If you have a favorite professional sports team that you follow closely, you probably watch what the general manager does on draft day. No matter what the team’s primary weakness is, they select the best athlete available when it’s their team’s turn to pick.
There’s a lesson here. Even if you aren’t actively recruiting for the next All-Star, always be ready to sign the best talent. The top companies are on the lookout for great employees even when they don’t have any current openings because it’s virtually never wrong to add a valuable asset. Also, your highly desirable candidate may not be available when you finally have a particular opening.
A company usually can’t anticipate when a key employee is going to leave. Bringing on a smart, talented and ambitious new team member may be just what your organization needs to push it in a new direction or finally pursue an expansion plan. Consider creating a position for this person.
You may already have an individual or two on your radar screen that you’d like to bring on board “if” you had an opening. Keep an open mind and consider pursuing this individual right now. If the candidate is that good, one of your competitors may be about to extend an offer.
Even if something prevents you from bringing this person on board right now, keep the communication channels open. Phone conversations and emails are a smart investment. College recruiters develop relationships with young athletes years before they have them sign a letter of intent.
This will help keep your company first in line when your candidate decides it’s time for a career move or when you’re able to create a position. As you know, the competition is intense for high-impact professionals, and they don’t stay on the market long. You need every edge you can get.