The original way headhunting (sourcing) worked was purely through networking. No Linkedin or other internet powered search tools, not even a job board per say. It was one executive calling a search firm that was seriously connected to fill their critical need.
Out With the New, In With the Old
Often this was because the company hiring really wanted candidates from their competitors and wanted to enlist a degree of separation from the clearly uncouth approach of recruiting from their competitor directly.
As we all know, in time, those practices just like most that infiltrate our society, have been modernized, and are now being post modernized. The same is happening with sourcing. I’m not talking about the stack it high & let it fly sourcing that has been the unsung mantra for years. I’m talking about the truly artisan approach of finding that truly perfect candidate (or close enough).
This movement doesn’t call for a license to any software, access to any ATS, or even an internet account. This approach is done the old fashioned way, face to face.
Coffee shops, co-working spaces, and the like all over the country are becoming the place where the initial candidate screens are taking place. Why? Because top candidates just are not responding to in-mails, emails, and in our society of increasing non-verbal communication communicating by phone (especially to engineers) can sometimes feel quite awkward.
Here are 3 “artisan” approaches to jump start your retro approach if you feel like your candidate response just isn’t what it used to be:
- Stop trying to close from email: I know the “if your interested, please reply with your resume” line is time efficient. For a solid 60% of my searches I still use this approach but for the tough searches that need extra elbow grease I recommend a three step approach. Instead of shooting for a resume, shoot for a 15 minute in-person cup of coffee. If you plan your day right, you can set up shop at a coffee shop near a target competitor and do mini-interviews all day long. Tip: Make sure its close enough the candidates only have to walk a few blocks but far enough that office coworkers (or the candidates managers) won’t likely be stumbling in for coffee.
- Do your homework prior to the mini-interview or call: Most good sourcers do a decent job of pre-screening for qualifications. What I suggest is pre-screening for timing. Check their Twitter feed, etc to see what they are currently talking about to get an idea of who they are as a person. If you can find common ground the outcome will almost always be positive.
- Throw a networking party. You would be amazed what a couple hundred dollars, your hiring manager, and 10-15 targeted candidates in a room might get you.
Are you ready to take on an artisan approach?