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December 16, 2017

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Four Easy Delegation Strategies

There’s no substitute for interacting with your candidates and employers in real time. But unfortunately, there are only so many hours in each day. By delegating routine, repetitive or data-oriented tasks, you can save time and in many ways exercise more control than if you were to perform every single function personally.

Here are some tips on how to delegate your tasks. Remember that delegation doesn’t necessarily mean that you give tasks to other people. I’ve found that in many cases, I can use various instruments of delegation to leverage my efforts. Here are a few examples:

  1. Resume templates. Years ago, I used to spend time coaching candidates to help them improve the quality and appearance of their resumes. Today, I ask them to go to my website and study the template of an exemplary resume and revise theirs accordingly. In this case, the template acts as an instrument of delegation, and the exercise spares me a lot of the time I might spend as an editor, not a recruiter. If the candidates can clearly see how to organize their accomplishments, they can re-format their resume and improve their chances of getting hired.

  2. Position comparisons. If a candidate is unclear about the merits of a new job, you can use itemized lists to help make A-B comparisons with the old job. To compare compensation, I use a simple side-by-side spreadsheet to examine items such as base salary, bonus, deferred compensation, insurance costs, hidden expenses and health care benefits. To compare intangibles, I’ll provide a worksheet to examine the qualitative differences between jobs to help the candidate make an informed decision. By delegating to the worksheets, I can change the candidate’s perception of my role from salesman (“Here’s why you should take the job”) to advisor (“Let’s analyze your situation based on the facts”).

  3. Interview prep. You should always custom tailor the way you prepare candidates prior to their interviews. But there are also many standard conventions regarding attire, attitude, punctuality and so forth that you can just as easily give to your candidates in the form of a reading assignment, rather than as a night-before lecture. Delegating the talking points of your interview prep to a brochure or Web page saves time and allows you to concentrate on the candidates’ understanding of the position and on any interviewing skills that need the most attention.

  4. Applications and navigators. Often, you can get better information in a more timely fashion directly from the candidates and hiring managers themselves than you can by an exhaustive interviewing process. By having the employer fill out a questionnaire (which I call an “executive search navigator”) and the candidate fill out an application or bio-survey, I can get routine demographic information in advance, freeing me up to concentrate on the more intangible and subjective aspects of their needs.

One Delegation to Avoid

I know this may sound counter-intuitive, but the one instrument of delegation I never want a candidate to see is the company’s job description. There are three reasons for this: First, most standard-issue job descriptions are so exhaustive with their “must-have” lists that they tend to demoralize candidates who don’t check every single box. Second, most job descriptions are outrageously vague and superficial, and rarely address the issue of “why” the position needs to be filled or “how” the right candidate will help the company solve problems or achieve goals.

Finally, a job description can undermine the recruiter’s value as a matchmaker and interpreter of the company’s unique opportunity relative to the candidate’s true potential. The last thing I want is find a candidate, establish trust and present a job I feel is a good match, only to have a job description contradict or confuse the narrative. So, if a candidate asks me, “Can I see the job description?” my answer is always the same: “Sorry, I don’t have one. But I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions.”

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and Splits.org.