Semi-candidates are either semiactive candidates who look on the job boards infrequently; or semipassive candidates who don't look at all, but want a recruiter to call. Semicandidates, are the sourcing sweetspot. There are plenty of top people in these groups who can easily be found and hired.
Some of the ways to source semicandidates are:
- Don't waste your time to talk to the bottom two-thirds. Networking is not about talking with everybody. Recruiters don't have time to talk to unqualified people. This is a 1 in 100 shot. You need to improve your odds to 1 in 10, or better. You must only call someone who you already know is a strong person. This way, all you need to do is find out if they're interested in your job opening.
- Pre-qualify all candidates before you call them. You must ask the person giving you a name of a potential candidate why they think the person is qualified for the job. This allows you to narrow the field immediately. Ask the referrer to describe the person's accomplishments, work ethic, awards won, promotions, track record, and greatest skills. Also, find out if the person is actively looking. Ignore them if they are.
- Engage first, network second. No top person will give up the name of another top person unless they trust you. This is a pretty involved subject, but if you're trying to network with a top candidate you've just recruited, you must first get the person's profile. The key is to not reveal any information about the job until you've found out something about the candidate first. Then, if the candidate is strong but not appropriate for some reason, you can network with the person.
- You must ask for names of top semicandidates. After you've set the foundation for an open dialogue by engaging for the first 10 minutes, then just ask the person who the best people are he knows for the job (don't ask who he knows who's looking for a job). Also, only ask for these names from a person you've already determined to be a strong person, since top people hang around with other top people. Once you get their names, pre-qualify them. If the person you're talking to is reluctant to give you this information, tell them you just want to do some networking. You need to be assertive at this point.
- Get names from top candidates. Every time you meet a hot candidate, ask the person for other names using the org chart technique. This is super easy if you have multiple job openings for the same position. Always pre-qualify and try to stay away from active candidates. This is why you must peel the onion and find out if a referred person is actively looking or not. Generally speaking, the harder you work to get the name, the better the person will be -- since you've purposefully asked for the best person the candidate knows.
Leverage other people's networks. This is a great way to quickly get top people. Network with other recruiters and professional business associations. Once you get an assignment, find out who knows the best people and then contact these highly-connected resources. This is one way to instantly get the names of the best semicandidates available.