Use the Old Recruiting Tools You Were Given

Sep 10, 2013

Recruitment is simple. Organizations should have one defined objective — to locate, attract, and hire top talent. However, we have made talent acquisition one of the most complex areas of human resources. As a result, strategies are skewed and talent acquisition professionals are bogged down chasing the latest trends and fads instead of focusing on core fundamentals and practices.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.26.51 AMRecently I participated in an HR case study with a leading organization that specializes in deriving fact-based analysis and findings. The topic of this particular case study was “What are companies doing to be successful and to overcome recruiting obstacles.” As I sat there and contemplated my answer … a series of conferences, conversations, articles, meetings, and case studies flashed through my mind. I went blank.

I politely apologized to the interviewer and asked her not to take offense to my answer, but here it is: “What is anybody doing that’s truly new and generating overwhelming results? Are we as an industry spending too much time on alternative sourcing methods rather than sticking to the tried-and-true tools that have always achieved results? 

I have attended numerous conferences including ERE, SHRM, local HR symposiums, etc., and it seems like we are consistently discussing the same topics and methods over and over. While it is great to be creative and up to date on technology, trying to think too far outside the typical recruiting box will lead you astray from your main goals. While these alternative methods may yield some results, it is the proven and very basic recruiting methods that generates the greatest results. In fact, what has brought us great success internally has been to stick to and apply basic recruiting tools and fundamentals that we were taught early in our careers — the human factors  that will never be replaced.

Those tools are: Facebook — NOT; LinkedIn Recruiter seats — NOPE; fancy ATS — NOT EVEN; mass job board postings — NO WAY; Pinterest Page — REALLY?

While all these mentioned tools are nice to haves, that there are certain tools in this business that you cannot buy or replace and those are: common sense, simple decency, an engaging personality, a positive outlook, the ability to build and cultivate relationships, and the natural ability to be personable and approachable. And through observations and gathering what I have learned through conferences and networking — you either have them or you don’t. Combine these soft tools with other tools such as the telephone and referral gathering and you too can be one heck of an effective recruiter. The recipe is really this easy.

Case in point is an email my good friend Cletus received from a recruiter after he applied to a job; I share portions of the email with you verbatim:

Thank you for your application. Can you please answer the following:

  •  What hourly rate are you seeking? (Please do not answer “negotiable” or “open.” This is required)
  • How soon can you start a position if offered?
  • Do you have a cover letter that you can provide indicating why this position is a good match for you?

I will go over your resume and contact you if you are a good match for this position. I do need to ask that you do not call to follow up on the status of your application, and ask that you be patient and understanding knowing that I will call you if you are qualified for the position.

If we dissect this email, there is zero engagement and relationship building and nothing personable what so ever. First off, money is a very sensitive subject — why would the recruiter ask this in an email and why can’t one say negotiable? Second, when can you start? Does this recruiter not know that changing jobs is one of the most stressful tasks one will encounter in their lifetime and there are many variables that need to be talked through? Third, the applicant had to resell themselves through a cover letter — why did you contact them in the first place? Did you not even take the time to read the resume? Lastly, now this recruiter is telling Cletus not to call her — don’t call me, I will call you.

Cletus called me and asked my opinion and I advised him to do what is in his best interest — but it if were me, I would email her back and tell her where to go. Before all the naysayers come out of the woods, if this is your attitude and method as the email reads, then you are making excuses, and frankly, I don’t want to hear it. I live it, my team lives it, and we are successful in building relationships, engaging applicants and candidates, providing value to all and finally successful in locating quality candidates and filling our positions with top talent. None of us here on the talent acquisition team are the smartest in the world and none of us possess any supernatural abilities. Rather what we are is engaging, personable, honest, humane, value driven, and active.

So the moral of this story is — don’t be like this mystery recruiter and have an army of Cletus’s angry at you, let down, frustrated, and disappointed. Take 5 minutes and call Cletus and get to know him; find out what makes him tick and just how big his heart is. You may find out that he has a two-year-old boy, he is recently married, he served in the Navy … you may find out you are getting more than you bargained for in Cletus; and lastly maybe … just maybe … you may impact someone’s life without even knowing it and build a long-term relationship which is what is really important in this lifetime of ours. Pull out those old tools, dust them off, and chip off the rust if you need to. I promise you will become more successful than you imagined.

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