QUESTION: There are lots of open jobs in the area I recruit and one of the major issues in 2018 has been candidate shortage. The methods I use most regularly are headhunting, using LinkedIn, advertising, using major job boards, plus utilizing their talent search tool, regenerating old candidates that I have previously interviewed, and asking for referrals. Can you make any other recommendations?  – Caroline, Sydney, Australia 

ANSWER: If you are not already working with a researcher, I would be engaging a researcher to put together a list every time you get a search of 60 to 80 people in that niche and getting their email, phone number, and address.  If you go to Upwork, you can start identifying researchers. 

When I am reading your question, Caroline, there appears to be holes in your process. Yes, you are using LinkedIn, advertising, and job boards. One of the things when you find candidates that are wrong, let us say you found somebody that worked for XYZ Software as an engineer. They replied on the job board, but you needed a salesperson. I would say, “Oh I noticed you work for XYZ Software.” I would do a mini mini recruit presentation, not about the sales job, but maybe just about what they want in their career and I would ask that person, who were the salespeople. Not ask if they know anyone, but “Who are the salespeople in the organization that you can have a conversation with?”

One of the ways to use a job board is to find people with other titles that are not relevant for what you are doing, but work for the company you want to get names from. You can have a researcher find people that work for the same company with different titles, or you can do this yourself. Having a researcher put together a list of people to fill the holes and the gaps between these avenues will give you a more thorough search.  

The other thing, and I see recruiters being stubborn with this, are you trying to get a hold of everybody 7 times over 3 weeks? This is a generic sales statistic, not a recruiting statistic. Most sales are made after 5 attempts and most salespeople give up after 2 or 3.  In our private Facebook for our coaching clients, I have had arguments with coaching clients in the past. They thought maybe it is too obnoxious and every 3 or 4 months someone posts in there, meaning it has happened significantly more because these are the only ones that are posting. Mike was right, 7th voice mail, 7th attempt garnered me candidate who, this was fairly recently, a $38,000 fee. Paid for the coaching program for years with that one tip. 

Most recruiters are lazy. Most recruiters are going to leave one voicemail. In fact, most recruiters are not even leaving voicemails anymore. They are only leaving emails, and you want to leave both. I am not saying only voicemail, bounce back and forth, 7 attempts.  

In regards to referrals, the big mistake I see recruiters make when they ask for referrals is they say something like, “Do you know someone who would be interested?” Horrible question and the answer is almost always no. My question when I ask for referrals, would be: 

Who do you know that excels in this role that I can contact confidentially and have a very discrete conversation, just like the one we have had here over the last 5 or 10 minutes? 

Who do you know? NOT do you know? For me, not knowing anyone was unacceptable. Did I get an answer 100% of the time? No. Did I accept I do not know anyone? No, never. I would made 2 or 3 attempts.  

So Caroline, you do not know anyone that excels in this role even though you are in the role yourself? You have never met another person that does what you do? My sense is you are a bit uncomfortable giving me a name. Is that true?  

Well, yea.  

Let me ask you Caroline. I am a big boy. Please do let me know. Is there anything that I did on this call that was offensive to you, pushy?  

Well, no.  As a matter fact, Mike, this was one of the more professional calls I have been involved in.  

Someone extended this courtesy to you Caroline so that you could evaluate the opportunity on its own merit and accept or reject it. You chose reject it, and I am totally cool with that. All I am asking you to do, Caroline, is pay it forward and extend that courtesy to two other people.  

My goal was always to get two names out of person I talked to.  If I got 2 names out of every person I talked to, I would never run out of people to call. This why one of the things I train my recruiters on and one of the things I did was vigilantly staying in the moment with that candidate and a little bit of arm twisting, very politely in the languaging I just explained to get referrals.