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Recruiting Top Performers with Relationships

Candidate Experience Recruiting Strategy

For a recruiter, there is nothing more frustrating than matching a candidate to the wrong opportunity. It’s a costly mistake that results in lost productivity and a high rate of attrition. Not only is it detrimental to your company or organization, but it’s also damaging for your personal brand as a recruiter.

To avoid making the same mistakes, take a step back and analyze your current recruiting strategy. If you’re still using reactive recruiting (sourcing only after the opportunity opens up), that could be the cause for your troubles. Instead, focus on building relationships with people who possess the skill sets and cultural values that match up with your company. So when opportunities do open up, you’ll be ready to match your ideal candidates to the perfect position.

It’s what we call relationship recruiting.

Relationship Recruiting

Relationship recruiting is a strategy that involves capturing the ideal people for your organization (whether they are employed or unemployed) and continually engaging them until the right position opens up at your company. The hiring process is slower, but you’re developing a collection of people who would be a good fit with your company in certain situations. By fostering the relationship, you’ll know when that right opportunity opens up. Plus, you already have a strong foundation of quality candidates from which to source. Improving your odds that the new hire will be the right hire.

The Recruiters Anomaly

The easiest candidates to recruit and hire are those who are unemployed and actively engaged in the job market, but those same people aren’t necessarily the top players of your industry or the candidates managers are looking for.

For some sectors of expertise, the market is actually considered fully employed. That means that the majority, if not all, of the industry’s highly skilled talent is probably already working for you competitors. For example, if you’re looking for a programer, you may find that there aren’t many candidates actively looking. So, the best strategy for capturing a quality candidate is to look to those already employed. Once you identify someone who’d be the right fit for your company, reach out and let them know you’re interested. If they aren’t ready to leave their job, ask if it’s okay to keep in touch. Eventually, your growing relationship could evolve into his or her employment at your company. Each scenario will be unique and have its own set of outcomes, but the strategy remains most reliable for gaining the best talent.

Just remember: the best candidates are usually on the job market for such a temporary amount of time. It would literally take a lucky coincidence for your ideal candidate to be actively searching during the same period your opportunity is open. Instead of waiting for the perfect match to come, go out and seek them.

Getting Started

To start relationship recruiting, you have to make sure a few prerequisites are taken care off. If you’re not sure what kind of candidate is a good fit for your company, you’ll need to start here first.

Identify Intrinsic Values

Evaluate your employment brand. Identify common core characteristics and/or skills that all of your current employees possess. It could be anything from common skills to interests to experience. Continuously remind yourself of these values and keep your focus narrow in order to find the best-matching talent.

Create a Pipeline

The whole point of relationship recruiting is to build a robust talent community of pre-screened candidates who can be contacted immediately when a position opens up. Start actively seeking out and capturing names of people who match up with your company based on the intrinsic value evaluation. If they aren’t interested in taking the job right now or maybe you don’t have an open position for them at the moment, ask if they mind staying in touch. If they agree, figure out what modes of communication work best for them to stay connected. Some may prefer email while others may be open to getting coffee.

Finding the right candidate can happen anywhere. Here is a list of common avenues you could use:

  • Traditional email applications
  • Referrals
  • LinkedIn & LinkedIn groups
  • Networking events
  • Casual encounters
  • College recruiting

Maintain Communication

Building trust with your candidates is critical to convincing them your company is the best fit. Whether you choose to send out regular emails, call candidates or connect in person, it’s important to build up the relationship. Make sure you stay timely. Set aside an allotted frame of time each day, week or month to catch up with your rolodex of potential candidates. Also, always remember to share your newest job opening to the respective candidates. If they reach out to you, be quick to respond. It’s vital that they always feels valued.

Be Patient

Relationship recruiting is not an instantly gratifying strategy. If your ideal candidate is already working for a company they love, the recruiting process could span months to even years. It’s really all up to the candidate. Be consistent and continue to share new opportunities. When the individual is ready to join your company, you’ll be the first to know.

Be Honest

If you’ve started communicating regularly with an individual but soon realize they just aren’t the right fit like you thought, be up front with that candidate. Relationship recruiting is about building trust with individuals, so that means you need to be honest when you’re not interested either.

It Goes Both Ways

Just like any relationship, it’s important to understand it must go both ways. You cannot expect to always be on the receiving side in the recruiting relationship. Think of the saying, “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” If a candidate expresses no interest whatsoever in working for your company, try to refer them to an open position they may enjoy elsewhere (if possible). He or she will appreciate your gesture and perhaps aid in your search by offering a referral.

Start Building Relationships

By staying engaged with the best performers in your industry, your company can make quick hiring decisions because your top recruits are not just strangers. They have become your acquaintances who you’ve already assessed are competent and would make a great fit. Relationship recruiting not only cuts your sourcing time, but it also increases your odds of picking a candidate who will excel at your organization. Forget knee-jerk recruiting, and start hiring top talent by building relationships.

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