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New Year’s Recruiter Resolution #1: Be a Hunter, not a Trapper


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Sourcing for candidates takes skill and strategy – it’s not something that just happens overnight. In order to successfully attract and retain candidates, you need to do more than simply post a job opening in hopes that the talent that you want will be attracted to it. You need a more pragmatic approach. Simply put, you need to step up and be a hunter…not a trapper.

How do hunters relate to recruiters and hiring managers? Let’s break down the actions and see how hunting actually makes sense in looking for top candidates.

Hunters actively search for their next big prize while trappers simply lay out bait in hopes of luring in prey. Researching through social media, online communities, and other silos of professional information and interaction to proactively find and engage with candidates means you’re being proactive (hunting) whereas relying on posting job openings to pull in candidates who happen to be searching for a new gig – in the exact same time window – is a more passive approach (trapping). Trappers inherently need to rely on a certain set of favorable conditions, which means that their time windows can be much longer and that the prey they attract may not always be at the top of the food chain. On the other hand, hunters track, target, and snag their game, often with quicker and better results.

If you’re looking to amp up your hunting skills in 2014, consider the following tips:

Line up your sights (or sites)

No matter the type of job you’re recruiting for, there are a number of social networks and web sites where you can mine candidates. The key is to make sure you’re looking at the right social networking sites to find candidates who may be off your radar.  Start by doing a search for the specific skill you’re looking for to help find a network you likely never encountered by using mainstream recruiting tactics.  You can also use this same trick with talent search engines to launch your chances of spotting off-the-grid candidates.

Keep it logged

Organizing your interactions is crucial to keeping tabs on your strong leads. In an unorganized system, you can forget those who stood out and who you want to keep in touch with.  There are various tools available that offer automation features to easily log and track interaction with candidates.  Doing it yourself can get messy, but if upgrading to a new system which offers these tools isn’t an option,  be sure to define a process or routine that you follow with each candidate. This ensures that you maintain all of your outreach in one central spot so you don’t lose sight of your candidates.

Follow the trails 

Let employees get in on the action – their network can lead you to other candidates that may not be on your radar, so include them in the recruiting process. Tell your employees that you’re hiring and ask that they share it with their networks.  You can also engage employees by allowing them to review candidate resumes and provide feedback.  They might catch something that you didn’t, providing you with deeper insight into a candidate.

Know the grounds

The more you know about your “prey,” the better. Crawling the web to find more information about a candidate can lead to engaging conversations and a better grasp of how the candidate fits the job. Think of it as exploring their natural habitat – what they say, do and find interesting outside of their job applications.  In doing so, you’ll be able to connect with the candidate on a more personal level.  You never know – you might find that you’re both super interested in the same team!

As you build your plan of action, get pumped about taking a proactive approach to finding and engaging with candidates in the New Year. Learning how to hunt in the recruiting world takes time, but in the end, you’ll find prize candidates which make you glad you resolved to be a hunter in 2014!

Pete Kazanjy is the founder of TalentBin, what might just be the world's coolest talent search engine. Nothing gets him more excited than thinking about how to help recruiters and sourcers make use of all the wonderful professional breadcrumbs candidates trail across the web nowadays. He's got a thing for purple squirrel hunting, and you can follow him at @kazanjy and TalentBin's team at @talentbinhiring
  • Benjamin Ricchio

    I agree with the article but from a strategic standpoint, it’s probably best to do a little bit of both (i.e. hunting AND trapping), in order to cast as wide of a net as possible. Overall though, hunting is definitely more effective (more fun, too).

  • Art Mealer

    Great analogy and great advice.