[Podcast] Nurturing Your Passive Talent Pool for the Future

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Do you have the talent in your pipeline today that adds value to your business and clients beyond what they can find themselves? In this episode of The Full Desk Experience, Kortney talks about the common mistakes you and your team might be making with passive talent and gives you several recommendations of how to turn that talent into pipeline.

Kortney Harmon: Recruitment is about people. The people you hire, the people that you’re working with to complete projects, the people that you’re recruiting a new teammate for. Put yourselves in the shoes of the talent that you’re pursuing. How do you want to be treated by these companies? The companies that you interact with within your business life? I’m sure you want to be treated like a human, not a number and definitely not like a cash cow. Go beyond the idea. Do you need a job? I’ve got a job with your candidates. Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Crelate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is The Full Desk Experience where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes and technologies. 


On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about why your passive talent strategy isn’t translating into pipeline for you or your recruiters. As leaders, we want our teams to grow, but oftentimes we come to a crossroads where we hear something or see something that we might not address. How often have you heard or thought to yourself, if we only had a better talent pipeline we could, or, right now you might be hearing, I can’t find the talent. I need to fill the active jobs I have right now, let alone to sell to new clients. Honestly, you may be doing well. You may have talent coming into your business in droves, but I want to ask you, is it the talent you need, or better yet, is it the talent you want? Are your candidates that you have the top 20% of the market share? Or are they the middle or the bottom of the pack? 


If the talent that you have in your pipeline today does not match the value you want to present to your clients, you really need to reassess your approach. When you’re working with new and old clients, they want to see the types of talent you represent. If you’re representing the talent that they can get on their own, why should they work with you? Your value has to be standout, knockout, of such amazing quality they know that they have to work with you, or they’re going to miss out on amazing people. If you don’t have that talent in your pipeline today, you should. And good news: there’s another way. We’re going to talk about it. I’m not going to tell you anything new about passive talent. Passive talent is something that anyone in our business has encountered if they’ve been here in our industry for more than five months, it does however require work. 


I know what you’re thinking: we’re comparing active and passive talent. You’re thinking, yeah, Kortney, it’s great to focus on passive talent, but it takes too long and active talent is something we can never get away from. It’s there. It’s the short money. It’s the quick fixes, and you’re right. However, I want you to bear with me for a second. I want you to ditch the transactional mentality, the transactional approach, your talent is getting treated like a number. I’m not saying to work only with active talent. That’s not the case. It’s something that we’re always going to have to focus on, but it can’t be your entire focus. This is the reactive versus proactive approach. It’s that constant battle in our industry. The idea of the balanced desk. I’m sure you’ve heard it. I’m sure you’ve argued it. I want you to think of passive talent as your long game, the long money. That requires building. It’s your proactive approach to the industry. 


Oftentimes we look at our desk and we don’t have time for the proactive. We’re too busy responding to the reactive. Working with your passive talent pipeline isn’t a new concept, but it’s something recruiters have had to put less emphasis on in the most recent months. Tides are changing, if they haven’t for you already. This show isn’t going to focus on how to find passive talent. It’s going to show you your processes and your organization could be lacking. It’s going to show you signs and symptoms that you don’t have the right processes in place in order for your teams to effectively execute, attracting, nurturing, and retaining the top passive talent that you want in order for your clients to do business with your firm. We’re going to start with the foundational pieces of passive talent. Passive talent refers to the talent who are currently employed or not necessarily looking for a role. 


There was a research done by LinkedIn. 70% of our global workforce is made up of passive talent who are not actively job searching. The remaining 30% are our active seekers. Your day to day most likely is focused around the active 30% of job seekers. The ones that want to move today. On the other side of that coin, there’s passive talent. Great news: most passive talent, around 90% of these passive candidates, are still interested in hearing about jobs. Since passive candidates aren’t actively looking for jobs, you’re not going to find them on your career site or your job portals or your job boards. Instead, you are going to have to go where they are, on social media most times, and a few other avenues that we’ll talk about in a few minutes. Did you know that 49% of all professionals are following companies on social media with the intent to merely stay aware of the jobs that they’re posting for that company? 


You need to realize and utilize the power of social media and start promoting your employer and personal brand on social media. This doesn’t mean just posting your job openings across different social media networks. This is where I see so many organizations go wrong. You should be sharing stories, pictures, videos that promote your organization, showcase it as a great place to work. Your social platforms are your virtual storefronts. People are no longer walking past admiring through the storefront windows. They’re scrolling past your company’s profile on social media, on their downtime, whether it’s during their morning cup of coffee, between meetings, on lunch, after the kids are put down, or while they’re watching TV. My question to you is what do you want them to be seeing? Is it what you’re currently putting out there to catch their attention? Are you putting the content you want your potential or future candidates to see? 


What about your future clients? Are you talking to that audience? We’re going to throw a poll up in our chat right now. And I want you to take a look and I want you to answer honestly, is your company profile on point? Yes. Awesome. There are some great answers, bare minimum. We have some of it built out. We have it fully built out, but not optimized. It’s fully built out and optimized and we’ve done nothing. I appreciate those honest answers. I want you to take it one step further. It’s great to know that. Be honest with yourself. I want you to know that these candidates and clients are going beyond the company profile page. They’re looking at your profile as a leader. They’re looking at who’s running the company. And even the people that work at the organization. Is your profile where you want it to be for people to look at it? 


What about your employees? Awesome. Have you provided guidance to your employees on how to optimize their social pages? This one, I love it. This is my favorite question. No guidance at all. Some guidance, lots of guidance, pretty neck and neck with no audience and some guidance. Think about that guidance to your employees on best practices for their profiles. I can tell you based on not only this poll, but what I hear and what I’ve seen with all the offices that I’ve worked at, most organizations do not provide that guidance on social media. I implemented some training at my last organization. It was a network of 10 companies, not only internal employees, but 10 operating companies externally for LinkedIn profile training for every new hire, as well as training on best practices of engagement on platforms, at least one time a year. Some of the things that we trained on. 


So if you have no guidance at all, maybe here’s a good place to either write some notes or write some questions in the chats. Some of the things that we trained on were getting their company banners updated, depending which operating company that they worked for. Do you have a banner for your organization? Do you suggest it to people or at least give that to them? Are you encouraging individuals to update their URL of their profile? Heck, oftentimes I see people not even updating the company that they’re working for. We’ve encouraged people to update their headlines. So many headlines just look at the job title. Go beyond the job title. Updating their job information with a preferred blurb about your organization. Do you provide that to your people? That’s what we’ve recommended. Also, putting your contact information in about me section or the banner to warrant less clicks. 


You are in the recruiting business. People are going to want to get ahold of you. That’s the whole point, right? So why not make it easier? Make less clicks out of this. Once that was done, we really focused on the training teams to connect with the right audiences. If you are not speaking to the right people, then what’s the point of your post? I encourage you to tell your teams to increase their network by a number a day. I personally still try to connect with people in my network daily. I have my own goal that I set for myself to hit. Last, but not least, is posting, sharing, commenting. This is the scarier of the bunch. Believe it or not, there’s truly an art to this. Our teams talk about this daily. Honestly, your individual social profiles are the foundational building blocks for most anyone running a desk. 


Now that could vary when you’re talking to talent based on your industry. I can tell you out of the leaders, managers, individual contributors that I’ve worked with on their profiles and engagement, nearly every single person has told me, oh, I didn’t think of that. Oh, I need to get better at that. There’s always room for improvement. This shows that as well, with our poll. One last thing before I get off this soapbox, because I want to get to our 10 items. It’s not rocket science. This does however require effort. I want you to realize that employees may not have a clue where to start. So what you’re doing to help them, what are you doing to help them to build their storefront? Their storefront not only helps their desk, but in turn will help your organization’s gross margin. Employers really kind of think this of this as sacred ground because it’s their personal LinkedIn profiles. 


Your employees don’t have to do this, but telling them that here’s the playbook of moves that have led to success for other recruiters or other business development people in your organization and here’s why? People will listen. They want to have that kind of success too. Okay. We talk about social media obviously as a place to set up your foundational building blocks and truly a place to find passive talent. But where else should you be putting stock in finding these non-active gold mines? If you do any of these, throw your ideas in the comments. I’d love to know that you’re doing these as well. When I was running my desk in the IT industry, recruiting events were a big thing. Still are to this day, such as meetups workshops and invite potential candidates to attend. Are you guys doing those tasks right now? Competitors are an obvious source as we think of passive talent. 


Yes. You know who your competitors are, but do your new hires know who your competitors are? Do you have a running list of competitors in your database, who not to hire from, who to hire from? Does your team know that list? Referrals, I talk about this all the time. It is quickest to the money. I will say this till I’m blue in the face. I see so many people not ask for referrals because they feel guilty about asking for something from your candidates. Yes. I want you to establish a relationship first. A referral is free. It only takes a second to ask for. If people do not refer one to you, then you’re wasting nothing but a few seconds of your time. And if they do decide to refer other talent, then you gain a hundred percent of return on your investment. Other places to look would be other verticals, vendors and suppliers solving similar problems, maybe using the same software or people that you do. Counterparts in non-competing industries for some roles, even graduate school. 


Often job fairs could be the first starting place that you look for those passive talents. Do you have more? Write them in the chat. There’s so many more. I don’t want to spend our entire time on how to find passive talent. I want to talk to you where your teams may go wrong in the process and what I’ve seen in offices that they’re doing that they need to stop doing on attracting talent, attracting passive talent. Regardless of who you are and what you do, there is always room for improvement. It’s safe to assume that all top performing recruiters must continually strive for best practices and find ways to make their operations better. Sound more appealing, more efficient, and strategic. However, honing good habits only works when there is synonymous attention on breaking bad tendencies, too. Are you all okay? That means you might be doing something wrong, or not setting your teams up for success. 


As leaders, we only usually focus on the end result, the metrics in our ATS that tell us how many placements, how many send outs, how many interviews. However, good leaders look at those metrics as a sign to a symptom and use it as a diagnostic tool. They look at those symptoms as something different that’s going wrong, not only to help that person grow through that challenge at hand, but also ensuring the processes are built to scale for everyone else coming into their organizations, or at least they should be. I want to give you the top 10 things that I’ve seen people do wrong when recruiting passive talent. Remember, these candidates equal solid pipeline for you. That pipeline equals dollars. As we talk about these 10 items, I want you as a leader to be honest with yourself. Have you talked about the importance of these fails, or talked about your preferred process, breaking down any of these items, because you could do something as simple as a morning meeting on one or all of these items to work through for best practices. 


Number one, let’s dive into it. Don’t be removed, no matter how niched you are. I hear agencies say we’re so niched, we don’t advertise or post on social. If you’re like me, your eyes are pretty wide at this point in time. But it most likely means that they’re missing out on a huge market of candidates in my eyes. I am not saying advertising on social is right for every profession or every industry, but making the decision because you are so niche is wrong. The way forward is to take a total addressable market approach and then understand exactly what influences the people to join you, your clients, or your client companies. Don’t forget, social platforms are your storefront windows. What platforms should you be on in order to display your content to the people you want to see it, even if you’re not posting jobs, are you posting stories, pictures, videos, creating that FOMO of getting people to want to work for you? 


Number two, ironically, recruiters need to slow down. Seems pretty obvious. However, they need to stop moving so fast. In so many of our businesses we’re challenged with meeting high volume recruiting needs or finding the needle in the haystack or the purple squirrel, which means we push. We run. We throw candidates at the wall to see what sticks. So much of that gets buried in the weeds, and we can’t even remember what we’re looking for. I know it’s truly about speed in our industry. But passive talent is a different approach. Let’s commit to slowing down a tad on thinking through our strategies more clearly. Let’s connect with candidates personally, develop relationships, be proactive instead of reactive, developing relationships now and having the right cadence of a touch plan will only set you up for success, because you’ve put in the time. When the opportunity is right, they will choose you versus another recruiter because you’ve taken time with them. You know their motivators, you’ve built a relationship. This is not only going to be a slam dunk for you when it matters, but it also is going to be closest to the dollar. 


Number three, we talked about LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn is a powerful tool. It’s pretty great for looking and connecting with passive talent, but stop spamming people on LinkedIn with emails, which are clearly copy and paste with someone else’s name at the top. Stop looking at people as a number. Give a personalized email, give a call back, give timely feedback, stop messing with people’s lives and focusing on a commissions check. In such a congested market, it’s time for recruiters to focus on their unique approach and to be true to their values. 


Number four, build relationships. This is the next logical step after contacting them. Rely on more than just emails. Look for more opportunities to talk to people on the phone or face to face. Yes, email is an everyday fixture in everyone’s lives. It can be easier. It can be more practical for both candidates and clients to communicate in this way. However, recruiters are far more likely to have a successful outcome if they speak direct to people. Communicating via email can limit the opportunities to really get to know a candidate. Emails are used to inform. Merely a transaction. The phone is where you can build relationships, understand the information that will really lead to long term success and placements. Believe it or not, I still have candidates that I passively recruited and placed on many projects over a decade ago that I still talk to today. My husband even takes them fishing, ironically, and that didn’t happen because I sent them an email to ask if they wanted a job. It happened because I build a relationship with them. These relationships are relationships that are still giving today. 


Number five, kind of hinted on this at my last point, but stop treating your projects like transactions. Recruitment is about people. The people you hire, the people that you’re working with to complete projects, the people that you’re recruiting a new teammate for. Put yourselves in the shoes of the talent that you’re pursuing. How do you want to be treated by these companies? The companies that you interact with within your business life? I’m sure you want to be treated like a human, not a number, and definitely not like a cash cow. Go beyond the idea. Do you need a job? I’ve got a job with your candidates. That’s the transactional. Move away. 


Number six, put down the keyboards. Start picking up the phones. Relationships cannot be built on words on the screen. You must interact with people directly. First on the telephone, then in person, if your industry or location supports it. Still hoping that loads of email sent to your potential candidate will attract them to a market is crazy. Stop trying to persuade and influence by email negotiation, emailing based on pay rate and salary rate, managing an offer by email. It’s not going to work. You’re going to lose control and you’re going to become an order taker. You’re going back to the short money, the reactive and the transactional approach. 


I had someone once tell me, you pick up the phone and money comes out of it. Has there ever been a truer statement made? Can you make money by emailing alone? Yeah, I truly believe business cannot be done effectively or have a highest success without picking up the phone. I know people are going to disagree with this, but I’ve seen it firsthand in all of the offices that I’ve worked with. Moving away from the transactional relationships and really developing the relational interactions and nurturing those will no doubt set you apart from other 220,000 recruiters alone in the US. 


Do you want to be different than every other recruiter out there, or do you want to be a number as well? Katie, I’m not quite sure if we have another poll for this one, but do you feel that your business can be done strictly through email or electronically? Can your business be done through email, yes or no? Have you had success strictly running your business on email and electronically? Sometimes, yes. But did you ever pick up the phone, have you had to have the conversation? Happy to see that no one has answered yes. All right. 


Going back to number seven, has your talking to your talent, not understanding their motivators and who you’re speaking to. I see this happen all the time. If you get a passive candidate on the phone that’s willing to be proactive, quit trying to sell them on the opportunity you have right in front of you. Understand what has them even talking to you in the first place. Is it a new challenge? Do they want to work remote? Is it work-life balance? Advancement in the organization, culture, overall mission? Heck, it might be money and benefits. 


However, that can’t be the only motivating factor because if they leave their job for money, they’re going to leave yours for money. Understand what they’re looking for. I’ve seen so many recruiters get excited that a candidate will passively talk to them. Then they try to pressure that candidate into thinking they need to be submitted for this job at hand right now. Pressure tactics may work on some passive job seekers, but whatever value you seek to gain out of this will be short lived. Not only will it create mistrust and damage your reputation within recruiting circles, but it also will make your offering more transparent, and thus harder to negotiate. Take the approach to building relationships, to build a better and stronger pipeline. 


Number eight, as we hone into the home stretch, what’s the difference between persistence and pushiness? You might think use car salesman. It really comes down to the idea of frequency and tone. The successful route to passive recruiting is moderate in both of these. It’s been reported bad interview experiences really make 65% of candidates lose interest in a job, whereas 83% of candidates said clear timelines would’ve greatly improved the hiring process. Your passive recruitment strategy will only be achieved when your follow ups are timely and considerate. 


Nine and 10 are my two favorite, and I think truly the most important. Whenever we talk about passive talent, it’s really about tracking. I just spoke about pipeline. My question to you is what is your recommended approach to managing your passive talent or talent pools at your company? Do you as leaders tell your teams to a list anywhere in an Excel spreadsheet, do you ask them to create a list in your ATS? 


Do you let it up to your individual recruiters, or do you not have a process or strategy at all? My question, do you even care? I’ve seen so many recruiters tell me, well, Kortney, I have a document. This is an Excel document or a word document with candidates that they talk to for when they need it. What? In a document, if it’s not in your ATS, did it even happen at all? If it’s not in your ATS, you’re not going to be able to write notes in the system. You’re not going to be able to search the system for the note that you wrote. You’re not going to be able to set a reminder to reach back out to this person, set up sequencing campaigns, or be able to place them when the time’s right. Remember, data in is data out. The purpose of finding and building these relationships is to be closer to the money when it’s needed. 


You won’t be closer to anything, especially money, if you don’t take the time out to put the candidates and the information into your system right from the beginning. And it’s a hard pill to swallow. This comes down to you as a leader managing that expectation, setting your managers up to understand that expectation has to be followed through during their one on ones. 


Number 10, last but not least, leads me to my last and final item. This follow up strategy for passive talent. I’m not going to lie. I see recruiters get this wrong more often than not. Do you know the number one complaint that candidates say about recruiters is they call too much. You know what the number two complaint is? They don’t call enough. How is that? Recruiters are out for what they need at the right time in the right place. I did a poll last week alone with my own personal LinkedIn network, over 60% of the people that responded between recruiters and leaders all agree, follow up is where we are lacking in recruiting. 


Crazy, isn’t it? But it’s true. I see it time and time again, recruiters are out there hustling for the closest thing to the dollar. They’re focused, super focused right now, on what they need to accomplish. However, oftentimes they don’t follow up with that great conversation they had. They don’t take the time out to nurture or build the relationships or don’t remember who they talk to because frankly, names and numbers start to blend together. It’s happened to you. It’s happened to me. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to have an ATS or a CRM like ours that can really create that passive talent engagement touch plan, a drip campaign or sequence of events that will help you auto-generate those emails, those texts, or even reminders for your teams to touch base with this talent, ensuring they don’t feel like a number. 


This is such a fine line and a passionate topic for me, the use of AI versus automations. It’s on our list of topics in the very near future, I promise, so stay tuned. As a leader, you have to have a preferred strategy and touch plan for your passive talent in place to ensure your teams are not wasting and not actively building a pipeline that will not transform into dollars for you and your team in the future. Do you have a process established right now? Be honest. What about a touch plan cadence? How frequently are you reaching out to these passive talent? Do you suggest what your team should be doing? Sounds like this is the next topic for your next lunch and learn in your office or even a morning meeting. We’ve covered a lot today. There are many things that could go wrong in the recruiting process alone, let alone attracting passive talent. We’re human, and we’re dealing with humans. Things can go wrong, but remember, honing good habits only works when there is synonymous attention on breaking bad tendencies. All right. Katie, let’s go ahead and let’s dive into our AMA. 


Katie Jones: Absolutely. All right, Kort, I do have a couple questions. The first question comes in anonymously and this person has asked, can you let the candidate know the pay range to prevent them from overbidding? 


Kortney Harmon: That’s a great question. This is a very touchy topic for some people. Whenever you’re posting about talent, I think that really focuses on active talent. I think we’re really talking about passive talent. So let me re-ask the question. Is it about posting for active talent or when we’re attracting passive talent? Do we know that answer? 


Katie Jones: I don’t know that answer. 


Kortney Harmon: So I can go off. If someone wants to finish responding, you can jump in, but I’m going to go ahead and say my piece. So active talent, whole different strategy. I, in my past, and what I’ve taught people is to yes, post a range. Whenever you’re looking to attract talent, I would post a rate range that you’re looking for or a salary range. I wouldn’t just narrow it down to the highest or the lowest that you’re looking for. Post a range, if at all applicable, for active talent. When you’re talking to passive talent, you have to go back to those motivators. You have to understand what’s going to motivate them to move to the next opportunity. You don’t know that it’s even money. Money might not be an object for them. It might be the idea that they want a better culture. COVID has put us in a remote world. 


Maybe they want to work remotely. So my suggestion as you’re talking to passive talent is to say, if you were to see an opportunity that would fit all A, B, and C things that you’ve told me, what rate range or salary range would you need that to be? Give me a high end, give me a low end. I don’t necessarily need to know that off the gate, but I think it’s something good to have in your database as you continue to go back to those people. Closest to the money, you have all the data, ensure that you’re actually putting it in your ATS versus searching and scrolling your email because you knew at some point you asked them that. 


Katie Jones: Great question. I think you kind of answered everything there. If you feel like you need more query there, of course, let us know. I have another question coming in. What is your ideal follow up cadence for passive talent and what are your best practices for how you follow up? For example, phone, email, LinkedIn text. 


Kortney Harmon: I love that. So just like anyone else, just like when we’re attracting active talent, sometimes we have a challenge to get in front of them. We have to be creative in our approach. I personally have developed something for many organizations. It’s like a 16 touchpoint strategy and it’s a cadence of many different things. So I think it depends on what you’re trying to do after you have them as passive talent and you’ve already spoke to them, I think you need to continue to reach out. So they have to be on your campaigns of some sort. So yes, email should be automatic. You should have those auto-generated emails. You should also have them connected on your social platforms if they have that. There are many people, even in our industry here, and maybe many of you on this call that I have connected with, or we’ve connected with that you see the talent or you see the types of things that I post. 


So, that’s my storefront window. I’m staying in front of you without actually giving a direct touchpoint to you. So I think that’s important. Make sure you are putting out pieces of content that your audiences want to hear, whether it’s a best practices on interviewing things, that go wrong in interviewing, something that might speak to them. But I don’t want you to forget about a texting plan or a phone call. Phone calls go a long way. It doesn’t mean you have to touch base with them weekly. If you have those candidates, make sure you say, reach out to me. If one of two things changes. 


Number one, you add a skill to your resume. Or number two, if you see an opportunity you want to apply to, or sometimes we get lost in the minutia of recruiting and we try to overpromise and under deliver, not intentionally, but maybe our jobs aren’t going anywhere, but I would make sure you use your ATS to set up a sequencing event or drip campaign to set reminders for you biweekly, or every three weeks, or every month, depending on how warm or cold you feel that candidate is in actively moving, you’re going to be able to tell that from your conversation. 


Katie Jones: Awesome, thanks, Kort. I had a follow-up question to a previous answer that you gave. If you’re interviewing this passive talent, would it be wise to give them a pay range at this stage, or should you wait until they talk with the company, or how do you navigate that? 


Kortney Harmon: Yeah, if you’re talking to passive talent, I think it’s the idea, the difference of… Whenever I’m talking passive talent, I’m saying that’s something that you should work on that’s probably not a job you have today. That’s going to pay off long term. They don’t want to make a move today. So it might be irrelevant to tell them a pay range. You can say these are the types of jobs that I have. Do you have to tell them a range that you have today for a specific job? No, you could probably tell them these are the salaries or these are the ranges that I usually have work in to be able to lump them together. 


But again, if they’re leaving your job for money and only that motivator, they’re going to also leave the job that you put them on for the next opportunity to make more money. So I would consider if they’re actively looking and asking the conversation of what is the pay range, then they might be active. You might have hit a nerve. It’s a buying sign for them to say, yep, it matches, I’m ready to go, but I would make sure you do your due diligence to ensure that you know that money is not their only motivator. 


Katie Jones: Great, thanks, Kort. 


Kortney Harmon: Yep. Hopefully I answer that. If I didn’t feel free to ask more. 


Katie Jones: I have some additional questions. What is the best way for me as a manager to understand if my teams are executing on their follow up plans for passive talents? 


Kortney Harmon: Oh, I love that question. As managers and as leaders, it’s our job to not only set the expectation of we want to ensure our teams are following up, but what that comes down to is what precedents are you setting? So within your organization, do you ensure that they put them on a list? I had a few different lists when I ran my desk and kind of depending what their industry was. I was in the IT industry, so were they a SharePoint developer? Were they in ad developer? Were they .net? So I had my list of people, but I think that’s actively managing those lists. Actively, you as a manager, as you sit down on those one-on-ones to say, what list are you actively working on for your passive talent? Are they growing? Are they decreasing? When’s the last time you touched that cadence of reaching out to these people? 


So I think it comes down to process, because if that data’s not in your system, you have to think of this as you, as a leader, this is your bread and butter. Whenever you’re able to grow, sell your organization, it comes down to data. And if it’s not good data, then you don’t have the right tools to be able to profit off of that, long term. I know that’s a long term solution, but I really think it’s the idea of having the conversations, making sure those expectations are there to say, yes, you have to have passive talent strategy. You have to make sure that you are spending. I don’t know about you, maybe connecting with 25 new people a week on your LinkedIn network, putting those into the system, so then I can see how many people you’ve added to the system, what your cadence and follow up is. And if those people are resulting in placements. 


Katie Jones: Okay, so kind of talking about passive talent as whole, this ops leader wants to know if you would recommend time blocking for passive talent and how much of your time should you dedicate in that arena? 


Kortney Harmon: That’s like they’re speaking to my heart. Yes. Passive talent. As much as we get lost in the hustle and bustle of reactive recruiting, it’s what we do. Somebody has a need, we go, we run to it. We put out fires. It’s our job, but you have to make sure in order to have that balanced desk, you have to make sure you’re dedicating time to those proactive items. So those passive talent. So I recommend a few different items and they don’t have to be long time blocks, but I do recommend, A, adding time to connect with these people on social. So we talked about that just a little bit ago. That’s something you are going to stay in their storefront all the time as they’re sitting home, they’re scrolling through, you’re going to stay top of mind, whether you want to or not just because you’re posting content. So number one, time block to make sure you’re adding to your network. That’s number one. 


Just like us as recruiters. I feel like we’re very much spies or we can kind of find out anything, we’re sleuthers. So we’re the people that want to work for your company. So make sure you’re out, you’re doing the things that you need to do. Other than that, I would also include maybe putting a time block every other day on your schedule to make sure you’re touching. Whether it’s a list that you have going on or a group of people, or just an active one from companies, you can strategize and really go about this many different ways. But I would put LinkedIn as a time block on my calendar, as well as reaching out and touch plan. Because even if we have an automated thing that’s happening in the back end, we still have to make sure we know what’s going on. Was there any follow up from that? Do I need to respond? 


Katie Jones: All right, John, I’m going to go ahead and invite you on stage. So when the icon pops up, just accept and pull yourself up. 


Kortney Harmon: Hi, John, how are you today? 


John, guest: I’m doing great. And Kortney, I’m a little upset because I feel like you’re teaching our methodology to the entire universe. This is wonderful. So anybody out there who doubts this, some of the language is almost even verbatim of what we have in our process and methodologies. 


Kortney Harmon: I love that. That makes my heart happy, were you paid to say that? 


John, guest: And I’m not going to share too much of the positive feedback we get from the people we work with as a result of taking this approach. But yeah, I can validate everything that you’re saying is true. If we’re weak anywhere, it’s the social media component. But when you do things the way you describe doing it, business just comes your way. People get to know you and they don’t forget you. And it comes back around. So anyway… 


Kortney Harmon: And they’re going to recommend to your friends. 


John, guest: Yeah, right. The question that I was popping, I mean, some of my best customers who are CEOs today, were senior directors the first time we talked to them and built that friendship and rapport that carried on through their careers, which makes me sound old. But the question I was going to ask is I’m always looking at different tools and using different tools. Crelate’s been a fabulous tool. Of the ATSs I’ve touched on in my career, it’s been my favorite, but I’m always looking at different tools. 


So I was curious which tools, especially given you’ve worked with different companies, do you prefer for that auto-generated follow-up? Because I agree, one of the challenging things are speaking with someone who is not someone you can use right now, but making sure that they don’t just get lost, and I can usually do it with a small percentage of the ones who are the top talent, people who really stand out or you connect with. But what about the rest of them? What tools, methodologies processes have you used to make sure you’re staying in touch with the ones that you want to stay in touch with across the board? 


Kortney Harmon: We’re saying beyond the top talent. So you’re doing a good job maybe within your ATS tracking those top 20%, but you’re like, I don’t want to lose these other people. Is that it? 


John, guest: Because they forget you, right? If you’re not front and center, they forget you. And candidly, we deal with the whole question of, do we really want this person reaching out to us when we’re not ready for them, or how you balance all of that out so that you ensure the time you’re spending is valuable time? 


Kortney Harmon: Absolutely. Number one, you have those people that are like, oh John, you can help me? Call me, call me, call me, or I’m going to call you. So it’s about balancing that expectation, being honest and upfront with them, but you’re right. We oftentimes get to the point where we need to follow up with them. So number one, I know I said this, but LinkedIn is such a great tool. And what industry are you in, John? 


John, guest: We’re life sciences, but I started my career in IT, so I understand that as well. 


Kortney Harmon: And your life sciences consultants, I’m guessing they’re on LinkedIn, based on the other offices that I’ve worked with? 


John, guest: Yeah. So when you say life science consultants, we do director and above search. 


Kortney Harmon: Candidates, candidates. I’m sorry. The candidates that you work with, they’re on LinkedIn, right? 


John, guest: Oh yeah. It’s been interesting to see that evolve. For a long time they were not on LinkedIn, because you’ve got a bunch of PhD scientists who just weren’t there. So we use various tools to get to them in other ways besides LinkedIn. But that’s changed. Just about all of them are on LinkedIn now. 


Kortney Harmon: So I go back to the idea of you have to be posting. So not only you as a leader, not only your organization, but your talent, or your people in your office need to be posting. So it’s something like as you go and I, Katie would know this more than I do, but it’s like the circle of threes or whatever. If I post to my audience, it gets to others. Oftentimes our recruiters don’t know what they should be posting. I’ve seen some really successful offices as they have their morning meetings, their social media person is on those meetings and they’re saying, Hey, these are the three posts that are coming out. And it’s really the idea. And I hate to use this analogy. Are you the original artist of that post? You don’t have to be. Are you the cover band? Possibly. I can put my own spin to that. 


Or am I the DJ? I’m just going to spin something. I’m just going to share it out. So it’s really talking to your recruiters and your teams to say, okay, make sure we’re staying in front of the brand. Make sure we’re pushing stuff out. If you use Crelate, one of our new tools, not that I’m necessarily trying to push, and the product will talk about this way better than I will, but sequencing, we have that idea of sequencing or drip campaigns. 


You can set that up. As you look at that, not everybody deserves to be on a drip campaign. Not everybody you want to be on a drip campaign. What I’ve also done and seen successful is even though I don’t want him on a drip campaign, maybe my office sends out an email a month, or biweekly. Biweekly might be a little much. I think the idea of maybe putting out stuff that this is really silly. And I did this, this, and I’m pulling stuff out of my back pocket that I used to do, and by no means is that necessarily right. But even at a holiday, instead of sending out like happy Labor Day or Memorial Day, I would send out my favorite barbecue recipe. I know it sounds silly, but just putting… 


John, guest: Yeah. It’s personalization. 


Kortney Harmon: Personalization. Or a wine list. I’m not a wine drinker, I’d be a beer drinker, but it’s the idea of being able to put something out in front of them to say, Hey, I was thinking of you and it doesn’t have to be that canned picture of the holiday. It could be something beyond that. I just think it’s just trying to have consistent campaigns to keep you top of mind, inviting them to events. You can’t invite everybody, but I mean, if you were in IT, you know that as well, those recruiting events, inviting people, just trying to stay top of mind. 


John, guest: So using social media to have that broad stroke, touch everybody that’s out there for people to passively come across a sort of top tier list of the ones who get regular personalized contact information, maybe something that exposes you to little vulnerability and opens a relationship like your top beer list. And then for everybody else, the company newsletter that goes out every month or quarter. 


Kortney Harmon: A company newsletter is great. I know those are things that not everybody has the capacity to do, but it’s nice to say front of mind, show your talent, the types of jobs that you’re working on, just so they don’t feel like, Hey, I haven’t heard from these people in a long time. 


John, guest: I will say we’ve not used Crelate for those types of things. We’ve used other tools. So I wasn’t sure if we’d want to talk about other tools, but I kind of feel that… 


Kortney Harmon: We could have the follow-up conversation from this afterwards and we can walk through sequencing and all the amazing stuff that’s coming. 


John, guest: Sequencing’s cool, but the amazing stuff coming might help too, but yeah. 


Kortney Harmon: Yeah. There’s a lot of updates that are coming and I’d be happy to… We’ll loop back into that. There’s some updates that are coming, not even a few weeks away. 


John, guest: Beautiful. All right. Thank you. 


Kortney Harmon: Thanks John. I appreciate it. 


John, guest: Ah, appreciate all you’re doing. Thank you. 


Katie Jones: Thanks, John. 


Kortney Harmon: Have a great day. Thanks John. 


John, guest: Thanks. 


Katie Jones: I think that might be it for today, Miss Kortney. 


Kortney Harmon: Awesome. Amazing. All right. As we go ahead and in closing, I want you to remember effective passive recruitment is just about as much about getting your candidates to say no to the wrong fit as it is about getting them to say yes to the right opportunity. And it’s your job to figure out how we focus on that approach. Leaders and recruiters, we’re so focused on those targets, those deadlines. We forget the real objective is to create that perfect fit between opportunities and elite talent that really complete them, even if that means finding it and passive talent pools. Realize that active talent your teams are working towards will result in short money. Building an effective pipeline of passive talent, nurturing those relationships, will result in long money for your teams. So develop those relationships that make a difference, not only to your pipeline, but to your revenue. 


I want you to join us in two weeks. On September 27th, we’re going to flip this coin and talk about the things business development or sales reps get wrong when presenting their top talent to our clients, and why those presentations aren’t turning into interviews and more importantly, revenue. 


I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the full desk experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to [email protected], or ask us live next session. If you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen and sign up to attend a future events that happen every other Tuesday at 3:00 PM, Eastern 12:00 PM Pacific. 

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