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I’ve never seen more brute force used amongst the laptop class than I have in tech recruiting.
Recruiters at tech companies grind away, sending DM after DM to candidates who are currently employed at other tech companies, locked in this battle of talent sneak attacks.
Here's the thing: It works. And a lot of talented people get hired this way. Next to a really good referral, I’d guess that it’s more effective than any other approach for recruiting tech workers.
That’s why it’s the default recruiting motion—by a long shot. Anything in addition to outbound to passive talent comes in at a distant second.
The thing that I think about often is: Does anything else matter? (Within the context of recruiters starting conversations with qualified people.)
My conclusion is yes. But it’s not what I had originally thought.
I’m certainly not drinking the talent marketing Kool-Aid that I once did. And I have no faith in tech platforms that promise qualified inbound tech talent.
I do feel that the best way to frame “talent marketing”—and how to sell it internally to the people who have opinions about it—is through the lens of recruiter enablement.
Meaning that the intention of doing this stuff should be to help your recruiter's DMs convert better.
Note: Even the recruiters who are the biggest advocates of a marketing-based approach spend most of their time cold messaging people who are currently employed at other tech companies. And it’s not because they have to. It’s because it’s still working.
So back to my original thought experiment: Does anything other than outbound matter?
When I pay attention to behaviors instead of getting caught up with lofty, nice-to-have ideas, it forces me to look at marketing the products that are jobs, teams, and organizational cultures through the most pragmatic lens possible.
And I continually come back to one thing: If you’re going to do it, the purpose should be to make it easier for your recruiters to have productive conversations with the candidates they reach out to.
Therefore, this role, industry, and activity commonly referred to as talent marketing should be more akin to sales enablement for recruiters than actual marketing.
That’s where I see this whole thing going. At least for the foreseeable future.
Objectively speaking, this changes only if/when outbound is no longer the predominant recruiting motion in tech.
P.S. This might just create a whole new role in the recruiting org.