9 Ways to Restore the Human Recruiting Experience

“Send me a text!”

“I’ll text you!”

“Visit my webpage.”

“See the attached file…”

“Please electronically sign the contract and email it back to me.”

“Apply online.”

 “’Like’ me on Facebook, Twitter, whatever…”

“Join my “GoToMeeting.”

It’s not at all unusual for new technology to produce crude results.

In our case, new technology is opening the door to weak communication skills.

Few stop to consider that all these impersonal communications may be endangering our work!

Social media, blogging, mobile, and Internet technology (in general) are hobbling opportunities that once were most fulfilled face-to-face or ear-to-ear.

When we venture out to meet someone many of us are filled with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension.

Apprehension because part of the experience of meeting a particular person lies in the unknown and anticipation because at the core of our human being-ness lies a social animal.

It’s the apprehension that’s winning out in this techno race of assumptions.

It’s winning out because for many of us it “feels” far safer to have that wall — that veil — between others and ourselves.

The fear of rejection and failure is (greatly) diminished with technology.

Now many of us seem aloof and withdrawn in our dealings with one another and the bottom line is — candidates notice!

If you believe we’re on the dawning cusp of another possible boom (as I do) you may want to consider that “in the old days” what brought us to booms was personal, one-on-one relationships that mattered to both sides.

I’m willing to bet that it’s the recruiters (and sourcers) who are “talking” to people who are finding the most success.

I think many of them here will speak for themselves backing me up on this.

When we’re communicating electronically only, there is almost no obligation to the receiver of all your good news to reciprocate anything to you — is there?

How many times do you send emails to someone, expecting a reply (or response — any kind of response!) and receive nothing?

More of you than I bet are willing to admit.

Texts: same thing — easy to ignore.

Blog entries — who’s reading them? Really? You? How many times do you read your own blog entry? Feels kinda’ lonesome, don’t it, Dove?

Let me tell you how to make an impression.

Return a candidate’s calls. You’ll likely be the first (and only) one to do so!

Call a potential candidate and surprise them. You’re more than likely to be the first (and only) recruiter to have ever done that in their experience. (Just don’t call one off LinkedIn — you sure as heck won’t surprise those soiled goods.)

Walk in to a company’s main lobby and ask to speak with the head of staffing. I’ll guarantee you’ll be the only one who’s done that in the last 10 years!

STOP sharing everything openly online — enough with that stupid word “transparency.”

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We’re not doing anyone any good with all our goody-two-shoes FREE blathering.

We’re oversaturating the market with information and misinformation. We’re part of the problem — leading others to believe getting a job is a matter of comparing this one and that one to that one and this one online.

Information fatigues.

Recruiters (and some sourcers) are routinely texting and emailing information that is sensitive and precious — made much less so in the public’s eye (and experience) by its cheap distribution.

We give candidates (and potential candidates) the idea they have all the information they need to make one of the most important decisions in their lives.

They don’t and they can’t.

They most assuredly can’t without your help.

Why are you taking yourself out of the loop?

My advice for meeting face-to-face with someone:

Consider your appearance. Some “casual” has become far too casual in the last few years. Lose the flip-flops and pajama pants. Dress seasonally and respectfully for whomever you’ll be meeting with.

Schedule in-the-flesh meetings. when you can meet face-to-face. When you can’t use a service like GoToMeeting. It’s an electronic solution, sure but you have the opportunity to “see” and be “seen.” It’s an opportunity to sell yourself and your abilities.

Forget meeting at the local Starbucks. Too noisy, too little privacy, too many distractions, too impersonal.

Schedule your time (and theirs). Set your expectations for the time you’d like to spend with them before you meet.  People are less reluctant to meet when they understand the time commitment.

Share your market knowledge in person at first. They’ll pay more attention to your emails and texts later.

Insist on commitment. Explain you’re running a business — not a charity. They’ll respect you more.

Qualify the candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have a non-compete. Explore their feelings about relocating. Talk about salary. Get the scary stuff over fast and first. They’ll welcome your interest and this will help create commitment, loyalty, and trust in you in your candidates.

Phone calls and follow-up. Set yourself apart from the madding crowd with this one.

Almost nobody else is doing it! Once your relationship is established, call them regularly (once a week is good.) It only takes a few minutes — less than five, usually.

Do Not Be Afraid of Rejection and Failure.

That is all.

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!


17 Comments on “9 Ways to Restore the Human Recruiting Experience

  1. Excellent Maureen.
    Only other item i would add to restore the human recruiting experience is to fire 99% of those currently working in recruiting for a company.

  2. Good stuff Maureen. I’ve worked in healthcare recruiting for almost 20 years and automation has made it practically impossible to build relationships with hiring managers. Does anyone remember relationships?? You know, from before the 1990′?? VMC’s like Bounty Jobs has made it even worse, adding a middleman to the mix, muddying the water even more. I have experienced that most HR departments are understaffed and not trained in full service recruiting, but yet HR and recruiting are usually one in the same. Human Resources?? Maybe it’s time for a name change. Maybe it should now be The Managing People through Electronic Resources Department.

  3. Very true. Not just in recruiting but socializing period. Look at neighborhoods and if there are any built-in garages, you’ll see them open in the am and pm when people get home and that’s it. Personalization has gone to the Internet.

    While I continue technology for what it is (a means of sourcing and getting the word out), I keep it personal, direct, HONEST (too many try to fool people into thinking it’s a personal note) and THEN if it comes to it, take it to the phone and make up for lost time.

  4. @ Ty: Interesting comment.
    As the saying goes:
    “Except for candidates, hiring managers, and other recruiters: recruiting would be perfect!”



  5. These are really great points about the issues of relying entirely on technology instead of human contact. While technology is too important to ignore, you also shouldn’t do away with traditional face-to-face meetings. In fact, maybe you could find a way to combine technology with a more personal touch. New recruiting technology like video interviews are bridging the gap between traditional in person meetings and the ease of technology.

  6. Maureen, as usual, I love reading your articles! Old-school recruiting has made me successful. I do actually pick up the phone, return calls and network at all times. Linkedin was great for awhile but half the recruiters have made their profiles anonymous, last names are now an initial and people have stopped responding to basic networking requests. I will continue with my old school recruiting, it actually works.

  7. Agree the “human” needs to be put back into human resources. Too many corporate recruiters use their ATS like a wall rather than a tool for sourcing & engagement. I especially agree with the comments about “transparency” and over-sharing; this is all hype & crap IMO.

  8. Good stuff. I have been saying that the piece of human engagement is a lost art, those who can do it well will succeed on all levels as it is the most important form of communication and will always be.

  9. Maureen writes the truth and she writes it from her heart.

    So much of what I see as recruiting today is embarrassing and it makes me cringe.

    I thank you Maureen for the time you take to remind of of what good recruiting really is.

    Wendy Jones, you are correct in your comment. Who could possibly disagree?

  10. What a great article. Another ‘pearler’ which frustrates me is when you hear recruiters calling clients and candidates only to ask, “Did you get my email?”! If you are comfortable enough to call and check, then please just pick up the phone in the first instance.

    Here’s a tip: At the end of every day, count the number of emails in your “sent items”. Then count the number of calls in your “outbound calls” log. If the number of emails exceeds the number of phone calls, then you haven’t been providing your candidates with a personalised service.

  11. I understand the jist of this article and agree in many instances. As a matter of fact, we should apply the advice of the “human touch” to our private lives as we continue to ignore our very own neighbors.

    I work from home and have done so over the past 3 plus years. It’s obviously for me. One of my best weapons for filling jobs and doing it w/ the best and in a timely basis is by using mass emails. I know, sounds like something a jr recruiter would do (I have 17 yrs exp now). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t try to personalize it and try to make it sound like I”m sending them a personal note. I also don’t give a job description..that’s right. I offer what I refer to as a “teaser” w/ brief yet relevant information. If they are interested, I ask for a reply stating their interest.

    So in closing, yes, personalize your recruiting tactics…both via email and via phone. Use what you have to the best of your ability.

  12. To Michael Wiley’s point, a well crafted, short mass email can be highly productive. It is most effective when the people you are emailing are all in the niche in which you recruit. They likely will not put you in the spam folder because they think that an email from you one day might in fact be something they are interested in.

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