Want to Find Awesome People Online? Try these Search and Outreach Tips

That perfect hire is out there—and as a recruiter, it’s your job to find them. But how?

For the first time in human history, every person has the ability to connect with anyone else in the world. That means talent pools—and the companies seeking people to fill key technical roles—are expanding. The basic economic concept of supply and demand has shifted into a reality of intersectional orbits. Are you part of a recruiting team, in London, that wants to hire an engineering director in San Francisco’s deep technology community? You may not have met that person yet. But they’re out there. They have no idea that you’re seeking them out, which makes it easier to ignore your outreach.

A recent article from McKinsey acknowledges what every human feels deep down:

“The world is in a state of flux,” writes analyst James Manyika. “There is growing polarization of labor-market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment, especially among young people, stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households, and income inequality. Migration and its effects on jobs has become a sensitive political issue in many advanced economies.”

These sociological patterns exist because of what the World Economic Forum calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution—the idea that technological evolution is moving faster than human minds can keep up. If you feel like you can’t move fast enough to reach the right people, you’re not alone.

“Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”

As a recruiter, you need to work smarter, not harder. That means using automation to our advantage, to return to our creative roots in connecting with others. That also means acknowledging the shortcomings of recruiting best practices—impersonal emails, long waiting times, closed-door processes—that are quickly becoming obsolete.

You need to create more time in your day.

Working smarter means using our human instincts

In many ways, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been at odds with our humanity. For one, people aren’t happy at work. In the United States, for instance, people are quitting their jobs in record numbers, according to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, Gallup has found that 85% of workers, globally, are disengaged at work—amounting to $7T of lost productivity.

Despite these trends, people aren’t jumping to leave their jobs. There’s always a chance, for instance, that a new role could be worse than a current one. Not to mention, there’s a widespread culture of fear in which people are afraid of global economic uncertainty. It doesn’t help that just 11 years after the 2008 Recession, there’s discussion of another one on the horizon.

Promises of a great salary, team, bonuses, flexible schedules, and office environments may not be enough to push a high performer—or up and comer—to leave the comfort of a role that works for them. As a recruiter, your job is to:

  • Pique interest among potential hires
  • Demonstrate that you care about your prospective hire’s well-being
  • Provide a compelling enough value proposition that includes financial rewards, benefits, work-life balance, and the opportunity to grow—at a minimum
  • Be attentive to questions, providing answers in a timely fashion
  • Ensure that potential hires feel valued
  • Work with hiring managers to ensure organizational goals are met
  • …the list goes on

No matter how much you accomplish in a day, your to-do list will always feel never-ending and infinite. But remember, when you’re seeking out key hires, you need to find just one person—the right people—to fill key roles.

That means cutting down your search time to focus on what matters most to each person you’re focused on bringing on board—ensuring that your prospective hires feel a sense of safety, comfort, and enthusiasm in pursuing a new role. 

From a candidate’s perspective, it’s not easy to walk away from coworkers who you like, a commute that’s predictable, a company that you know, and a job that you feel confident that you can do well. Humans value having predictability and stability in their lives.

To be successful as a recruiter, you need to do more work in personalizing and tailoring your outreach to each individual you reach. Using simple database techniques, you can do more work by doing less work. That’s the beauty of robots. They do the hard work for you, so you can spend more time being an imaginative, creative human.

Cut down your search time—practice these boolean search queries

There are a finite number of hours in each day. The time that you spend at your job is like a see-saw. If you want to spend more time personalizing emails, you need to cut down or reprioritize other stuff. 

One low-hanging area of opportunity?

Simplify your sourcing process. Excavate the details that matter to potential hires, faster. Using boolean search—a database technique for uncovering information—you can uncover details that will make your communications more personable.

Boolean Search is a technical concept that is common in most recruiting databases. If you’re interested in learning the technique (i.e. learning about and memorizing operators), take a look at this resource from Boolean Black Belt, which explains the timeless basics of how basic search operators work.

More important than knowing how boolean search works, for instance, is why. You can search for people based on precise personality traits—in database-speak, known as “attributes.”

If you don’t want to learn how to write a boolean search query from scratch, that’s okay. Humanpredictions has created a visual interface that makes searching for people easy. Here is a list of attributes that you can query within the Humanpredictions platform. The TLDR is that you can find people based on a wide range of skills, professional milestones, job titles, and interests. 

The best way to become proficient with boolean search strings, regardless of whether you’re interested in writing code, is to practice. Here are 3 queries that you can practice within the Humanpredictions platform:

Find people who’ve given interesting talks at conferences

See who’s motivated and making waves in your industry by showcasing their work publicly. If there’s a particular conference that you’ve been eyeing, see who’s actively speaking. Research YouTube recordings of their talks, slide decks, and blog posts. Use the material that you gather as conversation starters. Using the Humanpredictions database, you can easily perform this research with a few clicks—save more time in your busy day.

Figure out what meetups people are attending

Relationships are the heart of a successful recruiting strategy. So how do you strengthen bonds with potential hires when there’s a computer screen separating you? One way to reach them is to meet them. Figure out what events they’re attending and what local groups they’re apart of. Schedule time to say hello, and ask if they would be interested in potential roles within your company. You can research local meetup groups in the Humanpredictions database.

Research the person’s work

You want to hire people who care about their work on a deeply personal level. These individuals also want their employers to care. Show how much you value your potential hires by browsing their work. Using Humanpredictions, you can easily find links to peoples’ portfolios. Click through. Take a browse.

So what should you do with all this info?

First things first: use your newfound boolean search skills to write more compelling, engaging outreach messages. Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes. Would you prefer to receive a message like this:

Hi Maya,

I’m a recruiter with Company X. I came across your LinkedIn profile and noticed you’ve worked with JavaScript and HTML 5 in the education industry. Our education arm is looking to launch an education platform, and we’re building up a new team of developers. We think you’d be perfect for our Sr. Frontend Engineer role. Do you have 30 minutes later this week to chat?

Or this:

Hi Cynthia,

I’m a recruiter with Company X. I recently came across your conference talk on pivoting from errors at the San Francisco Engineering Leadership Summit. I loved the point you made about developers needing to balance long-term goals with short-term gains.

Our company is in the process of launching an education arm, and we absolutely need a person on our team of Sr. Frontend Engineers who can help our organization embrace the practice of learning from errors. I noticed, in your Dribble portfolio, that you’ve built some education-focused platforms before. 

By chance, will you be attending the Chicago women’s engineering leadership meetup on December 1st? Would you like to grab a snack together, so I can ask you a few questions about your career goals?

Peace out,

Humanpredictions Team

P.S. If you find the information from this resource helpful, please share it with more people on your team, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and with your networks of recruiters.

P.P.S. We care about diversity, inclusion, and respecting pronouns. We thought that the quotes below would hit home with humans of all walks of life. We love to push communication boundaries with our content, respectfully. If you’d ever like to see a change in our communication style, please let us know.

Visuals: Dimonika


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