I Am a Recruiter, and I Am Not Alone: Seven Fundamentals to Teach Your Hiring Managers

Jun 7, 2010

Part of any good partnership between a recruiter and a hiring manager is the exchange of information and ideas. Since we recruit all day and it’s what we know so well, I’ve realized that we consider some ideas to be common sense and something we assume our hiring managers already know. However, it is very important for recruiters to teach recruiting best practices to hiring managers.

There are heartwarming moments in every recruiting professional’s life that we store away in our minds and replay on days we need a pick-me-up. My stored moment is witnessing a room full of hiring managers shouting in unison: “I am a recruiter and I am not alone!”

And it’s not even a dream. It actually happened.

I teach the topic of recruiting to new field managers as part of the training they receive at DaVita. We spend time discussing how they are part of the recruiting function and how the people with the actual recruiter titles are there to support them. Through this discussion, I ask the new managers to “Repeat after me: I am a recruiter and I am not alone.”

Although the first time the room repeats the mantra, it is in a curious yet rather compliant manner, by the time we’re done reviewing all the ways they perform the recruiting function, they embrace the mantra and shout it with enthusiasm.

DaVita operates in over 800 hospitals and runs approximately 1,500 dialysis facilities nationwide. In our geographically disperse and decentralized environment, the need for recruiting partnerships with our field teams is essential. Yes, it’s challenging and its also part of what makes our environment so fun and dynamic.

Here are seven fundamentals we have identified to teach managers how be good recruiters, too.

Generate Referrals

This is the most obvious and direct manner in which you can be a recruiter. You are out and about in the communities and industry in which we operate. You know people. You might not have thought about asking them if they would be interested in working here, but that’s all your recruiter does think about. Send us your list of professional contacts and all those business cards you collect at functions and we’ll get to calling.

Prepare Your Selling Points/Elevator Speech

You never know when you will meet someone interested in what we do. Are you ready with a compelling, concise statement that will grab their attention? Let’s practice … what brought you here?

During one class I taught, two hiring managers actually acted out an impromptu skit pretending they were strangers getting on to the same elevator. Not only did this drive the point home with a realistic potential situation, but it made for a very memorable example. And one manager shared a real-life story of when she stopped to grab a drink at a convenience store. She just happened to notice another customer in the store wearing nursing scrubs and instead of grabbing her drink and leaving, the manager had the courage (because she had her speech practiced and ready) to stop and talk to the person. And lastly, one manager explained that he has found it helpful to wear his DaVita-branded clothing while running errands on the weekends. That’s when he sees the most new people outside of his normal work routine and the brand makes for a good ice breaker with a literal translation of the name DaVita meaning “he/she gives life.”

Coordinate Efforts With Your Entire Local Team (“secret shop” if you need to)

What would happen today, right now, if a secret shopper called or walked in to your facility (this could apply to any kind of store front or office) and asked if there were any job openings? Would the person who answers the phone know what to say, and would they handle the situation in a manner that provides an outstanding experience for the caller? What if the shopper called the facility just on the other side of town — do they know your facility has an opportunity available?

Encourage the “Boomerang” Effect

What is the function of a boomerang? It comes back. There is a point in every manager’s career when a solid teammate comes to you and resigns. Are you prepared to handle that in a way that sincerely leaves the door open for that person to come back? Do you tell them specifically what made them a good teammate and that they are always welcome back? Say it out loud. Ask them if you can follow up with them in a few months to see how they are doing and then really follow through.

Broaden Reference Checking

Of course, checking references is an important part of the recruiting process to ensure we are hiring the right person. But think beyond just what references the candidate has provided to us as a potential employer. Back to the first topic: you know people. Ask around to your network and see what comes up.

Create a Positive Onboarding Experience

The first experiences and impression for the new teammate is up to you. Roll out the red carpet on their first day with fanfare! (We actually do have some managers that obtain a real red carpet for the new teammate to walk across when they arrive with all of the current teammates lining the walkway cheering.) And it doesn’t stop there, of course. Make sure the new teammate is supported throughout their entire learning and orientation period.

Deal With Hiring Mistakes

It is possible at some point that the wrong person is hired. How do you play a part in the recruiting process in this instance? If you let a bad apple spoil the cart, you and your recruiting team will soon be recruiting for many other positions in your facility. Have the courage to address the problem before it causes turnover in your team, and remember there is a team of HR professionals here to help you. Recruiting professionals all know what a vital part each person in an organization plays in building a recruiting culture. Getting to see the proverbial light bulb go on when a hiring manager realizes their part is another great moment I get the honor to replay in my mind.

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