Definition of ‘Green Recruiter’ Standards

Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Intel, and Starbucks have painted themselves in shades of green to boost their recruiting and leverage their environmental pedigree to attract talent.

These companies also ranked in the Top 10 on Newsweek‘s 2009 Green Rankings List. This list identifies their exclusive environmental ranking of America’s 500 largest corporations.

Whether you are a small or large recruiting firm, I think it is equally important to show your clients and candidates your green credentials.

Green recruiting, essentially, is the sharing of your company commitments to the environment with the candidates you are trying to recruit, and it transcends whether it is for your own firm, or for your clients. After all, third-party recruiters are companies and we all must make an active contribution to the sustainability of global resources. We take our social responsibility very seriously and are acting because it makes us feel good and is the right thing to do.

As recruiters and companies, we should continuously seek ways to set and implement best practices which reinforce our commitment to a greener environment. In our business this may mean doing the following activities in our daily operation very differently:

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  • Fly less. Recruiting firms are choosing video conferencing to increase productivity and improve efficiency. Today businesses realize that videoconferencing is a powerful green technology solution. It can be used instead of travel, and will streamline the hiring process. High-quality videoconferencing can provide a realistic candidate impression that recruiters can utilize for a nationwide interview process. We have had clients also use videoconferencing to replace the first set of in-person interviews. Implement other interviewing ideas and techniques which allow you to more effectively evaluate and assess candidate interests, qualifications and cultural fit via telephone and Webcam (Skype). We’ve been able to reduce the amount of air travel to candidate interviews and do face-to-face interviews with the top finalists for a search project. This equates to less travel, less cost, and faster search project cycle time.
  • Have candidates travel less. Invite finalists to visit you at the airport, scheduling multiple interviews on one target date whenever possible. Candidates never leave the airport (no rental cars and no ground transportation – dollars saved, reduced emissions, and no missed return flights).
  • Strive to operate in a paperless office, and automate your recruitment process. You can preview and final edit all your documents on-screen. If you use a copier see if you can re-manufacture/recycle the toner cartridges. If you need to print, use recycled paper and create double-sided copies. Scan, transmit, and store documents electronically for instant retrieval. This creates a reduced need for file folders or cabinets (less office floor space required-smaller footprint), reduced energy requirements.
  • Provide personal recycle bins for employees. Your kitchen supplies – everything from cutlery and plates to cleaning supplies can be eco-friendly. Substitute eco-friendly alternatives in your office supplies as well.
  • Use fuel-efficient hybrid cars for your transportation services.
  • Use working from home as an option for your team members. In the recruiting industry face to face meetings are still seen as the primary way to win business. Until we can get business in this country to buy-in to the idea of teleconferencing we will still continue to drive to client meetings and candidate interviews!

I recently saw an advertisement for GreenBizCheck – an environmental certification company located in Australia and New Zealand. Recruitment Extra, wholly owned by Thomson Reuters, a leader in publishing, is also teamed up with GreenBizCheck.

It caught my attention because they provide the recruitment industry with a “credible, practical environmental assessment and reporting program which provides firms with a world-leading, low cost, independent green sustainability programs” and certification packages offerings. Its website lists six recruiting organization partners and clients – all outside of the United States. Interesting!

For all of us in the recruiting world, the short-term corporate objective is to reduce our environmental impact by energy usage reduction policies, reducing reliance on paper copy, recycling of all possible waste, investing in green cars, and in carbon offsetting initiatives.

From a marketing/sales point of view, this could well be the difference between winning and losing future business.

Toby is a seasoned talent acquisition consultant, entrepreneur, coach and speaker, and has worked with clients in a variety of industries and functional areas. She possesses over fourteen years of retained executive search experience and worked at Whitney Group (Carlyle Group, Ltd.), A.T. Kearney Executive Search, Kensington International and Wujcik & Associates. She is also an AIRS Certified Internet and Social Sourcing Recruiter. Prior to executive search, Toby spent fourteen years in the health care industry and served as a senior human resources manager with a special emphasis on recruitment, compensation, and benefits.

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