It's a People Business – Candidates Want to Connect with you, not a Hashtag

With Summer over in the Northern hemisphere we have entered another conference season with twitter hashtags dazzling me with an array of new technology and sourcing tit bits. It seems that every day I have new ideas on how to harness big data; ensure that I am mobile enabled and connecting effectively with my social networks. And although the opportunities we have as recruiters are mind blowing I think we should never forget one basic fact . . . we are in a people business and our clients and candidates want to connect with a cialis person not a hashtag!
I’m going to let you into a secret, I entered the recruitment industry before widespread use of the internet (I know I don’t look a day over 25!). When I was a trainee faxes came off the machine in a roll and our database was a 10m long by 2m high row of pigeon holes containing resumes, some of which had seen better days. I found my candidates by searching through dusty piles of paper then I called them, I spoke to candidates about their work experience and expectations, I not only spoke to them but I spoke to their wife’s, boyfriends, mums and flatmates, recruitment in the early 90’s was truly a family affair.
I built up relationships with candidates that led to them referring friends to me and at one point I felt like I was the first stop for every Aussie, Kiwi and South African Quantity Surveyor that landed in London. I gained most of my candidates through referrals their mates trusted me so I got the call when they needed work, and even better for me they were a referral from a trusted source. I knew everyone’s travel itinerary, when they were heading to the snow or doing a Contiki trip around Europe so I could keep a pipeline of work for them and a supply of contractors for my clients, when I look back maybe I had the makings of an early talent community!
The same rules applied to my clients, I couldn’t ‘flick’ resumes by email, instead they were printed, put into a beautiful folder and then I hand delivered them. The richness of this interaction is something I won’t forget, not only did I get instantaneous feedback as we discussed candidates, but sitting in their office I learnt so much more about this individual and their life that led me to not only to be able to match roles on technical abilities but by personality matches and culture. I had the opportunity to really discuss their business and where it was heading and consequently use this knowledge to ensure my supply of wandering antipodean matched their future needs.
I am not saying that I am against technology, quite the opposite, I firmly believe that the power of engagement is equally if not more important than the power of technology and there are 3 key engagements you need to have before you commence any assignment:

1. The Hiring Manager

Don’t just rely on a paper Position Description, by sharing a coffee with a Hiring Manager it is amazing what you can unearth:

  • People they know in our competitors, the Hiring Manager may not believe they will leave their current company but we all know that when approached it’s amazing what people may be interested in.
  • The people within your organisation who are a perfect model for the role you are going to fill, don’t just focus on the technical quiz him about the person!
  • An in-depth overview of the role beyond the position description.


2. Focus on the wrong candidate to get the right one

This is something Glen Cathey talks about when he is reviewing Boolean searches, but this can be applied to our talent pools and past candidates as well. I have candidates that I regularly talk to, some I have been in contact with for 5-6 years but who never quite fit my roles they are a marvellous source of market knowledge in the following ways:

  • Who is hiring, who am I competing against for talent? This enable me to perfect my ‘pitch’ to prospective candidates and to work with my Hiring Managers on what is unique about the role we are offering verses our competition.
  • Who is laying off, these companies go to the top of my sourcing plan as the first I will start to investigate.
  • Real life referrals the people they have worked with or met.


3. Build a real life profile

Not only build my relationships with my Hiring Managers but I also get to know their teams. These individuals may not have a direct impact on hiring but they are a great model for building my sourcing profile and yet again they are well connected with their peers. What a great way for finding people both internally and externally.
Pulling all the information I get from these conversations together enables me to hone my sourcing plan and allows me to head in the right direction from day 1 of my search without the false starts that can so often be experienced.

Final thoughts



Through all of this I sound like a true Luddite child of the 70’s but I love social media and the way it can spread a message or crowd source a role; I think LinkedIn and Boolean search have moved our capabilities as recruiters to a level that we could not have dreamt of in the 90’s, but as I was continuously told as a trainee, people buy from people and if we don’t engage with each other how can they chose to buy from you?

If you want to learn how to improve the way you engage with candidates (whilst still leveraging technolog) join Shannon Pritchett, Chris Hoyt, Bill Boorman, Martin Warren and other leading sourcers and social recruiters at Sourcing.Social.Talent#SST15 in November.  Register now for the event in SydneyMelbourne or Auckland

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2 Responses to “It's a People Business – Candidates Want to Connect with you, not a Hashtag”

  1. Stan Rolfe

    Great post Jo!
    Hits the nail on the head. We are all humans and prefer interacting with one another. The hashtag today is the fax machine of yesterday. Just another medium to interact with and engage other people.

  2. Stan Rolfe

    Great post Jo!
    Hits the nail on the head. We are all humans and prefer interacting with one another. The hashtag today is the fax machine of yesterday. Just another medium to interact with and engage other people.


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