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Apr 18, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

LinkedIn provides an excellent pool of candidates, but many recruiters are missing out on a separate group of qualified candidates because their process is lacking creativity. In other cases, the tech stack that recruitment teams are using to uncover top talent is becoming crowded and muddy. Today’s hiring landscape is more competitive than ever, which makes it even more critical for your team to take the time to evaluate your processes and current hiring strategy.

Here are some ways that your team can take a more imaginative approach to recruiting top talent.


Diversify your research tools.

Recruitment teams need to dig deeper and think outside of the box when it comes to search. What if you didn’t have an applicant tracking system or CRM? What would happen if you didn’t have access to LinkedIn? What other resources would you use to get your job done? Everyone has access to a lot of the same tools, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all the same way.

Mike Chuidian, Sr. Talent Sourcer at Lowe’s explains: “I would say my ‘go to’ research tool has to be tech forums. I use tech forums to see what technologists are talking about and if they’re working on anything interesting. It also gives insight as to where tech is going from a progression standpoint. I also utilize tech blogs to find interesting, innovative engineers. I usually cross reference with LinkedIn to find out more about the technologists.”

Other resources to check out:

  1. Facebook – Search employees of competitor companies by titles, location, and more. Do you have any mutual connections with the person? If so, it’s always nice to get a warm introduction.
  2. Instagram – Search hashtags related to roles you are looking to fill. This could be anything from specific industry terminology, locations, corporate events, etc. As soon as you narrow down what you are looking for, be sure to look into your prime candidate’s followers and take note of relevant hashtags they may uncover.
  3. Google – Run searches with simple or complex Boolean strings. Utilizing Boolean strings will save you a lot of time when it comes to filtering results. There are five elements of syntax that are important, AND OR NOT () “. Check out this article for some helpful tips. In general, you can always save time by running “site” searches on Google using Boolean operators.
  4. AngelList – Recruiting for a startup? Create a company profile and post a position description on AngelList. From there you can search profiles by job title, location, skills and more.
  5. Stack Overflow – The top forum for tech talent. Stack Overflow is an excellent resource if you are looking to source developers or coders. They also have a Stack Overflow Careers section that can be accessed freely by running a site.
  6. GitHub – Is a popular hosting service developers use to collaborate on projects. Source on Github by entering your search criteria (language, location, followers, etc.) in Github Search. Enter repositories for relevant keywords and filter to narrow down your search results.
  7. Meetup – Locate Meetup Groups and search by location and keyword associated with the type of candidate you are looking for. From there you can easily peek into the group’s members and check out their profiles/get in touch.
  8. Twitter – Use advanced search strategies to uncover talent by using hashtags, locations, job titles and more. Create private lists to stay in touch with talent and make sure to check out their connections.
  9. Google Patent Search – This can be extremely useful when sourcing engineers or scientists. If your results are overwhelming can always use the advanced patent search capability as well.

The point is, look outside the box. Imagine how happy your hiring manager would be if you found your next unicorn or purple squirrel on Twitter or Instagram.


Sell the opportunity.

When you are presenting an attractive opportunity to top talent, identify what makes your company and the position exciting and different. Give the candidate specifics, such as what projects they will be working on. Your position will resonate much more if you provide candidates with real examples of past projects. Talk about the company’s current pain points. Pretending like everything is perfect is boring and unrealistic. Make sure you can efficiently provide clear goals the candidate will need to achieve.

“People make a change in employment for a variety of reasons. In order to persuade someone to make a career move, it is essential to understand what motivates the individual and what it would take to consider a change,” explains Marty Belle, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Inclusion and Diversity at Grainger. “Assessing what is meaningful to the candidate and being able to pull those levers can attract the right talent. Additionally, it’s always important to share how your company is winning. Everyone wants to work for a company that is a leader in its market segment.”

It’s essential that your communication with the hiring manager is solid. You need to have the answers to candidates’ questions besides the obvious (e.g., salary). Recruiters need to sell the awesomeness of the projects that potential hires will be working on. If the assignment feels like it may change the world, excitement will follow.


Boost your candidate’s experience and build up your brand.

The biggest mistake I see recruiters make is failing to vet a candidate correctly. There are always going to be similarities in keywords and titles when you are running a search using any technology. You wouldn’t try to recruit a Java developer from your competitor when the position is actually for a JavaScript developer. Make sure you know the difference in roles and responsibilities before wasting anyone’s time.

Another way you can enhance your company’s brand is by being responsive. Leaving your candidate in the dark without so much as a rejection letter is a big no-no. That candidate may know someone your team should know, or they could end up being a perfect fit for a different opportunity. All it takes is one email thanking them for their time. There’s nothing worse than ignoring candidates who may be an excellent fit for you down the line.

Chis Bell, Senior Executive Recruiter at Microsoft, explains, “Effective storytelling can do wonders for your company’s brand. Whether delivered directly or through one of the many social channels, telling your company’s story gives you the opportunity to level the playing field against any competitor and create fans.  I use storytelling daily to change the narrative about my company and light up our culture. Your story should be focused on getting the candidate to see themselves as the star of your company’s story. Candidate experience starts with the perception of your brand way before you engage with them. A great candidate experience continues by following up, keeping commitments, working with integrity, transparency, and fairness.”


Find out what success means to your company and keep track of it.

Most of our clients’ definitions of a successful sourcing opportunity vary greatly. It is not just about making placements. When it comes to talent acquisition metrics, we have seen a significant focus on tracking candidate retention and planning for career advancement.

Another common theme we see being tracked is engagement and recruiter effectiveness. How many qualified candidates did you speak with this month? What intel did you acquire? How many referrals did you get this quarter? Which executives did you end up poaching from your top competitors? Figure out what stats make the most sense and start tracking your metrics to measure what tactics help you reach your hiring goals.


Take a more creative approach when it comes to sourcing. Strengthen communication with your candidates and consider revamping your company’s story. Be sure to define and track your team’s vision of success when it comes to your recruiting and hiring efforts. In the end, tracking your metrics will help you discover what it takes to reach your hiring goals.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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