In the last installment of our “Empowered Recruiter” series, we looked at instances where recruiters could take over the responsibility of hiring from managers, delivering productivity gains and radically decreasing time to fill.

This week, we’re going to look at the flip side: recruiting for hard-to-fill roles where a high-touch experience is critical for attracting and engaging candidates. In other words, how the Empowered Recruiter can be a Candidate Concierge.

Engage High Priority Candidates

Over the past few years, technology has radically changed candidate discovery and evaluation. From social candidate discovery, to candidate rediscovery, to AI-driven assessment, it’s never been easier to identify great candidates.

What hasn’t changed is the incredible value of personalized, human outreach. Where competition for candidates is fierce, a positive initial experience with a recruiter can be the difference between a new hire and a lost lead.

When it comes to reaching out to these (often passive) candidates, a reputation as a trusted partner goes a long way.

HireVue’s Morgan Powell explains how you can use video interviews to build a talent pipeline.

Be a Trusted Partner Through Deep Industry Expertise

Think about who you turn to for advice. It might be a popular blogger, an industry analyst, or a connection on LinkedIn. The goal here is for recruiters to become that sort of resource for candidates. At a high level, this is a two step process:

  1. Find where your candidates go for advice. These could be forums, blogs, Slack groups, or other online meeting places. Software engineers get their job-hunting advice from very different places than registered nurses, and a bit of research will uncover many of these niche meeting places. Another great place to start is your own employees: ask them where they go for recruiting advice.
  2. Start talking there. Recruiting teams should already have a tremendous amount of useful industry knowledge at their fingertips. Salary bands, what recruiters consider when evaluating applicants, and other job hunting tips are all examples of expertise that is highly useful to potential candidates.

The specifics will be different depending on your industry and the type of role you’re trying to fill. Forums lend themselves to consistent, helpful engagement, and the barrier for entry is very low. Blogs are a little trickier, and may require pitching an editorial staff. That said, blogs aimed at helping candidates are usually pretty keen to publish advice from recruiters.

Beyond sharing recruiting-specific advice, recruiters can go a step further by developing domain expertise in their industry. For example, when a recruiter in the healthcare field understands how a typical health assessment is conducted, they can speak with significantly more authority to the audience that matters: physicians. Every field has a unique way of speaking. Recruiting teams with a solid grasp of the lexicon can reach out with authority and stand out from the countless other headhunters who spam passive candidates without context.

Recruiters who are seen as reliable, trustworthy sources of information (which they are – it’s more a matter of making that fact widely known) won’t just have an easier time selling hard-to-find candidates on your roles. They’re positioned to receive more inbound candidate inquiries as well.

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Guide and Advise Through the Hiring Process

Once candidates are in your hiring process, the clock starts. Candidate engagement post-application, post-screen, or post-interview only lasts 1-2 weeks. As the process lengthens and more candidates are considered, the responsibility of keeping them “warm” falls to recruiting teams (or hiring managers, at the prompting of recruiting teams).

While this conventionally takes the form of reassurance that they are still in contention, or some sort of employer branding-type material, the flip side of post-step outreach is pre-step advice and guidance.

With pre-step advice, recruiters reach out to candidates before they complete a step of the hiring process. This could take the form of pre-interview tips, advice on how to prepare for an assessment, or set expectations for timelines and next steps. Personalized guidance of this nature doesn’t just deliver a great candidate experience – it keeps hard-to-find candidates from prioritizing your competitors’ hiring processes.

This is an approach that Grant Thornton UK took to prepare candidates for their HireVue OnDemand interviews. Each candidate invited to the interview received a coaching call from a recruiter to help them prepare. After they completed their interview, each candidate also received personalized feedback, even if they did not move forward. The results so far are promising: they’ve seen a 41% increase in their applicants’ overall success rate.

Close the Best

This is where the previous three steps begin to pay dividends. Most hard-to-hire candidates will be considering multiple offers, and recruiters play a big role in ensuring the offer they accept is yours. If they establish themselves as trusted partners, provide in-process guidance and feedback, and are generally available when candidates need assistance, the “close” becomes exponentially easier.

Becoming a “Candidate Concierge” is one of the many ways empowered recruiters can deliver better talent to their organizations, faster.

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