What a time to be alive! Artificial intelligence for candidate matching, advanced site Boolean strings, free recruitment software for phone numbers and email addresses, as well as data lists and scrapers, are making candidates easy to find these days. You can swiftly identify Non-exempt and high-level exempt candidates via the internet. The REAL struggle begins when you attempt to woo a passive candidate to respond to your messages.

We must now train talent acquisition professionals to use modern technology to source candidates, but the technology exists. You can teach almost anyone to use it. However, today’s Recruiters and Sourcers that have not received recruitment marketing engagement training are at a profound disadvantage for recruiting in today’s market. It is easy to waste hours sourcing the most qualified candidate is wasted when the messaging sent isn’t transparent, genuine, and worth the candidates read. Honestly, I think some talented professionals forget to feel like the candidate.

Thirty years ago, the employees in a Personnel department sat around waiting for candidates to funnel in from the two-thousand-dollar Sunday newspaper advertisements. When the candidates didn’t arrive at fill-out paper applications, we hit the phones using the Rolodex. God love agency recruiters, they never moved away from cold calling, but many corporate recruiters have lost the skill. There is a magic that happens when a Recruiter goes back to the basics of leveraging referrals and picking up the phone (or text or, however, people prefer).

There is already a recruitment marketing philosophy that subscribes to the idea of candidates as consumers. Consumers desire relationships. The wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type of recruiting gives our industry a bad name. Anyone reading this has probably received a spam email about a job they are over or underqualified for. That type of unsolicited connection rubs a consumer the wrong way. The consumer wants to know who they are dealing with. Think about your own life. A consumer likes to use the same mechanic, hairstylist or barber, auto dealership, HVAC tech, pool guy, personal lawyer, accountant, etc.… The consumer wants to do business with someone who knows their preferences. There is no reason why a candidate can’t see a talent acquisition professional as “their recruiter.”

Reviving traditional standard operating procedures centered around relationships with candidates and peers is how challenging positions will be filled through the pandemic and beyond. Asking for references and referrals, knowing your candidate’s preferences, leveraging your network, gathering allies, asking for help, sharing, and networking are old-school techniques that are not only free but take little time to complete. When our backs are against the wall and cannot find a match, we tend to turn to the internet and job boards. There was a reason we used just to hit the phones when we struggled on a position years ago, because it was free, fast, and it works! Humans tend to respond for help, so let’s use who we know to our advantage and ask for help. Modern-day crowdsourcing is just an updated telephone tree.

So, what is the best-case scenario? I am not advocating that we ONLY use old-school methods to identify and connect with candidates. There are talent acquisition professionals who take a mix of traditional recruiting methods and combine them with today’s technology. A combination of tactics is ideal and a healthy way to stay engrossed in our occupation. The most important thing to think about when recruiting and sourcing today, whether you use technology or not, is to feel like the candidate. Speak to your candidate using transparent words. Try to break the HR Lawyer speak. There are plenty of ways to be truthful without getting sued. And listen. Listen to the candidate. That is the best Sourcing tool available.

Happy Hunting!

Christine is a Senior Consultant on Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing strategies with Lean Human Capital By HealthcareSource. She is also an Instructor with The Recruiter Academy. Additionally, Christine is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate researching talent sourcing strategies in healthcare. This is Christine’s 30th year in Talent Acquisition.