In a similar way, talent relationship management (TRM) systems are a means to enhance the relationship with potential talent.

TRM is a means to create, develop, and enhance relationships with potential talent. It acts as a means to stay in contact with candidates before, during, and even after the hiring process. TRM is not only the idea behind the process but also typically refers to any software and systems in place to facilitate the process. TRM can be the software that allows interactions with candidates, and it can also act as a database containing candidate information.

If you’ve ever used an applicant tracking system (ATS), the idea is similar. The main difference is that an ATS is usually focused on the specifics of the hiring process—posting jobs, screening résumés, and communicating with selected applicants. A TRM system, on the other hand, typically takes the process a step further, with better tools for integration with various means of candidate outreach (such as social media interactions) and more sophisticated databases and outreach options. TRM is also more commonly used to follow up with candidates outside the hiring process. TRM is better suited for long-term relationship building and pipeline management, as it’s better suited to maintain relationships even after the hiring process ends. Generally speaking, TRM can do what an ATS does, and then takes it further.

TRM is a way to:

  • Perform many of the same functions of an ATS, such as job posting, résumé screening, candidate contact, skills testing, and interview scheduling—much of which can be automated if you choose, or done in batches to save time.
  • Be more efficient throughout the recruitment process.
  • Stay engaged online with potential new talent (including both active and passive candidates) either through direct communications or via candidate marketing campaigns.
  • Reinforce and/or improve the organization’s employment brand via the messaging that potential talent receives over these interactions.
  • Collaborate internally by using one system to manage the whole process and all interactions, keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Source top talent before you need it, which can mean you can hire more quickly when the time comes.
  • Create relationships with future job applicants in advance.
  • Better understand the talent pipeline and see where you have gaps, allowing you to be more proactive about future hiring needs sooner.
  • Have tools to predict future talent shortages, and take proactive steps to combat these before they’re critical.
  • Segment the talent pool to better understand what skill sets are available and where there are gaps; these segmented groups can be individually targeted for specific communications.

TRM can be utilized not just to hire but also to maintain contact with and expand the long-term talent pipeline. We started to outline some of the many things TRM can do, and today we’re going to continue with that list.

TRM is a way to (continued):

  • Assess where you’re losing potential job applicants, and perhaps modify the process.
  • Analyze how diverse your candidate pool is, which can allow you to be proactive if changes are needed.
  • Analyze other demographic and/or skill sets of the talent pipeline.
  • Store candidate contact details and search for them later.
  • Remain in contact with candidates who were not selected for a specific role; these individuals may be great future candidates for other roles if the relationship is maintained.
  • Integrate social media communications with the rest of your hiring communications.
  • Keep candidates interested, even when you’re not able to offer them something immediately—thus, keeping communications open with top talent until you can make an offer.
  • Show that the organization doesn’t just forget about talent; it’s always in contact (and don’t become the type of organization that never replies to applicants who are not selected).

Beyond using TRM for external talent sourcing, it could also be used internally. Let’s take a look.

How to Use TRM Internally

TRM can be use internally to:

  • See both internal and external candidate information in one place.
  • Combine the TRM information with your other HR systems to create a comprehensive database of available talent, including your existing employees who may be able to move into new roles in the future.
  • Improve retention by using TRM to assist in employee development.
  • Stay in contact with former employees who may be good candidates available to rehire in the future.
  • Help maintain good relationships with employees, reducing the chances another organization will be able to entice them away.
  • Get referrals from current employees.
  • Communicate about job openings within the organization.
  • Provide advancement options for employees who may otherwise be considering leaving.
  • Assist with succession planning efforts within the organization.

As the market for talent becomes more and more competitive and top talent becomes scarcer, it will become more critical that organizations have a talent pipeline and are being proactive at maintaining relationships with potential candidates. This could make a big difference in the ability to source good candidates in the future. This can be especially relevant for key positions—ones that may take months or even years of interactions with a candidate before they’re ready to work for you or before you’re able to extend an offer, such as executive roles. Using TRM is a more strategic way to source talent and is well suited for hard-to-fill positions and retaining key individuals.