Digging Deep for Qualified Candidates
I believe that there are three main levels of digging (searching) for candidates when no qualified applicants are in the pipeline. This article will quickly address all three in order to serve as a checklist when determining if everything possible is being done to fill the outstanding position(s). As an HR professional or recruiter in the business, you have likely been exposed to at least two, or even all three strategies. If so, have you ever felt like the picture? Our office is full of dog lovers, hence the theme :) Let's find the prize together as we go through all three strategies:
"Post and Pray" for Active Candidates
This is the level of digging that most companies devote a large part of their budget on. It is the act of posting the job on one or more job boards/aggregators/social media sites in the hopes that the perfect candidate will see the job, qualify themselves, and subsequently apply to the job.
"Post and Pray" is the act of posting the job on one or more job boards, aggregators, and/or social media sites in the hopes that the perfect candidate will see the job, qualify themselves, and subsequently apply to the job.
In many cases, this strategy is all that is needed to fill certain jobs. Especially if the organization has a well-respected employer brand, the job is easily visible in several places on the internet, and there are enough prospective candidates to meet the qualifications of the position.
In addition to your own career site, we suggest posting the job on:
- Two or more job boards - There are good general options like Careerbuilder, Monster, The Ladders, etc., however in many cases a niche job board is recommended. For example a physician job could posted on HealtheCareers and Practice Link since they are designed for physician job postings. Carefully check to see how your jobs look on the job board and also take a look at competitor ads to see how your posting measures up. Caution on sponsoring jobs: Please don't sponsor jobs where you have a low rating! I recently observed a prospective client who paid to sponsor ads on Glassdoor where they had a 3.7 subpar employer rating with several bad reviews! Umm, it doesn't help to draw attention to your ads if you have a low employer rating. It is much better to work on getting the rating up BEFORE paying to promote your jobs!
- Two or more job aggregators - (Aggregator - a job search engine, or a site that compiles jobs from other websites along with organic and paid/sponsored results) Indeed is the most popular with about 70% of the aggregator traffic, however other sites like Simply Hired shouldn't be overlooked. We suggest to make sure your job is visible on the aggregators as well. It is very important to periodically check on how your jobs are showing up on the aggregators in comparison with other potential employer's postings. It is also good to see what they are offering to the same candidate pool you are pursuing.
- Two or more social media outlets - Linkedin and Facebook (depending on the type of position), as well as Twitter, should be part of your social media mix for maximum reach. Linkedin is probably best for business to business and/or professionals who prefer interacting on a professional site like this one. However for candidates who are in business to consumer fields, or those who are more informal in their approach to social media, it is more likely they will be on Facebook. We also use Twitter liberally as well. Post accordingly, or post to all 3 majors. Lately Instagram and Pinterest are also gaining popularity for business to consumer type candidates.
Periodically check to see how your jobs are showing up on the aggregators, also check competitors to see what they are offering to the same candidate pool you are pursuing.
Extra Bonus Tip: Investigate using Linkedin/Facebook/YouTube ads in order to get more exposure for your jobs. If you have a company recruitment video, utilizing them for the ad content is often the most effective and/or least expensive way to advertise your employer brand and get the most exposure for the buck.
Digging for Passive Candidates
The next level of digging is to reach out to candidates who either didn't see or apply to your job posting, however their resume/CV/profile is posted somewhere on the internet. This group of candidates usually accounts for about 60-70% of the talent marketplace.
We suggest to first pull all of the existing resumes/CV's of candidates that fit what you are looking for. A significant number of these candidates may already be in your system from past requisitions. Utilize this list of candidates by sending them an email to see if they have an interest in having a conversation about this new position and/or inviting them to apply, and encourage them to share the posting with others if they are no longer interested/available.
Another important part of this step is to have a person on your team (internal or external) mine resumes/CV's of all the candidates possibly qualified for the job. Then send them an email asking them if they would like to have a conversation about the new position along with a summary and link to the posting.
Keep in mind this set of candidates will have a much lower and slower response ratio than the active ones, however the good news is that you may be the only person these ones are speaking with about a new opportunity since they have not been actively looking for a position.
Digging Really, Really Deep for Passive Candidates!
I hope that you do not need to resort to this next level of digging on every position, however for certain positions the following is either necessary or recommended. This strategy involves building a list of every possible candidate (or at least a list of perceived top candidates) to contact on an ongoing basis with the hopes of either hiring them, or someone in their network. Basically cold-calling on candidates who do not have their resume on any of the job boards you have access to. You can email also, however this will have a very low response ratio and may be considered spam by the receiver. So be very careful with the wording and make it very personalized to the candidate.
Fortunately, we do have a very nice option in Linkedin with their InMail feature. If they don't reply in 7 days, you get to reuse the credit on someone else. You can also use the group message feature if you are in the same group, however not everyone has the group message feature turned on, and often group messages are ignored if you aren't already 1st level connected with them.
This group is going to be the slowest to respond of all 3 groups and some of this group may be part of the 10-15% that doesn't want to hear about new opportunities. Therefore you may only be able to network with them.
On the other hand, when you do find one that is interested, they are often at the top of their field and can be great candidates for the organization.
Happy hunting, let me know if I can help you in any way. And I look forward to your thoughts and experiences in the comment section! :)