Anyone involved with staffing in the creative, digital and marketing space knows that the demand for top talent in this sector has risen to new heights. And that deadlines don't wait until the right talent (freelance/contract or full-time) is hired to do the work. Now, more than ever, it's important for creative leaders and teams to proactively build benches of potential talent who can be brought on board when needed.

Most creative leaders have access to corporate HR, recruiting and/or talent acquisition departments, which can be incredibly helpful in procuring quality candidates for open positions. But typically, those departments don't focus on assembling a pool of contingent talent to meet future needs. Plus, corporate staffing usually lacks networks of qualified creative, digital and marketing professionals.

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A DIY Guide to Building a Contingent Talent Bench
So what other options are available for ensuring that teams can access specialty talent as needed? Here are three primary paths for proactively building a bench of ready talent:

  1. Partnering with a niche staffing firm to secure the right talent at the right time
  2. Affiliating with a trusted firm to take on overflow work
  3. Personally networking with creative, digital and marketing professionals

1. Partner with a Niche Staffing Provider
It should come as no surprise that this option is the first one listed. As an award-winning niche staffing firm that provides freelance, temporary-to-hire and direct-placement services, primarily to corporate creative, digital and marketing departments, The BOSS Group firmly believes in the concept of having proactive benches of contingency talent. When critical work can't be handled in house--either because team skills/ bandwidth are currently lacking or corporate recruiting resources aren't able to fill the positions--a specialty staffing provider like The BOSS Group will ensure quick access to best-in-class talent who can deliver the needed support.
Think of it this way: would a graphic designer, a marketing professional or a front-end developer prefer to trust their career to a firm that commoditizes talent? Or would they rather work with a niche staffing recruiter who understands their skill set and market value? Top talent will gravitate toward the staffing provider who supports them best. Thus, any employer who forms a strong relationship with a leading niche provider is much closer to winning the best available talent.

2. Find a Trustworthy Firm to Take on the Overflow
Sometimes, outsourcing work to another, trusted firm may be the right solution for a creative department facing more volume than it can temporarily handle. There may not be space to bring in contractors, or the team may need ad-hoc, unpredictable support across the year. Perhaps a particular project may require expertise or resources that can't be accessed locally. In cases like these, arranging for a dependable, dedicated firm to take on overflow work or specific types of projects can be extremely productive.

3. Reach Out and Engage in Personal Networking
Another best practice used by best-in-class creative teams is for members to personally engage in building benches of potential talent. Employees often participate in industry organizations, attend continuing education programs and join in the business-related dialogue on social media sites. All of these activities provide an entree for team members to connect with other professionals they'd like to work with--and have friendly conversations about interesting opportunities on the horizon.

A project or full-time position--one ideally suited to one of the team's connections --could occur any time. By proactively laying the groundwork for filling this need, the department may onboard talent more quickly.

4. Get Everyone to Participate in Connecting with Talent
Creative leaders should get the ball rolling by personally speaking with quality talent about potential hiring opportunities and what they love about the organization, then encourage team members to do the same. Each employee has a terrific starting point for crafting their 'sales' pitch: their own experience! And don't forget about new hires and temporary/contract employees, as they will have different perspectives.

5. Prepare to Be a Company Ambassador
Equally important to starting a conversation is being prepared to describe the advantages the department and company offer--reasons why working there is fulfilling, rewarding and hopefully enjoyable! The tricky part is, employees often take these for granted and are not quite primed to talk them up. Things like low turnover rates, flexible schedules, a casual work environment, strong leadership, progressive technology access and ongoing training are all fantastic benefits. In addition, candidates may be very interested in larger-scale incentives, such as enhanced traditional benefits, education assistance and subsidized lunch programs.

6. Maintain an Active Presence on Social Media
Employees' very visible presence on social networking channels is another effective way to reach low-hanging fruit. Using sites like LinkedIn, to both showcase the department's amazing work and post about potential staffing needs, will drive talent interest. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube can be great for publicizing new campaigns, fun activities and the team's personality while creating buzz about the organization. And a web page featuring the team's work, accomplishments, awards and news is also beneficial. All of these impressions help candidates see what the company is about, and envision how they might fit in.

By ensuring that everyone on the team is always building a bench of prospective talent, partnering with a niche staffing vendor, working with corporate HR or talent acquisition team and outsourcing appropriate work to affiliate firms, winning the talent war will be another, well-earned feather in the company's hat.

Find Katie Brim on LinkedIn