“Sourcing and finding people is the most important. You can’t recruit, message, or network with someone you haven’t found.”
This quote from Glen Cathey, SVP, Global Digital Strategy and Innovation, Randstad, might be a few years old, but for many in talent acquisition, the statement is still taken as gospel.
I agree with Glen, particularly when it comes to hard-to-fill roles which require a recruiter to source and engage highly skilled and highly sought-after talent.
But what about all those other open positions? With 90-odd percent of roles not reliant on intensive sourcing efforts, does Glen's statement still ring true? And is it really the case that “you can’t recruit, message, or network with someone you haven’t found?”
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, "more than one in five workers (22 percent) are planning to change jobs in 2017. Among younger workers, the numbers are even higher. More than a third of workers ages 18 to 34 (35 percent) expect to change jobs in 2017 — this compares to 15 percent of workers ages 35 and older."
This data, along with the 70% plus of the total U.S. workforce who identify as passive candidates, amounts to a whole lot of people who are, at the very least, open to new employment opportunities this year.
Which brings me to wonder if, rather than recruiters expending valuable time and energy on steering those that don’t necessarily require it, there's something to be said for planting the ball in the candidate’s court instead and encouraging them to put themselves forward as prospective employees.
We know that today’s is a candidate-driven market. Candidates want to discover, engage with and consider prospective employers on their own terms. Surely that in itself speaks to the wisdom of shifting responsibility for “finding” to the candidate, as opposed to operating on the assumption that they need to be “found?”
I'm not suggesting that the recruiter sit back in their chair, throw their feet up on the table and await the tidal wave of qualified candidates. I'm simply shining a light on the benefits that can be had by adopting a more inbound-centric approach to talent acquisition.
Indeed, many companies have already embraced the change —whether they made the decision consciously or not— by implementing effective recruitment marketing campaigns.
Consider the candidate journey
So, supposing you want to adopt this new way of thinking that emphasizes “discoverability” as a feature of your organization's employer brand, what would that look like, and what does this mean at a practical level?
First and foremost, it means taking a good hard look at the recruiting content you currently have on offer and evaluating its effectiveness in guiding the candidate journey. We know that candidates will create anywhere up to 12 touch points with an employment brand before making the decision to become an applicant. Where you, as an employer, can win in the quest for faster, easier sourcing, is by delivering relevant and engaging content at each of those touch points.
This doesn’t have to mean creating 12 different pieces of brand new content. It can be re-purposing one eBook into multiple blog posts, or choosing a selection of pictures from an Instagram account to feature on a careers site or landing page. What’s key is that the content in question engages the individual browsing and answers the questions the candidate has at that particular stage in their journey — whether it’s awareness, consideration, interest, or decision.
Take careers pages for example. A typical careers page will feature reams of staid, clinical copy, stock images of attractive co-workers smiling at each other, smiling at their computer screens, smiling while talking on the phone, at the water cooler . . . always smiling. The overall effect is pleasant, but wholly unengaging and uninspiring.
Then consider a careers page that makes two simple changes: swapping out the stock images for photos of actual employees, perhaps even incorporating candid photos taken by the employees themselves on a retreat, inside a meeting, or a company happy-hour. This careers page also features information on “company culture” and “about us”, but these sections of text have been crafted to include some quotes from real employees about what THEY see as being the unique characteristics of company life, and what they love about working there.
Of these two careers page examples, which one is more likely to trigger a positive response from a visitor? Which page is more likely to answer the questions a prospective applicant would have with regard to what it might be like to work for this employer? And which one is more likely to inspire confidence and curiosity, to the extent that a candidate is willing to pass on their contact info in order to find out more?
Which is, of course, the ultimate goal of recruitment marketing and the first step in effective inbound recruiting.
Activate your network
Creating a positive brand impression is all well and good, and over time may well lead to more candidates choosing to apply without a recruiter's influence, but what you’re really striving for is the development of a talent network of individuals who, though not necessarily active job seekers, have demonstrated an interest in your organization as an employer. When a candidate enters their email address and joins your talent pool, what they're saying is, "I'm here and I like what I'm seeing, and I'm open to hearing from you in the future."
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that when your sourcing efforts start with those candidates who have already bought into your employment brand, the recruiting process as a whole becomes that much more efficient and effective.
So, instead of adhering to the belief that, “Sourcing and finding people is the most important. You can’t recruit, message, or network with someone you haven’t found,” why not shake things up a little and put the wheels in motion on a recruitment campaign that puts the onus for being proactive on the candidate instead? Sourcing remains an integral part of the process, but you might just find that bolstering your efforts in inbound leads to faster, easier identification of qualified candidates, and more efficient recruiting overall.
Create a better candidate experience: find out which content to deliver and when with the help of our free guide, Mapping the Candidate Journey.