"Fancy a job with us?" Approaching applicants directly is not usually that simple. However, thorough research in advance and the right approach to the desired candidate pay off. If you actively search for suitable applicants and contact them, you increase your chances of finding the right employee for the vacant position. What you need to consider when Active sourcing direct approach HR expert Ilka Szentkiralyi explains in an interview.

Active sourcing as a recruiting tool

The days when recruiters just had to sit back after advertising a vacancy because enough good applications had been received are over. If you want to fill a vacancy in the best possible way and, above all, as quickly as possible, there is often no way around actively searching for applicants. In particular, sought-after specialists or top managers are not always actively looking for a new challenge, but are happy to be wooed and enticed away. However, there is also a large pool of promising candidates outside of top managers who cannot be reached without a direct approach: four out of ten employees can imagine taking on a new job in the next twelve months.

Direct approach: Discreet, individual, informative

Good active sourcing finds these candidates who are willing to change jobs - via personal networks, applicant databases, professional blogs or social media channels. Properly conducted Direct approach ensures that the other person is interested in the company and the vacant position. We spoke to indivHR founder Ilka Szentkiralyi about how to approach candidates correctly and what to bear in mind when actively recruiting top talent.

Between too many details and scant information: How specific can or should the direct approach be during the initial contact?

Szentkiralyi: If I contact a candidate directly on social networks such as Xing or Linkedin, I keep the initial message very short but personalised. I try to put myself in the candidate's shoes: What information is important to them and could arouse their interest in the specific position? I also mention what motivated me to contact them in particular. Of course, this requires appropriate research in advance. It is important not to write a novel, but to get to the point quickly - a few lines are enough!

If the candidate shows interest, you can go into more detail and, for example, send a job description or present the position in more detail in a telephone call. Or you can ask during the initial contact whether they would be willing to meet for an informal discussion. I normally never mention our customers in these initial meetings - unless the customer requests this. The same applies to the direct approach of candidates in the applicant database or personal network.

"Top employees know how much they are in demand."

Does recruiting something special for top executives?

Szentkiralyi: Direct approach and active sourcing play a particularly important role in the recruitment of top talent. Many people expect companies to approach them about vacancies. They know how much they are in demand and therefore have corresponding expectations of the company. You have to provide convincing arguments for these people to persuade them to move to your own company. This is because several companies are usually already in the running and candidates can choose from several offers. This is where active sourcing and employer branding are particularly important in advance.

How-to Active Sourcing

These are the absolute no-gos in the direct approach

  • Lack of preparation and research
    It is essential to know both the position and the desired candidate well. Only if you have researched the candidate in detail can you address them with convincing arguments and formulate the first cover letter accordingly, e.g. by referring to a position on their CV. You should also know the vacancy well, as the candidate is only as good as their suitability for the open position. In addition, sought-after specialists and top employees in particular have very precise ideas about what their future workplace should look like. Therefore, you should know as much as possible about the vacant job, activities, superiors, promotion opportunities, corporate culture, etc. etc.
  • "Copy and paste" messages
    Do not send impersonal messages! The candidate should be addressed as individually as possible.
  • Long novels
    Candidates who are frequently contacted by recruiters in particular can understandably react in an annoyed manner. You should get to the point in just a few sentences.
  • Exaggerated whitewashing of the position and candidates
    Communicate authentically and transparently and stick to the truth - it's worth it. Otherwise you lose your credibility - and you always meet twice in life.
  • Arrogant demeanour
    That's always a no-go anyway. The days when qualified applicants queued up for jobs are over. You should therefore always communicate with applicants on an equal footing and in a friendly manner.
  • Acting indiscreetly
    Discretion should be a matter of course in recruiting anyway
  • Simply call
    Contacting the candidate by telephone, regardless of whether he or she is able to speak freely - also a no-go.
  • Excessive pressure from candidates
    You should give the candidate enough time to think about it. Job decisions are not always easy and if it doesn't work out this time, maybe it will next time

Your personal assessment: Do you think active sourcing direct approaches will continue to gain in importance in recruiting?

Szentkiralyi: The direct approach has already become indispensable in recruiting. The days when you could simply advertise a position and wait are over. And not just for top talent, but also for positions for which you used to receive hundreds of applications. Sought-after profiles no longer have to apply, but can choose from several offers. Recruiters today therefore not only need to be fit in human resources, but also in sales and marketing. After all, it is important to present, market and sell both the company and the position in the best possible light.

indivHR will be happy to help you with customised solutions and active sourcing tips to make your recruiting even more successful.

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