Information Security Candidate Sourcing: The Long Game

Whether you’re sourcing for one organization or many, it is important to recognize talent even when you don’t have a position to fill right this minute.  It’s tempting to set those people aside and think that you’ll come back to them when you need them.  However, taking a little time with someone you see something special in may pay dividends in the future.

This is called the long game.  I have been a professional recruiter for a long time now and I have no intention of doing anything other than recruiting for the rest of my career.  So, I consistently work on my long game.  It’s important for me to create relationships with people who are important to my work now and in the future.  Your top candidates know to play the long game too.

But, what if I don’t have anything open for them today?

We’re all busy and it makes sense that you would not want to waste someone’s time when you don’t have an active position for them.  However, sending a quick email to say, “I’m impressed with your profile and I’m interested in your plans for the future.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a position that is ideally suited to your skill-set now, but I’d love to talk for 15 minutes so we can get to know one another for the future” may be all it takes to make a lasting connection.

Isn’t this what LinkedIn is for?

LinkedIn is great for the long game.  It’s an excellent way to find passive candidates and store profiles in folders for the future.  However, it’s not the only source of strong and talented candidates you’ll be sorry you over passed later.  Anywhere you come across candidates, niche job boards, major job boards, LinkedIn, Information Security Associations, Cyber Online Communities, you will find amazing people that you should be connecting with.

I don’t have time for this – I’m sooo busy

I completely understand.  It is painful sometimes the amount of work we have to do that doesn’t get done.  There are weeks where I can’t focus on my long game at all.  However, I have 30 minutes set aside every week to reach out to one or two of the candidates in my “future file.” Once I’ve contacted them I move them out of that file so I can focus on someone else the next week.  Sometimes I’m only able to send them an email to let them know I’m interested in keeping them in mind for the future.  The connection is the most important piece and a 5 minute email can lead to networking opportunities you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

This candidate may be great, but my company will NEVER hire them

I had a client that was looking for cyber security researchers, but they had to be US Citizens with bachelors degrees.  It was a pretty narrow pool and there was a lot of great talent out there that didn’t meet one or both qualifications.  This is the type of talent that I KNOW I’m going to need in the future so I couldn’t sit on my hands and ignore them.  I created a relationship with another recruiter who was working on similar positions without the limiting factors.  I reached out to the candidate to introduce myself, let them know my situation and offered to share their information with this other person.  I still maintain some of those relationships today and the recruiter I partnered with helped place our last Director of Information Security.

If you are invested in your recruiting career and in contributing to the overall information security industry, you must craft a strong long game in your sourcing practice.  Thirty minutes a week can save you hours on your next search!!