SourceCon 2016 Presents How to Engage Candidates

What is the best way to engage others? If you’re in recruiting, you can probably agree that there is no absolute answer to it. Talent acquisition has quickly evolved with new technologies and automation tools, but one thing has been and will always be the same: human engagement. SourceCon 2016 in Anaheim was an awesome wake-up call for all of us to constantly sharpen our engagement tactics. Multiple industry-leading sourcers and recruiters delivered messages about candidate engagement with their own flavors to it, and the bottom-line was all consistent. Regardless of which sourcing channels you leverage (phone, job boards, social media, etc.), you will always engage humans, and humans need to be engaged like humans (if you want to hear back from them).

'You will always engage humans, and humans need to be engaged like humans!' #SourceConClick To Tweet

I’d like to refer to a few presentations from SourceCon 2016 to validate my point.

Jason Vogel’s main message was that effective recruiting is about “influencing people to change,” not about “filling positions” or “providing opportunities.” How do we, then, lead our candidates to trust us with our outreach? How do we influence the decision-making process and persuade people to make a change?

Interestingly, the answer to the questions can be found in human biology. Yes, biology. Without going too deep into the science, Vogel dove into how our brains are fundamentally structured to influence our decisions on a daily basis.

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There are three parts of the brain that dictate all human behaviors: Neocortex (green), Limbic System (yellow), and Reptilian Complex (red). Every day, they make our logical, emotional, and instinctual decisions. In order to best convince someone and influence his/her decision, all three parts need to be triggered, which ultimately represent “the what, how, and why” of engagement.

Now, let’s briefly switch gears and discuss why we don’t often get a high response rate from our outreach campaign. Here is a slide of Allison Kruse and  Glen Cathey’s presentation on #FightSpam. Please note that the slide deck below is from a completely separate presentation:

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All of these reasons above address at least one of the three decision-making functions mentioned in Vogel’s presentation. Are you still not convinced? Let’s take a look at Mike Chuidian’s example of a spam message:

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What do you think about the template above? Spammy? Yes. Robotic? Yes. Credible? No!

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Can you guess why the example above is untrustworthy? You guessed right; it addressed “the what” of engagement (arguably), but does not dig into how or why Chuidian should consider his opportunity.

Now, how should we engage candidates to maximize our response rate? Obviously, there is no one answer to this question. Everyone should use their own style and flavor to their messages. However, I’d like to challenge you to always ask yourself the key questions below every time you’re engaging candidates:

  • What makes you credible?

You need to sound like your candidate’s friend who knows what he/she is looking for. In order to build credibility in your initial engagement, thorough research about your candidate prior to engagement is a must. This is your elevator pitch opportunity, and you will never win anyone’s business without knowing your target.

  • How are you/your company going to take care of your candidate?

This is your chance to connect the dots between your research on the candidate and your company’s culture & mission. Based on your research, why do you think he/she will enjoy working for your company?

  • Why should your candidate trust and consider your opportunity?

What kind of problems will your opening solve? Does your opening provide a unique career development? Relocation? Special benefits? What makes your opening more special than others? 

@StephanKim405 is a Sourcing Architect & Recruiting Team Lead at Sunrun, where he went through an IPO & 3 acquisitions. Previously, he supported technical & high-volume recruiting for two of Fortune 100 companies, Sears Holdings & Aflac. He’s also a free sourcing tool/tricks maniac & social engineer/hacker. https://linkedin.com/in/stephanhkim.

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