Decision Toolbox acquired by leader in integrated employee engagement solutions, Engage2Excel.Read the full story.

Unconventional Ways to Build Your Recruiting Bench and Retain Top Talent


Blog Series – “Getting Your Unfair Share of the World’s Talent” – Post 4 of 4

Building Your Bench

It’s inevitable: you stumble across a great asset to your team at a time when there are no openings, no opportunities to offer.  What you can do when you encounter a candidate you’re unable to hire immediately is to show your interest by making a formal offer with a blank start date.  Once they are a part of your “virtual bench,” open the door to regular communications so that when the day arrives and you have an opening on your team, you can reconnect quickly and the building blocks of a relationship are in place.

Keeping House

A competitive job market also creates great temptation.  Not only are hundreds of thousands of new jobs advertised each month, nearly half of employers (49 percent) expect to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees.  Talk about the grass being greener.

To counteract temptation – and proactively address turnover – conduct staged, mock exit interviews with your key talent.  At Decision Toolbox we ask our employees to envision the scenario that would tempt them away from us, and then use their answers to address any unmet needs.  Most of the time the list isn’t expensive and in many cases it’s free.

The Tomato Garden – A Parable

An old Italian man lived alone in New Jersey.  He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.  His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison.  The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year.  I’m just getting too old to be digging up the garden plot.  I know if you were here my troubles would be over.  I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.


A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden.  That’s where the bodies are buried.


At four the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies.  They apologized to the old man and left.  The same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you,

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vince Lombardi

Great for a laugh, the tomato garden story is actually a perfect illustration of unconventional thinking at its best, which you will need in order to compete for and keep your unfair share of the world’s best talent.

Adapted from “The Bite Me School of Management” by Kim Shepherd, CEO, Decision Toolbox.

Did You Enjoy This Article? Sign up for Decision Toolbox’s monthly newsletter: Inside the Box.

Inside the Box will share the secrets of life long happiness….not really, but we will provide you with some great talent acquisition articles and tips that will hopefully make your working life better. You’ll also get the inside scoop on DT.

3 Responses to “Unconventional Ways to Build Your Recruiting Bench and Retain Top Talent”

  1. January 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm, Judy Brandt said:

    I agree, Kim . . . we have to use our creativity these days to retain top talent and keep them engaged. Most especially the younger generation! And “building the bench” is a super important step for growing companies. However, this makes it even more important that all the key players know how to interview effectively so that the good candidates are attracted . . . they won’t want to work in a place where the management doesn’t know how to conduct a good interview and demonstrate professional business skills to the candidate pool!


    • January 28, 2013 at 7:44 am, dtkgraham said:

      Thanks for joining in, Judy! We couldn’t agree more. A good General wouldn’t send his men out to the front lines without training, yet we do it all the time with our management team when it comes to interviews. We must take great care to ensure our interview team knows how to present the company properly and is well-versed in interview etiquette. Very good point – thanks for bringing it up!


  2. August 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm, Sherita said:

    Peculiar article, totally what I was looking


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See what our clients are saying…

Believe it or not, we don’t have giant heads. See More Client Quotes

  • " (DT Recruiter) was a terrific recruitment partner...personable, enjoyable, responsive, willing to go above and beyond, open to feedback/learning...she was great! "
  • " (DT Recruiter) is the best! "
  • " (DT Recruiter) and Decision Toolbox are Rock Stars! "
  • " (DT Recruiter) is a true professional and excellent recruiting partner! She sought out the exact requirements we were looking for. Only one candidate was presented to the CEO and hired! He was skeptical of the process from the beginning and is now an advocate of DT stating that it "worked like clockwork"! Great job to the DT team! "
DecisionToolbox 800-344-2026