Sunday, March 9, 2008

Recruiting Guru -Lou Adler on Passive Recruiting and Networking

To get better at recruiting passive candidates, you first need to assess yourself (or your team, if you're a recruiting manager) against some best practices
“you don't need to be fearless to make cold calls — you just need to be better prepared.”
There are five basic metrics you need to track to see how well you're doing recruiting passive candidates. Daily tracking is part of this, since it allows you to quickly determine how well your changes are working. For our purposes, passive candidates are people who are not actively looking for work — so you need to call them.

Five Metrics :
-Number of cold calls made per day
-Percent returned calls
-Percent yeses
-Percent worthy candidates
-Number of worthy referrals per call

Number of cold calls made per day.

Whether you're using a list developed using ZoomInfo, competitive intelligence, or some Shally Steckerl Internet data-mining technique, you should be able to leave 30-50 calls per day. Try to limit these calls only to worthy people based on their names, companies, and titles. Worthy people are those who are either potential candidates for your open position or those who personally know someone who would be.

Percent returned calls.

This is a critical metric. Calling people who don't call you back is a waste of time, so you'll need to shoot for at least 50-60% call-backs — and 75% if you're really good at leaving messages. Later in this article, I'll provide some ideas on how to improve your results in this area. Read the first paragraph again and substitute the word "job" for the word "article" for a quick hint on how to get started here.
Percent yeses.

When the person returns your call, you must get them to say yes to your offer. Here's my standard offer which will guarantee 90% "yes" responses: "Would you be open to explore a situation if it was significantly better than what you're doing today?" If you're getting less than 75% "yes" responses, you need to re-work your pitch.

Percent worthy candidates.

Remember that a worthy person is one who is either a top-flight candidate who is interested in your job or knows someone who is. I suggest you minimize your calls to people you're not sure are worthy. This means you must limit the number of calls you make directly from the initial cold list. To work a cold list, just call the best 15-20 people based on their titles and companies. Once you find a few good people in this initial group, don't call anyone else on the list. Just recruit and/or get referrals from this initial group. The key is to get pre-qualified, strong referrals from the initial people called. This way, all subsequent calls will only be to worthy people.

Number of worthy referrals per call.

The secret of passive candidate recruiting is getting great referrals of more worthy people. If you're good at networking, you'll be able to obtain 2-3 worthy referrals from every worthy cold call. Getting names from unworthy people is a waste of time.

Few Networking Rules :

A few good names are all you need to get started

  • You need to create instant interest when you first connect on the phone
    So don't describe the job first, or ask how the person is doing. Instead ask, "Would you be open to exploring a situation that's clearly superior to what you're doing today?" If the answer is yes, tell the candidate you'd like to first review their background before you get into any details about the job. This prevents the person from saying they're not interested. This is a very critical step. Getting the candidate to respond first establishes credibility and leaves the recruiter in the driver's seat. Don't ever discuss the job first, other than in vague terms. Something like, "We're looking for a senior project position in marketing," is okay.
    Even if the candidate is unqualified or uninterested, the initial five to ten minute dialogue increases the likelihood of obtaining a good referral.
    Whether you're networking with a current employee, a candidate or some other contact, the objective is to get a few names of some top people from each person.
    Never ask the person who she knows who's looking. You won't get anybody good this way. You don't want people who are looking; you want great people who are open to exploring a better situation. Instead, get the names of previous best coworkers in the same department, or a previous boss or subordinate who the person thought was great. Try to get three names from each person. Ask for names of people who might know someone else. Once you have the name, ask the candidate to describe the person. Find out why she considers the person highly qualified. Asking questions this way allows you to pre-qualify the candidate before you even make the call. You can save lots of time when you're only calling top people to begin with.
    Backtracking is a creative way to find more good candidates.

    It's based on the concept of one degree of separation. To start, ask yourself who would know the person you need. Then network with this person. This type of networking is quite effective, because people will more openly refer a good person to you if they're not working in the same company, or if they know of the person in a non-work related way. To obtain lots of ideas on where to network, conduct a brainstorming session with all members of the hiring team. Start with this target list of categories:
    -Competitive and source companies
  • -Customers
  • -Vendors
  • -Trade and professional associations
  • -Academic relationships
  • -Potential social connections including hobbies
  • -Online discussion groups
  • -Conference presenters
    When you first contact a person to network, make sure the job is compelling.
    No one will refer a person to a boring job, unless it's someone they don't like.
    Call or join the trade associations of people you want to attract.
  • Material control people belong to APICS.
  • Electrical engineers, it's the IEEE.
  • Financial managers belong to the Financial Executives Institute and the CPA Society.
  • Property Managers belong to IREM.
  • Get in touch with the local chapters and start spreading the word.
  • Send letters to the officers of these groups.
  • We've discovered that these are some of the best people.
  • One way to narrow down the list quickly is by targeting industry-specific trade conferences as a source of names.

These people are already recognized as experts in their field, so it's a terrific way to network with top people.

The Encyclopedia of Associations is a great place to start to get the names of appropriate trade groups and professional societies. You can also get these names from the resumes you receive from your ads.

Voice Mail Techniques Goal: Establish Credibility and Create Interest
The Direct Recruit.

You'll get better results if you recruit the person directly rather than be evasive. Say, for example, "I'd like to discuss a senior-level position in marketing with you." People are more likely to call back if there's something in it for them personally. Be vague about the title. "Senior level" or "executive level" work well.
I'm the Expert.

Build up your reputation as someone worth knowing. "I'm not sure if you've heard my name before, but I'm recognized as a leading recruiter in the Java space. During a recent meeting at the ______ conference, your name was mentioned twice to me as someone I need to connect with regarding a search for a senior-level developer." People are more likely to call back if they can network with someone who is well-networked. Even if the current job is not a perfect fit, something in the future might be, so establish yourself as an important person to know.
The Name and Info Dropper.

Mention someone or something important that the candidate will recognize. "I was just talking to the CFO at ___ regarding an interesting take on the new Sarbanes-Oxley ruling. This came up as part of a search I'm conducting for a senior-level financial executive for a Fortune 200 company." Knowing important people and current issues gives you more credibility.
Confidential Referral.

On ZoomInfo, you'll find candidates' former companies. Mention this in your voicemail. "I was just talking with a marketing director at (prior company) and your name was brought up in the conversation as someone I need to call regarding a search I'm leading for a senior-level manager." When the person calls back and presses for the name, mention that you automatically treat the names of people who provide names to you as confidential, and you'll do the same for this person.
Direct Referral.

If you have permission, just mention the person's name. This will yield close to 90% call-backs if the referring person is credible. Since more than 50% of your calls will be like this, you should be able to get your overall call-back yield over 75%. "Karen Jones says, 'hi,' and insisted I call you on a search I'm conducting for a senior-level person in ERP systems design."
The Creative Pesterer.

Keep on calling and leaving messages at different times with fun messages. Eventually, the person will either answer the phone or call you back just to get rid of you. "I don't want to bother you too much, but I know you'll buy me dinner once you hear about a search I'm leading for a senior management position in engineering."
The Follow-Up.

Use this as part of an email or direct mail campaign. Using ZoomInfo's Job Cast and other tools, you can find email addresses for many people on your initial cold list. Send them a compelling summary of the job and mention that you will follow up with them in a few days directly on the phone. If you have their regular mail addresses, you might want to send a real letter.

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