Hiring? Here’s How To Build a Talent Pipeline
Director of Talent Alicia Scully walks through her proven tactics for building a quick, inexpensive list of qualified candidates.
As a Director of Talent here at early-stage VC firm Primary, I help dozens of founders with all aspects of hiring, a make-or-break function that often feels intimidating at first. I find it’s more approachable when broken into smaller tasks, and often start with defining the ideal candidate profile and building a sourcing list. Once you have a good understanding of your ideal candidate profile, you can start to hone in on the skill sets that you need to build a great list of people to start reaching out to. I’ll also walk you through how to craft great messages and a drip campaign to effectively get in touch with your target audience.
Narrowing the talent pool
Before we dive into the different tools you can use, you want to start by thinking about what are the target companies that you're going after. I use Crunchbase and do some research to figure out all of the different competitors of companies that align. Also think about who you already know in your network. From there, figure out the different titles that person may have and all the synonyms for it. You may call it one thing within your organization, but it may have lots of other different titles (i.e. Front-End developer, UI Developer, and UI Engineer are synonymous).
How can you narrow the talent pool? Graduation year is a great search feature to think about. If you want them to have around 9 to 10 years of experience, 2013. If you want to be more mid-level, maybe 2017. Think about notable experiences: Have they hired for certain roles? Have they gone through a fundraise? Do they have specific startup experiences? Staying on top of new funding rounds can help you think about different companies to target. You want the list to be big enough that you can build a pipeline from it, but you don't want it so big that it's overwhelming to your team.
Tools we love to use
Gem is a messaging campaign tool that pulls contacts and emails via a Chrome plugin on LinkedIn. Hiretual is an AI driven search and messaging tool. I really enjoy it. I get a lot done. It's really efficient, and the AI is very good. And then LinkedIn, we all know well. There's a few different versions, but these sequencing tools are going to allow you to have a multi-step communication flow and also look at data analytics. Marketing and sales leaders have been using this technology to run campaigns for years. Lucky for us, recruiting technology is catching up and now there's some really great ones.
Writing a great message
The goal here is to set up the first call, so just keep that in mind when you're writing these messages. You don't have to get them to start tomorrow. You just want to get them on the phone so that they can learn more and hear in your own words why this opportunity is so special.
Be brief yet informative. Most of these messages are being read on a phone. If they have to scroll with their thumb, you might be losing them. Put your personality into it. These candidates are getting some really generic, just drab emails all the time. Having fun with it and doing something that is different than the, "Hope all is well. I have a job I'd like to talk to you about" will get you far. Avoid passive language in there like “just reaching out.” Exude confidence in these messages. Set a clear action item, no open-endedness. Make it really easy for them to just book a call. Teach them something new in your follow ups, Think about really compelling data points or articles that you have on the industry. Video clips are always really fun, embed them in your email. Close the loop by telling them that this is the last time you'll be reaching out about this role but leave the door open & ask for referrals.
Once you have a good list and message sequence down you can rinse and repeat, checking your data along the way. Anything over 30% is above average. If you're getting above that, you're doing well, but try to continue to improve by tweaking your list, the message, or the sender.