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How to Rethink Sourcing by Using Marketing and High Touch Techniques

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I’m working with two clients helping them find and hire managers to run their marketing campaigns. One of the core principles behind digital campaign marketing is the idea of using targeted messages to attract new clients by emphasizing their needs and motivations. To increase the overall response rate, these messages are pushed out using video, email and web site advertising.

There is no reason companies can’t use a similar approach to attract stronger talent.

Using marketing techniques can help you get to a 70% candidate response rate

For an individual job the theme of messaging is developed during the intake meeting with the recruiter asking the hiring manager, “Why would a top person want this job?

For example, for one of the campaign manager spots above, the EVP turned out to be leading the conversion of the company’s entire marketing efforts to their new digital strategy and platform. For a cost manager’s role it was how the person’s attention to detail drove the company’s profitability. For a customer service rep in the health care industry it was improving the lives of the company’s most important assets every day – its customers. Defining this for each open job is essential. Generic messaging no longer is enough.

At LinkedIn’s Talent Connect 2016 I advocated the idea of implementing a small batch high touch recruiting process using career-focused messaging to drive the sourcing efforts. It’s relatively simple to find 15-20 strong prospects (this is the “small batch”) using LinkedIn Recruiter’s robust filtering techniques. What’s not simple is getting these people to respond to your messaging. This is where the campaign marketing idea comes into play.

Using a series of approaches (emails, voicemails, meet ups) and nurturing ideas (e.g., having the hiring manager or someone who knows the person in your company call, inviting the person to an evening presentation at the company) it’s possible to achieve a 60-70% response rate. This will yield 12-14 strong prospects.

How to convert these candidates into strong finalists

As important it takes a skilled recruiter to convert half of these prospects into interested candidates and getting the other half to each provide 1-2 highly qualified referrals to keep the top of the funnel constantly filled. This is the “high touch” part. Following the four-step process below results in a passive candidate recruiting machine that when implemented properly is guaranteed to result in 3-4 strong finalists in a few weeks for any job.

Of course, “implemented properly” does take some work. Here are some ideas on how to make this part go a little smoother.

1. Remove the lid on quality of hire during the intake meeting.

While determining the EVP is essential it’s also important for the hiring manager to define the job as a series of performance objectives rather than a list of skills, competencies and experiences. Since some of the best people have a different mix of skills and experiences it’s silly to exclude these people from consideration. The logic is that if the person can do the work he/she has exactly the skills and experiences necessary to excel.

2. Don’t sell the job, sell the discussion.

Every recruiting message including emails, job posts, videos and voice mails needs to highlight the EVP, the big challenges in the job and why the role could represent a career move. The message also needs to make it abundantly clear that the next step is an exploratory discussion, not filling in an application.

3. Offer a 30% increase to convert prospects into candidates.

I suggest to interested prospects that unless the job offers a non-monetary increase of at least 30% it’s not a career move. This 30% consists of a bigger job, more job growth, more job satisfaction since the mix of work is different and more impact. Looking for this 30% is what the initial conversation is all about and few prospects balk at the idea.

4. If you can’t find the 30% ask for referrals.

When the job is either too big or too small I gently tell prospects the current job is not a good move. However, I also connect with the person on LinkedIn and ask them to refer me to the best people they’ve worked with in the past who would be open to explore the opportunity. Getting these referrals is how you keep the funnel filled with great people.

After Talent Connect I wrote a number of posts suggesting that a small batch high touch process was the key to improving quality of hire. The prerequisites are a great job, a short list of highly qualified potential prospects, a skilled recruiter and fully engaged hiring manager. When combined with a digital marketing campaign process designed to track and maximize yield at each critical step in the process it’s guaranteed to result in stronger hires