In Part 1 of this blog story I urged professional sourcers to adapt their focus as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) play in increasing role in the field. In a nutshell, AI can now do many sourcing activities better and faster than humans. However, there are still important things that humans do better than machines. Sourcers who focus on those things will continue to be in demand, while those who don't adapt may be edged out.
Most sourcers take pride in their ability to create elaborate and effective Boolean search strings. However, AI programs can do that for us now. Tools include Textkernal (used by CareerBuilder) and SourceHub, and even LinkedIn Recruiter suggests relative search terms using AI. According to several presenters at SourceCon, it won't be long before we can have a "conversation" with an application that uses natural language processing (semantic search, parsing and other algorithms) to transform the conversational input into a highly effective search string.
Add Value by Engaging Candidates
Simply finding candidates isn't enough. The emerging best practice is engaging them and getting them to stop, look and listen. An important first step is to craft a compelling message that stands out from all the others that candidates receive every day across multiple channels.
An overall employment value proposition positions the company as an employer of choice, but don't stop there. Your message should present the specific job as an opportunity of choice for the right candidate. Company growth, great culture and strong benefits don't necessarily differentiate your company from your competitors. Your message needs to convey how this specific open position is a chance for candidates to make a difference, build their skill set, showcase their potential or grow within the organization.
Hyper-Personalize Your Messaging
Like consumers, candidates want quality over quantity. According to Accenture, 75% of study respondents are more likely to buy from companies that take a hyper-personalized approach. And, yes, recruiting a candidate is very similar to courting a consumer.
Any machine can insert a name from a mailing list into a subject line. With hyper-personalization, marketers use behavioral data to ensure that communications are relevant and personally meaningful. You're already looking at candidates' LinkedIn and Facebook profiles -- just get a little extra info.
That way, rather than sending emails to 100 candidates that are somewhat qualified, you can send hyper-effective emails to the top 10. If a candidate is a Raiders fan, for example, start out with a comment like, "Great game on Sunday -- the Raiders are looking good this year."
Then, instead of writing, "Here's an opportunity I think you'll be interested in," create a direct connection: "Your résumé shows some impressive accomplishments with big data. I thought you might be interested in a high-impact role that will allow you to expand your Hadoop skills."
Humanize Your Outreach via Phone and Video Chat
You've probably incorporated texting into your outreach, particularly with millennials, and you should keep doing so. But in keeping with engagement at a hyper-personal level, you should also recognize the value of voice-to-voice communication. Your voice -- even on a voicemail message -- helps create real human contact in an increasingly digital world. And if voice-to-voice is effective, then face-to-face is about as personal and human as it gets. Search on Skype or other video chat platforms to find a candidate’s number and reach out.
Either way, leverage your messaging strategy, such as breaking the ice with the Raiders comment and then getting quickly to the position's selling points. As with email, you shouldn't have to make 100 scattershot calls if you make 10 laser-targeted calls to the A-list.
It's a brave new world, as increasingly sophisticated machines change the workplace. Those who thrive in the new landscape will focus on the things that humans do much better than machines (at least for now). In part, it is the unique ability to make personal contact. For sourcers that includes engaging, asking probing questions, overcoming objections and influencing.