January 27, 2023

You’re the Boss Blog: Why We Never Use Professional Recruiters

Building the Team

Hiring, firing, and training in a new era.

This column is called “Building the Team.” It’s about leadership, which I’ve focused on in my first few posts and will return to later. It’s also about training, talent development, goal setting, culture and career development. But it starts with getting the right people on the team, and that’s the theme I will address in my next few posts.

The first step is recruiting, and my view is straightforward:

1. Always be recruiting.
2. Do it yourself. Don’t outsource to a professional.
3. The process is just like any other marketing or sales campaign.

The reason to always be recruiting is obvious. You just never know where and when you might meet extraordinary talent (I’ll write more about this in a coming post). The reasons to do it yourself may be less apparent. Isn’t that what professional recruiters are for?

According to the American Staffing Association, the industry for search and permanent replacement services generated $11.5 billion in revenue in 2011. Clearly, given the size of the market, many companies find value in hiring an external recruiter. But I would bet good money that this industry will shrink over the next five years because of one company: LinkedIn.

LinkedIn now has 202 million users, up 39 percent from last year, according to its most recent quarterly earnings announcement. It adds two new members every second. Why do so many people use LinkedIn? It is the place for employees to find a future employer and for employers to find their future team members.

Here’s how we use LinkedIn for recruiting campaigns to build our team:

Define the role. We can’t start recruiting until we know the position we are trying to fill. When a manager on our team requests budget for a new head count, we ask the following questions: What are the goals for this person? What are the day-to-day activities? To whom will he or she report? What is the expected compensation?

Develop the candidate profile. Before we begin a search, we have to know who we are looking for: Is there someone within H.Bloom who is the perfect profile for this position? If not, what are the attributes that we believe are most important for the role? These attributes will help us filter as we review hundreds of candidates online: years of experience, previous experience, specific skills, educational background, location, work at a particular type of company.

Build a list of potential candidates. LinkedIn makes this easy. Here’s the process:

First, upgrade to a premium account. The price varies based on how many LinkedIn e-mails (called InMail) you want to send to candidates you find on the site. The options start at $24.95 a month for the Business Edition, which allows for three e-mails per month, and go up to $499.95 per month for Talent Pro, which allows for 50 InMails per month. If someone doesn’t reply to your e-mail within seven days, that credit is put back into your InMail account. I subscribe to Talent Pro, and I have never found myself wanting for more InMails. At first, I thought this was expensive. But when I compared it with the approximately $20,000 that I would have had to spend for a recruiter for one new hire, I recognized the cost savings.

Once you have set up your account, click on Advanced to the right of the search box at the upper right of the home page. This brings you to the Advanced People Search page where you can enter the job attributes that you have already identified. There are spaces for name, location, company, school and then additional search criteria like industry, seniority level, company size and years of experience. Once you’ve finished entering the attributes you are searching for, click search to see the candidates who meet your specifications.

You will receive a list of profiles. Click on a name to see that person’s entire online résumé. You can also see if the person is connected to anyone you know personally. When you find someone who meets your requirements, send him or her a message by clicking on Send InMail.

Develop your pitch. LinkedIn makes it easy to find the right candidates to target. But it’s up to you to create a persuasive pitch that will grab the attention of someone who is content in a current job. Here’s what we think about when developing an initial pitch:

• What our company does. It is important to convey this up front.

• Why our company is different. We describe our growth (to show real traction), investors (to demonstrate a stamp of approval from someone else) and press (to convey that we are unique within our industry).

• What we are looking for. We define the role, its potential impact and why we think the candidate might be a fit.

• Suggest a simple goal for the e-mail, a next step like setting up a call or a coffee meeting.

• Try to create urgency by saying something like, “I’ll be in town next week.”

• Keep it short. Your e-mail will be received out of the blue. You want to provide enough information to pique the person’s interest.

• Work on a catchy subject line. Think about the profile you are targeting. What is the best one-liner to grab this person’s attention?

It is a numbers game. Dan Portillo, a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners (which was an early investor in LinkedIn) published a presentation recently where he described what he called the 100 Rule: To find one person worthy of an offer, you need to contact 10 to 15 candidates. To find 10 to 15 people worthy of offers, you need to contact 100 potential candidates. In other words, the conversion rate is from 10 to 15 percent.

Always respond. If someone takes the time to write back to your unsolicited e-mail, take the time to send a thank you e-mail, even if the person is not interested at this time.

We have used this recruiting process to grow to 80 employees without ever using a professional recruiter. Next, I’ll provide a specific example with the details of how we used LinkedIn for a recent recruiting campaign.

Have you tried recruiting through LinkedIn? How did it work for you?

Bryan Burkhart is a founder of H.Bloom. You can follow him on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/why-we-never-use-professional-recruiters/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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