Successful hiring begins at the top of the funnel by identifying and cultivating relationships with prospective candidates who convert into employees after a series of interactions with your organization.
So how do the best sourcing recruiters do it?
“I think in marketing terms,” says Scott Weiss, Managing Partner of Makena Partners, a talent sourcing firm. “Our sourcing engagements are designed to function as ‘campaigns’, with a clear start and end point, approach, and desired outcome. And we measure everything.”
Weiss says that a typical campaign begins with a conversation with the internal talent acquisition professional/recruiter responsible for filling a specific role or roles within their organization. “Understanding the target candidate profile, specific elements of the position and skills required, and the compensation/logistics details is imperative to effectively design the campaign,” Weiss says.
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After gathering the essential details, Makena creates an email drip marketing workflow using a campaign management tool designed specifically for talent sourcing. There are no less than four or five steps a prospect will pass through once they are added to the workflow in an effort to “convert” them into a candidate.
Once the drip marketing campaign is ready, Weiss says, his team of sourcing recruiters will set up a project in LinkedIn Recruiter and begin scouring for talent using any number of available search filters. “Often times we start with candidates who are ‘Open to Opportunities’, but surprisingly we find a lot of our best people when we turn that filter off,” says Weiss, referring to the feature that allows job seekers to “tag” their profile that they are open to hearing from recruiters.
Rather than send InMails (messages sent through LinkedIn), Makena’s recruiters will try to uncover the personal email address of a prospect to add them into their drip marketing campaign, an action that requires an email address. “We have some tools are our disposal that are invaluable in terms of applying machine learning to help uncover candidate contact information,” says Weiss. “This gives us a major advantage in the market, as we find that, on average, we convert prospects at a significantly higher rate using email as opposed to InMail.”
Once the prospective candidates have been added to the drip marketing campaign, Weiss says, the systems works on “auto-pilot”, delivering tailored messages to the prospects at a pre-defined cadence. Interested candidates can schedule an introductory call with a Makena recruiter to discuss the opportunity using an automated calendar scheduling tool. “We save a lot of time just asking them to book a call directly with us using our scheduling link,” says Weiss. “We find that candidates appreciate the seamless approach, and it saves everyone time.”
During the pre-screening call, Makena recruiters work to determine whether the prospect will become a “lead” they send to their client, checking for readiness to switch jobs, compensation alignment, and skills and experience. If the prospect passes the initial test and is interested in the role, the recruiter will collect their resume and add it to Makena’s client portal along with their notes on the candidate. “We provide an easy-to-use web and mobile portal, so our clients can track every lead we send them, and collaborate with our recruiters using a ‘comment’ feature,” says Weiss. “This makes it easy for our clients to track everything we’re doing.”
Weiss says that every client also receives ongoing reports that measure the effectiveness of their outreach, including the number of prospective candidates messaged and response rates. This helps Weiss and his team fine-tune their efforts and also gives their clients visibility into what may or may not be working.
Ultimately, Weiss says, it is the marriage of technology and human curation that allows his team of sourcing recruiters to effectively deliver prospective candidates at scale for their clients. “Every client, every hiring manager, and every job is different,” he says. “We rely on the technology to help automate our processes, but without human intervention, there’d be no way to deliver a customized experience for each client.”
The single most important factor of a successful sourcing campaign according to Weiss?
“Relationships,” he says. “At the end of the day, they are the only thing that really matters.”