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3 Ways to Discover Top Talent In a Tough Job Market

Avoid playing the numbers game and improve your chances of finding people who are the perfect fit for your company.

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American workers quit their jobs in droves and made national headlines throughout 2021. This year, economists expect more of the same. Companies in virtually every sector are still desperately trying to fill open positions. A recent CareerBuilder survey shows that many hiring managers are seeing candidates disappear during the hiring process — a phenomenon known as "ghosting."

If you're a business leader hoping to find and hire top talent in the current labor market, it might be time to explore new strategies. Posting traditional job listings on hiring websites allows you to cast a wide net, but it ultimately forces you to play a numbers game. The time and money you invest in reviewing resumes, screening candidates and conducting interviews become sunk costs when prospective employees suddenly stop returning calls and emails. When you're looking to fill dozens, or even hundreds of roles, these costs can add up quickly.

An inefficient hiring process isn't just expensive. It can also be a drain on your company's performance and culture. If you're struggling to find the right people to fill open positions, consider seeking professional introductions from your personal network.

Related: A Record 4.5 Million People Quit Their Jobs in November: Report

Utilize existing network connections

Asking trusted members of your network for professional introductions can be advantageous for a number of reasons. To start, the people in your network already know about you and your company's goals, so their introductions will be filtered based on that knowledge. They understand the workplace culture you've created, and they'll take that into consideration before presenting a candidate.

Additionally, they'll be invested in the outcome. When you approach individuals in your personal network for an introduction, they know the people they select will reflect on their own credibility. Their desire to help you will be amplified by their desire to reward your trust, so they'll be selective about who they suggest you meet. Plus, the people in your personal network are usually the only ones who want to help you make money without getting something in return.

Unlike a referral, which typically comes from outside your personal network, a professional introduction comes from someone you have a real relationship with. Referrals typically begin and end when a second or third-degree connection gives you a name (e.g., "Check out Sean's LinkedIn profile"). However, a professional introduction is mediated by someone you trust and helps you establish a long-lasting connection.

Related: 8 Tips for Turning Email Introductions Into Actual Relationships

With that in mind, here are three ways you can leverage the power of this hiring approach as the competition for top talent continues.

1. Build relationships with recruiters

When you need to hire a specific skill set, good recruiters are invaluable connections. They'll work to fully understand the role's requirements, your company's culture, and they'll filter out candidates who aren't a good fit. Sure, they take a cut once you've made a hire, but they save you a lot of time and can uncover talent you simply wouldn't find on your own.

That said, recruiters are in high demand in today's labor market. Given how many companies are struggling with staffing issues, recruiting firms are busier than ever. For instance, after posting a record annual profit in January, British recruiter SThree projected double-digit profit growth this year. Of course, recruiters are often most needed when they're least available, which is why it pays to have one in your personal network.

2. Talk about the role on your personal social media accounts

If you're hoping to fill a critical vacancy as quickly as possible, take some time to talk about it. For example, if you're active on Twitter and have conversations about a topic or field that's even tangentially related to the role, share some of the job details. If you're talking to people with similar professional interests, you're more likely to encounter someone who could help you find talent.

Staying active on social channels is a great way to not only look for talent, but also to tell your brand's story. Your tweets, LinkedIn articles and Facebook posts give audiences an idea of what you do and what you stand for. Just as job seekers use social media for personal branding in the quest for professional success, you can use it to provide insights into your company's mission and culture. Doing so will improve your odds of attracting candidates who share your values.

Related: The Business of Harnessing the Power of Social Media

3. Lean on your employees

It's often said that satisfied customers make the best salespeople. By the same token, satisfied employees can make great recruiters. Your employees understand your company's culture and team chemistry, so they've probably already thought about people they know who would make great fits. This is your chance to ask for professional introductions.

Rather than ask employees whether they know someone who needs a job, ask them who they'd love to work with. Research from Red Ventures indicates that this can generate warm leads who are 43% more likely to engage than those contacted via cold outreach. Moreover, you can trust that the individuals recommended by your employees are good candidates, not people who will make their jobs harder.

There are plenty of ways to tap into the power of your personal network. Some platforms (such as Introducely) are even designed to facilitate professional introductions. By adopting this hiring approach, you avoid playing the numbers game and improve your chances of finding people who are the perfect fit for your company.

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