Growing IT companies are in competition with just about everyone for the best technical talent. The workforce landscape is changing and it’s time to notch up the headhunting capabilities of your recruiting staff. Increasing the quality of 1-on-1 recruiting conversations is not a luxury in-house recruiters can side step any longer. Refining this critical recruiting skill is one of the fastest ways to decrease those pesky tough-to-fill vacancies.
Face it, the people you want to hire are busy working somewhere else and sending boatloads of emails into cyberspace is not getting the recruiting job done. The northwest part of the country is just one of the market segments squawking about how difficult it is to sell quality candidates on coming to work for their company.
Here are 3 strategies to implement now to win top talent:
1. Improve your research capabilities
Sourcing well is a specialized talent. A great sourcer can uncover names and numbers at lightening speed. They save us time. These people are quickly become SMEs (subject matter experts) in their own right. Their minds work like detectives. They can find entire directories complete with organizational charts of your nearest and dearest competitors. Use them and pay them well.
Everyone uses LinkedIn, all-be-it not well most of the time, however inmails are no match for an authentic and effective recruiting conversation. The other day a recruiter I coach once or twice a year called. She places upper management executives at universities. She dislikes cold calling (like most of us) and tries to initiate all conversations via email. Her request for advice centered on how she should proceed to fill a COO position for which she had an ideal candidate because no one was responding to her emails.
My advice was (no surprise), pick up the phone! C’mon! If a twenty-some thousand-dollar fee is not enough motivation to conduct our work professionally then we’re in the wrong business. She knew what to say and her manner is excellent. In fact I believe she knew what I would say before she called. All she needed was a nudge because she has the know-how. My prediction is she'll have the placement complete within a week now that she's decided to make the calls.
2. If cold calling feels intimidating, seek out training. Recruiting should be fun, not painful.
No one likes rejection. The best way to minimize rejection is to succeed consistently. Nine times out of ten a recruiting call can be rewarding and fun. As recruiters we reject people all day long! The easiest remedy to cold calling is to make sure one knows how to conduct a recruiting call effectively.
A good call engages the other person within seconds. It builds rapport and trust quickly by asking direct, professional questions the typical recruiter does not ask. Simple techniques trigger curiosity and authenticity disarms. Candidates don’t get the opportunity to talk about themselves all that often and it should be an enjoyable experience if the call is managed properly. Focus on the goal and it will come quickly.
3. Don’t fight the sales process.
Recruiting is a sales job. Yes, we are consultants but ultimately we are sales people. The sooner one recognizes their responsibility the easier it is to get help. Tips and training on the consultative sales process are everywhere.
Consciously develop your sales skills. I prefer the need-satisfaction method of recruiting. Don’t manipulate or push a candidate to accept a position that you and he know is not right. It won’t last and your client won’t like or trust you. Worse yet, they won’t use you again.
The wonderful thing about a recruiting career is solo operators can compete against the big boys simply by being effective. Recruiting can feel positively elegant when done well. The competition for talent is fierce but there’s no need for your in-house recruiting staff to feel their efforts are futile. The answer lies in understanding how to engage and close the candidates you want to hire. The secret lies in making sure both sides are happy; this is simple not difficult.
by Kimberly Schenk, Executive Recruiter, Trainer, Author