[LTR] Unlike search firms, most employer-based recruiters can't spend several weeks of their time sourcing candidates for a single job opening.

So, how can you find the time to recruit like a search firm?

Search firms have numerous ways of sourcing prospective candidates, including job boards, resume databases, Web searches and social media. Once they have identified prospective candidates, search firms initiate contact via the telephone (cold calling). This is a time-consuming process, but it doesn't incur any out-of-pocket expense.

Communicating via the telephone is not only time-consuming, it is an inherently "hit or miss" way of reaching an audience. More often than not, the number of prospects reached via the telephone represents a small fraction of the overall talent pool. Relying solely on telephone calls significantly limits the number of prospective candidates who will learn about your job opening.

A more effective way to identify prospective candidates is to use association, licensure and compiled mailing lists. Instead of making cold calls, you can send a personalized letter or a postcard. There are some powerful statistics that support this point of view:

* 98% of consumers bring in their mail on the day it's delivered.
* 77% of consumers sort through their mail immediately.

Communications that originate from an employer are a credible, trusted source of information. In our experience, we have found that sending personalized letters or postcards is the best way of communicating with the largest possible share of the talent pool. The combination of a high quality mailing list and a persuasive letter or postcard will help you to connect with more prospective employees (including passive candidates) than any other resource.

Once you have identified a mailing list, you will need to focus on the content of your letter or postcard. It is important to remember that the majority of people who will be receiving your letter or postcard are passive prospects.

Recruiting passive prospects requires a different approach than is used with active job seekers. Unlike active job seekers, passive prospects need to be persuaded to take the next step in the recruitment process. Your letter or postcard should focus on why this job opening is a great opportunity. Your description should go well beyond the information contained in the job requisition. Providing additional information about compensation, company culture and unique benefits (e.g., daycare, gym membership, relocation assistance, etc.) will go a long way in generating interest in your opening.

Finally, you should avoid asking prospects to "apply" for the position. Instead, you should create a "next step" in the recruiting process that is more informal and informational. This "next step" could be as simple as arranging a convenient time when you can talk on the phone.

Direct marketing (postcards, personalized letters, email marketing) is a cost effective way to reach the 65% of the talent pool who are not actively looking for a job but would be interested in hearing about job opportunities.