4 Ways to Build a Talent Network

By Dustin Talley |

Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2019

professional consultants in group working in office

Before we dig in, let’s talk about quality, quantity, and size of your talent network. If you’ve ever posted an opening to a job board, then you’re aware of the quantity of responses you can receive to each posting. The administrative task of filtering through candidates to find the right fit can be very time-consuming.

In the same way, building (or accessing) a very large, but not-yet-qualified database of talent creates similar challenges. This approach might work when projects require a quick turn-around, there is no onboarding, or if the work product is not very costly. However, when it comes to building a pool of highly-skilled talent—experts who work on strategic initiatives—a different approach is required.

Quality, or qualification, should be considered upfront and be a requirement to join your talent pool. This simple foundation will begin to create loyalty between your company and the talent you invite to be a part of your program. With quality in mind, where exactly do you begin to find this great talent? Here are four proven sources to start building your talent network.

1. Active Independent Professional Talent

Adding talent currently working on projects throughout your organization is a great first step to curating your own talent network. This group can serve as the foundation for launching your program. However, it is important to keep in mind they may not be responsive to project opportunities until their current projects end.

2. Alumni Talent

An oft-overlooked yet potentially most valuable resource, “alumni” independent talent are another strong source for building out your talent network. In order find these individuals, your HR, procurement, and business management teams will need strong reporting capabilities and resources to find and invite these individuals to join. Your organization will also need to share enough open projects to ensure talent find the experience engaging. Otherwise, your alumni talent may not see the value in your program.

3. Referrals from Current Workers

Research shows that employees can be a great source for independent talent referrals, and those referred candidates often maintain good working relationships with the client. This tactic has proven to be both efficient and cost-effective, while also being a primary source for a company’s highest-tenured resources. We consider it a best practice to invite managers in a company to refer independent professionals they know and trust. We also strongly suggest taking the “next step” with referrals: solicit those most valuable independents to assist in identifying others for upcoming project opportunities.

4. Retirees Who Want to Continue Working

The workforce landscape is rapidly changing, especially with Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) starting to retire, leaving huge skill gaps in the full-time talent marketplace. Many of these retirees are choosing to work longer but are doing so on their own terms as independent professionals. According to our State of Independence Report, this group makes up 35% of the independents in America. Companies who are both able to retain their own retirees as independents and attract other talented retirees will create a strong pool of independent talent who have the skills and expertise to take on any challenge.

Each of these sources has a varying level of qualifications built-in and serve as an excellent foundation to begin building a strong talent network.

Interested in learning more about leveraging tools and resources to build or enhance your enterprise’s talent network? Contact us for more information and explore MBO’s marketplace to engage skilled independent talent for consulting jobs with your company.