A People-First Approach to Recruiting

When I was working for a large Silicon Valley software company, our VP of Product Marketing showed me an Inmail that he had received from one of our internal recruiters saying that he was a “perfect fit” for a role on our QA team. He thought it was hilarious, but told me to tell my colleague that he was going to pass….

There are incredible products out there that allow us as recruiter to do “personalized” mass mailings to thousands of potential candidates. We can populate lists of candidates in moments and spread the word with a touch of a button, but….

When we rely too much on technology to choose our candidates, we lose the professionalism of our job. The reason that VP got his infamous Inmail? He had an engineering degree from a top school and had worked for 2 years as a software developer. As good as some tools are, they can’t really tell a VP of IT from a VP of Engineering. Both seem technical, both have similar buzz words, but one is working internally and the other is building sellable products. Neither wants to be contacted about each other’s roles and when candidates start getting too many recruiter emails, they end up ignoring all of them. Even the job -- which could be a perfect fit.

Three Quick Steps for Keeping a People-First Approach to Recruiting

Step One: When using tools like Hiretual, LinkedIn, RecruitEm, and Indeed, first put together a list of potential candidates and then look at the list and find which candidates have the requirements to do the job. This allows you to build a solid, qualified list in order to start the next phase, outreach.

Step Two: You’ve found the qualified group and now it’s time to reach out to each of these candidates. I may send a mail-merged group email that targets each candidate with my opportunity using tools llike Prophet and Rapportive. Both these tools are excellent at obtaining personal email addresses.  So now you’ve built the list and found personal email addresses, now it’s time to stay people-first and reach out to the candidates.

Step Three: My preference is to send a personalized email that shows that I’ve actually looked at the person’s profile and want them and not just a warm body. When that’s not possible, spending the extra time to make sure that your outreach is appropriate and helps build credibility, relationships, and rapport.

Call me old school, but I believe that we are still in the business of getting personal with our clients and our candidates and finding the best fits for both. If we let technology do too much, we lose our value, our credibility and our role as recruiting experts. Next time you’re reaching out to candidates keep it people-first.

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.