Getting Candidates to Respond: 10 Sourcing Tips from the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn

Stacy Zapar is a Recruiting Strategist, Consultant & Advisor, the Founder of Tenfold, and oversees Social Recruiting, Employer Branding & Sourcing at Zappos and Restoration Hardware. She’s the most connected woman on LinkedIn, with over 41,000 first-level connections. She’s also full of great recruiting and sourcing advice that she’s shared on her blog, as well as with the attendees of SourceCon today.

Stacy’s presentation at SourceCon covered the changing world of sourcing. It used to be about finding a purple squirrel or a needle in a haystack. But Stacy points out that the game has changed. The future of sourcing is building engagement and getting candidates to respond. She provides 10 key tips to ensure you stay ahead of the sourcing game.

1. Don’t be a job blaster -

Recruiting is about relationship building. As part of your sourcing strategy, you should be using social media to develop relationships.

Share what you know. Too often, we see recruiters using social media as a place to blast job openings. Social media is not a one-way networking channel! Change your mentality from “doing social” to “being social.” And being social is about knowledge sharing.

2. Be proactive -

If you’re not taking control of the process, you’re not going to be effective. The days of post and prey are long gone.

Don’t ask employees who they know, tell them. Stacy promotes the following strategy: Go online to look into employee networks. Afterwards, you can approach the hiring team with a list of candidates you would like them to connect you with. It’s a far more proactive and effective approach than asking “who do you know?”

3. Leverage your hiring team -

Taking it one step further, Stacy writes the outreach email for her employees, sends it over to them to personalize it, and then has them forward it along to a contact. Candidates are more likely to respond to the person they’ve worked with in the past than some unknown recruiter.

Stacy still pays the employee a referral bonus if that person gets hired — even if they only pressed send. This makes them pay attention to the referral program and participate in the future.

4. Be targeted -

Personalization should be a no-brainer. Be sure to embed the candidate’s name, show that you have looked into what they have done in the past, and customize the content of a message.

You reached out to the candidate because something stood out – tell them what it is! Talk specific project they have done in the past and and the problems that they would solve at your organization. Find uncommon commonalities. Show them that it’s not a bulk email.

Tip: Use chrome extensions or social aggregators for an easy way to pick up on those uncommon commonalities.

5. Dig a well before you’re thirsty -

Have people lined up in your back pocket. When a req pops up, you should already know 6 people that would be great for that. If you recruit for the same types of things over and over, there’s no excuse not to have these candidates ready.

This is a best practice for sourcers – you are always playing catch-up unless you have dug a well in the background.

6. Work smarter, not harder -

Think about your processes, and try to streamline. You should never be recreating the wheel. For example, you should be tagging Silver Medalists in your ATS to avoid starting from the beginning each time you need to fill a position.

Silver Medalists are the people that would have gotten the offer if your first choice wasn’t just slightly better. The next time you have a req that’s similar, go straight to that person. Even if they aren’t interested, they will appreciate that you remembered them and might give you some names!

Also look for email patterns. If you can find a company’s email pattern (first.last@company, first initial.last@company), keep it in a spreadsheet. Stacy has 1500 email pattens, and is sharing them with SourceCon attendees. Link to come!

7. Be authentic -

If you want real engagement, you need to think about who you are. Candidates can smell phoniness, so be sure to talk about who you are and your interests on social media.

Consider “the social media mullet” – business in the front and party in the back. Don’t talk shop all the time. Also, Stacy doesn’t recommend keeping work and personal social media accounts separate; you will be more interesting and genuine if you combine the two.

8. Grow your network -

This doesn’t mean that you accept every invite, but you should understand the advantages of having a large LinkedIn network.

Search keywords like SourceCon to find candidates. You get the same search results with free account as recruiter account, and the bigger your network is, the more out-of-networks connections you have. It could even be larger than your paid, LinkedIn Recruiter network.

9. Pay it forward -

Don't make it all about you. Unfortunately, a lot of recruiters have a stigma attached to them from mass social media postings. Stacy feels that if you do just a little to help people – pass along intros, give advice on LinkedIn profiles, give interview tips, or retweet – it goes a long way.

She calls her company Tenfold because she believes that whatever you put out in the universe will come back to you tenfold. “The currency of networking is generosity,” she says.

Recently, 885 people were never interviewed for a position once a candidate was closed. Instead, she helped them with networking or sent them an article to read. “Any kind of closure is better than no closer at all.” People appreciate kindness, and they will remember you.

10. Evolve or get left behind -

This space is moving fast. It’s never moved faster than it has within the last few years. You must try new things, new tools, and get out of your comfort zone. If you don’t keep current, you will get passed by in this space. There are very few 2nd places in recruiting agency.

She quotes her husband, “If you feel good about your haircut, it’s probably out of style.”

Check out more of Stacy’s insights on her blog and on Twitter. And stay tuned for more notes from SourceCon!

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Candidate Sourcing