I “reach out” to hundreds of candidates on a weekly basis. And every so often I do get asked the inevitable, “How did you find me?”
Sometimes I’m a smart-ass and want to say “Duh… the internet…” but, in reality, I think most candidates realize this. Most times they’re just not sure where I found them. And that’s a much different question from how.
If I were to really answer how? I can guarantee they’re going to think, “Eww… stalker!” Or their eyes are going to glaze over when I utter the word “boolean.” But answering where I found them is much more relevant.
Do I tell them where? Absolutely. More often than not, the people inquiring want to know if their LinkedIn profile piqued my interest, or if I found their resume on Docstoc, or if I rifled their companies Executive Management profiles. I even own up if I found them on an attendee list or directory. And if they were a referral? I definitely let them know who sent them to me.
It simply helps to build rapport and trust. I don’t believe in being vague. I’ll let you know the company I’m hiring for as well as where I found you. Sometimes people forget they placed a profile online, or had an old resume floating or that they could possibly appear in an attendee list from that last conference they attended. And I’ll even own up if I surfaced their name off of a company letter that was stored on their company website. Why not?
It’s all in the public domain. All of it.
Even when I tweak my strings just so that I sift through correspondence, it’s all out there. It’s not hacking, after all. I don’t go beyond your security or firewalls on your site. I’m just working with Google, Bing or the search engine flavor of the day to extract the information indexed.
But how do I know where each and everyone came from? Well, first of all I have a kooky memory, especially if I find someone on GitHub or some other lesser known social networking site. But I also am fairly meticulous about tracking. Fee or free, I want to know what resources produce, so I have all that information at hand. It takes me two seconds to look up where I found someone. And just as I feel entitled to find anyone, anywhere, anytime with the search resources available to me, I see no need to not provide full disclosure to candidates.
So do you ‘fess up? I challenge you to. I want you to bring your game up, not down and I think there’s nothing more frustrating to a jobseeker than getting a recruiter on the line who has no idea how they found their profile or better yet, makes up an answer.
Kelly is an HR Pro focused on recruiting Temp and Executive Talent in the Hospitality Industry and a 10 year writing veteran on FOT.