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Industry Insights | 3 minute read

The Secret To Proactive Recruitment: Profiling For Motivation

February 22, 2016

The best recruitment strategy is a proactive recruitment strategy. There aren’t many benefits to a post-and-pray approach, other than occasionally receiving interest from a motivated candidate. Unfortunately, motivated candidates aren’t always the best candidates though. While it certainly can work out that way, a successful recruitment strategy often involves more than hoping to strike gold. 

[Webinar] You might also be interested in learning about recruitment strategy in this HCI Webinar, "Going Beyond LinkedIn: How Smart Recruiters Find Today's Candidates."

We can think of candidate motivation in two ways: 

  1. Actively motivated to find new opportunities
  2. Passively motivated to grow their career

As a recruiter, it is important to understand the type of candidate you are working with in order to ensure success for your company. Understanding how to move a candidate from passively motivated to actively motivated will be critical to your success in a proactive recruitment strategy.

Sourcing candidates

Begin sourcing and outreach by determining your competitors and talent pool opportunities. Source your candidates and ask yourself, do the candidates from these sources hit enough of the key points on your hiring managers’ profile to spend the time exchanging communication with them later? Take a measured approach to your outreach, and don’t be afraid to double down with your efforts if you’ve done your research. You only need one chance to speak to them, and if they appear to have the experience needed, it could only take one phone call to turn them into an actively motivated candidate.

Ranking qualified candidates

After you complete your outreach and look at the candidate pool again, try to rank the top 15 percent from the qualified candidates with further detail in terms of motivation level. Define a candidate "motivation" profile – what’s the opportunity, why now, why this organization and what can this do for me?

  • Review who’s been in the job for a stable period and might need a change.
  • Do they work for a less attractive employer than your company?
  • Do they fit the career path you have available?
  • Can their current position give them an advantage by making a move to a competitor?

Profiling for motivation

Start by creating a profile that presents a binary choice. Consider, for example, a product manager with unfamiliar products in a struggling market:

  1. Small Fish in Big Pond – opportunity to make a difference in a bigger company
  2. Big Fish in Small Pond – chance to prove your ability at the next level

This type of profiling can give you a lens to look at your competitor analysis, your talent acquisition strategy and your outreach overall. If your first form of outreach has not produced results in a few days, choose the same 15 percent, or the top five, and make an effort to source them directly. If you’re right in assessing their motivators, they won’t mind.

Motivation is the key attribute recruiters refer to mistakenly as luck — as in, “I just got lucky and found a candidate who was motivated.” But what if you sought proactive recruiting, and made sure that in all your efforts, you were a little more deliberate, a little more calculated when determining why someone might be motivated and paying some extra attention to those candidates?

For more original ways to source your ideal candidates, check out a recast of the HCI webinar below. 

[WEBINAR] Going Beyond  LinkedIn: How Smart Recruiters Find Today's Candidates

About Jeff Marsh

Jeff is a recruitment consultant at WilsonHCG in Toronto and a current member of the global innovation committee at WilsonHCG. Jeff graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in philosophy and art history, and has a passion for basketball, cooking and art theory.

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