OK - You have a critical, difficult-to-fill position and you have performed all the ’normal sourcing tactics’ to fill it.
- Posted on your website and a large job board or two
- Networked with key employees
- Surfed the Internet for candidates
- Checked out LinkedIn
And unfortunately, you still don’t have any interested, qualified candidates.
Does this sound familiar? What do you do next?
For many, the next step is the ‘wait, hope & pray’ tactic. You wait, hope and pray that some qualified candidates fall in your lap .
For others, that have the time and expertise, you dive into deep Internet mining tactics (Boolean/semantic search) scouring remote databases/information for the elusive, ‘passive’ candidate.
From my experience, very few recruiters immerse themselves in identifying people that will KNOW the people you are looking to find and talk too!
This fundamental shift in thinking is so simple but very powerful. If implemented, this technique will transform the way you source candidates forever!
Instead of asking the questions:
- Where can I find qualified professionals?
- Where should I look for them?
- What search techniques should I use to find quality talent?
- Who would know the person I am looking for?
- Who can I talk to within a particular company (that has the talent I am looking for) that would know the person I am looking for?
For many creative sourcers, as part of the search strategy, they try to identify key words to source such as:
- Competitor companies
- Similar job titles
- Key tools/technology the qualified candidate uses to perform their job
Now drive laterally through these questions with:
- Who works with/for the person you are looking for? What is their job title?
And your search becomes more three dimensional.
Now drive straight down the middle with the question:
- Who has recently left that company that knows the person I am looking for in that company?
And you can strike oil!
Let me explain.
The first question – - Who works with/for the person you are looking for? – - will exponentially increase the # of people you can talk to to locate the person you are looking for (you know – - the whole 7-degrees of separation thing).
The second question – - Who has recently left that company that knows the person I am looking for in that company? – - will connect you with folks that have left an organization and probably do not have a vested interest in withholding sensitive, confidential intelligence. Heck – if they were let go, they are even more willing to assist in providing information that might help you and . . . unfortunately . . . ‘hurt’ their former employer.
Another important point here is the person’s level. While first instinct may be to go “to the top” and call the SVP or VP (like in a traditional sales approach), you may have non-compete issues that cause the contact to be reticent to provide the information you need. Don’t avoid this level, but be mindful of it. You may have greater success with peers and/or individuals that worked for the person you are seeking to identify.
Some examples to illustrate this concept:
- Searching for accountants — talk to actively looking controllers
- Searching for .com developers — talk to actively looking SQL – DBA’s
- Searching for OR nurses — talk to actively looking anesthesiologist.
- Searching for Market Research professionals — talk to the Account Manager at the research firm.
Note – I referenced ‘actively looking’ in each of these examples. Probably the best person you can ‘network’ with is an active candidate that has recently left an organization.
Not only will they know the person you are looking for, but they often will provide un-sanitized information about the people you want to connect with. Add in other thought provoking questions to your conversation like – - Who were the top performers? – - Who worked best under pressure? – - and you might gain valuable insight to pinpoint your search.
A simple, straight forward approach to contacting them:
I wanted to reach out. I saw you online and saw you worked for _________. I was hoping I could network with you and see if you could help me - and potentially one of your peers - out.
I have a great opportunity for the right person…. I am seeking ___________________________. I thought you might know the ________ folks at __________ that might be interested in this opportunity?
Were there some folks that you thought were really good that I should connect with?
Anyone that was not very happy I should connect with?
Any advice you would give me to help me with this search? It is a great opportunity for someone!
Then when closing, I would always recommend asking them how you can assist them in their job search:
I really appreciate all your help. As mentioned, I found your information online.
How can I help you? – - what are you looking for?
What have you done so far to find a new opportunity?:
Have you tried www.indeed.com and/or http://www.simplyhired.com/
I will keep my eyes/ears open…, etc .
The key to your success in engaging individuals is your sincere interest in helping connect individuals to excellent opportunities!
Too often I think we spend too much time searching for resumes versus people with intelligence that can help us with our search. We wrote a similar post on this subject that you might want to check out – The Indirect Networking Call.