When it comes to seeking new hires, every HR manager at every company posts job ads. It’s the standard, reactive (and almost always necessary) approach.
But what if you went a bit further? I’ve discussed in the past the benefits of being more active in your recruiting efforts, via networking, referrals, improving your brand, and more. Being proactive, instead of continually reactive, can help you find not just candidates who are actively seeking a position, but also those “passive” candidates who may be thinking about a change but aren’t out there looking.
On a recent episode of the LBM Journal Recruit + Retain Podcast, I explored proactive approaches with Jen Mahaffy, talent acquisition specialist at Medallion Industries, a window, door, and millwork distributor in Portland, Oregon.
“We don’t just sit around and wait for candidates to apply to our ads,” Mahaffy explained. “We have really changed things up by going out and recruiting directly.”
Conduct active searching
One of the ways Mahaffy remains actively recruiting is by leveraging Indeed’s resume subscription service. For a monthly fee, Mahaffy can search for resumes in Indeed’s database by keyword, company, location, and more. She also can create alerts that let her know immediately when someone uploads or updates their resume with certain search terms.
“I can’t tell you how nice it is…to get an email that comes through and says, ‘Hey, this driver or this warehouse manager at your competitor just updated their resume,’” Mahaffy said. “And you get to be the first one that contacts them because you know about it immediately.”
And Mahaffy is seeing big results from the relatively small investment. Recently a resume search connected her with someone working for the competition who looked like an ideal fit for Medallion’s door shop, so she messaged him requesting a conversation. That conversation eventually led to the person’s hiring.
Use a thoughtful approach
One of the keys to Mahaffy’s success in reaching out to the door shop candidate is that she asked if he was interested in “having a conversation.” This is better than simply asking if he was interested in an interview. When you’re dealing with passive candidates, the approach needs to be a little different and less abrupt. You need to be clear that the conversation will be confidential and that there is no pressure. It’s subtle—but significant.
The other key step Mahaffy took was to quickly follow-up that initial conversation with a connection to the operations manager. This ensured the candidate was in touch with the person at the company who can answer more specific questions, delve deeper into the role, and start to establish a rapport.
Mahaffy’s success with the door shop hire didn’t end there. She thought even further ahead and inquired if there were others at his previous company who also might be interested in having a conversation. Sure enough, there were, and Mahaffy was able to hire three more qualified employees.
Never stop searching
One of the nice features on Indeed’s resume search tool is the opportunity to organize. When you reach out to a potential candidate, you can file them under project names for easy access later. Mahaffy uses this feature not just for active roles, but to plan ahead. She creates projects for certain roles she’ll need to fill in the near future, and will file potential candidates there as she comes across them in searches. Then when the job opens, she already has a list of potential candidates to reach out to.
Though the Indeed tool is just one of the ways Mahaffy stays proactive in her recruitment efforts, it’s become a crucial part of her strategy, one that she recommends to others. “Give it a shot,” she advises. “It really will change the game for you versus sitting back and waiting for people to apply. You’ll be really surprised.”
Rikka Brandon is a leading recruiter for the LBM industry. She’s the CEO of BuildingGurus.com and founder of RecruitRetainRock.com where she helps business leaders solve their recruiting and retention challenges.