With digital platforms taking more prominence each year, particularly in the professional and corporate worlds, the battle for eye-space intensifies.

Many recruiters, internal and agency, are becoming super savvy when it comes to the passive attraction of talent. An analogy of passive is a fisherman who locates a good spot in the river where he believes the fish he wants to catch will be at a certain time in the day. He then drops his net into said spot, cracks a beer and waits.

Building and managing creative, thought provoking and ultimately an attractive, digital presence for talent attraction is important. No doubt. However this will still not help if the proverbial fish decide not to be in the right part of the river at the right time.

In a talent short industry the greatest passive strategy will not outperform clever pro-active strategies, if they’re executed the right way.

I have been spending a lot of time pondering the digital landscape and its relationship to talent acquisition. In all honesty it has not been a particular strength of ours. It’s an area we’re going to evolve with. I have concluded though, that part of the reason we haven’t yet caught up with the tide is that it really is in our DNA to be proactive consultants. We don’t just cast nets and hope. We’re the bear in the stream attacking it head on, fish by fish.

This has pros and cons.

PRO: It means we are constantly engaged with our talent communities. In our case that is Sydney based software developers, BA’s, PM’s and testers. Being on the phone or face to face means we have physical world sphere of influence. Our customers engage us for access to this influence. We never rely on passive digital tactics to persuade and attract.

CON: Hard work. To be that proactive takes discipline, energy and wile. It means being sharp listeners in understanding candidates’ ambitions and skills, tracking and nurturing relationships, and following up. All things that are difficult to get right 100% of the time.

The food for thought for recruiters: What is your blend of passive versus proactive talent attraction strategies? Have you thought deeply about the nature of your industry, your clientele (or target clientele), your strengths and weaknesses, and how that all fits together to form what your service offering is or can be?

One thing we’re learning is that we’re certainly not a good match for all the customers in our industry, but we’re an excellent match for some. That’s because of the approach we take, the communities we engage and the way we do it. This determines our “sweet spot” in the marketplace.

As we have evolved we have never believed in doing what our clients could do themselves in the first place. Sure, sometimes hiring managers are just too busy and just need to utilize you as a screening service on a relatively easy to fill role.

We prefer the more challenging assignments.

It could be time, skillset, budget or another parameter that creates search and select challenges. This is when we can truly add value. It’s where proactivity, forward planning, and talent pipelining all come front and centre. We get paid for the uncountable hours we have put in that allow us to know who to call, when to call them, and what to present them with.

Dear Clients…

It’s a good idea to screen recruitment suppliers diligently. How do they really work? Do they mesh with your organisation’s requirements and values? Can they provide case studies on client projects that are somewhat similar in nature to yours? With trade references to go with them? If not, why not?

Dear Recruiters…

Decide who you want to be in the market, who are your ideal customers, and think about how you will blend passive and proactive strategies together to bring real value to the table. This ensures your longevity. As your desk evolves, your manager should be helping to form targeted, strategic BD campaigns with you. If not, ask why not.