By Dave Mendoza, Strategic Tools & Sourcing Management Consultant
and JobMachine, Inc. Partner.
Too often, recruiters within engineering environments tend to assume priority keywords and niche sites to locate passive talent. Given the opportunity costs inherent in the trial and error approach, isnâ€™t an Engineering-Centric approach to Sourcing a rational, time and cost conserving strategy worth adapting?
Consider the possibilities if high tech industries actively promoted the participation of its technical workforce to assist in identifying key technical sites from an engineering perspective. Would it not enhance corporate staffing efforts to attract quality talent? Would it not be more efficient to enlist internal employees to identify worthwhile tradeshows, forums, conferences, symposiums, associations, and online resources?
The fundamental objective is to optimize immediately available corporate functions and resources to align with staffing objectives and yet too often, I have observed the dysfunction of invisible walls that ignore obvious partnerships within corporate structures; where integration would add efficiencies to scale.
Subject Matter Experts (SME): Enhance the Quality of Passive Candidates
The aim is to enhance the quality of passive candidates by identifying subject matter experts (SME) and public luminaries within their respective technical segment. Staffing organizations should foster the extension of a broader talent â€˜universeâ€™ by developing relationships with external and internal SMEs. The unifying approach is to develop new contacts and supplement existing data among passive targets. Upon achieving access, recruiters can harvest the overall volume, then proceed to reach out to a targeted subset of that number, and produce interested and pre-qualified prospects. The goal then is to methodically enhance the pool of potential contacts in a way that includes the greatest number of existing employees.
A few ideas for your consideration:
A. Initiate a collaborative approach with hiring managers and direct-report team members to identify relevant technically-oriented, online niche sites as reflected in the survey effort. By identifying relevant sites, we create an engineering-centric approach to sourcing.
B. Find out which SME’s are attending which events. What trade venues attract what talent groups? Which of your internal SME’s are attending? (Who, what, where, when!)
C. Request insight into â€˜membership onlyâ€™ sites by technical discipline, allows us to directly source directories that often reveal vast pools of competitor talent and contact information. IMAPS, ECTC, SMTA, SPIE, MRS, CPMT â€“ are among several key technical sites which have confirmed membership directories online available to membership. (of course, within each of their respective guidelines!)
D. Identify the demographics of University alumni represented on corporate engineering teams that reflect prioritized technical and/or broader corporate function disciplines. Alumni Access initiatives may likely consist of renown universities with technical relevance; i.e. MIT, Caltech, in addition to Ivy League universities, to meet broader corporate function needs.
It Shouldnâ€™t be a One-Way Street: The Internal Value Proposition â€“ Creating A Feedback Loop
Reciprocity is key. In order to sustain an environment which enhances support from and on behalf of corporate engineers, it is crucial to create programs which promote an Internal Value Proposition. Internal engineers can confirm the existence and value of particular online directories, identify key luminaries at prestigious university programs, and leverage their network relationships for referrals at former employers and among leading competitors. The principle goal is to reward data as an asset, and above all, direct referrals that lead to hires.
A. Balance the flow of information by adding in a feedback loop which helps individuals active within these networks. For example, we can formally develop periodic debriefings with key functional directors in which Staffing/Workforce Planning can share an analysis of various competitors (org charts, newly created functions and titles reflecting a change in business strategy, new best practices, etc.).
B. Offer a service to internal engineers who attend meetings and publish articles by researching articles for them (which tells us who our competitors are). We provide info about key people attending conferences, in advance, and encourage them to take their networking skills to another level. Further, we can function as networking mentors at these events.
C. Offer an advanced networking course: Imagine a young engineer from Corporate goes to a conference and recognizes the name of a key board member on a standards committee that deals with issues corporate engineering is interested in. He/she is able to congratulate the colleague on a recently published (but obscure) whitepaper because you armed them prior to attending the conference.
D. Be Direct!Ask engineers, â€œWhat can â€˜corporateâ€™ do to advance the professional careers of its scientists and engineers?â€ and reap the rewards of the information they bring back. We can also use this information to boost overall morale, team cohesion, and to supplement new career development programs for your technical staff, content for Blogs, etc. The opportunities are endless.
Promoting participation from your internal employees is a win, win. You foster comradery and trust by encouraging your employees to extend their network to align with corporate hiring objectives. Too often employers fear online and onsite networking for fear of poaching â€¦ but the question they fail to confront is solicitation from which direction? If we educate niche talent within business groups to align their newly enhanced networking skills with workforce planning objectives, we heighten the prestige and overall employment brand of the staffing organization itself, and above all, our efforts can lead to quality hires.
Too often the mantra of building relationships is confined to external audiences. It is fundamental to establish relationships – internally – with the very same talent groups that mirror your priority Fill-Rates, above all, and your employees in general. Make your internal relationships count they may yield outstanding people referred or future pipeline/database.
Steve Levy: A – â€œBalance the flow of information by adding in a feedback loop which helps individuals active within these networks.â€ The part here that truly impacts the technical organization is when the recrtuiter, upon sourcing and/or interviewing people from â€œwithin the industryâ€ may identify technology progress or new technology movements and/or advances that most definitely will aid the companyâ€™s technical strategy and community. Itâ€™s the rectruiter being part of the technical strategic planning team. Itâ€™s more than keeping up on, say, patent activity. Often during sourcing games, loose lips prevail. I believe just as important is learning how to network. Employees need to know what to say, how to say it, when to say, etc. They need to learn how to listen to phone conversations in airport, read upside down in Starbucks or introduce themselves to other techies at conferences. These arenâ€™t learned in their Senior year in college or by having a page at MySpace. It is part of the recruiterâ€™s mantra to teach their customers something everyday.
Glenn Gutmacher: “Another incentive idea, of course is cash â€” call these â€œhot jobsâ€ and pay extra for the referrals from this program that result in hires.”
* Acknowledgements: Thank you to Gerry Crispin for your insight on value propositions.
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