The Power of TMTOWTDI in Talent Acquisition – Part II

Part II of Our @ATCevent #SST2014 Series

Last week we talked about the power of TMTOWTDI (pronouced TIM-TOADY) in sourcing.  The idea is that there is more than one way to source for a req.  Now today we will talk about the next steps in the process: Candidate Engagement and Attraction.  TMTOWTDIWhen reaching out to candidates via email and the phone, what is the correct way to approach them?  What is the best way to message them?

The real question you should be asking is: What do you have that they want?  This is a very simple question with a host of complex answers that are changing all the time.  There is only one way that you will get the answers you need.  By PICKING UP THE PHONE AND TALKING TO THE CANDIDATE!

Now I know that I sound angry by typing in all caps, but I’m really trying to drive home this point:  Too many sourcers and recruiters are afraid to pick up the phone and instead only do what is called “email recruiting”.  The problem with that method is that it’s difficult to get an honest (or close to honest) read of the candidate.    We live in a world where people can hide.  They hide behind emails, they hide behind social profiles, they hide behind comments on websites.  This technological separation between people allows them a certain level of protection and feeling of bravery.  The downside is that the candidate’s answers are not spontaneous, they are edited many times over, and sometimes they are not even their own answers!

I’ve Found the Candidates, Now What?

In the last post, we looked at all kinds of ways to source a req.  Now that you have your potential candidates, you have to contact them, figure out their motivation for working, and see if they are a good fit for the company.  Easy, right?  Well…yes, it is.  You’ve done the work to find the candidates, you might as well continue that research-oriented mindset when you screen the candidates on the phone.  Recruiting is an art form and there are many ways to achieve results.

Review the Req

Here’s the req we were looking at, which was an Environmental Engineer in Sydney, Australia:

“Track record in  power/energy and civil infrastructure projects.  Senior Environmental Engineer with heavy civil engineering experience.

Reporting to the Project Manager and responsible for ensuring compliance with contractual environmental specifications, environmental legislation and other relevant stakeholder requirements. Demonstrated experience preparing and administering environmental plans and upgrading existing plans.  Standard duties such as erosion and sediment control plans, conservation of native flora and fauna, maintenance of cultural heritage, air quality protection and waste management as well as asbestos management.

Previous experience in heavy civil infrastructure projects in energy, power, oil and gas civil infrastructure is required. An environmental qualification i.e Degree in Environmental Engineering or Sustainability or Science or related is a must.”

Potential Candidate Profile

So here is an example of a candidate profile that we will screen.  This job requires a candidate that will work in an environmental engineering role in the oil, gas,  or energy industry.  They should be concerned with environmental impact/waste/hazards and they should comply with standards and codes.  Take a look at the experience:

environmental_engineer_profileThis is your typical perm profile for a candidate.  If this candidate even considers a move to a different company for a perm job, it had better align with their wants, needs, and motivation for working.  The phone call or screen should be focused on 2 things: does this candidate really do what they say they do?  And what are their motivations for working?  Everything else is just gravy.

This candidate looks like they have relevant career experience, the right job level, and consistent longevity with their company choices.  You could use the bull-in-the-china-shop method and just contact the candidate with no personalized message or thought: “Hi, you’re an Environmental Engineer and I’m looking for an Environmental Engineer. Let’s talk!  Here’s my job description.”

Even though it’s quite easy and very tempting to blast this email message out to every candidate and hope for the best, I wouldn’t do it.  It’s the constant onslaught of impersonal messages from recruiters and sourcers that give our industry a bad name.

Figure Out the Angle and Approach

Before calling the candidate, do a quick search on the internet and within your ATS.  Look for ways to connect, companies you are familiar with, interests they may have, schools they attended, groups, associations, outside interests.   There is more than one way to approach the candidate.  You can use any of the following research / reasons as a way to connect:

  1. Environmental reports online that the candidate wrote – you are interested in the subject and want to hear more
  2. The current company they work at – you have a friend who also works there and they mentioned that you should talk (only if it’s true)
  3. Engineering organization in Australia – again, you are interested in the industry and want to know more about the org
  4. Their other social network pages – connect on a similar interest outside of Environmental Engineering
  5. Public information – contact the candidate and ask about the Environmental Investigative Services that they advertised online

There are many more ways this can be done, but the moral of the story is that the more you know about your candidate, the easier it will be to connect with them.

Get Motivated

So you think that by you offering the candidate a chance to interview at your company, it will motivate them to take action.  Since this is very unlikely, you want to talk to the candidate on the phone and understand their motivations for working.  If you make it all about money, then this will be the prime factor that the candidate gets stuck on.  So instead, find out if they are motivated by:

  • Certain aspects of the type of work they do
  • Constant learning in the workplace and new challenges
  • The company they work for – culture, bosses, team, etc.
  • Money – of course, but that’s not the only thing
  • Upward mobility – is there room for growth?
  • Work / Life balance
  • Job Location

After listening to the candidate’s reasons for working, you had better have a job that matches multiple motivating factors that concern the candidate.  If the money is not more than what they make, then every other factor should be met and exceeded.  Maybe the company that you are recruiting for has some innovative technology or services that the candidate always wanted to be a part of.  Maybe for the candidate it’s a combination of a closer location to home and a more laid back company environment.  Whatever the reasons are, it’s just part of the dance between the recruiter and the candidate.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Obviously we skipped some steps in the phone call with the candidate.  One obvious step is asking screening questions of the candidate that will help you verify their experience.  Another is how to understand the science & technology behind the reqs and company so that you can understand the answers you get.  You’ll have to come to the next conference to find that out.  Thank you for reading through what might be the longest blog post in history 🙂

If you are in the Australia, New Zealand, APAC area and want to learn more, please attend one of the upcoming Sourcing Social Talent conferences by ATC Events this November.  You will learn how to develop searches and candidate attraction strategies:

SOURCEATC2014 608x147


– Mark Tortorici
Founder & Training Expert
Transform Talent Acquisition

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