In this new world of Free Agents, successful organisations need a strong and small core group of talent while they get more of the work done by tapping large pools of fluid talent.

So what is a Free Agent? In the business world, your best employees are typically Free Agents—they are most able to leave you. They have options that are often created by employers who don’t understand the market forces at work. The free agent is typically adaptable, technologically literate, innovative, self-reliant and entrepreneurial.

As a result, you need to keep a steady stream of people in the pipeline. Advertise for new employees whether or not there are positions to fill immediately. That way you are constantly interviewing people and screening people so you always have a ready list of finalists.

On we examine the power of networking for building your career. But for recruiting great people, networking also has a vital role to play.

In our existing, transaction-focused world of recruiting, most employers start a recruitment process when they have a specific, urgent need. A better approach is to build a pipeline of potential recruits, with people in the pipeline at various stages of learning about you and your organisation.

There are two ways of building this pipeline:

1. On your own: the key method is to attend industry events and conferences. When there, you need to begin the necessarily long process of building relationships with others in the industry. This is not about blatantly or aggressively trying to poach people. Instead it is about getting to know them: their interests and where their careers might be heading. Then, as in building all networks (which are just relationships), you try and find ways to help them, and ways to stay in touch (such as sending them information, sharing research, etc.)

2. In conjunction with a recruiter or Search consultant: you continue to do the same activities as described in the first alternative. The consultant's job is to then feed more people into the process of 'staying in touch'. This increases the numbers of people you have a relationship with, so that you are more likely to have a pool of potential candidates when you need them. The consultant feeds more people in by doing a broad-ranging, non-aggressive search. This involves the consultant, or their researcher, doing phone interviews with perhaps a few hundred people, and narrowing it down to perhaps 50 who broadly meet the requirements of you, their client. Then the consultant stays in touch with some of them, while others are referred for exploratory meetings with you, the client. In this way, the long process of relationship building starts.

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Author's Bio: 

Toby Marshall is an active speaker on the international conference circuit. His mission: To give all companies, no matter how few employees they have, the information and expert help they need to do their own recruitment and selection and find great new staff. You can get more resources at