Tag Archives: top talent

Recruiting is Not Like Dating – More Like House Hunting

In the mid 1990’s a prolonged discussion between myself and a hiring manager was going on about why he should select his top candidate. He had interviewed five candidates and told me he had a top choice so I felt that there was not a need to see additional candidates. I quickly thought of a comeback after he stated that his reason for wanting additional candidates was just to be sure he was making the right choice. Seeing his wedding ring I commented “…so, when you proposed to your wife did you tell her that she is the one but that to be sure you need some time to search the market?” His response was a friendly explicative then the ok to extend an offer to our top candidate.

From that point I had compared recruiting and dating off and on with hiring managers over the years. When blogging became popular within the recruitment space I read several articles/posts also making this comparison and wish I had started blogging sooner to trump those that had written and broadcasted my shared comparison.

I now disagree with this comparison. I think a better analogy to the job search for candidates and recruiters trying to find candidates is the house hunting (or apartment shopping) experience. Consider these:

  • People start their house hunting search by going to the internet and either doing a general Google search or going to a site like realtor.com
  • People have specific wants when trying to find a home – location, size, local amenities, school district, culture of the neighborhood
  • People conduct research on the home and neighborhood by viewing the potential residence on-line, reading reviews of the neighborhood (or builder), asking their friends or family members if they know anything about the  neighborhood
  • New listings receive a good bit of activity when first posted then the activity slows considerably with only serious shoppers taking a look

Recruiters and candidates are using similar tools to find, research and gauge if they want to learn more about each other in ways that house hunters and realtors operate.

There is also one other factor that many people forget during both types of searches. The little annoying detail that gets glossed over by company reputation, salary, benefits or that the little annoyance can be fixed once they start (think move in).

What most people do not realize is that the little annoyance becomes a major frustration because just like in an interview or house hunt it only showed up for a brief moment. It could be a light switch in an odd place, or a squeaky stair only stepped on once or twice – it could be a clunky application process or a quick comment that changes were made recently. In these cases the savvy seeker will question what they noticed and typically the recruiter will have their response prepared to put any concerns at bay. However, just like in a home, once within the company that little annoyance is now with you all the time, it grows into a major frustration.

As recruiters we try to brush over the annoyances that might turn a candidate off or away from our opportunity. Sometimes we are confused on why a top talent candidate did not stay with the organization for very long and when asked they state what appeared to be small concerns during the interview ended up becoming major distractions. When boiled down it is that classic “fit” argument. The recruiter should recognize if the fit is not there and the job seeker should as well and be willing to pass on the opportunity.

Candidates are becoming more and more savvy around the job search process and can find out information about organizations through many channels. As recruiters we are typically prepared to answer questions around the small annoyances and are just as savvy in convincing the top talent to join our organizations. My advice is that when a seeker does bring up minor points to treat them as major because those are the ones that will make or break their decision and if you are honest with the candidate it will help move your organization forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’ve Heard This Before…

Recently we moved into a house where the previous owners had left a very nice set of Encyclopedias and a special edition Philadelphia Inquirer “America: What went wrong?” from 1991. It was a nine part series that touched on everything from the “dismantling of the middle class” to jobs going to Mexico (now China) and the lack of salaries keeping pace with the rich, to big business tax breaks, the expansion of a global economy,  to health insurance, the decline of pensions and how Capitol Hill is influenced by lobbyists. The article states on the front page it will “…show how millions of Americans have fallen victim to a combination of rulemakers in Washington and dealmakers on Wall Street.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you heard this before?

I have. Do not expect me to present my opinion on these hot button topics or try to explain them. If it took two Pulitzer Prize winning reporters two years and thousands of miles of travel to conduct interviews, research and write their series, there is no chance I can present mine in a single post.

In reading the series and reflecting on those times I remember it was not much better then than it is now. In the early ’90’s we were in a serious recession and though I was in college I read article after article about how it was the worst time in recorded history for college graduates to find a job. Several of my friends who had graduated in ’90 – ’93 spent months looking for work. Most ended up in fields outside of their major. Several moved back home and some never could get their careers started and remained in entry level roles for years.

My first job out of college did not pay enough for me to live on my own and remember buying groceries on my credit card knowing full well I would not be able to pay the monthly bill. It was tough seeing the bank account always around zero. I wanted to make it on my own, I wanted to live independently but my main motivation came from my parents who informed me that if I moved home I would have to pay rent. Who wants to pay rent to their parents AND live by their rules?

I do agree that this recession is worse, and it is much tougher on people to find jobs in their chosen careers or just viable work. Especially those recent or new graduates. There are plenty of stories of how people have been creative in finding work, landing that perfect job, or having an extremely short job search. However, for every success I have a feeling there are five to ten stories of no success. This sounds so familiar to the early 90’s and 00’s recessions.

A key difference this time around…social media. People being able to reach out to friends from several years ago and reconnecting. The ability to find a job, a network connection, a reference check all through various sites that have given candidates a great opportunity to connect. Candidates have access to recruiters and hiring managers like never before and that is helping.

As with the job search in the ’90’s and about 10 years ago the job search is still about connections. Whether it is old school networking or if it is the new way through social media channels it pays dividends to build your connections/network before, during and after your job search.

Recruiters have access to an abundance of information on candidates through the same channels and that makes the search for talent that much easier and yet that much more complicated. Appreciate the fact that we impact people’s lives everyday and that by being smart about our recruitment techniques and identifying the best fit for our organization (and not just dropping a candidate because of how long they have been out of work) we will move our companies forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

123RF Stock Photo

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Heisman In The Workplace?

Over the last few years I have read plenty about “top talent” and how to recruit for these elusive candidates or organizations will go into a death spiral never to recover and fall off the face of the earth. While I agree that companies can fail because of poor talent in the ranks or the lack of leadership within the top ranks, I disagree with the notion that certain sources or certain types of candidates are the best available.

Unlike the sports and entertainment world where there are a finite number of players with a very formal funnel process in place to ensure that the best of the best win awards and supposedly make it on our TV screens, ipods or tablets, the “working world” does not have such a process. We do not have the Heisman, Golden Glove, MVP, All-Star, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, or Tony awards. We have an infinite pool of workers and it is nearly impossible to determine who the best of the best is and even then it is subjective. There is not an annual awards show that comes on during prime time viewing to go through the various categories. Business magazines and blogs may try to rank individuals but each one has their own method of ranking and usually there is some kind of flaw or a “pay to play” nomination process.

The common question I see out on LinkedIn group discussions, or blog sites is “how do I know I am attracting top talent”? In my opinion the question comes from those that lack confidence in their ability to recruit effectively, or feel that they are somehow missing out on something, believing the hype about passive vs active or secret sources versus common candidate pools.

As a recruiter if you know your company culture, understand the business/industry, believe in where the organization is going and can identify a solid slate of candidates that meet the requirements, have documented success in their field and fit the culture then you have identified top talent. Keep in mind how many Heisman trophy winners failed miserably at the NFL level. Sure some have gone on and done great things and the point is that though someone may have top talent within their organization it does not mean they will be in yours.

When I conduct a search I look for key things on the resume that will give me insight but I keep in mind the candidate created the resume. Therefore, when I pre-screen them I challenge them on points, make them explain the projects or claims of success listed and rarely accept answers at face value. It is my role to investigate the candidate and flush them out. I pick up on nuances while they explain their answers to determine fit or see if there is something I should ask to ensure I have as complete a picture of the candidate as possible.

It would be great if when someone applied they were ranked like tennis or golf players by looking at a central list of every player. Our roles would be very different. We would be more like sports and entertainment scouts with contracts and exclusivity and less like investigators with a sales twist. We do not have the rankings on every accountant, sales person, call center rep, or recruiter.

So, we do our best to source, screen and identify the best available talent for our organizations. This means that I will evaluate candidates from any source, keep abreast of industry trends, not dismiss a candidate because of the source or status and not get caught up in hype but evaluate its fit into my sourcing strategy. By doing this I will move my organization forward confident I have identified great talent.

I welcome your thoughts.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized