The Great “Push-Pull” in Recruiting

Like many things in business and life, recruiting is about information – giving it and receiving it. Whether you say we’re in the information age or have evolved into the knowledge age, we still deal with specific pieces of information. When looking more closely at systematizing the giving and receiving of information in the recruiting process, we can start by isolating the basic information needs of the following recruiting players:

  • Recruiters
  • Hiring managers
  • Candidates

The advent of the Internet and email has taken information exchange to dizzying heights for better or worse. There are few barriers to the almost instantaneous exchange of information. Breaking down information needs, in order to examine what should be automated to the best possible efficiency, can be clearer if we look at the dynamic of “push” and “pull” of information exchange. Pushing and Pulling Pushing information is when I say, “I need to know this information immediately when it happens.” An action determines the timing of the push, like a news alert when a fire breaks out. “Passive” or “permission” pushing is when information is pushed more slowly according to a schedule or preset interval, like a news brief pushed every week even if the news happened on Tuesday. Pulling information is when, “I want to have access to this information when I decide to go get it.” The “puller” just needs to know where it is stored. Let’s look at some of the push-pull needs of the recruiting triangle. Recruiters PUSH: What a Recruiter might like to know immediately as it happens.

  • Most qualified candidates who applied to most urgent jobs
  • When hiring manager has made decisions to interview candidates
  • When hiring manager has made decisions on interviewees to pursue or reject
  • When a candidate accepts an offer
  • When a candidate declines an offer

PULL: What a Recruiter may want to have access to.

  • All offers currently on the table
  • All active requisitions
  • All active candidates
  • Candidates available for search: in a client database, the web, etc.
  • Details, such as tracking history, other jobs a candidate is active on, correspondence
  • Weekly, monthly, yearly reports to evaluate metrics
  • Sourcing effectiveness reports for certain position types or industries

Candidates PUSH: What a Candidate would like to know.

  • Acknowledgement after applying to a job letting candidate know the transaction was successful
  • When new jobs are available that the candidate has interest in
  • When the company of interest has a major business activity such as an acquisition, divestiture, or stock swing
  • The results of a test or assessment the candidate has taken in an interview process
  • When the candidate’s standing on a job changes — i.e. either has been rejected or invited for an interview
  • When candidate receives an offer (this can be in verbal or electronic format)
  • When the candidate is hired and needs all “inboarding” information
  • When referrals made by an employee are interviewed and/or hired

PULL: What a Candidate would like to have access to.

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  • His/her resume and/or profile record that can be accessed to update/modify at any time
  • The most current list of available jobs at a company
  • A list of any bonus-eligible referrals they have made to the company (usually for employees)
  • All company information that may help in making a career decision (i.e. content on company financials, culture, geographies, roles, career mobility, etc.)

Hiring Managers PUSH: What a Hiring Manager would like to know.

  • Short list of candidates that are really qualified for his/her position
  • When a recruiter has been assigned to his/her position
  • When position is officially posted to corporate career sites such as the Intranet, corporate careers section and other sources
  • When a candidate accepts an offer or is hired

PULL: What a Hiring Manager would like to have access to.

  • Standard job templates when hiring manager has an opening
  • Interview guidelines and questions
  • Requisition activity history

Clogged Pipes? Often times, recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates experience frustration with information exchange in one of four categories:

  1. Information they want pushed is not coming to them. Example: candidates who never know their status has changed on a requisition.
  2. Information they want to pull is not made available. Example: recruiter needs reports to show their line division of the recruiting activity, but appropriate reports are not available.
  3. Information they want to pull is actually being pushed. Example: Candidate has been hired, but is still receiving job agents to announce new jobs.
  4. Information they want pushed is only available to pull. Example: Hiring manager wants to know where job is being sourced and when.

Another (even worse) scenario is when the information is just plain not available for push or pull. Dividing relevant information needs into the push and pull categories can help you better determine the needs of the users of a system or the visitors to a corporate careers site or job board. By designing a system with these push/pull needs in mind, the technology is efficiently servicing the information exchange, without overly clogging one end of the pipe or the other. Taking the concept a step further, where users can select permissions and scheduling for each information area in the push and pull categories, will help customize information exchange at the individual level. Hiring management systems that take these needs into account will go a long way to enhancing the recruiting process.

Gretchen Sturm ( is Knowledge Manager of Services with Recruitsoft, the leading provider of Internet-based recruiting solutions for major corporations. She manages the implementation, eLearning and product knowledge transfer for Recruitsoft's consulting services and global client base. Her career has focused on integrating technology into the full hiring cycle and establishing effective Internet recruiting strategies. Previously, Sturm managed the recruitment technology and online recruiting areas of the Unisys worldwide recruiting team and oversaw recruiting technology and sourcing for CIGNA Corporation's US-based operations.