Guilt by Association: How to Recruit From Professional Associations Online

Article main image
Mar 11, 2014
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

Professional associations and organizations are a great source of passive candidates. These groups focus on an industry or a discipline, and allow people with similar interests to network together. The group’s focus can be technical or functional. The larger ones have local chapters throughout the nation.

Functional Examples:

  • AAA (American Accounting Association) – For Accountants, Finance Specialists, Controllers, etc.
  • AMA (American Marketing Association) – Dedicated to serving the educational and professional needs of marketing executives
  • CSCMP (Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals) – Worldwide professional association dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of research and knowledge on supply chain management
  • SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) – Largest organization for HR professionals including HR Generalists, HR Managers, HR Diversity, HR Business Partners, Compensation, Benefits, Employee Relations, and University Relations

Technical Examples:

  • ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) – Known for Mechanical Engineering, but also collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, standards, and certifications
  • IACSIT (International Association of Computer Science and information) – For Computer Science and Information Technology
  • INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) – Dedicating to the advancement of systems engineering
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) – The largest engineering association in the world with a focus in Electrical and IT/Systems Engineering

The associations can serve as a connection point for sourcers & recruiters who need to network with candidates who may not have an online presence. So how do we do this? First identify the professional association that’s related to what you are looking for. Then search for members who belong to these associations.

Let’s use the CSCMP (Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals) as an example. Before running a search like this, do a quick check on LinkedIn for people who mention this association on their profile. Then go to Google and search for other profiles. Start your search off with the name of the association/organization in quotes OR the acronym:

(cscmp OR “Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals”)

I’m looking for bios and profiles; I add that into my string. And since I already searched Linkedin, I take it out of the results with a -site: operator. I also don’t want to see job postings so I remove those.

(cscmp OR “Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals”) (bio OR profile) -intitle:job -intitle:jobs -inurl:job -inurl:jobs

Finally, I add a focus for the types of supply chain professionals I’m looking for. When adding these words, it’s better to be simple rather than complex. After all, we are focusing on profiles that may consist of a paragraph or two of text.

(cscmp OR “Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals”) (bio OR profile) (manufacturing OR materials) (“ba” OR “mba” OR “masters” OR “bachelors”) -intitle:job -intitle:jobs -inurl:job -inurl:jobs

Schools and degrees are added to strengthen the results. Even though you only have a name & profile, you’re better prepared to tap into another source of quality people. As a reminder, in Google, when you place quotes around a single word, you force Google to search only that word and not a variation.

Another trick is to find people who are linking to a particular association or organization. This example is targeting engineering profiles that link to IEEE. For a link: search, you have to use Exalead, not Google: (“speaker bio” OR profile) (bsee OR msee OR “electrical engineering”)

There are many other ways for you to utilize these potential sources of candidates. I could tell you all of them, but you’ll have to figure out some on your own, or come find me at the next SourceCon conference :). Just remember that candidates tend to hang out together in the same circles. That need to network and associate with their own kind is something that can be used to your advantage.

image credit: bigstock

This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!