Relying only on inbound sourcing is not going to be enough for your immediate recruitment needs.
This is because inbound sourcing targets only the active job seekers. Whereas many talented engineers who may be interested in your openings aren’t actively looking for a new job.
Sometimes they are occupied with their daily routine, unaware of any new opportunities outside their circle.
Therefore you need to actively reach out to these passive candidates, to tell them of your company and openings. This style of recruiting is called outbound sourcing.
The advantages of outbound sourcing over inbound sourcing are:
- Better control over the quality of the applications. Because you can choose to target candidates with a profile that matches your criteria.
- Get results faster. Whereas a job ad typically brings you one good hire per month, especially if your company is not well-known.
- Save time. You have the option of hiring professional recruiters to perform the sourcing for you.
On the other hand, outbound sourcing is much harder to manage. Many inexperienced founders are unaware of its various pitfalls.
Read More: 5 ways your recruiters annoy talented candidates.
A major reason is the competitive nature of tech recruiting. Any experienced software developer with a decent LinkedIn profile gets bombarded by an onslaught of recruitment messages almost every day.
Apologies on the unsolicited mail, however, I am a specialist recruiter in Technology. I have recently come across your profile and am currently working on a confidential search with one of my client in Singapore which I strongly believe you might be interested in.
If your recruiter left a message for a candidate like that, she sounded exactly like every other 100 recruiters trying to reach this candidate.
What sort of recruiters then attract the attention of quality candidates?
The most basic requirement is the ability to read and understand a tech CV and knowing startup hiring process well. Candidates like recruiters who match relevant opportunities to them.
Some of the most competent tech recruiters I found are developer-turned recruiters. Their past experience with software development serves them well.
Also look for the following traits when you seek a recruiter:
- candidate-first rather than commission-first,
- understands candidate psychology,
- provides value-added services.
A star recruiter differentiates herself from the rest by creating value for the candidate on each interaction. She takes the time to find out the candidate’s career needs, provide him insights into the job market, make him thinks, and expand his perspective on what it takes to build a successful tech career.
She focuses on building a long-term relationship with the candidate, instead of selling him whatever job openings she has from her clients.
After engaging recruiters, many hiring managers think that they have offloaded a tedious task, and so they can now focus on the core of their business. However, the reality is that they are still responsible for the success or failure of their recruitment operation.
For one, recruiters are not responsible for how well you interview and screen your candidates.
A good hiring manager constantly exchanges feedback with his recruiters, monitors the performance of his recruitment pipeline, and makes adjustment as necessary. Not actively engaging with the recruiters often leads to sub-par recruitment effort.
There are several things that you could do, to better manage your recruitment flow involving external recruiters, such as
- Communicate your recruitment flow, requirements, job descriptions and expectations to recruiters clearly.
- Hold proper placement meetings and regular review meetings.
- Use a centralized application tracking system to keep all candidate information.
- Supervise new recruiters and monitor their work in the first few weeks of engagement.
In particular, the best technique you could possibly use is to incentivize them correctly. A correct incentive structure motivates the right behaviour from recruiters and generates the best results.
Typically, external recruiters charge a placement fee which is equal to a fraction of the new hire’s annual salary when they deliver the placement.
This incentive has a weakness: the stiff competition and the generally long and stringent screening process of tech companies lower the expectation of a quick return.
If a placement takes too long time to fill, the recruiters will lose motivation looking for more candidates. Worse, they might keep the contract open so that they can come back to it one day, and you are on the losing end.
Furthermore, a placement fee does not incentivize them to source for a perfect fit, as that would mean a higher cost for them. Often they will settle for a defensible candidate that just passes the lower bar of your expectations.
To make up for this weakness, change the incentive structure to include some intermediate payments based on certain milestones. The exact structure depends on your recruitment goals and the metrics you wish to improve on.
However, an incentive based on activity quota is usually a mistake. It causes the recruiters to pepper candidates with unsuitable positions or push them for phone calls and interviews, a sure way to annoy them.
When you are actively sourcing for candidates, it is the right time to think of a long-term strategy – building an employer brand.
As you scale up your business, you will need to hire talents constantly to keep up with the growth. A good employer brand attracts talents on its own, making your sourcing effort more effective.
That will be the topic of the next email.
Obito “tech recruiter”
P/S: Candidates often change or make up their mind about an opportunity after a tour to the workplace. What is the single most important property of a workplace that helps to attract engineering talents to it?
Previous: Email 4 – The One Skill To Master.