Innovative Sourcing, Lesson One: Pay Attention to the Social Data

March 13, 2017 at 12:00 PM by Jill Witty

Social Signals.pngKnowing which candidates are a good fit for your open roles is an important step in building a hiring strategy that works. To turbo-charge your sourcing efforts, you’ll also want to know how to decipher social signals that tell when someone is more likely to be receptive to a job opportunity. These are the predictive signals we track at Entelo to find the most engaged prospects possible.

1. Length of time in current job

There are two common misconceptions around how long employees last. The first is that it’s pointless to reach out to an employee who started a new job within the past six months. Many recruiters believe that people will want to give their new job a bit of time, even if it seems like a poor fit, before exploring new opportunities.

The data tell us otherwise. Employees are actually more likely to leave a job at any point in their first 12 months on the job than at any time after their first year. Loyalty is low, and getting lower. A short tenure does not mean that an employee won’t be interested in an opportunity elsewhere.The second misconception is that, once an employee has reached the 6-month or 1-year mark, any moment is as good as another for outreach. But it turns out that there is a wide range in a candidate’s likelihood to depart based on their tenure. For instance, the month of an employee’s anniversary (be it first, second, or third) and the month immediately after, we see a spike in departures. We can only speculate whether there is a psychological trigger that produces this effect, or whether it might be a result of stock vesting.. But what we can tell you is that sending a candidate an unsolicited email immediately prior to this time yields higher response rates and higher rates of candidate engagement.

2. Uptick in social activity

It is a well-known truism that few people spend time on LinkedIn (aside from recruiters) unless they are thinking about changing jobs. A similar behavior pattern can be observed on other social media sites. If you notice an increase in a person’s social activity, especially where it’s related to their profession, you have just landed on one of the strongest signals that a person might be searching for a new job.

For example, a SaaS sales expert might begin answering more questions on Quora. A designer might update their portfolio on Behance. A front-end engineer might contribute more code to GitHub repos. And of course, new recommendations on LinkedIn are one of the strongest signals that someone is embarking on a job hunt. A lot of recruiting comes down to to timing, so recruiters looking for an edge would do well to pay attention to these signals so as to “strike while the iron is hot.”

3. Company Health

Anyone who has experienced a layoff, either from an employee’s perspective or as an HR pro, will know that the company’s remaining employees are more likely to be open to new opportunities than they were prior to the layoffs. Even if a company handles layoffs carefully - taking care of the departing employees as well as those who stay - they may still experience an uptick in attrition. But there are other macro-economic signals that recruiters can use to determine whom to reach out to.

For example, companies whose stocks have seen major declines in value are ripe for outreach. Those employees’ stock options might be “under water,” meaning at the current stock price, it would not be profitable for an employee to exercise her options. Larger companies issue restricted stock units to their employees; after enough of a price decline, the value of those RSUs will be worth much less than that which the employee was promised.

If you’re keeping your ear to the ground for company news, another rumor to lookout for is talk of mergers or acquisitions. A closed M&A deal will lead to “right-sizing” down the line, meaning that certain employees will lose their jobs. Rumors of such a deal often precede confirmed announcements, and such a time can be ripe to lay groundwork for eventually hiring employees who are let go.

If you decide to engage with candidates based on these signals, remember to be cautious, sensitive, and tasteful with your outreach. People often take pride in the company they work for, or may be discreet about their hunt for a new role. No matter the case, always take an empathetic and open-ended approach to starting a conversation with these candidates. Consider engaging casually, such as, “How are you enjoying [company name] these days? I hope things are going great, but if you’re open to connecting about a new role – for now or in the future – I’d be happy to chat over coffee. Let me know!” Building long-term relationships with candidates, even those who aren’t quite a good fit just yet, is key to growing a network of people to reach out to when the timing is right on both sides.

What signals do your talent team pay attention to before engaging with candidates? Let us know in the comments!

Will you be at this year’s Virginia SHRM State Conference? Join me for Creating Innovation for Outside the Box Sourcing Strategies on March 14 at 11:45 am - 12:45 pm and learn about modern networks and fresh tactics for discovering new pools of talent.

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