As part of a conversation we had about our post on the benefits of sourcing from multiple social networks, one of  our guest bloggers, Kasia Borowicz, was kind enough to give us some tips on how you can make sure you are successful when looking beyond LinkedIn. 

What’s the best way to source on non-professional networks?

While some recruiters are still looking for the one platform that could help them meet all of the recruitment needs of their company, most would now agree that you need to be able to source on multiple platforms. I recently attended the Social Recruiting Days in Berlin where in his closing keynote Johnny Campbell described the “super recruiter”. Using data gathered from sourcers all around the world, Johnny discovered that the best recruiters have a wide variety of things that set them apart from the rest, BUT, they also all had one thing in common: they don’t rely on just one, single source for candidates.

In my work as a sourcing trainer, I find that many recruiters agree with Johnny’s statement. The challenge isn’t convincing recruiters that they need to source from multiple networks – they’re actually often keen to learn – the challenge is to overcome their habit of relying too much on LinkedIn and then using every other platform in the same way as LinkedIn, even when they are not built for professional networking. With that in mind here’s a couple of tips that will hopefully help you achieve better results when sourcing candidates outside of professional networks and platforms.

1. Go beyond your usual keywords

When searching for candidates on a professional platform, we expect them to use job related keywords on their profiles. This is why recruiters can get so confused when they first try sourcing on Twitter or Facebook. Candidates rarely use their job title and professional skills on a platform that’s intended for interactions with their friends.

The easiest way to get around this is to look for more specific groups online where your ideal candidate would likely spend their time. You can also think of some of the issues they could be discussing online or questions they should be able to answer – in which case you may want to use Quora or a similar medium.

For example, if you’re looking for a marketing specialist, why not have a look at the members of a group about marketing on Facebook? By definition, people who get involved will have the skills to perform in a marketing role. It’s really easy to find a popular group – just go in there and have a look at who’s contributing the most, or run a quick search through the members list and narrow the results down by location. 

2. Connect to those who can connect you to your candidates

You, like most recruiters, have a lot on your plate, which is why its often best to be able to speak to your candidates directly, right away. However, social networks don’t favour that type of direct approach. Phone numbers and email addresses are often not displayed, and messages from strangers are usually associated with spambots. In order to connect with ideal candidates you may need to first connect with people who can bring you to them. When doing this remember that you can’t rush it – asking a stranger for referrals isn’t likely to work. So think about the people who can connect you to your target audience and how best to approach them in a way that isn’t too salesy or recruity.

For example, if you’re looking for a sales person, try to identify someone connected in that space, a blogger or a trainer. Assessing sales people purely based on their online presence is difficult, but if you’re able to build a relationship with someone who knows who is worth talking to, you’ll end up saving time in the long run. If you’re not sure who to talk to – ask someone in your sales team about the blogs they like to follow and people they look up to and take it from there.

3. Interact with others instead of broadcasting your needs

We often forget that while recruitment is something we do, it’s not something we are. While many of us do feel our work defines us, we can run the risk of being both incredibly boring and not useful at all if we only focus on ourselves and turn conversations into monologues about what our professional needs are. When talking to people on non-professional networks try using sourcing as an opportunity to learn. Really interact with people – small talk doesn’t count here 😉 – ask them about their own professional needs and wants. Even more importantly, ask about their passions! Engage people about what they do and what they love. Their career interests and needs will come up soon enough, at which point you can share both your job and, when appropriate, opportunities you may have for people. Taking a relationship oriented approach will cause people who would otherwise ignore you to be open to a conversation.

For instance, let’s say you’re looking for a sourcer (this one should be easy to follow for any recruiter). What is your ideal candidate likely to talk about online? Where could they be sharing ideas and asking for help? I’d try a sourcing group and I’d try to talk to them about sourcing – once I get them on the phone, that’s when I’d discuss a role or maybe ask for referrals. Here’s what this could look like:

The habits we can create as recruiters searching on LinkedIn and job boards can be useful, but they simply don’t transition well to sourcing on other social networks. Using other platforms requires a less direct, more personal approach. We need to spend more time looking for groups and interests that align with candidate personas, leverage networking more to find people, and focus on relationship building before we start trying to recruit people or get referrals. It’s a paradox really, but the moment we learn to approach candidates in a very professional manner, we seem to forget how to speak to them like we’re just someone trying to have a conversation. So forget about your targets and KPIs for a moment and just try to have some fun with sourcing – it might just make you fun enough for others to talk to 🙂

This is a guest post from Kasia Borowicz. Kasia is one of the sourcing world’s rising stars, and has already spoken on social media, culture, and more at a variety of sourcing and recruiting events. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog

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