I have always enjoyed networking and have recruiter folks all my life. Even in an ultra-competitive industry like book publishing, I prided myself on bringing people together. If I new of an open position, I would contact a candidate and make an introduction. If two businesses had needs that could be met by one another, I would hold a conference call to break the ice. I wasn’t looking for a commission; I simply wanted the right people to be in the right seats on the right bus.
Fast forward to today when I consult, coach, and recruit to ensure the right fit, and nothing has changed other than the financial compensation. I still seek to match qualified candidates with the perfect role at great companies. Through the years, though, I have seen a breakdown in the recruiting process. Communication is often lacking from recruiters, and companies are failing to have the proper sense of urgency to fill positions.
Like any relationship, it takes two parties to have a successful search. If you are frustrated with how recruiting is going for you, let me share what I have learned and how I approach recruiting the best most qualified candidates quickly:
- The role must be clearly defined: I like to do a job bench marking process that takes people out of the equation for just a moment to identify what the job requires. What is the job? Who will they report to? This is the perfect opportunity to ensure the role is needed and to what degree. Sometimes, we learn that two jobs are actually required to accomplish established goals. Other times, we may realize the job can be downgraded from what was originally thought. All these discussions are BEFORE we ever begin recruiting.
- Job requirements must be prioritized: I coach my clients to understand the difference between a “must have” and “nice to have” when it comes to education, skills, and talents. Every job can’t require a doctorate degree with 35+ years of experience…and pay minimum wage. We have to be realistic and pragmatic because when we know exactly what we need, we can find it.
- The job posting must attract the right candidates: Throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick isn’t a strategy. The job posting needs to spell out specifically what the position is and isn’t, and it must identify the key qualifications required. I like to have a couple of screening questions that must be answered correctly that either allow or prevent applicants from going forward. If higher education is truly a must have, then that is a screening question. If possible, I firmly believe candidates need to know the salary range. I understand this cannot always be the case, but when it is possible, this will also help narrow down the playing field.
- Job postings must be where the people you want to find spend their time: Each job is different, and you need to have the proper strategy. Trying to fill an executive/VP-level job, then don’t waste your time on social media. Sorry, but these folks have better things to do than see what someone ate for lunch. Other roles may fit that profile better. A one-size-fits-all-approach does not fly. The good news is we have ample options for getting the word out; we just have to be selective.
- You need to match the recruiter with the position: If you are seeking a presidential-level candidate, why on earth would you have an inexperienced, green HR generalist do any of the screening or interviewing? Talk about the quickest way to turn off the very people you want to apply for your position! My diverse background (working my way up the ranks from clerk/secretary to VP with P&L responsibilities) has allowed me to screen and interview a wide-range of roles. Not every recruiter is that versatile, and you need to have the right people engaging with your candidates. Know the recruiter’s sweet spot and industries they serve.
- Resume screening is a must: Do not, and I repeat, do not leave all of your screening up to some in-human digital software program. The less technology you use, the better the results. Yes, I just said that. We’ve taken the human out of human resources, and we are paying for it. Excellent candidates are not getting through the gauntlet of ridiculous drop-down boxes and key words. Software is a TOOL, not the end-all-be-all. Use it to help you but not replace you.
- Interviews need to be thorough but concise: With a little preparation on the front end, you can craft questions to ask each and every candidate that gets to the heart of the person to see if they are a possible fit. Good interviewers know when to probe a little deeper, and that comes with experience, job knowledge, and business acumen. Again, do not entrust this process to entry-level workers.
- Communication is paramount! I already stated at the very beginning of this blog that we have a breakdown and that communication is critical to the process. The company has to be open and honest with the recruiter. The hiring manager needs to be responsive and reactive to the recruiter. The recruiter needs to get back in a timely manner to ALL candidates. We have to stop ghosting – period. How you communicate will ultimately create the image of your company. Possible candidates will either be apprehensive to work with you or excited, depending upon their experience during the hiring process. Recruiters will be knocking on your door to work with you, or you will struggle to get the help you need.
When recruiting is done right, you get the right people. When you have the right people, you get the right results. Looking for that right recruiter? I am ALL about the FIT: function, integration, and training. Give me a call and let’s get started.