In March of 2016, I decided to leave a corporate talent acquisition job that paid reasonably well to open up my own company. If I look back just a year prior, I was so focused on getting promoted and staying with the company I was with for the long term. It is amazing how much changes when you become more open and creative. I was afraid to take risks and was in a comfort zone. Something dramatically changed for me around January; I had an awakening of sorts. I realized that getting promoted wasn’t good enough – it didn’t provide me what I needed to grow as a person and in my career.
Opening a company is no cake walk. Everyone kept congratulating me and telling me how brave I was. It isn’t magical or easy. There is so much to figure out and so many things to learn. One of the best lessons I have had is building strategic partnerships. We couldn’t afford much as a company. We are a very low budget organization. All of us work out of virtual offices with a plan to have an office in a few months. There are three partnerships that will help you build your business and pipeline of candidates.
The New Product Partnership
The first type of partnership is a new product partnership. Competition is fierce and I wanted to operate better than a large staffing organization. Exploring the latest software tools will give you a competitive edge. Ask to become a beta tester for new tools. Try tools before they were available to everyone. This will give you a cool factor and competitive edge.
Engage in conversations with startups about their needs and what they were building. This will help you source candidates and get potential clients. If you are open, receptive, and able to provide feedback, you will be able to build your pipeline very quickly. People will be open to talking to you because you are open to talking to others. Be fearless in reaching out to others. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no or they don’t respond. Creating that collaborative, open environment is important and critical to survival.
The Partnership with our Candidates
The second type of partnership that is important is partnerships with our candidates. As we would use the tools we had to find candidates, we would build relationships with them. Asking them for referrals is one way to build a relationship. The best way to build a relationship with them is to be honest with them and let them know the timelines for feedback. Candidates will begin to trust you and even refer others to you. Referrals are the most inexpensive way to source. They cost only the time and care that you should be providing to your candidates anyway. Treat your candidates the way you would like to be treated and be kind to them.
There are so many egos in the recruiting world that they mask the good people who do great work. Creating great partnerships with your candidates helps with branding your company. We live in an age when people are more open to talking about their experiences and those experiences are often posted on social media for the world to see. We seldom hear about good experiences in recruiting. Be willing to talk to your candidates after you place them and check in on them. If you cannot place them, be honest and open with them. Keep them in mind for other opportunities within the organization and return their phone calls. A key complaint that candidates have is that the recruiter doesn’t get back to them. The professional thing to do is to return someone’s communication when they try to reach out.
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The Partnership with Product Companies
The third type of partnership is with product companies. If you are a technical recruiter or agency specializing in one area or a particular skill, seek out a partnership with that product company. You will be surprised what you will find. There are so many potential gains with this method. You could gain access to a list of people who are certified in a skill or even companies looking for that skill. You will also be able to keep up to date with what is going on with that software. It is extremely important to keep up to date when sourcing. Candidates will also be able to relate to you more if you able to talk about the product that they are using. Candidates get excited to talk about their project experience. They are also less interested in
It is extremely important to keep up to date when sourcing. Candidates will also be able to relate to you more if you able to talk about the product that they are using. Candidates get excited to talk about their project experience. They are also less interested in the salary of a new role and more interested in how interesting the project is at potential employer. They will want to know the ins and outs of project such as what version of software are they using and want stage the project is in. Candidates will be more likely to what to work with you if you know what you are talking about. Having that knowledge will make you better at screening candidates, which leads to making more placements.
The main takeaway is to open your heart and your mind. Always be willing to have a conversation involving any new opportunity. Be warm to your candidates and to your partners. Be helpful and thankful for what opportunities you have been given. Continue to build your knowledge base to prevent yourself from becoming outdated. Always return favors and pay it forward. Keeping building and maintaining your partnerships and relationships.