Love Your Candidates

I’ll admit that some days feel like the world may never be the same. I was watching an older episode of Lip Sync Battle.…in bed…on my phone. It was early this past Saturday morning and I wasn’t ready to get up and start another day yet. The celebrities on this episode were Anna Kendrik and John Krasinski. And, as John entered the stage, he gave several audience members a high five. And, my first thought was, “oh my gosh, that would never happen NOW!” That’s when I knew, we may never look at human interaction the same way again. And, toilet paper. I vow to never take toilet paper for granted.

The somber truth is that we are quickly realizing that the economics of COVID-19 is far-reaching. The hospitality, service, airline, retail and food services industries have been rocked to their core. The government has stepped in an unprecedented way with a 2 trillion-dollar stimulus package and still, we’re wondering if it will have the impact we hope it will have.

For talent acquisition partners, I think it’s the opportunity to build and deepen our professional connections.

One Size Does Not Fit All

I’ve never ever been a fan of a one- size-fits-all recruiting strategy. There are a finite number of channels that you use to market any position. I’ve counted ten. That’s it. For all the social, hosted, and niche social platforms out there, a recruiter at any point in time for any position has 10 channels to create their outreach strategy. The channels you choose are like a deck of cards. You’ve got 52 cards and must decide how you want to divide your deck. The cards represent where you’ve decided to post your position. Job posts are a one-way street. Though you should never under estimate the power of a well-written ad, they simply push information out into the market.

The diversity of your strategy depends on where your potential candidates hang out (meaning, where their profiles and/or forums are online). Take a look at one of your strategies for a current opening. Have you stacked your deck and put all 52 cards in LinkedIn Recruiter because it’s what you usually do? Have you considered professional associations or college alumni channels? What about your own ATS? Remember, those are warm leads since they’ve already applied to your company.

A Measurable Strategy is a Smart Strategy

Source data is your friend. Some TA partners get too attached to a particular channel to identify potential candidates. Never choose a strategy because it worked last time, things are changing too quickly. Don’t be afraid to try something new and adjust the strategy as you go.

The bottom line is that in order to build a powerful network, you must have an understanding of your target candidate to know where to find them. And, start a search with a strategy that you assess along the way.

The Fun Begins

Once you have decided on your strategy and posted your position, the real action begins when you start to identify candidates.

While it’s true that scores of people that have been impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment numbers have spiked, the companies that are going to come out ahead are those that prioritize a candidate’s experience. And, the best candidates, the seemingly elusive A players, are successful and you’d better believe that they have options, even today.

Your Focus

Your focus is to move candidates into your company’s ATS. It doesn’t matter if you manually add them or they submit their information online, your first order of business is to get candidates into your ATS.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea to connect with people on professional social sites. Right now, your number one job is to identify and engage with the candidates for the positions you are managing. If your company doesn’t have an ATS, social professional sites have similar ways to connect and engage with people.

Your Attention

Time is your most precious commodity. And, one of the most effective ways to manage relationships is through your ATS or similar relationship management platform because you are funneling everyone to one system. This provides you the greatest likelihood of finding the ideal candidate and being able communicate regularly.

Continue to be intentional with your candidate follow up. How (phone, email blast, text) matters less than the fact that you communicate. A brief message (even if it’s just that the job is still paused) can yield significant results. And, it may be the difference between hope and hopelessness. Don’t underestimate your ability to make an impact.

The Big Picture

As you build your network within a system that you control and regularly communicate with people, you may be the person who encourages someone who was recently laid off or provides the chance for someone to get into the field that always wanted to be in. Prioritize communicating well with the people in your network because they are paying attention to how you communicate with them.