Last week I read with interest, an article on Recruiter Daily about candidate segmentation.
The article details the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tactics recommended by two consultants who work for a recruitment outsource provider on-site at Ernst & Young, one of the ‘Big 4′ accounting firms.
The article got my attention as providing an excellent example of how dramatically different the new approach to recruiting is to the old approach.
Simply put, the old approach is this; start looking for placeable, active candidates when you have a job, ignore those candidates that are not looking for a job right now then stop looking for, and communicating to, those active candidates when you have filled the job.
The new approach is this; look for excellent candidates all the time (regardless of their current job search status), build a relationship with them over time, never stop looking for new candidates and never stop communicating with, and demonstrating your value to, existing candidates.
The old approach is like going to the shop to buy your fruit and vegetables; you don’t have to invest any time before you actually need the produce but when you do need the produce you are at the mercy of market forces with respect to what produce is available, at what quality, at what outlet, at what time and at what price.
The new approach is like growing your own fruit and vegetables; you invest time, money and hard work well in advance of your produce needs but once you have done the hard yards up front, you have a much, much higher level of control over availability, quality, and access to this produce. And of course there is no monetary price you have to pay at the time of your need.
For years recruiters have been content to just ‘go to the shop’ for candidates. Growing their own didn’t seem worth it.
Now things are very different.
Recruiters are finding the fruit and vegetables at the shop are of inconsistent quality, highly priced and frequently unavailable when needed.
Home grown is suddenly looking a lot more attractive than it once was.
However recruiters have traditionally been very short of the required skills and patience in the consistent tasks of planting, watering and nurturing the garden.
In the world of recruiters the planting, watering and nurturing tasks consist of such things as:
· Mapping the market for your target candidates
· Learning how to use the internet effectively to source candidate details
· Writing a blog post/newsletter article
· Commenting on someone else’s blog post or article
· Expanding your LinkedIn contacts
· Being active on Twitter
· Being in contact with existing candidates even though you don’t have a job to talk to them about right now
· Initiating and building relationships with suppliers
· Starting and leading a LinkedIn group
· Having a coffee with an industry influencer, even though they don’t recruit
· Re-contacting all your currently inactive top candidates interviewed in the past 2 years
· Role playing the handling of candidate expectations with respect to jobs and remuneration
· Attending an interesting professional development event even though you can’t see its direct relevance to finding more top candidates
· Sending a hand written thank you note to someone who did you a professional favour, even though it didn’t lead to any new business
· Reading articles about your target candidate market
Over the years, recruiters have been conditioned by most recruitment agency owners and managers, to think in terms of the shortest distance between two points – the two points being the recruiter and a fillable job or a placeable candidate.
Putting it in terms I used earlier – we have been encouraged to ‘go to the shop’ rather than ‘grow our own’.
‘Growing our own’, typically has been seen by our industry as a luxury or something to be done when there is ‘time to do it’.
Maybe in the past, but not anymore.
If you just want to be a resume-referring job filler, then please don’t invest any of your time in ‘growing your own’.
If, on the other hand, you want to be known as a genuine recruitment consultant who is an acknowledged expert in their niche market and who finds top talent consistently, then I would suggest you start investing at significant amount of time in doing the things necessary to ‘grow your own’ (such as those listed above).
Investing in ‘growing your own’, where there is an uncertain pay-off (bumper crop or wipeout) in an unknown timeframe, takes confidence, skill, patience and courage.
Do you have those attributes?
What would it take for you to acquire that confidence, skill, patience and courage?
What difference could this new approach make to your reputation, fees and job enjoyment by December 2011?