Finding good candidates is easy. Finding great candidates is hard. After all, the great ones love their current job and are absolutely crushing it. As managers and leaders, it’s our obligation to always be networking, looking out for the best interests of the company, and finding people who can add amazing value. I recently realized that I was personally doing a poor job upholding my obligation, so I’ve made some changes, created my own process for networking and sourcing the best candidates, and have seen some great results.
Before I share my process, here are few places I’ve found inspirational:
- “Who?” by Geoff Smart: When networking, don’t try to sell someone on your product, sell them on your company, the vision/mission, and how you are always looking to partner with the best of the best. Follow this up with a question akin to “based what you just heard, who in your network do you think I should hire?”
- “Sales Acceleration Formula” by Mark Roberge“: If people are looking for jobs they are unlikely the best of the best (these people love their job because they are crushing it). Instead of approaching people with the intent to hire them, approach people with the intent to simply network with them, get to know what’s going on in their business, joys, frustrations, share yours, ask their opinion. Invite them for a phone call, in-person meetup over coffee/drinks, or even out to dinner. Once you’ve talked for a bit, then tell them your HCM needs and tell them you’d appreciate an intro to anyone in their network who may be interested.
- “Hyper Sales Growth” by Jack Daly: I read the book and attended his workshop. He shares the same philosophy as Roberge—Good people are likely not actively looking for a job. He preaches building a pipeline of 10-15 people you are looking to poach from other companies. Be methodical, get these people to have a call or meeting with you. Ask them if they are interested in new opportunities to come and work at your organization. If not, make a point to nurture them by following up at least once every 2 weeks to check in, send them a helpful article, ask how things are going, wish them happy holidays, etc.
Here are my 5 killer LinkedIn recruiting and networking strategies. The goal of my process is to build and maintain a list of at least 15 top performers and valuable business contacts. Maintenance is connecting with these people every 2-3 weeks to check-in and keep the relationship going.
1. LinkedIn message
I send a LinkedIn message to every contact I connect with or connects to me that says something like “Impressive profile, Sue. I’m always looking to network with top sales professionals and share stories. Let me know if you’re ever open to a call. No worries at all if not. Best, Drew.”
If I think someone’s experience closely aligns with a job opening at The Predictive Index, then I usually tailor the message to that (sales professionals, demand gen marketers, client success pros, etc.).
My response rate on this message is about 20%. A typical response usually looks like, “Thanks for touching base, Drew. Would be happy to get on the phone or grab coffee sometime to chat. Let me know whenever you have availability in your schedule.”
2. Book a networking call
I respond to everyone that responds to my initial message with the following to book a networking call. I write a message that says something like “Great, Sue. Why don’t we arrange a call? My calendar’s updated here if you want to find a time that works best (insert calendar link), or, provide a few days/times and we can lock something down. Thanks – Drew”
For the record, I have never had someone respond with dates and times. Everyone I have talked to actually clicks the link and books a time with me (big time saver!). The link allows them to book a 30-minute slot for a call or a 1-hour slot for an in-person meeting.
3. Keep the conversation genuine
I try not to apply too much structure to the actual networking call. I keep the conversation genuine and open to go in any direction.
I open all my networking calls the same way. After a brief greeting and rapport building, I propose a call agenda by saying something like, “Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today, Sue. As I mentioned on LinkedIn, I’m always looking to network and make new connections. I’d love to learn about you, what you’re up to and I can do the same. How does that sound?”
They usually open right up. I love getting their perspective on what big projects they are working on, likes/dislikes of their company or role. I then share a little bit about myself, about my company, and some insight into recent growth and success we’ve had.
At this point in the call, it’s usually apparent if we’ve struck an emotional bond and think there are ways we can help each other. If so, the conversation naturally continues. It’s OK if not.
Regardless, I’ll close the call by saying something like, “thanks so much for chatting, Sue. One of the things I am asking of my network is where to find great people. We’re hiring for many different positions and I really liked your background because it seems to align closely with our open product manager role. I didn’t know if you, or perhaps you can think of anyone in your network who, may be interested? I’d greatly appreciate any introductions.”
They usually don’t recommended anyone specifically, but say something like “let me think about it and get back to you.” I take this as an open door and then tell them I will follow up with an email with a link to the job description we just talked about and some other links of different open positions in case they know of anyone in their network.
4. Manage communication through Trello
I’ve been managing all communication with people who have booked a time on my calendar on a Trello board with the following lists:
- Active: We have a time booked on the calendar. They stay here until we actually chat. People often reschedule, etc. until you finally book a time to chat. They also stay here if we’ve talked and I decide that the best next step is to talk to one of my coworkers or someone else in my network. I keep phone, email, LinkedIn profile URL, and record of any actions I’ve taken (sent email, intro’ed to someone else, etc.)
- Nurture: We’ve talked. They either are not currently interested in job opportunities just yet, are not yet willing to tap their network for me, or we’ve decided that there are other ways we’d benefit from knowing each other. I then schedule due dates to follow-up with them every two weeks.
- With HR – passed off to my HR team via an email intro and hand off them. I then schedule a time every two weeks to check with my HR team on where they are at in the process. I’ll reach out to the contact as necessary.
- HR No-Go: Ruled out the HR process for whatever reason.
5. Connect with everyone
To target people and build pipeline, I simply conduct LinkedIn searches, message 1st connections, and invite anyone else to connect. Again, EVERYONE who connects with me I send a message to.
This is where I am at just a couple of months in. So far, I’ve had over 40 calls and referred 10 people for positions across my company. Two have been hired. I’d love to get others’ perspective on this process. How do you think I can optimize it? What’s worked for you? Comment below!
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