A Christmas Card for Recruiters – Thank You for All That You Do

Corporate recruiters are certainly not the most praised employees in any firm. During tough times they are laid off in numbers, and even during high growth, blame is frequently heaped upon them for not producing miracles.

While external third party recruiters at least have a chance of making “big bucks,” corporate recruiters all-too-often can only be classified as under-paid and under-appreciated.

Given that it’s the holiday season, now would be the opportune time for recruiters to receive thank-you cards from the many people they’ve helped throughout the year. Unfortunately, the majority of recruiters won’t actually receive one, but if you did, here’s what I hope it would say.

A “Christmas card” from a grateful new hire…

I just wanted you to know that you are my hero!

The Christmas season is an ideal time for me to say thanks to the people who made a difference in my life. Specifically, I want to thank you, “my recruiter” for…

  • My job. No need to be subtle here, I owe you big time. I have a great job and a paycheck because of you. Because you recognized my talent and guided me through the hiring process I am no longer under-appreciated by my former firm or worse, unemployed. Both my family and I are happier and more secure thanks to your hard work and trust in my ability.
  • You were the face of the company. Applying for a job is a lonely task that is full of uncertainty, but you were my first and primary contact. Rather than being an adversary, you treated me like someone who was “special” (maybe you treat everyone that way but honestly, I felt like I was the only applicant for the job). You were always there when I had a question and you skillfully calmed me down so that I could perform at my best during the hiring process.
  • Finding me. Thank you for finding my name in the boundless confines that make up the internet. Your ability to search out details about me and learn my interests from dozens of sources was exceptional. You found me for the perfect job when no other firm did.
  • Encouraging me to apply. If it were not for your strong convincing skills, I’m not sure I would have ever taken the time to apply.
  • Sorting. Your superior sorting skills found traits, experience, and potential that others might have overlooked.
  • Coaching me. Thanks for helping me through the hiring and interview process so that my strongest attributes came through for all to see. Even though my interview skills were a little rusty, you were my champion and coach. Even when I got discouraged, your help and enthusiasm kept me going. Incidentally, even if I didn’t succeed in getting this position, I would have felt more confident looking for other positions because of the advice and guidance you gave me.
  • Offer help. You probably knew that I was nervous and uncertain after the final interview. Your exceptional sales skills convinced me to accept your firm’s offer, even though I had others. I also felt that you acted as my “champion” and your honesty and openness convinced me that you did your best to ensure that the offer I received was highly competitive and fair.
  • Onboarding. You could easily have moved on after I accepted your firm’s offer but instead, you are still available when I have questions. When you showed up and welcomed me on my first day and made sure that I got up to speed rapidly, you once again proved that you were more interested in my success than in just filling a job.

Because of your professionalism and caring, I now go out of my way to tell colleagues at other firms that this firm is a great place to work, in no small part because of you and the way you treat applicants and employees. Thanks again for all that you’ve done, I’m proud to be your co-worker.

Shifting to Hiring Managers

Hiring managers are notorious for treating recruiters and the hiring process with indifference. However, if a hiring manager were to express his or her appreciation to a recruiter in a thank-you card, here is what I hope it would look like.

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A “Christmas card” from a grateful hiring manager…

I just wanted you to know how much you impact my success!

The Christmas season is an ideal time for me to say thanks to the people that allow both my team and I to be among the most productive and innovative within our organization. Specifically, I want to thank you, “my recruiter,” for all that you do to make me successful as a manager, including…

  • My success. Although you might not realize it, I want to personally thank you for the recognition, bonuses, and promotions that I have received as a direct result of your excellent hiring. Your advice and occasional cajoling have resulted in enough great hires to almost guarantee the success of my team. The people you have identified and helped me hire have such exceptional capabilities that I routinely exceed my business goals with embarrassingly little effort.
  • Understanding the processes. Thank you for helping me understand the complex requisition, recruiting, and hiring processes. With your coaching and guidance, I have successfully avoided hiring delays and legal issues without having to read endless recruiting policies and manuals.
  • Responsiveness. Even though you have a huge requisition load and a dozen hiring managers to service, you consistently find a way to respond rapidly to my questions and calls.
  • Tolerance. Thanks for your tolerance and understanding during the many times when I let you down. That includes when I wasn’t available for interviews and for the countless times that I took “forever” to sort through the resumes you sent me. I now know that you can’t do “your job” effectively unless I as a hiring manager do “my part.”
  • Position descriptions. Thanks for your help in improving the position descriptions that I create. I realize that without your coaching and advice, many of these descriptions would be so dull and off the mark that I would have never attracted a single top candidate.
  • Employment brand. Without the strong external image and employment brand that you and your colleagues have helped to build, that few top candidates would seek out our firm. I just wanted you to know that I am continually approached at conferences and events by top talent that are already excited about and sold on our firm. Our firm is a “talent magnet” as a result of your branding efforts.
  • Innovators. My team is now one of the most innovative in the industry in no small part as a result of you. Many thanks for the numerous tips on how to successfully hire the hard-to-understand innovators I might have dismissed otherwise.
  • Global capability. I found myself lost when it came to recruiting talent from around the world. I never would have understood the complexities and the keys to success without your guidance and advice. My team now has broad global capabilities as a result of your hiring expertise.
  • Follow-up. You could have stopped helping immediately after they said yes to our offer, but fortunately for all, you didn’t.
  • Curbing my enthusiasm. Thanks for subtly but effectively pointing out the weaknesses in many of the candidates that I was enamored with. Sometimes I got so emotionally involved with a candidate that I couldn’t see their weaknesses without your help.
  • Metrics. You have successfully demonstrated to me the cost of a “bad hire” and the tremendous “value add” of a great hire. I am now no longer willing to settle for the mediocre level of talent I used to hire before you began helping me.
  • Diversity. Without your help, my team could never be as diverse and inclusive as it is today. The high degree of diversity among my team allows it to be more creative and to identify problems and opportunities from multiple perspectives. This diversity also helps my team understand the needs of our diverse customers, which further improves our products and services.
  • Help with the generations. Thanks for coaching me about the differences between the many different “generations” that candidates come from. You helped me understand their different needs and what was necessary in order to land and keep them on my team.
  • Sourcing. Without your advice, I would probably still be running “newspaper want ads.” Thanks for educating me about the new approaches to recruiting, including social networks, blogs and direct sourcing using Boolean search strings. Without them, I would have missed most of the “best and brightest” candidates you sourced. The percentage of qualified candidates that you presented to me was so high that I could have picked up a resume when blindfolded and still ended up with a superstar.
  • Closing. We have been able to land so many exceptional candidates that I could never have “sold” on my own with my limited sales knowledge and abilities.

I also wanted to apologize for all the times during the last year that I might not have taken hiring as seriously as I should have. Thanks to your efforts, I now realize that in business, just like in sports, even a mediocre manager can succeed when they are provided with a recruiter and a hiring process that continually provides exceptional talent. I now confidently enter into new business and product areas knowing you will somehow “magically” find and land the exceptional talent I require in that field. Thanks again for making me look good.

Final Thoughts

Even though you might never actually receive a single “thank you” card like the two illustrated here, it is still important for you to recognize the many positive impacts that recruiters can have on individuals and hiring managers.

Great recruiters somehow find a way to effectively communicate their many contributions, so that applicants, employees, and managers understand and appreciate each of the many ways in which recruiters can positively impact their lives and their jobs.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on staging.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.



5 Comments on “A Christmas Card for Recruiters – Thank You for All That You Do

  1. John, thank you so much for this! I had just read another “corporate recruiting/HR” bashing comment made by a TPR in one of the ERE groups to which I belong and then read this wonderful article. We aren’t perfect, but I am proud to be a corporate recruiter and manager. As one of our sometimes biggest critics, I appreciate your taking the time to acknowledge the value we add. Happy Holidays!

  2. John – a well timed article to be sure. Many are so concerned with what may be wrong about next year that we forget to take the time to appreciate what is right with right now.

    I know I didn’t get into, nor do I stay in, Recruiting for the adoration and public commendation for what we do. After the better part of two decades now I still love recruiting.

    Best wishes to all for the coming years. This business cycle will shift and lets hope we are well prepared for those times as well.

  3. Wow — I almost got a tear reading this article and then remembered it wasn’t real. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement, Dr. Sullivan. I’m not afraid to admit that I need positive feedback now and then. It’s easy to say the end result is the reward but appreciation is good for the soul.

    Happy New Year!!

  4. Thank you for this posting! I to am guilty of occasionally desiring praise. But I think you have highlighted something far more poignant in this article.

    Whether we are in house or 3rd party we are ultimately service providers. As I read this article I found areas I could improve in. I always figure if I am not improving I must be dead. =) So on with the improvements!

    I took a moment to go through these items and really ask myself if I would deserve that praise. Or do I still have some room to grow. Would all of my managers or candidates agree with those statements? If not then what steps can I put into place to ensure this level of contentment. I know there are the few positions who had Mt Vesuvious blow up in the middle of the recruitment process. But there had to be things that I could learn from those. I think this is a great reflection and action planning tool.

    Thank you for the thinker!

  5. Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.
    – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Thanks, the exchequer of the poor.
    – William Shakespeare

    Happy 2009!

    Keith “You keep the praise, I’ll keep the money!” Halperin

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