Leveraging Personal Relationships to Source Talent

Anyone looking for a job has no doubt been told “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, the same holds true for the sourcing professional; the ability to build and maintain personal relationships is essential to ensure a steady source of candidates. But, while that may sound good in theory, how many of us can realistically manage the plethora of relationships needed to maintain a robust candidate pool?

Research shows that people only have the ability to maintain relationships with 150 people at a time, and only a handful of those relationships can be considered intimate. Given these statistics, how can sourcers expect to build the personal relationship needed to supply their companies with talent? By thinking outside the box and embracing some new and unusual methods to find candidates, sourcers can beat the odds and develop the relationships that lead to great hires.

From the sensible to the unconventional, consider how the following strategies can improve the way you build those relationships:

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  • Stalk, without being a stalker: To build relationships, it is important to get to know those potential candidates more in-depth. Taking detailed notes after conversations and using that information to be more personable will help when courting talent. For example, if a candidate mentions that they have a dog or talks about their favorite football team, reference these facts the next time you speak.
  • Use lists on Twitter: Twitter has emerged as a great way to identify talent, and for qualified candidates to find you. Make sure you use this source effectively by making lists to organize the people you follow and those who follow you. The lists can be organized by specific skills or qualifications, helping you to relay relevant content to the right people.
  • Hang out with candidates: Meeting with talent in person, rather than keeping engagements limited to phone or email, will help you make a lasting impression. Establishing meet-ups at the office or other places, such as happy hour at a bar or restaurant, will help to build deeper connections with people who can then be saved into your talent pipeline. Just make sure you don’t refer to such meetings as an interview so as not to set false expectations.
  • Act like someone people would want to work with: This may be obvious, but in all of your interactions, you should strive to be friendly, engaging and even fun. Doing so can put candidates at ease and be more likely to open up to you and establish the basis of a strong personal relationship.

Building personal relationships for the sake of hiring doesn’t require a great amount of time – it just needs you to be creative in how you interact with potential talent. By using the above strategies in your interactions, you can learn more about candidates that you would in a typical interview setting, helping to identify the individuals who will be the best fit. At the same time, taking a personal approach will leave a lasting impression on candidates, encouraging them to apply and recommend the company to their networks.

Image is from bigstockphoto.com.

Ben Martinez is a self-proclaimed family guy, exerciser, and HR journeyman. He has successfully worked in various HR leadership roles around the US and Mexico for Fortune 500 companies (specifically Pepsi, Sears, Honeywell, and Energizer Holdings Inc.).

Currently he is the HR director for HireVue, where he works with incredible people in the HR technology space who have rallied around a cause to bring HR out of the dark ages. A fantasy sports hater and avid sports watcher, Ben wrote the book on coffee networking and can be found anywhere, so if you are around the area, hit him up for a cup. His home base is in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.