Engagement

A couple of weeks ago over on WArecruit (our local recruiting/HR community list-serv), someone posted a request for job boards recommendations where she could post for sales reps. She went on to say that in the past, most of their hires have been through referrals, often from their clients.

My response to her was pretty simple. “You’ve sort of answered your own question.” Instead of trying to determine where to “post a job”, and use what we affectionately refer to as the “post and pray” method, it seems to me that beefing up your internal (employee) and external (business network) referral programs makes so much more sense. I know as much as the next recruiter that sourcing *takes time* but study after study shows that the best employees come from referrals: either employees referring friends or former colleagues, or secondarily your business network and professional contacts.

I think so often when it comes to recruiting and especially for sourcing specialists, we get so involved in the latest and greatest technology, trend, topic, and tool that sometimes we lose sight of the basics. And really, LinkedIn is fabulous for this, even with the basic free account. But part of this strategy (and one I’m working on with my own client teams right now) is *educating the hiring manager to maximize the referral impact.* Engage your client on the sourcing strategy. You can bet that when a hiring manager puts a status update on their Twitter or LinkedIn account “I’m hiring a senior XYZ for my team, do you know someone?” it has a lot more impact than a recruiter doing the same thing. It goes directly to the key business contacts of the hiring manager who generally know what s/he does. Then the ripple effect sets in. And if you add the enticement of an external referral bonus just for getting the word out, then you get a lot of bang for your buck with very little work or investment. Let’s face it: you could pay a job board their fee for putting up a job for 30 days and see what you get, or for the same amount of money (which you only pay out IF there are results) you get a semi or fully qualified referral. Once you get a reputation as a good company that values business contacts and rewards referrals, your own employment and recruiting brand builds exponentially over time with very little effort on your part.

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Remember that 50% of the recruitment process lies with the hiring manager; it isn’t just the responsibility of recruiting and sourcing to fill the talent pipeline and open requisitions. Getting your client engaged and involved cuts your own workload and builds a better business partnership in the process.

Kristen Fife is a senior technical recruiter in the greater Seattle area. She has been in recruiting since 2004, starting as contract Researcher for the Microsoft Strategic Recruiting Group before moving into full lifecycle agency recruiting for Volt Technical Services. Her move into corporate recruiting started with both sourcing and full lifecycle contract roles at Microsoft (including MSFT Research, Legal, and various product groups). In addition to Microsoft, Kristen worked for 3 years for RealNetworks/GameHouse as the Senior Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Specialist; at the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Centers as a Sourcer, as well as smaller companies such as Varolii (now part of Nuance Communications), Covestic, and bSquare. Currently she is an RPO Senior Technical Recruiter, she sits on the Leadership Team for Sourcing7, and is a regular presenter, trainer, panelist, and speaker in the Seattle area for recruiting forums and job seekers. She has been a regular contributor to the Seattle Times, including an employment topic column, regular blog, and the NWJobs Hire Wire newsletter for the local recruiting industry. Her blog for job seekers receives several thousand hits a week. She has been quoted in several publications including ABCNews, AOL, the Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

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