Spring has (technically) sprung! That’s right folks. Punxsutawney Phil’s reign of chilly terror has come to a close. In short order, the ground will thaw, flowers will bloom, temperatures will creep up, baseball will start, and all will be good in the world. What a time to be alive!
Which reminds me, how’s your recruiting looking? Recent employment headwinds are driving unemployment down and payrolls up. That means a lot of open roles but fewer people to fill them. That’s great news for everyone, but it also means recruiting is going to be that much more challenging.
Fret not, dear recruiter. You need not be left with dozens upon dozens of open roles. The thing is: good roles at good companies will never go out of style. So if you’re response rates are dropping, your referrals have dried up, or you just can’t seem to find people your hiring managers actually like, take a step back, breathe a few deep breaths and listen in. I’ve got some tips for priming the pump, finishing Q1 with a bang and then kicking Q2 off with style.
Throw a Sourcing Party
We’re big fans of sourcing parties here at Entelo. All you need is some yummy bites, refreshing beverages, a dollop of enthusiasm and a handful of your best employees. Send out a company-wide email announcing the sourcing party. Recruit a few work friends and get them to bring one of their friends and so on. A decent ratio to aim for is two people for each open role. That helps ensure that you get enough people into the pipeline to make a dent down the road.
The night of the sourcing party, give everyone a list of your top open roles. Explain the basic qualifications and experience you’re looking for each one. Even better, write them up on a white board to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can even give people some recommended search parameters to help them get started. But encourage them to get creative as they comb their networks and contacts. It never hurts to take chances, since you can sift through the results later and find the good fits for each role.
Spend 10-15 minutes on each role with your partiers digging through their networks for people who match the minimum criteria you established. Have them copy and paste links to their contacts' social profiles into a giant spreadsheet labeled by each open role. After 90 minutes or so, you should have dozens of warm leads for your open roles. That should be more than enough to get a few decent candidates into the pipeline.
Follow-up with Stale Leads
How many conversations fall by the wayside every month because a candidate goes quiet? Probably more than you can count. While it makes perfect sense to slow your roll after someone has not responded for a while, reigniting the conversation a few months later could find them in a completely different mood. Maybe things at their current job have changed and they are open to talking about a new role. In just a few months, a lot of things can change, and people who gave you the cold shoulder might have a completely different outlook.
There’s really no statute of limitations, either. Dig back a year or more if you want. The worst thing that happens is that they don’t respond or tell you to buzz off. That’s it. But a handful will appreciate the opportunity to reconnect and, even if it’s not quite the right time yet, maintaining those relationships pays dividends long term, even when you may have moved on to a new role at a new company.
Refresh Your Job Listings
A lot of job listings languish once they are posted, which means they fall down to the bottom of many job boards and aggregators as they get older. One way to juice your inbounds for key roles is just refresh your job listings. Repost them with new SEO friendly titles and then share them across your social networks. Even if only 1 in 10 of your inbounds winds up making it to a phone screen or interview, that can be the difference between making a hire or not.
These “new” roles also offer you something to share with your networks. Whether it’s partners at other firms, former colleagues or just your recruiting listserv, reminding people that you’re hiring is a never a bad thing. And instead of looking like you’re desperate for anyone after six months without any luck, it looks it’s a new, exciting role. Optics matter.
Check in with your bridesmaids
Every recruiter has them: the bridesmaids. The candidates who came up short right at the finish line. They may have even been your first choice candidate. Sometimes it’s because one person on the hiring committee just wasn’t sold on their experience, or because another candidate was fractionally a better fit for the role. No matter the reason, it’s always worth checking in with the people you came really close to hiring, especially if you left things on good terms (as you always, always should).
Maybe they have the experience they were lacking a year earlier, or maybe the person you hired in their place just left. Either way, dropping them a line to say hi and to ask them how things are going is a great way to keep lines of communication open with people who could make great hires in the not so distant future. Even a safe “How’s it going!” can lead to referrals. Recruiting is all about relationships, and keeping in touch with your candidates, even the one’s you didn’t wind up hiring is essential to making those tough hires no matter the state of the job market. Relationships go a long way, and the trust you’ve already established is worth its weight in gold. Don’t let it die on the vine.
Get Out of the Office
Spring is a great time to get out of the office and network. Excitement is high and people have pent up energy from a long winter of social hibernating. So, scan Meetup and other social media for events happening in your neck of the woods.
If you live near universities, they usually have all kinds of great, free events featuring interesting speakers that pull people connected to those niche topics. If you’re not one for sitting in a dark room listening to a lecture or yelling at people in a crowded bar, join a local intramural sports league. You’d be amazed how easy it is to meet new people playing softball or volleyball and most leagues have divisions for people based on age and skill level, you won’t wind up competing against a bunch of former D1 athletes or trying to outrun a 22-year-old. That said, some of your teammates could wind up being the Enterprise Sales Reps with exactly the kind of experience you’ve been trying to find. Also, burning off stress and getting some exercise is great for generating new ideas.
The point is, get out of your comfort zone and put yourself around new people interested in the kinds of things you’re looking for. You never know where your new hires will come from, and the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to find those purple squirrels.