3 Ways to Transform Your Recruiting Through Social Selling Principles

May 29, 2013

Imagine hiring a new national sales team with no cold calls or emails, just warm introductions from trusted colleagues. This actually happened on my team.

I lead recruiting for a sales team that helps transform the way other companies sell, following the philosophy of social selling. Recruiting by social selling leverages relationships and insights to create a better candidate experience and hiring decision.

Why should you care? Hiring quality and candidate engagement for starters. As a recent Corporate Executive Board study revealed, “Hiring managers or their new hires regret their hiring decisions 50 percent of the time”. CEB also found 40 percent of new hires say information about the job was inaccurate. Moreover, candidates often do not describe themselves effectively.

To correct this, social selling teaches us to get insights from a colleague or connection who knows the potential candidate well before reaching out. Armed with such insights, you can cut through the noise and have a meaningful, two-way collaborative conversation with a candidate, the best possible atmosphere for discovery.

And, if you leverage your network to gain a warm introduction, you’re much more likely to get through. . A social network-enabled warm introduction is the killer app of social selling for recruiting. I call it the Triangle of Trust.

Here are 3 techniques you can use immediately to turbocharge your recruiting with social selling:

1. Get insights before reaching out. Identify candidates and ask relevant colleagues or connections about them. Establish if this is an appropriate role, and uncover some information that would be useful to share with the candidate. By the time you do reach out by email, phone or InMail, you are able to speak knowledgeably and credibly regarding the candidate’s role, company, and can reference the mutual connection’s insight as to what may be “in it for the candidate.”

2. Get a warm introduction from one of your colleagues or trusted contacts instead of contacting directly. No more cold outreach followed by silence. Enlist your colleague to provide accurate and personalized information about the opportunity.

3 Leverage your hiring manager’s network. Build a search string to identify the right candidates and ask your hiring manager to run it once they’ve filtered to their 2nd degree connections on Linkedin. The hiring manager can then send an InMail to those she finds appropriate, highlighting the connection they share in common. The increased social context is engaging to candidates and hiring managers alike. Using this approach, we’ve seen 3X normal response rates, and twice the number of positive responses.

Our social selling experiment has been working. In one case, we used the social selling technique effectively to hire a top candidate away from a successful company in the field. We identified top sales candidates and asked appropriate employees to point out the best. Instead of contacting the candidate directly, we asked a colleague who knew her better to do so. We described the job to our colleague to establish if we had something of value to offer their friend, and when our colleague agreed, she arranged the introduction.

While the candidate was skeptical, she agreed to meet with the hiring manager because of the strong relationship with her colleague. At the meeting, we told her something about the company that she didn’t know, a piece of information that helped her warm to the idea. She eventually decided to take the position.

Overall, using the Triangle of Trust, we hired the entire national team one month ahead of schedule. Every candidate accepted our offer. And now, one quarter later, the new group is 150 percent of their objective. Thanks to this success, we’re doubling the size of the team globally six months sooner than anticipated.

Interested in putting social selling principles to work? LinkedIn Recruiter’s new functionality includes Inside Opinion, which allows you to see which current colleagues may know your candidate of interest. Contact us for more details.