The Art of Headhunting: More Than Your Average Recruiter

Recruiters are responsible for bringing in candidates who are the best of the best. However, they can only gather the most innovative and proficient talent pool to select from if they have the right tools. Even if they are the right tools and skills, there is always the chance they could be used better. Technological tools are constantly developing, and you can’t use tools you don’t have the skills for. Without the good communication skills behind the latest and greatest technology, your SEO will only get the company’s reputation so far with candidates. 

Your Tracking is Archaic

Keywords have changed with the growth of technology, so that means if the words you were using 5 years ago were ideal then, they probably aren’t now. Using an Applicant Tracking System will help your company keep track of not only your candidates, but posting to job boards as well. But your ATS can’t work at its peak if you don’t formulate your job descriptions perfectly. So use keywords on an optimized career site to get the most out of it. 

You’ve researched the best keywords to raise your SEO, but you’re still not getting the great candidates you hoped for. Now what? Take a look at your career site. Is it optimized for the different screens the talent pool might use? Considering 70% of jobseekers use their mobile devices to search for employment, it is important to not only optimize your SEO, but your career site as well. Without a mobile site, your recruiting program will fall into the 80% who don’t have an optimized career site.

How Much do You Really Care?

Your relationship with your talent pool is delicate; you have to put your best foot forward when developing that connection. The candidates ultimately have the final decision on their job choice; you have to give them good reason to choose you. Even when a job opening has hundreds of applicants, it might seem daunting to let each of them know their status or at least the company’s hiring process.

Candidates want to hear from you, even if they didn’t get the job. Rejection is hard news to relay to the hopefuls in the talent pool, but no contact with them is worse than getting bad news. Just because you may have an ATS shouldn’t preclude you from sending personalized automated messages to applicants. 

The Royal Treatment

You’ve interviewed all of your potential hires. Now it comes down to choosing “the one.” It’s important to keep a couple of things in mind, however. Candidates, especially those with IT skills, have the upper hand because they are in such high demand. 

Above all, respect a candidate’s time and energy, they are just as important as yours as a recruiter. Arriving to an interview late or unorganized is not only less than polite, but it tells the candidate you are uninterested in them for the position. Even though recruiters tend to know within the first 90 seconds of an interview if a candidate is the right person for the job, recruiters should be engaged for the entire interview. Since 93% of communication is non-verbal, it is important to make the effort to stay focused on the candidate.  

Not keeping applicants informed begins the formation of a negative brand for your company. It is alarming how many candidates are turned away after an interview simply with a void of silence. It’s as if their application, resume, and interview fell into a black hole never to resurface. According to CareerBuilder, 75% of applicants never hear from potential employers.  CareerBuilder’s Senior Director of Talent Intelligence, Sanja Licina says, “From the second jobseekers are viewing your job ad and applying to your company, they are forming an opinion of who you are as an employer and as a business.” This is why it is so critical to stay in a positive light in the eyes of candidates.

The etiquette in your recruiting department is just as important as the technology it employs. Why is it then that so many candidates have a negative experience during the hiring process?  With email automation tools like Mail Chimp there is no reason applicants shouldn’t hear back from you. Since they have the upper hand in hiring negotiations, it is critical to respect their time and use the tools you have to the best of your abilities. 

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photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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Tags: Candidates, Corporate Recruiting, Human Resources, Job Seekers, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing

Comment by Matthew Harvey on July 15, 2014 at 9:38am

Raj, you've made some valid points but the headline of your article is misleading as what you've described is not headhunting.

I would define headhunting as pro-actively approaching top talent directly based on what your internal or in our case our clients requirements are and often from the competition.  

What you have described is putting out a job ad and the subsequent candidate experience.

May I suggest a better title would simply be 'The art of recruitment..' 

Comment by Tim Spagnola on July 16, 2014 at 7:59am

'The art of recruitment' - like that @Matthew. Time to break out the old t-shirt thread. 

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