Building a pipeline of quality candidates starts with the ones you already have
by Jeremy Eskenazi, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CMCMr. Eskenazi,, is the founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique talent acquisition optimization consulting firm. Riviera Advisors does not headhunt, it specializes in recruitment training and strategy consulting, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent. From best practice recruiting, to improving speed to hire, to candidate experience, Riviera Advisors is a go-to place for strategic talent advisors. For more information, visit www.RivieraAdvisors.com.
Not every recruiter can be an engineer, or hair stylist, or accountant. They know how to hire these roles, but not how to become them. On the flip side, it’s not as hard for every employee to act as a recruiter. In fact, recruiting power in each employee is often unrealized because we’re so busy relying on recruiters to be the only one recruiting.
There was an incredible program once developed for a service industry. Every manager in this company went through training to both spot and learn how to engage with potential candidates. A calling card was available to hand out to potential superstars and managers could facilitate an introduction to a recruiter. The candidate would always get a call and the managers received a referral bonus if there was a connection with the candidate – even if they were not hired. The company paid managers for this time, and with a 20% success rate, a fruitful pipeline of high-quality candidates emerged.
What they learned was just giving out the cards wasn’t enough – managers needed training to know what to look for! They needed a little of that magical recruiter eye. If a 20% success rate using resources you already have isn’t convincing enough, here are six more reasons why non-recruiters are the best recruiters you have:
1.) They far surpass your post and pray method. We know a lot of recruiters do this – get the generic job ad posted everywhere, then wait. You may get hundreds of applications, but most of them are not the right fit or don’t have the right experience. You end up spending heaps of time reading resumes that not the right fit. This is not a strategic approach (or an effective one!). You need to do more than passively wait for people to come to you and investing in your untapped recruiting potential is a fantastic way to build your pipeline of better candidates.
2.) Your employees, hiring managers, and top performers have a very clear idea of who they want to work beside and what it takes to be successful at your company. Once they know what roles you’re hiring for, give them tools to help you – train them on how to be a recruiter so everyone is looking for talent that makes the workday, the product, and the customer experience better. Everyone wins when you do this and you become less fixated on referral rewards, and more excited about the benefit of the team. Don’t lose sight of that recognition for their efforts to help with recruiting – it is important too. It may not be as motivating to get the right talent if you’re offering a bonus for volume of resumes over spotted potential talent.
3.) You can motivate and inspire your own team helping find key talent in personal and visible ways. Who wouldn’t want to be celebrated for their part in building a great workplace for themselves and their peers? One way to do this is to share broadly the talent each employee has brought into the team and thank them for it. Thank them in front of the company and through gestures that don’t come with strings – this means you shouldn’t hold referral bonuses for months on end to see if the new person works out. Their job was to bring someone amazing into the organization and they did that!
4.) If you can work fast to meet these candidates the non-recruiters bring you, they will want to do it more and feel more credible wearing their recruiting hat. You may need to update your processes to be able to move faster to connect with this spotted talent. Don’t make them go through a long process or wonder if you’re going to get back to someone. This will not encourage them to bring you more superstars. Be ready to follow up with every single person the non-recruiters spot and refer!
5.) If they have the time, they can be very effective. Think about the value of giving them one hour away from their day job to find you two more top performers like them. Giving the non-recruiters time to act as recruiters means paid time, or extra time paid to do this work that is so valuable. Asking people to do work that is not in scope is a terrible experience and does not entice them to say nice things about your brand or the culture. It suggests you don’t value their time! Think about a few hours per week that they can be compensated to call people, go on LinkedIn to ask people if they are interested, or follow up with their professional associations. It will go a long way and help them feel good about helping in this effort.
6.) They don’t need a lot to feel appreciated. Make sure you have a planned approach to show them that you value their effort, and that you are happy to have them helping bring the best people to join you. Beyond the splashy recognition that you can get into, take notice of the simple things in being thankful for their effort. They are giving their time and expertise to the process and learning how to be a non-recruiter does take a little bit of investment. Spend your money on a solid program that is easy to work with, giving time and resources to the training, and help you employees develop the skills to look for what you need – it’s an easy way to show appreciation for the huge scale you can get in your recruiting efforts.
As with all programs, you need every stakeholder to be on board for it to be successful. While you’re investing in great programs and recognition for this stretch role outside of the recruiting team, make sure your recruiters are on board with the plans. They are the best teachers and advocates to help make this a success, but they can also derail your efforts mightily. Don’t let your recruiters get territorial with their efforts. It’s critical that they understand the goal is not to replace them, or that their work is not valued. This is a way to scale the recruiting function and have the best people possible helping fill each open role on your team. If everyone can come to work with the mindset that it is part of everyone’s job to attract the best talent – especially in mid and large companies – everyone wins!