Recruiting As Hand-to-Hand Combat

Article main image
Sep 10, 2015
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

Sharpen your knives — let’s get ready to recruit!

Most of my writings about recruiting revolve around my vivid imagination. I use this imagination every day and I believe you should as well. I am not the trainer who is going to crunch numbers for you. I am the trainer who will paint a picture for you, and hopefully this picture helps you continue your quest to become a multi-million dollar star. Seriously, why are you here if you don’t want to be the best?

There are a few rules in recruiting that are seldom mentioned, and I am here to tell you the most important ones.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

The number one rule is to understand who you are and what your role is as a recruiter. Your role is simple: To learn the art of hand-to-hand combat when fighting to earn the business of new clients, in securing candidates, and in handling both the opening and closing stages of the deals. The better you sharpen your knives, the better you will recruit, or resort to other means (i.e. guns, grenades, land mines, bombs), or the ultimate – you go nuclear. (Only used to self-destruct, burn bridges and such.) Use responsibly and make sure you have permission to push the red button. This may not be what the customer wants to hear, but remember, we fight for our clients.

Also, don’t lose sight of who the client is. Just last week I had a candidate tell me “you represent me” so “get me the best deal.” I quickly, yet professionally, reminded him that I represent the client, who is paying me $25,000.

As recruiters, we fight to deliver top talent to our clients, and to get there you need to learn the ins and outs of deal combat. What does this mean? Deal combat means pulling the rug out from under the feet of dishonest candidates. Deal combat means presenting a blocker candidate, saving a deal by giving you time to find the right fit while the “other” recruiter continues to present candidates whom they have not even spoken to.

Art of the Deal

Yes, whether we like it or not, “deal manipulation” is a part of our job. This separates me from the part-timers and the recruiters who want to get lucky. Every day I battle to win the deal.

At one time or another, most of us have presented a candidate who was already presented or who applied online (without telling you). The client tells you, “We received this candidate internally,” or “Another recruiter sent this candidate to us yesterday.” Sound the alarms and break out the armor! You can’t very well argue this candidate isn’t the right one for the job. You might even like this candidate and believe that he or she is right for the position, but $25k is riding on this deal.

You Saw the Cards

Do the unthinkable: Promote the candidate! But remember this is a poker game and you just saw the hand. You have seen the cards, and you know exactly whom you have to beat. Now go out and find the absolute best! Do whatever it takes to deliver the best talent, and I guarantee you that you will be successful. Yes, go out there and fight! Be relentless in the search, and pretend that your life depends on it. It does! This job puts food on the table, shelters your family, and let’s not forget the shoes. Engage your candidates to be the best, and if they are not, then accept it and move on (or just present someone to buy more time).

Now sharpen your knives, and jump into the pit of contingency recruiting. Remember only the strong survive.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!