By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Like most things in life there is a beginning and an end. We begin new journeys in work and life leaving old experiences, friends and places behind. This is the employee cycle of life. Except that the cycle has changed as a direct result of social recruiting and employment branding strategies. The majority of job seekers are testing the waters and gathering information before they become an active candidate submitting applications and interviewing.

Because the recruiting and candidate courting process has changed, so has the life cycle. In the past there were 6 phases of the employee life cycle 1) Recruitment 2) Selection 3) Performance 4) Succession 5) Development 6) Transition. I’m proposing the addition of a seventh stage of Pre-Recruitment which takes place prior to the first stage of Recruiting.

Pre-recruiting is the stage when the candidate is passively looking for work. They are testing the waters, joining your talent network and researching companies. In this stage of the employee cycle of life it’s important to automatically engage them. Whether they’re actively or passively looking for a job – this is your chance to make a good first impression. After all when recruiting high talent the candidates are taking inventory of the company culture, hiring process, recruiters, and anything that affects their ‘purchase power’ which in this case relates to them applying for a job.

In the pre-recruiting stage candidates are going to be on the lookout for jobs that may or may not interest them and it’s your job as a recruiter to make them interested. Whether you dish out the secrets of your company culture or wow them with your overall employer brand – this is important. Use this seventh stage to start planting ideas into a passive candidates head that if they’re ever looking for a job your company is the place to apply.

Before you even start looking to recruit someone, pre-recruit them. It’ll not only make your job easier, but it’ll give candidates more information as to what your company does, who they are, and why it’s the best company to work for. If they already know all of this, recruiting them will be that much easier.

Recruiters need to start developing a new mindset when it comes to recruitment. Headhunters go out and look for candidates who may be a perfect fit for a certain job whether the candidate is looking or not, they’ll attack when they find the best candidate. Recruiters in this sense need to act like headhunters during this stage of the employer life cycle. If you can wow a passive candidate enough they might be willing to leave their job for new and exciting opportunities. This aspect of sourcing can be just as important as working with candidates already in your pipeline or talent network.

If you aren’t pre-recruiting it’s a good practice to start today. The time that you invest in pre-recruiting candidates will pay off in the long run because you’re able to specifically target the candidates you want especially if you’re recruiting from a competitor.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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