Tinder, Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, Facebook...And the best way to attract the top technology talent is still through old-fashioned courtship

06 September, 2016

Tinder, Uber, AirBnb, Snapchat, facebook…and the best way to attract the top technology talent, is still through old-fashioned courtship. 

It’s not a mystery in the current market, that there is less top technology talent than open positions. There are any number of employers who would love to fill their team with superstars, so when a top candidate does become active in the market they aren’t around for long. This can be very frustrating for employers as they lose out due to reasons such as elongated processes, being behind the curve in contacting the active candidate, and in some cases they aren’t even aware the candidate is on the market.

The most successful recruiters know that waiting to charm the top talent only when you need to fill a position is a poor strategy.

The smart recruiters are those who strike up relationships with the candidates long before they are actively looking (the passive candidates). In a talent-driven market the smart recruiter locates the top talent in the market, builds long-term relationships and trust, and is there to help them make the move when they decide they are ready.

When discussing our own hiring and scaling plans with James Caan last week, he revealed that he never hires on an event. In fact he courts talent continually and like to keep an active pool for the right role, rather than the ‘right now’ role.


So what are the benefits for clients working with agencies that favour old-fashioned courtship over ‘speed dating' ?


Quicker turnaround from role going live, to top candidates submitted.

There should be a steady pipeline of candidates building, just waiting for the exact matching role to hit the market. This means the client will receive the top talent for the role, and not just the best of who is live on the market. This is much more effective than a reactionary approach, where the recruiter just begins sourcing when a role becomes live. In this case, the client will only receive the low hanging fruit, and a sample of candidates possible to contact in the given timeframe.

Greater loyalty from candidates.

The passive candidate tends to be more selective and patient when choosing the right role, as opposed to the knee-jerk mover, who is looking for any job or highly motivated by salary increase. When they accept the position, there is a higher chance of them staying in that position for longer.

Access to top talent on the market; even sometimes before you know you need it.

The best recruitment partners know your business inside out, and know the profiles that you would hire instantly when they see them. Recruiters that are constantly building relationships with candidates, often come across top talent before there are suitable live roles. Given how scare the market is for such candidates, clients can have access to the best candidates for them on a more fluid basis, rather than the best candidates available at the time they release a role.

Unique candidates

In a crowded market, with recruitment agencies fishing in the same job boards and CV databases, clients are often receiving the same CVs multiple times. There are a lot of other poor practices that contribute to this, however working with candidates not easily found on job boards, who don’t have their CV with every recruiter or submitted to every suitable advert, help ensure that you are presenting unique talent to your client.

Higher chance of candidate acceptance when it comes to offer.

Due to the nature of the longer-term candidate/recruiter relationship, the recruiter should know exactly what the candidate is looking for and be able to meet those expectations. Similarly, passive candidates are more likely to be working with minimal agents. This means you will not be in competition with countless other companies to secure the candidate. 

This method is certainly a longer-term investment, however one that will bring great rewards. With all the new technology out there to automate and “Uberise” the process, there is still a good argument to the human touch in recruitment that little bit longer.

Ps. It is always a good idea to get off to the right start when building a relationship with a new candidate. We would need to write a whole new article on candidate first dates, however a few ideas would include Starbucks, Café Nero, Costa Coffee, local eateries, hotels... Some interesting meeting locations from the team include IKEA, Dundonald Ice Bowl, District Line Eastbound… :D

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