The foundation upon which corporate recruiting was built has been crumbling over the past few years. Traditionally, most companies considered themselves desirable employers while recruiters identified and selected the best and brightest talent to add to an organization’s roster.

In today’s world, however, companies need to take a marketing-based approach to recruiting. They need to learn from online retailers, who understand that customers aren’t simply going to show up at their sites and buy from them.

Online retailers know that the success of their business depends on their ability to identify people as potential customers, engage them, and ultimately sell them goods and services. To do this, retailers use technology to obtain information about customers and execute digital marketing, build communities, and carry out other communications to proactively engage with their prospects. Today’s recruiters should adopt parallel approaches to recruiting.

Given the paradigm shift, it’s not hard to see how expectations can be misaligned. The candidate expects a proactive effort on the employer’s side, but the employer assumes the candidate will come to them.

The challenge requires a new approach. Just as retailers are competing for limited consumer dollars, recruiters are competing for a limited supply of talent in a highly competitive market.

What if your role as a recruiter were to proactively identify the best candidate and sell them the position? Imagine the impact you could have on your business by landing talent that might otherwise end up at your competitor. This proactive approach to recruiting can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

1. Look at Your Candidates Holistically

One way to start is by developing a list of questions like:

Who are your best employees?
What attributes do they share?
What do those people do outside of work?
What do their communities look like?
How can you become part of those communities?
How can you own one of those communities?
What do the candidates in your communities look for in a job?
How do you pitch them the job?
Who are your best hiring managers? What do they have in common?
How can you make hiring managers visible to your communities of candidates?
What are the recruitment metrics tracked in your organization?
Who owns delivery on those metrics?
Do the metrics support a long-term approach to quality talent acquisition?

Fine-tune and expand the list of questions, answer them, and use this information to develop a long-term plan.

2. Leverage Existing Online Sites and Platforms

Recruitment technology tends to lag a few years behind consumer technology. However, the number of available tools to support recruiting is growing. Begin your online approach by leveraging existing technology and platforms. For example, consider building communities on Facebook or use Meetup. Recruit your next great developer on GitHub.

3. Research and Pilot New Tech Solutions

There exists a flourishing startup ecosystem focused on developing tools to aid in the new age of recruiting. Some of these tools will help you execute on key aspects of your strategy.

Research the startup ecosystem and the tools coming to market. These companies understand how things have changed and where new technologies should focus. Early adoption will create an important competitive advantage for you and your business.

While times have changed, recruiting today gives you a fantastic opportunity to differentiate and become an innovation agent by identifying early trends and gaining experience in this new world of hiring.

Sergio Klarreich is cofounder and CTO of Worcket, a Seattle-based company committed to leveraging technology to improve the corporate recruiting process.

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