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Why you should think small to hook big talent

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Sometimes, it pays to take a targeted approach to recruitment, says Anthony J. James, global CMO at PageUp.

Take the sport of deep-sea fishing. The blue marlin is often considered the pinnacle of the sport. But you don’t catch the elusive marlin by casting a huge net far and wide –that would just result in capturing many smaller, less illustrious fish. Instead, you take a targeted approach to pursue the Big One.

You hone in on what is most likely to lure your quarry and use high-quality bait to troll the waters. By following a targeted method, you increase the odds of snagging that marlin and ensuring bragging rights for years to come.

The same approach can work when seeking new customers. In their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout write, “There seems to be an almost religious belief that the wider net catches more customers, in spite of many examples to the contrary”.

This targeted approach also works for top talent. If you lose focus and throw your net too wide, you can waste your time chasing down every candidate who enters your waters.

If you’re looking for specialised candidates with skills and capabilities that are hard to find, then taking a targeted tack focused on small, niche recruiting might just pay off. You can reel in the best candidates more quickly and easily without spending time filtering out the people who don’t fit your requirements.

Know your target

In order to take advantage of a targeted approach to recruiting, however, you first have to truly understand and define who your ideal candidate is. Luckily, human resources is beginning to catch up with other areas of business, particularly sales and marketing, in applying analytics tools and technologies to HR processes. Using the principles of customer relationship management, companies can mine their databases to determine what characteristics the best candidates share.

The latest in talent analytics also enables tracking candidate data throughout the employee life cycle, which results in deeper insight into how well recruiting processes are delivering employees who can drive business performance for the long-term.

Companies can use this information to further refine their recruiting efforts and target exactly the candidates who are capable of having a positive impact on the organisation’s bottom line.

Think small

Once you’ve identified who your ideal candidate is, then it’s time to go where the fish – er, candidates – are.

If you’re looking for a marlin, you go to the warm, tropical waters off the coasts of Cuba or the Bahamas. If you’re hiring for specific technical skills in a particular industry, you want to troll the industry association sites, blogs and social networking sites that your targeted candidate is frequenting.

Since you’ve already defined the attributes of the candidates you are going after, you likely have a good sense of where to reach them.

When it comes to social media, there are a vast number of niche job sites, targeting anyone from vegans to tax professionals to supply chain engineers. In Southeast Asia, where 90% of Internet users are accessing social networking sites, employers can and should take advantage of the avid social media users to connect with prospective employees.

Creating customised “community” Facebook pages aimed at your target candidates is an excellent place to start. With the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia ranking in the global top 15 for Facebook subscribers, the site clearly leads the way in social media activity for this youthful workforce.

Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr are also popular social sites in Southeast Asia, as well as sites such as Goodreads (Singapore), Tagged Inc. (Malaysia), Yahoo! Profile (Indonesia and the Philippines), Pantown (Thailand) and ZING Me (Vietnam).

Harnessing the power of social media and tailoring recruitment messages that speak to an individual’s unique needs and interests can give organisations a better way to strengthen relationships with future employees and court them as they would customers.

Social networking sites can be invaluable for pitching your corporate profile, communicating your employment value proposition (EVP) and interacting with an entire ocean’s worth of potential talent.

Too many organisations get caught up in trying to be all things to all people. Some of the best things come in small packages, and your recruiting strategy is no different.

By clearly identifying and defining your top candidates and drilling down to target a select few ways to engage with them, you can ensure that your recruitment efforts are more efficient and cost-effective.

Image: Shutterstock

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