Creative Sourcing and Candidate Attraction

I’d like to introduce our first guest blog post on UK Sourcers. You can find out more about the author, Katie Lowe, at the bottom of the page.

It’s not easy being a recruiter. There’s no golden handbook, no scientific formula, to make a great recruitment professional. It’s both an art and a science – and the best sourcing professionals always seem to have that little bit of creative flair that makes them stand out. They take their cues from Mozart, as well as Einstein; and while there’s a lot to be said for investing time in your craft, it’s often easy to spot a real pro at the beginning of their career because they’ve got the natural flair and ability that’ll help them to greatness.

The businesses that attract the very best candidates are those where this creativity is embraced not just at the level of individual recruiters, but on a wider scale. Add a great, creative recruitment professional or agency to an open-minded, forward thinking business, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

So how do you get creative in your approach to sourcing? And how do you convert your creative efforts into attracting candidates?

Go Back to the Drawing Board

Throw out your expectations, burn your metaphorical manuscripts – go back to the start. What is your business? What do you do? And most importantly – why would someone want to work for the business you represent? It’s not enough to simply slap a salary on an advert and ditch it on a job board – because while you might find that generates a few applications, the really amazing candidates will only respond to the (you guessed it) really amazing adverts. They’re harder to impress because they know what they want, and if you’re not clear on what makes the role great, you’ll struggle to get that across in your sourcing efforts.

Try Method Acting

If it’s the first time you’ve worked with a client, it’s always worth doing your research and compiling a mental (or even – gulp – physical) spider diagram to give you an idea of what’s at the heart of their culture. And if you’re in-house, spend a little bit of time thinking about how you embody and affect the corporate culture of your business. You’re representing an employer brand here, regardless of whether you’re an agency recruiter or in-house professional – so a little method acting wouldn’t go amiss!

What’s Your Process?

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the business identity, consider your process. What goes on over the course of your recruitment cycle? Are you haphazardly throwing candidates at roles (and vice versa) in a way that’s genius in the same vein as Jackson Pollock? Or do you take your time, labouring on one role for many a month until you’ve attained perfection? It’s important to understand what works for you, the business you represent, and your candidates, to be able to iron out the issues in your recruitment process that are hampering your creative efforts.

Think Outside the Box

Or rather, outside the job board. Where are your candidates likely to be? There’s a strong chance that a lot of the people you want aren’t whiling away the hours on a job board, because they’re too busy working for your competitors. You need to get yourself noticed – and with the growth of social media in recruitment, it’s easier than ever to make that happen. But don’t just set up a Twitter account and leave it to wither – you’ll need to invest the time and resources into making sure that your brand is consistent, and consistently creative.

If you’re excited about your brand, it’ll be easier to keep your prospective candidates engaged, and to attract new talent from unexpected places – so have fun!

Work in Partnership

Lennon & McCartney, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers, Laurel & Hardy… Sometimes collaboration leads to genius. No matter where you sit in the recruitment process – recruiter, HR professional, line manager – a collaborative approach will help to create a cohesive, super-functional sourcing process which, in turn, will lead to a great candidate experience. A consultative approach on all sides will guarantee that everyone’s clear on what’s required, and clarity will foster the more creative sourcing strategy that complex roles require.

Keep It Simple

Recruitment processes, by their very nature, can get pretty complicated – but think about it. All great creative ideas are those that make you wonder why nobody came up with them earlier – because they’re just so simple.

Because, as Charles Mingus said, “making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple… That’s creativity.”