For many companies, inbound hiring works well. You put up a job ad, you advertise it on a few job boards, and you select someone from the pool of people who have sent in an application. Often, you will find some great people through this process. We definitely have.
What when it does not work? What if you publish a job, advertise it, and don't quite manage to find the quality of applications you were looking for? One thing you could try out is actually seeking out candidates.
Outbound hiring, like outbound marketing, can be terrifying. You don't know where you start, you don't know what to look for, how to approach people, or how to know if they are even interested. When you have recruitment agencies working for you, the process is simpler... they often know what they are doing, but doing it yourself can be challenging. Having said that, a well-defined outbound hiring strategy can improve the quality of your application pool manifold.
Let's start by looking at a few things you should keep in mind.
Where do I look for candidates?
There are several ways to go about this. One of the best that we have found is to look within your own company and ask for referrals. There are two benefits of this: one, the quality of referrals is (usually) pretty high, and two, you have a better chance of getting a response too.
Another good way is to look at social media sites, like Twitter and LinkedIn. There are other great options when you're looking for designers or developers. Github is great for finding people who have worked with a certain technology and Dribbble is a great resource for finding designers.
Once you have put together a list of a few people you think might be a good fit, what next?
Crafting the right message
What's the worst part of outreach emails? The lack of relevance and personalisation. It may be a bit more work to craft a message for everyone but it's worth it. Unless your pool is too large in which case you have another problem altogether.
When you're sending an e-mail, there are a few things that will help you stand out and increase your chances of getting a response.
(a) Make sure you understand areas the person has worked on, the areas that interest them, and how your company can help their career. The more tailored an e-mail is, the higher your chances of getting a response.
(b) Tell them a bit about your company, your growth, and your future without going overboard. It's easy to talk about the opportunity as it's the best thing ever, but that doesn't really help. In fact, it can often be off-putting.
(c) Add some elements that help the reader understand how you found them. Was it a social media site? A particular post? That just goes on to show that you have put in some work before approaching them.
(d) Last but not the least, keep the option of a future employment open. Great people are usually already working, but if the opportunity is worth it and there's a match, even if things don't work out right away, it's good to keep future options open.
Perhaps the most important part of the entire process is following up. Not everyone is going to be available right away. People may not respond for a variety of reasons.
To understand how your outbound hiring process is working and to make improvements, ensure you follow up at the right times. It's also important to not follow up every other day. One or two followups over the next few weeks and then one final followup a few months down the line would be fine.
Last but not the least, track everything. Right from the messages you send to the times you send them to your follow ups, know what is working for you and what's not. That's the only way you can improve.