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Despite the dominance of digital technology in our culture these days, there has been a resurgence of interest in old-fashioned analog technology. Rabbit-ear T.V. antennas, vinyl records and (OMG) video cassettes are regaining some of their lost popularity. As it turns out, this is a trend worth considering as we build out our strategies for talent acquisition.
The pundits are fond of opining that “state-of-the-art” technology will – take your pick – kill, obliterate, decimate, or cause the extinction of any other technology deemed “out of date.” Reality, however, does not always align with these predictions. While the new does often replace the old, it never actually eliminates the old from our lives. The old is still around, and, as with today’s interest in analog devices, it can be surprisingly popular.
That brings us to analog networking, which uses such old-fashioned technologies as the telephone and face-to-face meetings to connect with and engage top talent.
Why, in today’s digital age, should recruiters still care about analog networking? Well, there are at least two reasons:
- The competition for talent is fiercer than ever on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. InMail and email circuits are overflowing with recruitment messages that are often ignored completely – or worse, reported as spam.
- There are undoubtedly some among those top prospects who still prefer to answer the phone or actually meet recruiters in person. They are digital natives who enjoy the more personal and intimate interactions of analog technology.
Not a Replacement, But Definitely an Addition
Analog networking is not a replacement for its digital cousin, but it should be an integral part of even the most advanced talent acquisition strategy. Successfully practicing analog networking, however, may require reinvigorating some of your skills that have grown flabby from disuse.
First, you need to use or create venues that will attract top prospects in the demographics for which you’re recruiting. Some venues, like local chapter meetings of relevant professional societies, may already exist, but in other cases, you will have to create your own. Find an interesting guest speaker and send an old-fashioned paper invitation to select individuals, inviting them to your “by invitation only” event.
Second, take the time before the meeting occurs to refresh (or develop) those verbal networking skills of yesteryear. In the real world, you have to discipline yourself to be in the moment and focus on the person with whom you’re speaking. Unlike with digital networking, you can’t multitask when you’re standing in front of someone. No less important, you must recruit, not sell. Go slowly so that you actually get to know the person and they get to know you. The goal at this stage is to establish a connection, not fill an opening.
Remember: With most top talent, recruiting is like a romance novel. It takes more than a few chapters to get to the conclusion. Make your first interaction a memorable one, and then follow up and follow up again, using analog networking. You’ll be tempted to fall back into the digital rut, but resist it. Your relationship is based on a personal connection, and it’s the quality of that personal experience that will convince even the most passive prospects to apply for your opening.
Analog recruiting is definitely not appropriate for every vacancy. It takes more time and considerably more effort than pounding out an InMail or email message. For those mission-critical and hard-to-fill jobs, however, analog networking can be exactly the right tactic for the times. It enables a recruiter to stand out by creating a personal touch that contrasts sharply with the impersonal feel of social media. Like a vinyl record or video cassette, it’s a comfortable, even nostalgic way to communicate a message worth listening to.
TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions is the global trade association for the talent acquisition technology industry. Collectively, its members power or operate more than 60,000 sites worldwide and provide state-of-the-art products and innovative services for virtually every facet of talent acquisition. Don’t miss the TAtech Conference & Expo – connect with the real experts in talent acquisition technology and get your hotel room for free!