Relationships: Your Ticket to Recruiting Success

What’s the common denominator in successful organizations? Access to the right talent when and where it’s needed. But even with a large pool of unemployed workers available, finding the right people remains a challenge.

Across industries, qualified talent remains elusive. One approach that can separate the winners and losers in the talent war is a more relationship-driven approach to recruiting.

However, merely seeking to forge new relationships and cultivate better ones isn’t enough – candidates have to be managed and nurtured properly if they are going to be valuable to the organization’s recruiting efforts. Technology is playing an increasingly large role on this front, with organizations relying on candidate relationship management platforms to keep in touch with prospective candidates, share new opportunities, and offer other relevant information to build the company’s employment brand.

What should you think about when sourcing for success?

Relationships are not disposable.

Taking a once-and-done approach to filling open positions is an inefficient use of resources that does nothing to keep your organization top-of-mind when a candidate is ready to make a job change. Rather than a recruiting process that focuses on hiring one person for one position, take a broader perspective. New systems enable organizations to tag and track candidates to develop a pipeline of talent. While you may be sourcing for a risk analyst today, that same person may develop the skills required for a management position in the future.

Relationships are participatory.

The best relationships blossom when both parties are equally committed. For candidates and recruiters, this requires keeping up with any change in status. Candidates need to ensure that recruiters are kept abreast of new skills, certifications, accomplishments, and affiliations, and recruiters need to make sure that their network (and their network’s network) has insight into any available positions and job requirements. Without the right technology, it’s impossible for recruiters or candidates to keep up. Many recruiters rely on an applicant tracking system database to search for talent, but the information becomes quickly outdated as candidates are unable to refresh their profiles and add new detail. In contrast, a candidate-maintained community enables individuals to maintain a single, detailed profile, thus giving recruiters access to current information and helping them foster a real connection.

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Relationships require relevance.

Candidates who didn’t make the cut shouldn’t be discarded. Often, organizations will need to fill certain jobs and skill-sets in the future that they are not aware of today. Think of the HTML5 programmer or social media strategist – roles that didn’t exist just five years ago are in high demand today. An up-to-date talent community lets organizations not only track candidates, but have conversations about new opportunities or cultural benefits that might be relevant to a passive candidate. Organizations that understand a candidate’s strengths, skills, and requirements can have more effective conversations, reinforce the organization as a great place to work, and tap into the talent they need.

Relationships go beyond any single job opening.

Having multiple systems to manage relationships is a recipe for chaos – and yet, many companies track applicants in one system while using another to manage the relationship going forward. A single system for tracking and engaging with candidates can support more productive dialogue and quicker access to the right talent. It’s important to keep in mind that whether candidates are hired or not, there’s value in continuing the relationship throughout the talent lifecycle. Tracking hires can support effective internal redeployment and referral programs. Staying in contact with all candidates ensures organizations have access to a widespread talent pool.

Whether you’re hiring today or looking to the future, relationships matter. If your organization is investing time and money in sourcing candidates, make it work to your advantage by sustaining the right relationships over time.

Brin McCagg, co-founder, president and COO of Onewire, has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial and executive management experience. Between 2005 and 2007, McCagg served as Executive Vice President of Control Point Solutions, a telecomm expense management company owned by ABS Capital Partners. McCagg helped restructure the operations and position the business for a sale. Between 2003 and 2004, he served as Executive Vice President of Flight Options, Inc., an $800mm private aviation company owned by Raytheon and Monitor Clipper Partners.

McCagg helped restructure the business, reduce losses from $40mm to $6mm and position the company for a sale. From 1998 to 2002, he founded and served as CEO and Chairman of TradeOut Inc., a 240 person, online industrial asset management company, which was financed and partnered with GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, Chase Bank and eBay. After filing to go public, the company was ultimately sold. From 1991 to 1997, he co-founded and served as President of Full Circle, Inc., a hazardous waste recycling company, which merged in 1995 with EVTC, a NASDAQ listed company. McCagg started his career as an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and received an MBA from The Wharton School.

You can follow him on Twitter at @Brin_McCagg.