Get to Know Potential Employees … on a Telephone

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.51.27 AMI am sure all of us have heard a derivation of this line in the last six months: “There is a war on talent, so we need to be prepared.” Whether you are an agency recruiter or a corporate one, it seems like this has been the mantra of late. 

Those of us who have been doing this for a while know this happens in cycles. Now it’s the war on talent. The next cycle will involve having great candidates but not having anywhere to put them. Being on the corporate side with an established brand definitely helps, but your brand alone is not going to close a candidate on your opportunity.

Now more than ever, you need to know your business units inside and out. The days of posting your job to attract talent are all but over (save for good SEO to your company website, but that is not even enough these days) and even some of the “new job boards” are being overrun. The challenge is to get prospects to call you back so you can at least give them the value proposition of the job you think they’ll fit.

The answer is fairly simple and twofold.

First, get back to basics and get a solid pitch for each of your jobs. As recruiters, we are always talking to people to expand our network, but if you are looking for a job, what do you want to hear from the other side of the phone? What are some of the innovative things your business unit/client is working on? What is going to be “sexy” to the developer you want to attract who’s passionate about technology?

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It’s like buying a house. You can look at pictures online all day, but when you look at a fully staged house online, you can see yourself there. It is the same concept when talking to candidates about opportunities. They are getting tons of calls, but the recruiter who can make them picture themselves in the job will get their attention. We all know that clients (internal and external) take very few seconds to look at your resume to determine fit. It’s no different for a pitch.

Second and probably most important, get on the phone and make the calls. Sure, everyone wants things in an e-mail. Set yourself apart. Leave someone a quick message and then follow-up with the e-mail. Your competitors aren’t doing that. It makes the attempt to connect with the potential candidate a little more personal, which may tip the scales in your favor when that Java developer is trying to decide which of the 50 voicemails from agencies he/she is going to return.

Us “old school recruiters” need to remember what we did years ago that made us successful. Get to actually know your clients, get on the phone and talk to the people you are trying to recruit, and make the connection. If you are new to recruiting or have only been around for a few years, take one of your senior-level top producers out for lunch or coffee, and ask them how they became successful in this business.

Kevin Dunn is a senior talent acquisition specialist at PayPal. He also has over 15 years in the staffing business at large agencies (Robert Half International, Spherion (Mergis) and Ajilon) as well as local firms in the Baltimore area (Clovis (Eliassen) and CPSI) on contingency/retained and staff augmentation searches.

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