4 Disruptive Introductions That Get the Attention of Top Talent

September 29, 2015

A recent LinkedIn survey of 10,000+ job changers shows 53% of them switched employers for greater career opportunities, with better compensation coming in second. Additionally, the same study shows many of them left larger companies for smaller ones (with no pay increase!) because they felt they could have a greater impact.

This is great news for recruiters. Why? It means there are other, more important things than money that you can leverage to get top talent to take your jobs. However, you can’t make that happen if they don’t talk to you first. And, as many recruiters can attest to right now, the talent shortage is heating up, making it harder to get the best candidates to talk to us.

With so many recruiters trying to contact them on a daily basis, top candidates are getting really picky about which recruiters they’ll speak to. You need to get them at “hello” if you want them to respond.

Top talent doesn’t believe the hype

Over the last year at CAREEREALISM, we’ve studied the recent shift in recruiting. We surveyed 1M monthly readers and have learned a lot about the sophisticated job seeker recruiters are desperately trying to connect with.

The No. 1 lesson learned? Top talent doesn’t believe recruiter hype. If your opening line is, “I’ve got the perfect job for you” or “We have some really exciting opportunities,” you’re losing them at “hello.” They know better.

Honestly, overselling your company in the first outreach is like nails on a chalkboard – very annoying. Instead, you need to disrupt their thinking. If every other recruiter is doing the same thing, you need to get their attention with something unexpected. Here are four ways you can do that:

1. Discuss their interests, not their skills.

Good candidates often share their interests beyond work on their profiles. Volunteering, passion projects, hobbies, etc. – they’re just waiting for you to review and comment on them.

EXAMPLE: I see you are into skydiving. That’s incredible! I’d be curious to know many jumps you’ve been on and what it’s like? I’ve never done it myself, so I’d appreciate learning more about how you got in to it. Do you find it helps you in your career too? Our CEO and founder is very adventurous. I think the two of you could have a really interesting conversation on the subject. Which is why I’m reaching out. I’d love to connect and learn more about your long-term career goals.

2. Tell them who fails at your company.

Not everybody can succeed at your company. Why not share with top talent the kinds of workers you don’t hire? Not only can they relate, they will also be impressed you recognize what being good at their jobs really looks like.

EXAMPLE: I see you have a lot of experience as a Project Manager. I have to ask, do you ever get frustrated by colleagues who don’t know how to communicate status updates so you can manage to milestones and make sure you deliver on time? In our experience, you can’t lead a project successfully if you don’t have a good communication system in place to ensure timely updates. I’d love to hear more about your experiences (good, bad and ugly), leading projects and where you are headed in your career. Your work is impressive in this area.

3. Inquire about their long-term career goals.

Keeping in mind that job changers are leaving for career opportunity, why not dive right in and ask what a better career opportunity looks like?

EXAMPLE: I noticed you’ve been in software development for over 10 years, but pivoted from the healthcare industry to the financial industry in the last 3 years. I’m curious as to why you made the switch? We’ve hired several developers recently from other industries and are really happy with how quickly they adapted, but I don’t think everyone can switch successfully. In our experience, it takes a special kind of person. I’d love to hear how the transition was for you and where you are headed next with your career.

4. Ask them what they are most proud of.

Top talent has worked hard to build their skills and reputation. There will always be particular accomplishments they are most proud of and attribute their success to. Why not ask them what they are?

EXAMPLE: I came across your profile while researching top business analysts in Philadelphia. Your track record is impressive. You’ve really moved fast in your career progression in the last five years. Is there something in particular you attribute your success to? I’d love to hear your opinion on how someone in the field can achieve similar success to what you’ve accomplished. Can we connect?

Besides the above, there are plenty of other disruptive ways to reach out to talent. The key is to be original. More importantly, be real. Which leads to my next point…

Be sure to include a ‘CTA’

When reaching out to candidates in a disruptive fashion, you’re creating a unique first impression. It’s important you use this to your advantage with a "Call to Action" CTA that invites the candidate to gain an even greater understanding about you as a professional.

CAREEREALISM research shows 76% of candidates want to learn more about you, the recruiter, before they contact you. Why? The best talent wants to connect with a person, not a company. They do their homework so they can feel more prepared when they respond to you.

In fact, 81% of sophisticated job seekers do an online search on you and your company for third-party credibility. If you don’t have lots of proof online, they won’t bother connecting with you – and they definitely won’t consider working for your company either.

What CTAs work best?

You need to offer them more than your LinkedIn profile. Social currency is key. Specifically, content that will make them feel like company insiders (a.k.a someone who is well informed). Links to articles that feature your employer brand (i.e. check out these company Sneak Peeks created by recruiters and showcased on CAREEREALISM to 1M job seekers), your company’s social feeds, and most importantly, places where your recruiter expertise is showcased, make it easier for them to get to know you better.

It also allows you to control the messaging. That’s important. To earn their trust, you have to show them you are as good at your job as they are at theirs’. The more content you can offer them validating your status as a respected recruiter for a good company, the better.

P.S. At CAREEREALISM, we’re creating the first “Featured Recruiter” Directory designed to help recruiters showcase and promote their Recruiter Brands to candidates -- get your free listingAdditionally, we’re now launching a new program called “Sneak Peeks,” where you can easily create content that showcases and validates your company’s employer brand. 

*Image from slappedham

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