Way back when…ok not that long ago, the year was 1996 and I was the sole recruiter for a small software firm in a small town. The internet was just gaining mainstream status (sound familiar social and mobile media?) but most recruitment organizations like mine were still 100% paper based. We had an extremely slow internet connection and web based tracking systems and job boards were not quite the rage. Every day I spent my lunch hour at my desk eating ham & cheese sandwiches and apple while opening and reading the day’s mail. The mail was a stack of resumes ranging from low double digits to mid double digits depending on ads, or other campaigns being run. The internet may not have been mainstream but email was all the rage and most everyone had either a personal or business account. This was huge. I could open up the person’s resume from my mail stack see that they were a potential fit and now instead of calling I could send them an email requesting a time to talk! Man I was living high on the hog!
Then I read in several email or print articles I had subscribed to and the experts were spouting how recruiters should not use email to make the initial contact with a candidate. It was considered inappropriate behavior and unprofessional. In addition, advice from experts stated that candidates should never, ever send a thank you note over email because it was too casual of a communication tool and showed a lack of sincerity. Hmm, that didn’t make sense to me.
Fast forward to today and the amount of advice that is out there for recruiters around “you should” utilize social media, or “if you are not using X tool you lose” or “you should not text candidates on initial contact” or….WAIT…that sounds familiar. I should not text candidates when trying to initially contact them? Says who? And you better not answer it’s a generational thing – why? Because it isn’t. I’m doing it, my team is doing it and no matter the job, skill level or age range the response rate of texting a candidate that has submitted a resume is averaging five minutes compared to a voice mail or email that averages anywhere from several hours to a couple of days. Five minutes for a VP level candidate to call me back, five minutes for a Network Engineer, five minutes for a Customer Service Representative. Better yet, when we have polled the candidates not one complaint, concern or negative comment and the feedback has been of appreciation because they were unavailable to take a call.
I am tired of the experts telling me how I should be an effective recruiter and how to or not to use the tools that are out there. I am tired of the “you should” phrases and would prefer phrases along these lines “I tried this and these were the results”, or “try this trick and see if it works for you”. I am guilty of the “you should” phrase but I am trying to remove it completely from my vocabulary when offering advice because every situation is different and I am not in that person’s mindset. A practice that is ineffective in one organization may be the magic bullet in another. Who is to say what is better or worse as long as the job is done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
I am not saying don’t read or seek out their input and I am not saying that there are some common practices that should be followed. It is my opinion to not blindly follow the advice or draw a conclusion without your own experimentation. Ask the questions, try it for yourself and if it works, great, if it doesn’t well that’s living and learning. Seek advice, information, be curious and then internalize, evaluate, decide and act because based on my experience that is how I can successfully evaluate a new tool, approach or best practice. By doing so I have taken my organization one step forward.
I welcome your thoughts.