What it takes to recruit?

I often receive messages from recruiters that contain a link to a job ad or just the whole body of that very same ad. That’s not what recruitment is about. If I’m interested in a job, I can see the ad on the job boards (or at any other medium) and there’s no need for someone to send me the message. I admit, having someone personally send you the message at least gives you a person to contact in case you are interested; but it’s easy enough to add the contact details in the job ad itself, so anyone can get more information before applying.

In a job market where you get dozens or hundreds of applications for single position, you have to choose the best applicants. This is a hard work, one that requires not only skill, but good intuition as well. When you hardly have any candidates however, which is the case in many high-tech jobs, screening is not enough. You have to attract the candidates first. And if you are going to reach them directly via e-mail or social web sites, it’s an even harder job.

First you have to select who you’ll try to attract. It is not enough to write an attractive message and send it to as many people as you can – just write an attractive ad instead. Personalized message that gets the candidate’s attention is a good start, but it’s also not enough to do a good job. If you succeed in attracting someone and then it turns out that the candidate is not qualified for the job, he or she will feel deceived. You tell the person “you’re the one”, then you said “you’re not”.

That’s why it’s very important to select who you will approach. Do your research, place your best bets and than try to reach out.

Start by describing why you think this candidate might be suitable for your job. This will not only show that you have done your research, but also give you a chance to collaborate with the person and get better picture if there’s really a fit. If there’s not, you’ll at least understand what his or her interest are. It also gives you the option to be wrong – and to be corrected – and it’s important for you to be possibly wrong in case the person won’t get an offer right away, but will have to go trough the candidate selection process first.

After you describe why this person is your choice, you have to provide with some reason the candidate may choose your company. It may be a career advancement, move to an area that seems interesting to the candidate, but at which he or she doesn’t work currently, an opportunity to get even better at his or her job or just a higher pay. Don’t mention payment however unless you really can offer a better one. You should be able at least to estimate how much this candidate may be paid currently and mention the salary if it’s well above that estimate.

Even if you can’t offer a higher position, you should offer something that will help the person to move forward. So you have to grasp his or her career goals. If the position you hire for is very similar to what the person is doing, or have been doing most of his or her career, you can reach out directly with a question – “what you need in order to consider a move?”.

Remember, your first contact with a person forms the first impression of your company. Jack Welch famously said “Every person who leaves goes on to represent your company. They can bad-mouth or praise”. This is true for those who still work in the company and for those who doesn’t work yet as well. A well-crafted message is not only your chance to get this person to an interview – it also allows the person to refer to better candidates in case you weren’t exactly right in your assumptions or is just not the right time for a move.

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