Great recruiting goes far beyond referral programs. The most effective recruiters build on their personal connections and create a talent network. A talent network or “connectors” are a web of motivated people who know potential candidates and can bring those candidates to you. Below are a few ways develop your network:
Focus on developing a talent network rather than a talent pool.
Use your connectors to know when a passive candidate is about to become an active job seeker. ASK: Do you know anyone who is unhappy in their current position or that a management/company change is going to happen?
Motivate them to make quality referrals ASK: What can you do to help them for making the referral?
Build longstanding relationships with well-connected individuals. Always ask for referrals, not resumes.
Referral programs make a good starting point, but in the "build it and they will come" theory there are flaws, so you should always have connectors. Gladwell did a survey of 400 people and only 12 of them were exceptional connectors. When you find a connector hold onto them and keep your relationship strong. Wondering how to spot a true connector? Here’s a few key indicators:
They have 4 to 5 as many acquaintances as the rest of us.
They systematically collect and store people’s contact data. e.g. Do they use Plaxo, LinkedIn, to help them?
They frequently distribute news pertaining to people’s careers.
They know people just well enough to call them on your behalf.
Maintaining a well oiled network is not an easy task. It takes work and dedication. Personally, I spend 2-3 hours per week maintaining my network. A few tips to build strong or stronger networks are:
The same as asking referrals, don’t be afraid to ask people you are networked with if they know of anyone who would be interested.
Start building your network today. Ask people you know their birthdays, etc and send a card on that day.
Drop them a note just to see how they are doing every once in a while for no reason.
Sign-up for sites that allow you to network. I recommend LinkedIn.
Remember – it’s not the quantity of your network, but rather the quality. Choose wisely who you connect to. What purpose will they serve?