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A Hiring Manager's Do-It-Yourself Guide to Recruiting

The Uberizing of the hiring process has arrived. Forget about using recruiters if you're hiring only a few people per year. With LinkedIn, hiring managers can now do their own sourcing and recruiting. Unless the recruiter is deeply networked in the field, managers will likely do a much better job by going solo. Here's how to get started.

1. Define the work to be done, not the skills needed to do it.

To attract top people looking for career moves, you'll need to define the job as a series of four or five major performance objectives. For example, it's better to say "build a team of six engineers to launch the new ABC project" than "Must have a BSEE, 10+ years of experience in servo valves, and 3-4 years in a supervisory role."

2. Conduct a supply vs. demand analysis to determine if you can do it yourself.

You'll need to use LinkedIn to do this. I'd suggest starting with a premium account and if it doesn't give you access to enough people, upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter Lite. To determine if there are enough candidates to choose from, divide the total number of possible candidates you have access to by the number of similar open jobs. If the ratio if greater than 4:1, you can probably do it yourself.

3. Use Achiever search terms to bring top performers to the top of your search list.

As you use LinkedIn's powerful search tools, add terms that match what top people in your field would likely include on their LinkedIn profile. For example, a top math person would likely be a member of the Pi Mu Epsilon honor society, a top sales rep would include such words as quota, club, or 100% in his/her profile, and a strong team player would likely have the terms like coach or mentor listed. By adding more of these Achiever terms, you'll be able to quickly develop a list of 20 to 30 strong local prospects to email and call.

4. Tap into your co-workers' connections.

LinkedIn is a network of 400 million people--not just a database of them. Your co-workers or former associates likely know some top people who could fill your role. Don't ask, "Who's looking?" Instead ask, "Who's the best person you know doing _____?" Then ask them to call the person to see if he/she would be open to a short exploratory call.

5. Determine the Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

If you don't know why a top person would want your job in terms of the impact he/she can make and the growth opportunity inherent in the job, you won't attract or hire any. The EVP needs to lead your voice mails, emails, and job postings.

6. Focus on job branding over employer branding.

Tie the job to some company project or mission to demonstrate its importance. This is called job branding. It's a critical component of how top people compare opportunities and how you customize the job to better tie to the person's intrinsic motivators.

7. Use emails to tell stories.

You'll be sending out 20 to 30 emails to the best people you've found on LinkedIn. Aside from a creative subject line, describe why the job is important, what the person will be learning and doing, and where the job could lead if the person is successful.

8. Don't sell the job, sell a short chat.

Forget about having candidates apply directly. Instead, in your email mention that the first step in your process is a short 10- to 15-minute exploratory phone conversation to determine if the job offers the possibility of a significant career move. By slowing the process down, you'll dramatically increase your response rate since most people are always open to building stronger networks.

9. Offer a potential 30 percent non-monetary increase.

The purpose of the phone screen is to determine if your position offers a combined 30 percent increase in job stretch, job growth, and satisfying work. If it does, describe why and suggest that the next step is a more detailed phone interview.

10. Conduct a 45-minute phone-based interview.

Describe some of your big challenges and have the person describe some of his/her most significant comparable accomplishments. Using the most significant accomplishment question, you can assess most of the factors on our Performance-based Hiring Job Index. If the person is a contender and interested, either meet the person for coffee or invite the person onsite.

While there's more to finding, recruiting, and hiring the best passive candidates, these steps form the foundation of the process. Most important, when hiring managers do it themselves, they'll be able to restructure the job on the fly, more likely to pursue a high-potential person with less experience, and less likely to exclude a great person on factors that are negotiable. Collectively, this is why I believe the Uberizing of the hiring process offers a great opportunity for hiring managers who want to be sure they see and hire the best person available, not just the best person who applies.

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