Reimagine Talent Sourcing

April 11, 2013 Michael George

In our last HCM post, we talked about the importance of building and executing strategic talent plans using an iterative approach that helps the organization identify and fill gaps in their talent supply and demand as business plans change throughout the year. A big part of determining exactly who is able fill those gaps is identifying the best source(s) of suitable talent.

reimagine talent sourcing

For many managers, going to HR to fill an open position can be a frustrating, and often protracted endeavor. Putting aside whatever process is required – be it simple or complex – the main issue for most hiring managers isn’t the technology or inadequate response from recruiters, it is poor candidate quality. The key to providing hiring managers with quality candidates often comes down to the source of the applicant. Today’s Applicant Tracking System have improved the recruiter’s ability to track referrals, evaluate specific job board performance and adjust sourcing spend to better identify and utilize top-performing sources of qualified candidates.

But there is a flaw in limiting your “5-star” sources to only those that are feeding active candidates (that lead to hires) into your ATS. Passive candidates (better known as the talent you really want) are almost never going to be reached through these channels.

A reimagined Talent Sourcing effort means recruiters not only intimately understand the organization’s current talent supply and future demand, but are actively using social, mobile and cloud technologies in ways to uncover hidden sources of top talent and/or networks of referrers.

And if you’re thinking it’s finally time to open a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account, you’ve got some catching up to do. Every one of your competitors is furiously tweeting, regularly status-updating, and constantly scouring LinkedIn. So definitely utilize these platforms, but to win in the war for talent you’ve got to be more creative.

To find untapped sources of qualified candidates, recruiters must go beyond broadcasting job openings and target specific groups like trade associations, user groups, regional and local user groups to reach the right audience (particular skill, interest, etc.) with the type of social media they prefer. In short, employers who want to outwit their competitors and acquire top talent must understand what is possible with emerging social and mobile technologies to infuse new thinking into their sourcing strategies.

So here are a few social and mobile sourcing tools that may help you reimagine what’s possible.

RemarkableHire (Social)
Not that a resume would ever embellish one’s skills, employers often find it difficult to separate the average from the exceptional until well into the hiring process (or in the worse case, post-hire), wasting time and resources.

RemarkableHire is a tool that analyzes a job seeker’s contributions to online communities, allowing recruiters to validate proficiency of a particular set of skills. In this case, RemarkableHire tracks tech professional contributions to online communities like GitHub, Dribble and StackOverflow, for example. Each of these disparate social communities allow peers to endorse the quality of their work through “likes,” or votes of approval, or “follows” and RemarkableHire scans these communities to collate an unbiased, collective view of the contributor’s abilities based on peer review.

Used one way, sites like RemarkableHire can validate the claims made on a resume, but they can also be a place to uncover the kind of skilled experts and industry influencers your organization is looking for.

Unrabble (Social)
If you do discover hidden sources of talent, chances are you’re not alone, which means you need to be more agile when the situation demands it. The ability to quickly collaborate with colleagues about a potential candidate and expedite the process when you find exceptionally talented people may make the difference between winning and losing. Along with tools to rank candidates, Unrabble offers a social component that makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues as well as quickly see how the potential candidate is connected to you in your LinkedIn network. This gives recruiters the ability to reach out through a trusted colleague, rather than a cold call.

Instagram (Mobile)
You probably aren’t thinking of a photo-sharing site as a talent sourcing platform, but this relatively new social media platform that has quickly become a giant, surpassing 80 million registered users earlier this year. Facebook purchased the mobile sharing app in early 2012 allowing users to snap, transform and share photos via Instagram, Twitter, email and Flickr, at the touch of a button. This makes it a great tool for engaging a diverse audience with photos that can tell the story of your employment brand.

Companies like Starbucks are using Instagram as part of their overall employer branding efforts, as well as a place to source job candidates. Using hashtags, employers can tag (and users can search for) things like #dayinthelife, or #storemangerfun to show what life would be like as an employee, or showcase other cool brand assets of the company. As users follow, a potential candidate pool is built.

Foursquare (Mobile)

You probably know Foursquare as a mobile app that allows you to “check-in” to places you visit, and over time receive personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with similar tastes have been. This type of “location-based” marketing has grown in popularity as evidenced by Foursquare’s 30 million user global community, generating millions of check-ins a day. Now imagine you’re a retailer using the Foursquare Merchant Platform and you’re looking for retail salespeople who are passionate about your brand. You identify a customer who has shopped in your story several times in the past few months, has recommended you to her friends, and has even posted positive details about her shopping experience – in short, she is already a brand ambassador. The next time she comes into the store, her Foursquare app checks her in and on her mobile device instead of a 20% off coupon she has a message from the CEO of the company telling her what a perfect fit she would be and inviting her to please go meet the store manager who is waiting with job application in hand.

SwoopTalent (Social)

If you’re like most organizations you’re managing an internal employee referral program that has little or nothing to do with your online sourcing initiatives. SwoopTalent brings those two efforts together to dramatically improve the quality of referrals received. SwoopTalent matches their database of millions of potential candidates to your jobs and automatically finds a three way match between your jobs, the best candidates and your employee base to make sure that top talent is linked to you in the best possible way – through an existing employee.

Crowdsourcing (WaaS)
Yes, you read that correctly… WaaS. Worker as a Service, and it is the next big thing in talent sourcing. Companies like oDesk are bringing the job to the worker rather than the worker to the job across nearly every business function. With over 500K clients and more than 2.7M on-demand workers, oDesk is proving that an on-demand workforce is a reality.

We’ve written quite a bit on the value of finding the right worker to do the right work at the right time, which you can find here, or listen to this recorded webcast: The Future of Work – Crowdsourcing Your Talent.
A few things to consider before jumping into the world of Social & Mobile sourcing

This can make or break your employment brand. Whether you’re selling soap or job openings, in the world of online social, the consumer is king – and your brand reputation means everything. Your company’s brand strength can be one of your biggest advantages (or disadvantages) in the online world and showcasing key element of your brand can make all the difference in attracting great talent. Here, something like an employee blog can allow passive candidates to imagine themselves working in a cool place, with smart and talented people.

Keep in mind this kind of workplace transparency works both ways. Sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss give prospective job seekers an unfiltered (oh, is it unfiltered) look inside your organization through employee generated reviews of the business, executive team, managers, compensation, and more.

Your potential candidate pool is everyone, and everyone that everyone knows. If LinkedIn has taught us anything it is that, given the chance (and a good set of tools), most folks will build and elevate their own brand and market exposure. This means that when someone with the right set of skills and experience unexpectedly shows up in your network you don’t put them in your “pipeline” because there isn’t an open job requisition to put them on. You connect with them, today (right now) and begin treating them like an active candidate. Odds are if they aren’t interested in working for you, they know someone who is.

To that point, if you “discovered” this industry hot shot, so did your competitors so be sure to check back next week for tips and tools to help you reimagine recruiting. In the meantime, if you have social or mobile tools you use, or advice on ways to leverage emerging technology to reimagine talent sourcing, please share them in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.

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