Do you have two minutes? Watch this. You’ll smile. I promise.

(Source: DesignsOnTalent)

What a familiar situation: hiring managers wanting the best talent – yesterday – without breaking the bank. Possible? Yes, but only if your team is a proactive sourcing machine.

So what does it take to get there? Today I’ll offer two key strategies to get you started. How they play out in the real world – well, that’s a juicy story for next week.

Tune in for a webcast with Ed Nathanson of Rapid7 on March 28, where we’ll go behind the scenes of a highly proactive and productive recruiting team. Ed will share the secrets of his team of talent scouts, who think strategically and deliver big – even on a tight budget.

In the meantime, here are some of my tips – gleaned from years of working with our smartest customers – for building a team of proactive talent advisors.

1) Invest in your people. Companies with the best recruiting teams carefully design skill-development programs. These programs have to be thoughtful, not fancy. They can be as simple as this four-step plan:

  1. Focus on one actionable skill to develop each month (for example: social media skills, engaging candidates, leveraging data or selling a job).
  2. Choose an owner to drive the effort. Top performers or experts in a chosen skill within your team work best.
  3. Incentivize your team. Challenge your recruiters. Offer real incentives for success. Recognize and celebrate winners. Make it fun. (Note: Rapid7 actually incentivizes their recruiters like sales reps – and they’re seeing amazing results).
  4. Track the impact. Set a measurable goal you can achieve.

2) Use data to build credibility.

Data-driven recruiting sets the right tone with hiring managers. If you bring relevant data, you’re their partner. If you bring a blank notebook, you’re their order-taker. So remember to ask key questions and use data to:

  • Forecast workforce need with your hiring managers. Translate it into a goal you can measure. Make sure you can explain how your talent strategy supports the business’s overall strategy.
  • Get smart on the talent pool. Do a quick search to learn the size, general profile, and location of your targets. LinkedIn Recruiter can give you this information in seconds.
  • Know your competition. Identify your talent competitors, and follow them on LinkedIn to understand the extent to which they engage and employ your target market.

Hungry for more tips? Join us March 28 when you’ll get a step-by-step guide to proactive recruiting from a company who nails it.