I'm a systems thinker, which means my happy place is pattern recognition organized into sustainable processes. All humans do it, but us systems thinkers actually enjoy it.
Pattern recognition for recruiters is especially important. When you hear that recruiters only spend a few seconds looking at a resume, it's because we know what we're looking for, and once you've gone through 10 or 20 thousand resumes, you know when you have a winner that you need to call. For all of our differences, people are pretty similar when they're looking for work, and the more niche you are as a recruiter, the easier it is to determine a lot about a candidate from their resume or LinkedIn profile (two different skills, incidentally).
No, we're not perfect, but good recruiters are very adept at quickly identifying who we should call. **Great recruiters are good at immediately picking up the phone**
A pattern I've encounted in the digital/social space is the types of incoming calls I get from my online profiles. There are really only two, making this particular pattern easy to distinguish.
Type I: You searched Social Media Headhunter or something similar into a search engine and this blog or Social Media Talent comes up.
You're calling to find out what it takes to hire a social media person. About half of these are people looking for a true social media manager, which I define as someone to engage an active community.
The other half are looking for digital marketers with social experience. That's more expensive, but is also more effective.
These tend to be mid-level positions where you need someone who understands how to integrate your marketing/sales/technology, and social is a big part of that.
Type II: These are people who are referred my name, and look at the blog or my LinkedIn profile, and call to find a mid-senior level digital marketer or executive to handle their strategy. That word strategy is really funny to me, because I tend to tell candidates never to use the word because strategy is what their boss does, but more and more clients are asking for it.
For both types, an initial search has usually occurred. The client has posted a job and looked through resumes, but they're deluged with hundreds of people looking for a social media job. This is very similar to what happened in IT in the 2000's, as a soft economy and an easy to access "APPLY NOW" button gave us the false sense of lots of qualified candidates.
I can sympathize. When I'm foolish enough to post a job if sourcing is slow, I almost always regret it. Too many people don't understand social, and as I'm fond of saying, 80% of them have never taken a check for what they are doing.
So here's the advanced, high-level, super-sourcer method I employ to find your talent.
Super Sourcing Social System
Step 1: I look at 800 profiles in the first two days.
Really I do. I have my database, LinkedIn, Indeed, Facebook, Google. And I'm trying to understand as much as I can about an industry, a category, a city. I've taken clues from meeting with the client, doing a deep dive into the profiles and resumes of their current staff, and I want to soak myself in the kind of person I want to talk to. These 800 profile views, (conveniently tracked on Connectifier), help me speak the language of the candidate.
This seems excessive, but it's not my penchant for data that makes it effective. Massive resume screening is the only way to get past the number of underqualified resumes that are sent in by people who don't read job descriptions. It's the only way to sift through the people who all WRITE THE SAME THING down as their job duties.
It's useless to try search terms in marketing. Everyone does everything, which means you have to start with a huge funnel, and simply put the time in. It's no different than PC techs in the 2000's. You call, and you call, and you call, and you move quick, and when you find people who are good, you've done so without falling prey to selection bias.
Massive work. That's how you find good marketers.
Step 2: You challenge the best to beat out the competition
If you've gone through your 800 profiles, you can speak the language of the elite. You know what's going on in the market, and you know the names of companies and softwares and titles that helps you screen top talent.
This ability to speak the language of your candidates only comes from massive work. They know you're prepared, which means they have real conversations with you. This isn't about knowing the industry. It's about knowing their city, their company, your client, and the specific nature of their competition. Even senior recruiters are seen as obstacles to experienced talent. They want to get past you to the real interview. But you're not supposed to just put experienced people in front of your client. You're supposed to give them heavily screened experts with a track record of success who are interested in the position and are willing to move.
That's the definition of a quality candidate.
So to sum up:
1) Look at 800 profiles
2) Call the best
3) Make sure your prospects know the extent of your research, so they take your candidates seriously.
4) Enjoy the best pattern of all - the watermark of the check for the balance of your search fee.