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Alternative methods to sourcing Candidates

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

In a perfect world, the search for skilled Candidates would be simple: as soon as an open space appears within the business, a steady stream of high-calibre applications from the area’s best and brightest would roll in, leaving us spoilt for choice.

Unfortunately for Employers, top talent doesn’t grow on trees.

Having spent hours scrolling through LinkedIn’s search results to no avail, it’s easy to feel disheartened. Touching the sides in what seems like an increasingly shallow talent pool, we splash frantically until we settle for a small selection of the lot we’d plonked in the maybe pile to bring in for an interview.

Despite the search coming to an end, we feel unsatisfied with the outcome: maybe it’s because we didn’t find that “purple squirrel” we’d had in mind; maybe it’s because we know we could have looked elsewhere; perhaps it’s that little voice in our heads using it’s best I-told-you-so tone to tell us the chances of having to re-hire for the role in the near future are high.

In any case, taking a shortcut will only see us spending more time and money on filling the vacancy further down the line. With this in mind, it’s time to broaden the search and explore other avenues.

1. Take advantage of other social channels

LinkedIn may be the go-to platform for active job seekers, but a thorough search should not be limited to one channel. Remember, passive Candidates may not spend much of their time on LinkedIn if at all; their profiles may not even be fully up to date. Setting the parameters of your search to only those seeking new employment will hinder your chances of finding the right person for the role.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat each boast millions of users, many who may not even have a professional profile on LinkedIn. These people may not be in the market for a new job, but in most cases, they’re not adverse to exploring exciting opportunities.

Using Twitter’s advanced search, you can discover talented people tweeting useful insights or partaking in online discussions on their particular specialism. Facebook further offers hiring managers the chance to find people who match certain criteria e.g. ‘Programmers in Essex’. Social platforms such as these not only offer a far broader range of people, they provide a space for companies to build and promote their employer brand.

2. Attend networking events

While technology may have facilitated the job search, ignoring the opportunity that networking events offer is a big mistake. Rather than waiting for the moment a position opens up to start your search, it’s a good idea to build and nurture an ongoing pipeline of qualified Candidates by actively attending industry events. Careers fairs make for a great starting place, but just like social media, you don’t want to limit yourself to a single source.

Conferences, trade shows and workshops will be rife with budding professionals seeking new contacts and opportunities, so don’t hesitate in making connections. The aim is not to collect as many business cards as possible. Instead, your goal should be to build relationships with talented individuals and raise awareness of your employer brand. The next time you have a vacancy to fill, you’ll have a collection of potential Candidates ready to tap in to.

3. Get your Employees involved

Not only do Employee referrals offer a cheaper, faster way to hire, they can often be the best route to talented Candidates. Once you consider that the average person has around 150 contacts within their social media network - that’s 15,000 contacts for every 100 employees - it seems short-sighted to only tap into your own. More often than not, your Employees will be able to offer a few quality suggestions of people to fill a vacancy.

What’s more, Candidates are far more likely to apply to a role if they hear about it from “the horse’s mouth”. Naturally, many Employers are cautious of referral programs; they fear that Employees are going to be referring under-qualified people in order to quickly make some extra cash. However, if your company boasts high job satisfaction and low staff turnover, it’s likely your Employees will be eager to promote the opportunity to their family, friends and professional contacts they trust as a means of bringing them in to “a good thing”.

The last thing they want is to be held responsible for a bad hire - besides, it’s unlikely your Employees want to work alongside someone they don’t believe to be talented, committed or passionate. If a referral is successful, your Employee receives more than just a bonus: they get the satisfaction of knowing they’ve contributed towards the growth of the company

4. Use a recruitment agency

Finding high-calibre Candidates who fit both the job requirements as well as the company culture isn’t easy. If time is already stretched thin and you want access to the best talent without delay, working with a recruitment agency is usually considered the most efficient approach. After all, a Recruiter’s job is to build a buoyant network of talented Candidates – both active and passive; they are perfectly placed to connect you with the right people at the right time.

Having sourced a select few Candidates, Recruitment Agencies will provide an initial screening process to further save you time: that means only Candidates with the most relevant experience, the right skill level and a great attitude will fall into your lap ready for the next step. 

Further to identifying and engaging talent on your behalf, recruitment agencies will handle all the communication in-between: the scheduling of interviews, the negotiation of salary as well as the terms of Employment. All you have to do is prepare for the interview, get to know the Candidate and make a decision.

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