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How do recruiters find the best candidates?

Recruiters need to evolve to stay ahead in the race for talent attraction

Since the
economic downturn many questions have been raised about the future of the
staffing industry and the validity of traditional recruiters in it. 
Having established that professional search & selection firms will once
again flourish in the upturn, it will be interesting to see which paths are
taken to evolve into the requisite integrated agencies of the anticipated ‘new
era’.


One thing is for certain: the
traditional ‘fee-based’ contingency recruitment model will find it difficult to
rediscover its ‘mojo'.  Already battling sceptics the advent of social
media and its relative successes has shown that – perhaps senior/executive-level
placements aside – the placement fee proposition will, in many quarters,
require justification.


Of course many employers will
look at more cost-effective methods of attracting staff.  But haven’t they
always?  There are many routes to market for a hiring manager but each
presents its own problems: print advertising is expensive; job boards can be
speculative; social media is both time-consuming and intangible.  So
where’s the wood through all these trees?


Aside from database searching
this is what recruiters need to be doing to ensure a positive evolution:


It’s who you
know


Leveraging contacts has never
been more appropriate.  Or necessary.  It remains that the only truly
tangible way of galvanising a relationship with someone is to meet them. 


Where possible, recruiters
should meet their candidates.  Of course, this is not always
possible.  Logistical elements conspire to dilute this prospect but never
underestimate the impact this has.  A candidate will rarely forget a
recruiter they have met but rarely remembers one they have only spoken
with on the phone.


Furthermore, in a competitive
industry how do recruiters get in front of prospective clients? 
Cold-calling is time-consuming, speculative and very frustrating. 
Attending events where employers hang out shows both commitment and sincerity,
two important traits hard to portray during a telephonic sales-pitch.


Russell White, owner of
executive marketing recruitment agency, Premier Consulting, attests that social
networking continues to deliver results: “I do have a very extensive network of
people who I have helped over the years and if asked always seem happy to
recommend people to me for specific marketing jobs I am working on”.


Traditional
advertising


There is much conjecture
surrounding trade and national press and its importance in today’s digital and
cost-conscious market.  One only has to pick up the Guardian on a Monday
to note the lack of marketing & media jobs currently advertised.  It
is reasonable to assume, therefore, that the readership and, thus, relevant
audience, has dwindled as a result.  This cannot be good for realising ROI,
something increasingly difficult to justify given the cost implications.


However, ‘press’ advertising
is not only about the immediate recruitment drive.  It is also about both
brand awareness and brand association.  Being seen as a partner of the
Guardian or Marketing Week, for example, can be a powerful attraction. 
Whilst it may often be client-led recruiters can tag along for the PR ride.


Social media
mayhem


I recently wrote that business
professionals not engaged in LinkedIn were ‘conspicuous by their absence’ and
so I believe this statement to be increasingly true.  But it doesn’t stop
with this networking site. 


Twitter, Facebook, and
developing social platforms such as Ning afford fantastic opportunities for
building communities and attracting candidates.  And the best thing about
social media is that it rather surreptitiously manages to tap into the passive
jobseekers, which are, of course, the ones clients really want to know
about.


The biggest challenge facing
anyone engaging in social media is time; the commodity most in demand for any
progressive recruiter in the current climate.  Just choosing the right
social channels can be sapping so managing the distribution of content is an
altogether more daunting prospect.


The good news is recruiters
need not necessarily open social channels themselves.  By plugging into a
niche social-savvy recruitment advertising platform (cheaper
than outsourcing to a social media consultancy) the results are a quantifiable
symbiotic relationship that suits both parties.


People management


Today’s candidate is
tomorrow’s client is a mantra to which I constantly refer.  I have never
believed that 'going for the ‘fast buck’ wins out in the end and the events of
the past two years or so have done nothing to quell this thought.


Successful recruiters maintain
loyalty within their communities, be they candidates or clients.  Looking
after today’s frustrated jobseeker will pay dividends when they one day find
themselves seeking a recruitment partner for their own hiring needs.


Recruiters should strive to
manage their customers effectively, continually seeking innovative ways in
which to do this.


Conclusion…


Each one of the topics above
is an accentuated article in itself and this is by no means an exhaustive
list.  For recruiters can organise events, host open days, engage
aggregators or split fees with other agencies.


Whichever paths they choose
though, recruiters must ensure the candidates they attract are the right
ones.  Oversubscription with irrelevant applications muddies the water
further and what should be a clear route to a 2010 evolution could end up more
frustrating than what initiated the talk of change in the first place.


Simon Lewis | Editor | Only Marketing Jobs | @simonlewisomj