If anyone were to ask about my biggest weakness, it’s that I’ve found I’m a creature of habit. Ask anyone. I get set in my ways. And I certainly get set in a sourcing strategy, especially if it consistently and efficiently produces solid results.
But I’ve got a search where I can leave no stone unturned. And I don’t want to leave anything unturned, because when the Bossman asks me, “Well, can’t you find more?” I need to lay out a really detailed answer of where I’ve looked.
LinkedIn is my crutch, and they’re not my biggest fan… nobody’s asking me to speak at the LinkedIn conference. But that’s okay—I like to stay humble and I know, I know… I work in retained search… I get it. Every once in a while I get candidate searches that are excellent at reminding me not everyone’s on LinkedIn. I know—earth shattering news, isn’t it? And those candidates that are on LinkedIn… I can’t always see them. It depends on how much I’m willing to pay to play. Quite frankly, I still have recession brain. I will hold on to my recruiting dollar and budget in a tight-fisted manner because of those recession lessons. It can be an exercise in frustration, continuing to dive into the well and not yielding buckets and buckets of fish. But as with all things in life—it just takes one—one name to get you on a better path.
I was weary of surfing the internal LinkedIn maze the other day and decided to go old school. The project I was working on involved taking a list of companies that listed their employees on their website, gathering up the people I needed and then seeing if I could generate more than a name. I really wanted a bio or profile. And then I found Jay. Jay was just a name and a title, but the right name and title. And gosh darnit, Jay did have a LinkedIn profile I hadn’t seen. But it gets better… wait for it… when I ran Jay’s name through Google, in what I was taught is a “peer search,” I’ll be damned if good ol’ Jay didn’t surface on a current membership roster for a regional organization appealing to him and his professional peers. Sweet. 75 names with the right job titles, employers and emails. Thanks, Jay! My work could be done, but then I looked at that Google page one more time and realized Jay’s employer had created resume files—so then I picked up a few more of his peers.
I’m bringing back the idea of searching for your ideal candidate’s name to see what it yields in the no-stone-unturned cases. Our research team is going to know and love the concept (and it’s free! free! free!), especially when there’s the potential for it to yield 75+ candidates in a Google search! Have you tried it lately? Did it work? Hit me in the comments with your thoughts.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.