Working on a succession planning project can be one of the most rewarding candidate sourcing assignments you’ll ever undertake. Think of it as candidate sourcing on steroids. Which is why it’s all the more surprising that more organisations don’t view candidate sourcing as an integral part of their succession planning strategy. Allow me to expand a little.

In so many ways, succession planning projects make it possible to multiply the results you might reasonably expect to generate from a candidate sourcing assignment. Most notably in the areas of i) candidate receptiveness, ii) candidate interest and iii) market feedback. These upsides all essentially stem from the nature of the assignment. Unlike most candidate sourcing work, there’s no immediate position to be filled. The conversation is hypothetical – and that puts candidates at ease and facilitates the task of getting results. Let’s look at each of the three elements in turn and you’ll see why candidate sourcing effectiveness is heightened to such an extent.

1) Increased candidate receptiveness

Whenever a candidate list has been drawn up through candidate sourcing, there’s always the issue hanging over you – how many of the candidates we approach will actually be open to a discussion? Talking openly about the possibility of an imminent career move has certain ramifications – and that can deter people from being receptive to your approach.

The beauty of succession planning discussions is that they are hypothetical and imply no disloyalty to one’s current employer or dissatisfaction with one’s current role. This is a liberating feeling, knowing that more of the candidates you approach are likely to be receptive to a conversation – but what’s more, this also means the effectiveness of candidate sourcing is ramped up noticeably.

2) Greater candidate interest

Candidates being more willing to talk when approached is obviously a great starting point. But there’s also the added bonus that candidates are more likely to be genuinely interested in being considered for the opportunity too. One of the problems of regular candidate sourcing campaigns is that they typically need to uncover candidates who are willing to move right now. For a variety of reasons including family circumstances, ongoing projects in current role and financial incentives, moving right now simply isn’t going to be a plausible option for a portion of the candidates you approach.

This of course ratchets up the number of suitable candidates that need to be found in order to produce a successful outcome from a typical candidate sourcing campaign. Except that where succession planning is concerned, time isn’t a pressure and so far more candidates are able to countenance the proposed move. Everything from changing location to cashing out on existing remuneration schemes becomes more manageable when the timescales aren’t so pressing. Hence the likelihood of your work producing a hire is increased.

Outcomes From Candidate Sourcing Project

3) Valuable market feedback

Last but not least, the longer term nature of a succession planning project means that greater market feedback can be collected relating to the appeal of the employer and how the organisation is perceived in the market. Ultimately making a successful succession hire will likely involve you maintaining contact with potential candidates for some period of time. From point of first contact through until when a hire eventually needs to be made, you’ll need to be maintaining some degree of contact with your preferred candidates to keep them warm and interested in the potential opening.

This presents you with the ongoing opportunity of hearing first hand about the evolving perception executives have about your business. Rather than the snapshot you might collect in a regular candidate sourcing assignment, the insights gained here are more revealing – and can inform broader recruiting and retention decisions that need to be taken with the organisation.

Join me for more insights

So I hope the above has whetted your appetite for the role that candidate sourcing can play in succession planning. If you’re eager to learn more on this topic, it’s one I explore as part of our series of webinars for in-house corporate recruiters. I hope you can tune in for a future call and look forward to fielding your questions.