4 Ways to Supercharge Your Recruiting Performance

In most professions, the very best practitioners do specific things that set them apart from others and keep them at the top of the performance curve. It is seldom sheer brilliance, advanced degrees, or even special training that catapults these mere mortals to the superstar status they enjoy. What gets them there is their ability to go the extra mile and do what the rest of the bunch is unwilling to do, demonstrating that being in the top 20% is more about perspiration than inspiration. As recruiters, we know what we have to do to be successful ó and that’s okay if being successful is all you are looking to achieve. If, on the other hand, you are looking to achieve more than just success and elevate yourself into the elite group of recruiters who are consistently top of class in terms of performance, then this article is just what the doctor ordered. Out of my endless list of surefire ways to become a better recruiter, below are just four simple things you can do that take very little time, very little effort, and not a ton of grey matter either. Incorporate them into your everyday work routine and see how the results will delight you and leave the rest of your team wondering how you became such a great recruiter (you don’t have to give me any credit; tell them you thought of it by yourself). 1. Get candidates mentally involved in their new company before they actually start. This action item is so important and so very easy. Consider this: after a candidate has accepted an offer and given notice, they are now living in a surreal and unusual employment period as they work out their notice. This is a very dangerous time for the candidate and for the recruiter. The candidate is in uncharted territory from a personal and professional standpoint, and even if you did your best to make them counteroffer proof, there is always a real possibility that the deal can go south. One way to keep the candidate focused on the new job and on track for a starting date is to get the candidate mentally involved in the new company before he or she actually starts. There are endless ways to do it. Here are three:

  • Call the candidate just to chat and see if there is anything they need or if they have any questions. This communication helps to keep the candidate’s head in the game, and hearing your friendly voice will make them feel comfortable that they made the right decision, in case they are being wined and dined for a possible counteroffer.
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  • Take the candidate out to lunch and bring a few coworkers as well. Make the lunch part business and part social. This needs to be fun on the social end and informational at the business end, so be sure that you bring an article, white paper, press release, spreadsheet, or anything else that will get the candidate more deeply involved in the business of what they will be doing in their new position.
  • Have the candidate stop by the office and pick the style for their new chair or the cubicle they like most. Make a few introductions and, while there, have them do a quick meeting with the team to toss around some ideas relating to their new position.

This is what mental involvement is all about. If you don’t think you have the time to do it, you need to reevaluate your thinking. If the deal goes south, it will take you lots more time to identify and close the deal with another candidate. Do you really have the time to do that? 2. Direct source candidates from other companies. This is the cornerstone of great recruiting and one of the singular characteristics that separate the best from the rest: the simple ability to pick up the phone, contact a candidate, and introduce yourself. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess, but that’s not the point. Direct sourcing is a powerful tool, and if you can do it you can be a star. Direct sourcing, or “reaching out” as my friends on the West Coast call it, is a great way to build a database, a pipeline, a referral network, and if you get lucky, a great candidate relationship. Furthermore, direct sourcing is the clearest demonstration of your ability; it catapults you above those who only use job boards, advertising, and the other anemic methodologies used by just average recruiters. As an aside, there is nothing unethical about direct sourcing, provided it is done professionally and with good taste. If your company has paid a single agency fee, they have simply engaged an outsider to do what their own recruiters could have done in the first place (hopefully) ó and that is a silly waste of money. 3. Push hiring managers. Hiring managers never move quickly enough for my New York persona. There is always something I need them to do to help me close a deal, whether it’s giving me a referral, looking at candidates I’ve interviewed, moving faster on making a decision, or partnering with me to close a deal. I drive the process hard and fast, always taking the hiring manager along for the ride in the event that I need additional firepower. I suggest you do the same. As a recruiter, you are charged with hiring candidates, but that mission does not read that you are charged with hiring candidates all by yourself! Do you think you are there to support the hiring manager? You are, but try turning that paradigm on its ear and have the hiring manager support you ó because if the hiring manager wants a new employee, working as a team will make it happen more effectively. This is more than a tool to increase your effectiveness; it is a methodology that builds relationships, increases speed to hire, and enhances credibility by delivering results. 4. Follow up with candidates after the hire. This action item is so fundamental to recruiting that I fail to understand why everyone does not simply do this as a matter of course. Despite what many recruiters think, the job is not over after the candidate joins the company. The first 30 to 45 days can be a make or break period of time for a new employee. Having that new employee leave for no good reason during that timeframe is sad and unforgivable. I strongly suggest that you touch base with the candidate about two weeks into their new job, and again about one month later. All you have to do is pull them into a conference room and ask them how they are doing in the new position, if they are having any problems, and if they need anything to perform their job more effectively. Then be very quiet and let them talk. (Third party recruiters do this right up until the guarantee runs out or the check is cashed. Get the point?) If things are good, that’s great. If there is a problem, see what you can pull together to make the problem disappear. If you really want to go to the top of the profession, do a reversal and ask the hiring manager how the candidate appears to be doing. Once again, if all is well, that’s great. If not, do what you can to pull things together and fix the problem. This type of follow up and intervention will catch small problems before they become big ones, and you will have fewer candidates who need to be replaced. Woody Allen once said, “Fifty percent of life is just showing up.” This is a good start, but imagine how different your life and career could be if you got it up to 90%? Please try these ideas; they will help catapult you to the top of our profession. Isn’t that is exactly where you belong?

Howard Adamsky 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. See twitter.com/howardadamsky if you are so inclined for the occasional tweet. Email him at H.adamsky@comcast.net


2 Comments on “4 Ways to Supercharge Your Recruiting Performance

  1. This is all good advice, but the best way to involve a candidate prior to their start date, is to have the company send them everything they have in print…information on the company’s products or services, annual report, etc.

    Reviewing this will make them MUCH more comfortable when they start. Also, only now can they see these materials through unbiased eyes. They may see things that need to be improved or corrected.

  2. Howard, I don?t often take exception to your writings, but:

    ?As an aside, there is nothing unethical about direct sourcing, provided it is done professionally and with good taste. If your company has paid a single agency fee, they have simply engaged an outsider to do what their own recruiters could have done in the first place (hopefully) ? and that is a silly waste of money.?

    Uhhh??silly?? Okay, if you see it that way. But my experience is that most people in the recruiting industry are not comfortable in the first step of ?reaching out? ? that stage when one doesn?t know who-in-the-heck to reach out to. The ?reachee? has to be identified before any reaching out can occur. Most ?reachers? are simply uncomfortable doing this:

    ?I don?t want to know how you do it/don?t get me wrong/you don?t have to tell me/but HOW do you do it, anyway??
    ?My palms get all sweaty just thinking/talking about it!?
    ?Amazing! HOW did you do this??

    are only a few of the many comments I hear in the pursuit of my names sourcing business.

    ‘Professionally and in good taste?’ Well, I guess it?s a judgment thing, and I got out of that business a long time ago!

    Our goal is to save you time and help you succeed.


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