August 18, 2016

Five Ways to Connect with More Job Candidates

Written by
Jessica Barret Halcom
Tags: HR Recruiting

It’s not enough to rely on your applicant tracking system (ATS) to deliver the right candidates to fill your open positions. As helpful as those are, as a recruiter or employer, you know they can only take you so far. You need to be able to find that one-in-a-million candidate who is likely employed elsewhere and might never hear about your opening.

In addition to having an ATS in place, here are five ways to connect with more job candidates:

1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already using LinkedIn to source talent, you’re a little behind the curve . . . a lot behind. LinkedIn is so much more than a social media site for professionals. It’s long been a friend of recruiting, especially as it relates to connecting with passive candidates. More often than not, people will say they are not looking for a new job or “not looking to make a move right now,” and that’s okay. But they will be looking to make their next move at some point, and when they do, you need to be at the top of their mind.

Find your future hires through LinkedIn by connecting with them based on industry experience, or through a LinkedIn group they belong to. Introduce yourself, mention the opportunity you have, and when they say “no thanks, not right now,” stay in touch. When the timing is right, they’ll have your contact information and already know a little about your company.

There are times when candidates really are interested in making a move, but they haven’t initiated a job search. This is the beauty of LinkedIn. You can introduce yourself, introduce your company, let someone know you found them based upon their background and skills, and present your opportunity. Your potential candidate will already be responsive, based on the fact that you selected them out of a sea of people.

2. Networking Events

One of the best ways to connect with job candidates is to leave your office. So much recruiting is done online, but really, truly connecting with candidates sometimes means meeting them the old-fashioned way. There are a number of opportunities to do this. For example: job fairs, conferences, meet-ups, and industry events.

At job fairs, people are expecting to meet recruiters and are prepared to discuss their career goals. This is likely to garner more immediate hires because of the nature of the event. Attending conferences and other industry events, though a more passive approach, can have a large pay off down the road. Building relationships slowly over time lets potential candidates get to know you and learn what your company is about.

3. Referrals

Many organizations use referral programs as a way to connect with more job candidates. Why is this so successful? Because someone has had to put their name behind the referral, and the only way they’re going to do that is if they are truly confident this person will be a good fit for the role and the company. It’s also the best marketing a company can do. People trust their friends and family and want to work for companies with a solid word-of-mouth reputation.

In some cases, an employee might say, “I have this friend who would be great, but she’s not sure she wants to leave her current job, and she’s not ready to apply here.” No problem. That brings us to the next way to connect with more candidates.

4. Face-to-Face

There will be times when a candidate isn’t ready to dive in and go through the interview process. They want to test the water, ask a lot of questions. Changing careers is a huge decision. It can also be risky, depending on the type of work you do, or the industry you work in. In situations like these, consider dialing it way back to an old-school, face-to-face meeting over coffee.

There is a lot of pressure to be “on” in an interview — to say all the right things and be well prepared. Keeping it casual the first time you’re meeting someone lets them ask all of the questions and confidently decide whether moving forward makes sense. It also gives you a chance to address any lingering concerns or fears that came out of the discussion.

5. Job Boards

Before you hit the job boards, make sure your corporate branding is solid. You should showcase you company culture through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., and be true to who you are. Also, make sure your job descriptions are fantastic. By fantastic, I mean really selling the work, the culture, and the benefits. Legally, there are some things that have to be included in job descriptions, but by no means should they be boring.

When posting on job boards like Dice and Indeed (which pull jobs from several job listing sites), remember that these sites provide more than basic publishing functionality. For example, candidates can upload their resume into a database that employers can search based on skills and qualifications, education, and proximity. This is another good approach for the passive candidate not entirely sure they’re ready to make a move. It also gives both candidate and employer another great opportunity to find each other.

* * *

For recruiters looking to do more than fill requisitions with names and faces, consider a fresh approach that will not only connect you with more candidates, but help you build relationships with the future talent pool of your company.

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