Be Specific to Aid ERG Recruiting Impact

We often hear organizations talk about how they want ERGs to help with the company’s recruiting effort, but unfortunately, how the ERGs actually do this is very blurry. Beyond saying that they want ERG members to attend recruiting events to be seen, many companies don’t have any specific ideas about how ERGs can help — and neither do the ERGs. “We would like to help more with recruiting and outreach, but we really don’t know what to do or how,” is the comment I often hear from ERG leaders and members. Frankly, in the absence of specificity, it’s not surprising.

A good friend of mine who is an expert executive coach once said to me, “If someone tells me they need a job, I have a hard time helping them. If, however, they tell me they need an organizational development senior role in a large multinational based out of the New York City metro area, I can definitely launch them in the right direction and support them. A big key to finding what you want is always specificity.” It turns out that specificity is also the often-ignored best practice when it comes to engaging your ERG membership in your company’s recruiting efforts.

A few years ago, I experienced this best practice at work firsthand. Each week, I would get a copy of a spreadsheet that contained a list of open positions across the United States in more than 10 job categories, by states and business units. Often, I would see more than 3,000 open jobs. Despite all this opportunity and thousands of ERG members who expressed readiness and willingness to help, the network members remained uninvolved. So I decided to try a little experiment.

I got together with my colleagues in talent management and asked them to put together a special report that sorted open jobs by region and job category, omitting any information deemed sensitive (e.g., salaries). The report also contained qualifications, experience and educational requirements as well as the name of the recruiter conducting the search and the hiring manager. I then had these reports sent to the leaders of the ERGs, who in turned shared the information with their members. Within the next few weeks, a steady stream of qualified candidates began to trickle in from the ERG members, and steadily increased to a flow. This is the power of specificity at its finest.

If you don’t want to just wait for someone to approach your ERG with this type of specificity in your company, take the lead and ask for it.

1. Meet with your recruiting team and find out what reports they use to track their talent searches.

2. Next, ask the recruiters to create a version of the report that deletes all sensitive information that they do not want to share with people outside their team.

3. When you get these reports, forward them to your members with a cover note that asks the recipients to supply suitable candidates from their personal and professional networks to the right recruiters.

Make sure you or the recruiting team records the candidates your ERG brings and how many the company hires so you can track your progress. To continue improving your percentage of hires relative to ERG referrals, get feedback on which candidates did well and why they did well. Remember, the best way to improve your recruiting support specificity is to continue to refine it with even more specificity!