The Talent Journey

Key pillars to attracting top talent, and what to keep in mind while building a sourcing and outreach strategy

by Elisa Cestola

In today’s competitive job market, attracting top talent requires a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional recruitment methods. To build a sourcing and outreach strategy that truly resonates with top candidates, it’s essential to focus on key pillars that appeal to their values, aspirations, and career goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore these key pillars and delve into what organizations need to keep in mind when crafting an effective sourcing and outreach strategy to attract top talent.

1. The kick-off 

    At the very beginning of the hiring process, or what is commonly referred to as “job kickoff”, the hiring managers, responsible recruiters and sourcers will normally hold one or more meetings to sketch out and define the “ideal candidate persona”, i.e., the “perfect” candidate for the job. Though this process is helpful, and in many ways fundamental to ensure everyone has an initial common understanding of who exactly they are looking for to fill a certain position, it is just as vital to see this as a start, rather than a promise. 

    2. Expectations vs. reality

    Tying into point 1., the first “round” of sourcing efforts can help clarify at least some of the doubts as to whether the “ideal candidate persona” really exists, and in what capacity. Sourcers (or recruiters who source) can share a great deal of knowledge and help speed up the recruitment process. Are we targeting the right people? Are the people we are interested in also interested in working with us? Sometimes, hiring teams are too stuck in their expectations to see that the reality doesn’t quite match them. Needless to say, this leads to unnecessary delays and frustration in the process. Though easier said than done, one of the key prerequisites to a successful and effective hiring process is that all stakeholders listen and respect each other, and be ready to compromise. 

    3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

    The best option is a lot of options. Although LinkedIn is certainly the most advanced and “populated” talent network, you might find that, for certain roles, it’s still not easy to get candidates engaged. When it comes to engineering roles, you can think of publishing job descriptions on GitHub, where there´ll be a higher likelihood of your target audience seeing them. Honeypot is also a platform which focuses on pre-selected candidates that are looking for new opportunities in the engineering, data and product area. It is particularly useful in that the network is made up of people that are already open for a new opportunity, which should mean a higher likelihood of conversion. Although generally not as used anymore, Xing can be really helpful when it comes to prospects in the Finance and Legal area. Google can be helpful in researching slack, linkedin or facebook communities where professionals with common interests hang out, and in general, a solid network of friends and colleagues with whom to exchange can go a long way in filling the gaps that technology can´t. 

    4. Adapt to your audience 

    Once qualified prospects have been sourced, only half of the job has been done: now comes the hard part of reaching out to them and trying to peak their interest, with the hopes of converting them into actual candidates through “cold outreach”. Much like in marketing or sales, words matter, and can very much be a deciding factor when it comes to arranging a first call with a candidate. It’s always good to identify at least 2 or 3 “selling points” for every vacancy, i.e. perks that are unique to that position and/ or company. What is particular about this position that could make someone excited and interested in knowing more? That is what you will want to focus on in your outreach message. A prospect who works in the product field might be interested in knowing about tools, visions, roadmaps, while a prospect who works in marketing might want to know what the budget is, what the current conversion rate is. If you are struggling to put yourself in a prospect´s shoes, reach out to someone in your organization that works in a similar role, and ask about what would make them curious when it comes to a new work opportunity. 

    5. Short and sweet

    It’s always better to spend more time crafting a concise, effective and enticing outreach message (even though it might entail spending  a lot time speaking to different stakeholders) than to shoot out a generalistic, plain and unexciting message to as many people as possible, and as fast as you can. Your candidate experience will be off to a much better start, and your conversion rates will thank you. Although shorter subject lines tend to work better (3 to 5 words), slightly longer subject lines can work as well, as long as they contain meaningful information to the reader (i.e “Name-of-job – Industry – Call to action” -> Sales Manager in Renewables, jump on!”. Emojis can also be a good way of sprucing up an otherwise rather plain subject line, but it’s always good not to go overboard.

    After a short intro in which the writer introduces themselves and explains (without too much flattery to the recepient!) what the reason for reaching out to them is, the body of the message should be 2 or 3 paragraphs long, each of them not exceeding 2 or 3 lines. Finally, before the ending greetings, it’s a good idea to include a short call to action (i.e. “If that sounds interesting, we’d love to jump on a short call and tell you more.)

    6. Test, test, and test some more!

    This ties in with staying open-minded throughout the process. However much experience hiring managers or recruiters might have in a certain business area, you will rarely be recruiting for the same position twice. The job landscape is continually changing depending on factors that might be political, economical, social. It’s not bad to have a clear idea about how exactly to set out the process, but it’s an even better idea to continuously put your theories to the test. If your conversion rates aren’t up to par with what you would like them to be, create different versions of your outreach message, brainstorm alternative job titles, or even change up your case studies. Gather data on which version gives you the best results, and implement the solution which makes the most sense.