Hiring talent
August 27, 2017

Hiring Talent Is Not About Sourcing, It’s About Seducing

Aik Deveneijns
Aik Deveneijns Founder/CEO

As recruiters, we are fighting the day-to-day battle to attract and hire top talent for our customers or employers. As you all know, the recruitment process basically consists of sourcing, engaging and hiring/closing. What we have noticed at LevelUp is a shift in “where” the challenge in the process actually is.

Sourcing is becoming increasingly easy to due to:

  • Better and more available tooling – the expected rise of Google Jobs will also contribute to this;
  • More platforms are available, where candidates can be identified;
  • An increase in the usage of these platforms by candidates themselves.

Is sourcing difficult? 

Sourcing is often portrayed as this cool and mysterious skill where highly skilled talent sourcers can find hidden talent in the unseen realms of the internet using the most complicated boolean searches…

Wake-up call: most of the time it is quite easy (for generic profiles). It does get really hard for super-specialized profiles where there are just a few who possess a certain skill or experience.

It also gets hard if you are sourcing in multiple “waves”, mostly due to failing to hire, and already have found hundreds if not thousand+ profiles for a position…

But sourcing for your average developer is pretty straightforward; know which tools to use, how to properly use these (think scraping, think using mechanical turk to do some of the “robot work” for you), and just getting in that “hardcore focus mode” and putting in the hours!

I would like to take this opportunity to explain the why in this article:

  1. Our mission at LevelUp Ventures is enabling growth and we are aware we cannot serve everyone at the same time. By sharing this, we’re living our mission for a broader audience.
  2. We believe in open source
  3. Happy to hear your thoughts and get feedback, so my engaging (and therefore hiring) can get to the next level.
  4. It’s marketing 🙂

The shift I was mentioning is all about the engagement of the (passive) candidate. So, here are my top-learnings for hiring talent:

1. Content is key

The first point of communication with your talent is called “the reach-out”. This is the part where you can set yourself apart from the competition. An ideal situation is when the hiring manager (or even CEO/CTO, which is common in start-ups but would be weird with corporates) reaches out him/herself. No one is waiting for a “middle-man” agency recruiter. We should accept that, and use that.

Personalise your message

Data shows that keeping it brief and personalizing your message are the keys to success. Be sure to personalize enough for the reader to know you have actually put some time in checking out who they are but have not done not a whole lot of stalking ;).

Speak their language

Make sure you speak their language, so a reach-out for a Data Analyst, BusDev Manager or Developer should be totally different (even when it’s recruiting for the same company).

By using their language I basically mean: try to get it into the details of the job. Give them a sneak peek of what’s waiting for them in the language that “middle-man” recruiter could not understand because it is simply not his/her field of expertise. Try to test their limits of experience with an in-depth question, but not intimidate them.

Include a call-to-action

Always make sure to include a call-to-action, but not the “recruiter way” by directly asking for their number or telling them what to do.. Just give them some options (preferable 3 options, our brain loves that) and let them decide themselves what’s the next step.

Don’t use corporate cliches

Almost forgot the most important one: do not use corporate cliches. No one is waiting for a job with “cool atmosphere” or “fun colleagues” or “free beer’” or “lots of responsibility”… we’ll leave all the standardized crap for the corporates to use ok? Thank you.

Try not to overthink it! We tend to start using big complex words once we think too much. How would you explain the job to someone you just met in a bar? Use that language.

2. Timing is everything

Ok, so now you have written that awesome reach-out (and maybe even some follow-ups?) and you are ready to send! Next big question that pops up: when are we sending it?

Find the right time

First, start off with some basic reasoning… on which platforms is competition the highest and on which days and times of the week are people usually busy? This is basically going to lead you to send at non-business hours (or trying to engage them in that “bored hour” just after lunch or so).

Decide on the platform

And then the platform question… are you going to use InMails? Maybe an e-mail? To their private or business address? Some recruiters even use social media or WhatsApp… I think we are not there yet and it is still invasive to do so for now. 

Emails work better for tech positions, the response rate is 200-300% higher. Commercial people tend to respond to InMail pretty well still.

Just beware: the content can be awesome but if no one opens your e-mail due to bad timing it has been a waste of time/energy and result. So make sure your timing is perfect!

Final remarks

We as recruiters have to realize and accept that, when it comes to hiring talent, the majority of people are just not open. But if the content is amazing they will let you know (and even give you some compliments for your effort hopefully).

Most top talent choose a new position based on a relationship. Invest in these relationships now and you’ll be able to harvest later (harder for agency recruiters btw..).

For all the readers who made it to the bottom part of this post:

Make sure to A/B test the s*** out of everything I just shared. None of these rules are in stone, engaging is an ever-evolving job.

Oh, and the last open door: if you are not tracking all communications within an ATS you might as well start using pagers and fax again. Remember that ;).

Like this article? Share the story