Hello, agency recruiter and senior agency leader. Recently, yours truly has been reading Designing Your Life. It’s a great book. Written from the job hunter’s perspective, a chunk of the book talks about the hidden job market. The searches we have going on we don’t put online or advertise.
There’s lots written about the hidden market. But it’s from the job hunter’s perspective. Not from your perspective, the potential employer’s.
So, what about the hidden candidates? The professionals out there who aren’t actively seeking a job, but are fantastic leaders and potential great hires. Folks who just may be interested in working for your agency at some point. Here are a few ideas inspired from Designing Your Life that can help you build relationships with passive candidates and potential hires.
Build your LinkedIn network to uncover passive candidates
Designing Your Life builds a case for why candidates should avoid online applications. They also understandably crap all over generic job descriptions. Both of which make me wince a bit. Wrote the agency recruiter who’s written a few job descriptions and sifted through hundreds of online apps.
However, their advice is spot on, re: building a network. Particularly if you’re looking to build relationships with passive candidates. The more contacts you have, the more passive candidates you have. There are tools within LinkedIn that help facilitate growing your network. I heartily recommend them. The tools leverage the insight that good people tend to know each other.
Call me a tastefully damn-near-gray-haired old schooler, but I’d personalize that invitation to connect. One of the ways I do this is mentioning someone we both know that’s an awesome human being.
And if I want to start a conversation with this candidate, I’ll ask them about something in their profile. This demonstrates you’ve read it and suggests you’re truly interested in them. It also sets you apart from others on LinkedIn who may be more interested in quantity over quality.
Use relationship valentines to maintain awareness and build relationships
As an agency recruiter, you’re looking to build a pipeline of talented, terrific professionals across a wide variety of disciplines. One of way of maintaining the talent pipeline is by sharing helpful content. Relationship valentines are little bits of relevant, helpful content you create or find online. You can find out write more about them here.
Relationship valentines are great ways for advertising agency recruiters to stay in touch with passive candidates. So that when the candidates get into change mode (and they will), you and your agency are top of mind.
Write a book
Seriously! Write something. It could be a book. Or it could simply be a series of how-to articles you publish online via something like LinkedIn. The articles could be discipline-specific, which might suggest the need for a subject matter expert. Or could be career advice and how-to.
This idea is lifted directly from the information interview idea from the Designing Your Life guys. They call it something more inspiring and sexier than an informational interview. (But that’s another post needing to be written by a distinguished gray-haired gentleman).
The DYL smarties advocate seeking someone’s story to better understand if this is something you want to pursue. This builds relationships and connections for the job hunter that lead to more offers and potential employer interest.
This writing idea is also a bit of tradecraft from one of the best rainmakers ever, Tony Wainwright. Unfortunately, Tony’s no longer with us. But he wrote an interesting book. And used it as an excuse to have a conversation with someone. He ended up speaking with lots of famous people. As a recruiter, your “get” isn’t quite as big. You’re interested in getting in front of people that are potential terrific hires for your agency.
This tactic is particularly useful if you’re looking to recruit agency leaders: people like CEOs, presidents and discipline heads. Many of these professionals — particularly people that are great hires — are only too happy to offer up some helpful advice. This builds your relationship and connection with these passive candidates.
AND the content and thinking it generates will be helpful to future leaders. Lots of wins here.
What, you say you’re not a writer? That’s something you can farm out. Or find a partner at your agency. Or, find professionals that have ALREADY published content. Strike a deal with them after you make sure their content resonates with you.
Build a like-minded community
All three of the above ideas help advertising agency recruiters build a group of professionals with a similar mind-set. They’re passionate, curious and smart folks that could be great fits for your agency. This community can help you identify hidden candidates so you can enlist their help with your searches.
Anywho, hope this writing gets you thinking about different ways to tap into the hidden job market.
Thanks for reading! Should you find value in this post, share it with your network.
Here’s some more thinking to help agency recruiters:
- Show candidates some love with relationship valentines
- Earn more staff referrals and lower recruiting costs through check-ins and “you’re awesome” messages
- How to use agency credentials to attract people to your agency