6. Think Binary. Recruiting is a binary function. Either you fill the job or you do not fill the job. Unlike the person who does benefits or the HR reps, there is little room for opinion on your performance. The number of jobs you filled last year is known and the number you will fill this year is to be determined. The message here is simple. Get an edge and do not be afraid to use it. Time wasters of any kind must go. Hiring managers who are not responsive must be coached. Candidates who you know will never be hired must be cut lose fast. Jobs that are not approved for hire should have none of your time. Ask questions. Pre-close candidates. (If I get you the $100,000 salary you want, will you take the job? Not sure? I am sorry — do you want me to tell them you are not interested? No? OK, help me to help you and button this up so all of us can win.) Can you see the line of thinking here? Get an edge and use it because a candidate who almost accepts your offer is of little value to you in terms of a track record.
7. Let Me Wait to See the Offer Letter. This makes me crazy and it should make you crazy as well. The candidate must make a decision on the position before the offer letter is drafted. Please forgive my stridency on this issue but the candidate mulling over an offer letter with their coffee and eggs is seldom a good thing. The offer letter should be a summation of the conversations you’ve been having with the candidate, not a starting point for negotiations because that is a very dangerous road to travel upon. (Can I get a signing bonus? No signing bonus? How about I work from home on Fridays and can we add another $10,000 to the base and can I wear my Captain America outfit when coding? This is no way to close a deal and this is no way to hire a new employee.) An offer letter is a legal document that should be seen as an outline of the conversations you have had and the agreements you have reached. It is not a time to haggle and create stress for all concerned. Talk money before the offer letter goes out. Send the candidate a “benefits at a glance” summary before you send the offer letter. Give the candidate all of the information required to make a decision before the offer letter goes out.
8. People Like Results. The biggest mistake I made early on in my career was that I wanted to be liked by everyone. It ain’t gonna happen for you either. Bill Cosby said that he does not know the secret to success but he knows the secret to failure: try to please everyone. Most of us want to be liked. I certainly do, but I would rather be liked because I get results and make good hires then because of my semi-charming personality and great hair. As much as you are a member of the team, you as a recruiter stand apart from the rest because of the nature of your role. There is clearly an aloneness to recruiting. You are there to hire people and that is the only reason you are there. Should you be nice? Of course. Should you grab the occasional drink after work? Certainly, but we live in a world that is increasingly transactional. Focus on results, get results, and they will love you in a way that is very rewarding.
9. Drive Your ERP. Few people out there have as much vested interest in their organization’s employee referral program as a recruiter because it can be the very best tool that you have. Contemporary thinking reflects a philosophy that 33% of your new hires should come from your ERP. I think that number is a bit high and believe that it is probably closer to 25%, but still and all, that is a big number. That means that one out of every four hires you have to do will be from the ease and simplicity of an employee referral. I see this as a very good thing. Regardless of the current state of your organization’s ERP, do what you can to improve it and milk it for every single referral. Work it aggressively and make sure it is visible. Push hard to see that those who recommend a candidate are rewarded and recognized. If you do not like your ERP, work to make improvements and build a business case that backs up your recommendations. I can’t write an entire article here about ERPs here but I hope you get the idea. One more thing; do not ever think that a successful ERP is competition for your efforts. A good ERP is born out of your services and the driving force you infuse into it on a daily basis. An aggressive ERP is a very good tool.
10. Coach Everyone. Until you really get to know what you are dealing with, coach every person who is candidate facing. The receptionist should be smiling; someone should offer the candidate coffee; and the candidate should be escorted as opposed to being pointed. (“It is the third conference room on the left near the file cabinets across from Phyllis” is not a good way to direct a candidate.) All those who interact with candidates need to be on their best behavior. Candidates need lunch and a bathroom and a moment to clear their head. Those who interact with candidates need to be upbeat and see that the candidate is well cared for. Those who interview need to be respectful of the candidate and have sensitivity to the fact that the candidate is probably nervous and possibly tired. As a recruiter, you know all of this but you need to get this across to those individuals to whom you will be handing off your candidate. Call candidates after the interview and ask them what they thought of the interviewing experience. Ask how they were made to feel. Patterns will begin to emerge over time and those patterns will tell you who needs coaching.
Many out there see themselves as recruiters who are doing business. This is no longer sufficient. We now need to be business people who do recruiting. The difference is subtle but hopefully, it is clear. If we tighten up our game, we will be more successful and if we are more successful, we will improve the quality of our lives.
2013 is clearly going to be an challenging year for our economy and an interesting year for the business community that continues to adjust and readjust to this new world order. Recruiting needs to readjust and calibrate as well. Recruiting needs to make the changes required to deliver value by delivering results.
- Howard Adamsky
Howard Adamsky (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been recruiting since 1985 and is still alive to talk about it. A consultant, writer, public speaker, and educator, he works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years' experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he is a regular contributor to ERE Media, a member of the Human Capital Institute's Small and Mid-Sized business panel, a Certified Internet Recruiter, and rides one of the largest production motorcycles ever built. His book, Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) is in local bookstores and available online. He is also working on his second book, The 25 New Rules for Today’s Recruiting Professional.