Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recruitment Strategy Development – Contacting the Passive Candidate

When you decide to direct source instead of simply posting and hoping, how do you approach the passive candidate? Do you call and say, “Hey! Would you like to work for us?” I’ve listened as corporate and third party recruiters tried similar lines. Naturally they did not like the rejection – and returned to posting and hoping.

Who is a passive candidate? They are people with demonstrated expertise who need your help to discover they really aren’t as happy as they could be. Typically a truly passive candidate has no desire to look at postings Anywhere. They may not be on LinkedIn because “What’s the point? I am happy here.” Why are they a potentially better candidate when you recruit them?

That’s easy. In addition to their skills and focus on making impacts, they have not yet started to shop their resume around to other companies. This is your opportunity to land them before they decide they could be happier somewhere else. As in other areas of sales, time is your enemy in recruitment. Once a passive candidate is on the market for you, they begin to look around “To see what else is available.” But I am jumping ahead…

If you are not used to direct sourcing and cold calling candidates, it is a good idea to develop a script around what you want to say. The beauty of scripts occurs when a candidate asks a question and you put your finger down where you are in the script. After you answer their question or questions, return to your place in your script (so easy even I do it!).

Some people are afraid that a script will make them seem “fake”. Just try to be natural and smile. People can feel a smile on the other end of a call.

When you are calling a passive candidate the first time, identify yourself and ask if this is a good time to chat for 10 minutes. If not, when would be a good time? When they ask why you are calling them, tell them the truth - somewhere (Tell them where) in your research, you found they were talented in that field. “Talented people generally know other talented people.” If you described a situation to them, perhaps they could suggest a couple of people who may be interested in this opportunity. Many times they want to help other people. Describe the company and opportunity and then ask them “who do you know that I should call next? Hopefully they will say, “What about me?” If they don’t, you at least leave the call with other names and numbers. It’s amazing how well it works!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Recruitment Strategy Development – The Elusive Passive Candidate

As a contract recruitment consulting professional, I listen to companies when they say they are looking for the elusive passive candidate. When I ask them how they plan to attract that person, generally they reply that they want to post a job where they will respond. They then ask where I suggest they post the position. My sense is they have conflicting goals.

Quite possibly my definition of a passive candidate is different than theirs. I define a passive candidate as one who is successful in their field and believe they are happy. Therefore they are not looking on posting sites. They are spending that time making impacts in their own companies.

Therefore, how do you attract passive candidates? If they think they are happy, and are not looking at posting sites, the seasoned professionals probably are not even on LinkedIn. I just contacted one of those today. I’ve known her for years and had to hunt for her. She does not participate in social media sites. “Why should I? I’m happy!” was her response.

Therefore finding passive candidates requires someone who understands, accepts, and practices “Recruiting Is Sales”. Sourcing these candidates is not easy. It requires someone who is creative and probably has a little detective in them.

What is a potential strategy to identify and recruit truly passive candidates? As a recruitment consultant, I recommend that we begin by finding out where they hang out. Hanging out may be physically or virtually. Now maybe you can understand the detective reference.

Generally if you are searching for people with specific skills, that means that you have people with those skills working with or for you. Ask them where the passive candidates of that field hang out. If they claim not to know (they know), ask what associations they belong to. What conferences do they attend? What school typically graduates that person?

Ask your manager in that area, what companies they prefer to see people with that experience. It’s also a good idea to ask which companies they do not want to see candidates – and why? It helps you focus. I also ask what the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals are for the position. The skills required to be successful become crystal clear.

How do you approach the passive candidate? Follow my articles for the next segment.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Candidates - Effective Resumes

I have been a professional recruiter for 29 years and recently signed a contract with a publisher to publish my first book on finding a job in this economy. Over the years I have read over 400,000 resumes.

Back in the early 90’s I was timed by an assistant as I reviewed a stack of resumes. I created three piles of resumes – no, trash wasn’t one of them. However, Interested, Not Interested, and I’ll Take Another Look were. When I completed reading the resumes, my assistant told me that she timed me as I read each resume. Being from the East Coast originally, I asked her if I didn’t give her enough work that day. Her response was perfect. She said, “You hired me as a Junior Recruiter. I knew better than to ask how much time you spent on a resume so I timed you. What are those stacks?” I told her what each stack of resumes meant then asked what she found out. She said, “You spent as little as 2 seconds on a resume and those went into the Interested and Not Interested stacks. You spent as much as 12 seconds and those mostly went into the 'I’ll take another look and Not Interested stacks.' You averaged 6 seconds per resume."

Therefore, you have 6 seconds to get my attention – and that was almost 20 years ago. Hopefully I’ve improved on those numbers!

What am I looking for? Your impacts! What positive measurable impacts have you made? Your resume is your marketing piece. This is a time to trumpet your successes! Most managers have never been taught how to interview. Therefore, the information on your resume is mostly the basis of your interview. Use previous annual reviews if you need reminders.

The convention in resume writing is to write your resume in 3rd person past tense, even current experience, and drop the pronouns. There never should be an “I” in a resume. Always begin sentences with an action verb – Designed, Sold, Closed, Developed, Interfaced, Integrated, etc.

I suggest that you write your responsibilities in a paragraph format and bullet point impacts. You want your impacts to stand out, correct?

Good luck!

Recruitment Strategy Development – Resume Retrieval

Over my 29 years of recruitment, one of my clients’ biggest problems in sourcing resumes has been retrieving them from their own files.

In the “beginning”, paper resumes were stuffed into file drawers after they were reviewed by a recruiter – generally never to be found again. A year or two later they were all stuffed into the trash to make room for “fresher” resumes, and the cycle began anew.

Today most resumes are sent electronically. This is good for our landfills! The bad news is that they are rarely reviewed before going into the electronic file known as an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) or ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Therefore many times the corporate recruiter does not even know to try to find the resume in their system. They then post the position online and the process again renews itself.

I had one HR client who was so paranoid that I would successfully find resumes in their HRIS that they required me to take HIPPA training prior to granting me access to their resume database. I know HIPPA is for health records but they were desperate to find excuses to keep me away. They then asked me to sign a form saying that I completed the training. Below my name was the word, “Employee”. Since I was a consultant, I refused to sign as an employee to protect the client and they denied me access to their database – dumb!

Were you aware that there are over 30 different titles that mean SALES? Therefore if you are only searching your HRIS or ATS on your in-house title, “Account Manager”, you will miss all of the men and women who are Sales professionals, Account Reps, Account Representatives, Business Development, and the balance of the other sales professionals with the “wrong” titles. The same happens with many titles outside of sales.

I do not sell Broadlook Technologies products http://www.broadlook.com/ nor do I receive a referral fee. They have nifty utility that you may use to find all of those sales titles or other similar titles for other positions. Actually they offer some great search products. The company was founded by a successful recruiter who really knows what he is doing, Donato Diorio. Give them a call to learn about their products.

Meanwhile creative sourcing of resumes in your own database will reap you candidates beyond your dreams! Good Luck!