3 ideas for sourcing language speakers
I find a lot of updates in my LinkedIn feed addressing language speakers. Most of them refer to entry level positions where the fluency in a foreign language is really all that’s required. It continues to surprise me that so many recruiters turn to LinkedIn, of all platforms, to find those candidates. Back when I was looking for my first role (I studied English and French), I had no idea what LinkedIn was. You can say it’s more popular among students now, but even so, it’s a very crowded space. So I thought I’d share three ideas that you can try if you’re tired of getting nowhere with the same old methods you’ve always used :)
1. Find out where they work and study
LinkedIn has been undergoing some major changes recently but some of the functions you know and love are still there – you just have to know where to find them. For example, you can still use Alumni Search, a very useful resource to identify companies where language speakers work. What I do is select the location first (Poland wouldn’t have as many profiles as some other locations so if I don’t do this first, it may not appear in the options once I narrow down my search). Then I enter the language I’m looking for into the search box:
Alumni Search is not without it’s flaws and while you will see some false positives in there, I find it pretty useful when looking for companies to target first, before I try anything more advanced. The cool thing about it is it will help you find candidates that have some experience already – you can either find candidates in similar roles, or candidates you can “rescue”. A lot of graduates will fall into a role or an industry purely by chance (it was certinly the case for me ;) ) and if they don’t enjoy it, they are likely to consider moving into a different one after a while. In Poland this will typically vary from 3-7 months, depending on how long their first contract is. Just scroll down to see profiles of potential candidates but make sure to look for the keyword again when you visit their profile, just to double check it’s a relevant result.
2. Find candidates where they hang out
I don’t know about you, but I find that candidates early in their careers are less likely to hang out on LinkedIn. The reasons differ – they find it complicated (perhaps less so now, after the UX changes), intimidating (other users are way more experienced) – whatever it is, they’re not there as often as you may want them to be. No need to despair, you just need to figure out where it is they actually spend time. The answer will vary depending on location, but in Poland we’re still pretty fond of Facebook.
You may start by searching for people who work for the companies you’ve identified with Alumni Search who speak the language you’re looking for. As you practice more (and view more profiles – it’s all about finding more details you can use in your search), you can try targeting members of groups for language speakers etc.
Sourcing on Facebook is especially useful in smaller locations, where people aren’t as career aware as in larger cities. If the people you find happen to be present on LinkedIn as well, you can use tools like Discoverly to find them in just one click. Remember, you don’t have to contact your potential candidates where you found them, so if you’re not comfortable using Facebook messenger, it’s not your only option. I’d give it a try at least considering Facebook users tend to use messenger on their phone so it’s probably the quickest way to get in touch.
3. Use offline channels
If you happen to source for the same location you’re based in, you’re in luck! You can easily use offline channels when sourcing online doesn’t bring the results you’re looking for. While I don’t like generalisations, I found that a lot of language speakers (including myself) will need to practice their language skills regularly. In Kraków, for example, they will organise regular meetups so they can chat to other people who speak the language. Since we have a considerably large international population, you’ll find native speakers there too. You can also try the French Institute if you’re looking for French speakers, or the German Institute etc. Believe me, showing up at an event in person will give you an advantage over any other recruiter trying to get in touch with the same candidates.
If you’re sourcing for a remote location, it’s not the end of the world. Try to see if you can find any meetups for language speakers on Meetup or Internations. You may also want to go back to Facebook sourcing, this time looking for events for language speakers. You’ll be able to find a list of not only the people that attended the event, but in fact anyone who expressed interest.
One last thing I’d add is that there are jobs out there that language speakers might try before even graduating. If you recruit for that skill set a lot, try to figure out where people advertise when they give language lessons or do translation on the side. By the time they’re looking for a full time role, you’ll already have a relationship with them. And until then, you can use a tool I recently wrote about to keep in touch with them easily!
If you liked this and think you’re ready for more, you can get in touch with me through Lightness for a quick consulting session or a training for your entire team :)