Nobody wants a selfish lover or a selfish recruiter, so take a lesson from Barry White and warm up your talent prospect before popping the question.
The business of recruiting is a unique one, but in many ways there are parallels to the dating game. Finding an appealing talent prospect is like spotting someone across a crowded bar: you have to be aware that any candidate you’re talking to is also being looked at/assessed by a at least a half-dozen other thirsty companies.
With what is probably a bombardment of attention, the prospect most certainly has his/her shields up — and rightly so. To establish that relationship you have to get around those shields and bring something to the table that makes you stand out from the crowd.
And that begs the question: what if Barry White were a recruiter? How would he approach talent?
Immediate Gratification vs. Performance
Due to pure short-term efficiency, the status quo in the recruiting industry is to send email blasts that cut straight to the punch, discussing open roles that they think the talent might be able to fill and soliciting a response. That’s so not Barry White.
While being direct is a great way to get immediate results, it’s akin to a cheeky fellow at a bar approaching a lady with a compliment, and then immediately following up by telling a lady how he’d like to take her home for the night.
We all know this guy. He doesn’t have time to create a relationship, and while some ladies are fine with that, you can guarantee Barry White would blow him out of the water with more refined tactics … and maybe that deep voice.
If we’re looking at recruiting like the dating game, how can we make ourselves desirable to prospects? How can we get beyond the shields that naturally raise when people send recruiting emails? We can answer those questions by taking a step back and thinking about how Barry would make his first move…
Barry’s Step No. 1: Wink From Across the Room
Perhaps he’d playfully wink from across the room, maybe drop a smile, or send a drink over. In recruiting that could mean favoriting/retweeting/replying to a tweet, making a comment on the prospect’s blog, or doing anything that establishes a personal connection.
Be bold! Be thoughtful! Most of all, be unique! Put some thought and creativity in, and the talent will feel the difference. And don’t worry — because even if they don’t respond to your initial touch point, they are now aware you took the time to notice them as a person, and establish a relationship first. Points are on the board.
Barry’s Step No. 2: Say Hello, Offer Help, Don’t Pitch
Mr. White would tell you not to worry about sealing the deal right away. He’d say you ought to reach out and say hello. Introduce yourself and make a cool, comfortable, and friendly first impression. Don’t worry about locking the talent down right off the bat. Instead, connect with him/her.
Do they like hiking? Disc golf? Radiohead? Do they run in marathons? Do they compose beats in their free time? With Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Meetup, and other social networks today, we’ve got a gold mine of information about what people like to do, and with just a little research, you can find something they like to create a conversation around.
Reach out with a nice note introducing yourself, mentioning something you noticed about them and inviting them to discuss it with you. Feel free to offer help, without referencing anything specific. You’re just there to be awesome, just like Barry White.
Barry’s Step No. 3: Suggest a Position
Now that Barry has winked at his prospect from across the room, and then walked up and talked to them about what their personal interests are, he has established rapport and shown a genuine interest in understanding what makes his prospect tick.
A reasonable person would expect that only after listening can you make truly accurate suggestions, so at this point Barry feels he can make a suggestion for a position that might really fit his prospect’s interests.
But rather than pitching, Barry would offer the position as an idea for his prospect to think about, and suggest that if he ever wanted an introduction to the right team members in the company, he’d be happy to do that favor for them. Perhaps Barry would tell him how this position made him think of them. It’s always nice being thought of, isn’t it?
Prospects Are Human Too
Your prospects have feelings and interests, and we all know that our favorite conversations involve things we’re genuinely interested in. Our favorite people are those we have great conversations with. Be one of their favorite people, and that favorability they will have for you will extend to your company.
As you deal with prospects, remember to channel your inner Barry. Be smooth. Get to know the talent. Lower that shield by engaging them on a person-to-person basis, and when you’ve got that human connection, naturally and organically make the offer.
Then you’ll be in a position to give the talent some hot employment they’ll never forget.
photo from Starpulse.com