Recruiting Can Be Really Hard Unless You Master the Simple Things

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 12.39.04 PMEvery successful recruiter that I have ever met does some very simple things well. When a requisition goes weeks and weeks without being filled, it’s the product of a fundamental break-down of a simple process.

The recruiting process typically breaks down in one or more of the following areas:

  • Savvy — The foundation for any recruiter’s success is their ability to forge productive relationships with the hiring managers they support and the candidates that they submit.
  • Sourcing — If you are not looking in the right places for the kind of talent you need, you are going to have a hard time filling a req. This is kinda like “fishing where the fish aren’t biting.” Some recruiters fail to put enough effort here, which leads to slim candidate pipelines and highly dissatisfied hiring managers.
  • Selection — I am sure we have all experienced the frustration that comes from presenting strong, capable candidates only to have the hiring manager or interview team pass on them. When asked why, more times than not, hiring managers usually provide some subjective reasoning that falls in a range between “I would like to see more people” to “I just wasn’t excited.”
  • Selling — You need to effective “sell” your company. I am referring to consultative selling, not “used car” selling. (No offense meant; I once sold used cars). Consultative selling is clearly understanding a candidate’s relevant strengths and their motivation to change jobs. The ability to map their strengths with a requisition’s needs and present an company, culture, and position that matches a candidate’s motivation factors is taking a consultative sales approach.

Take a simplistic approach, but use applied science to optimize the hiring process.

Effective recruiting happens when the recruiting process is executed like a “project.” The Project Management Institute defines a project as “a temporary group activity designed to produce a unique product, service or result.”

With recruiting, it’s all about the result. Managing the recruiting process can similarly fall into the same five groups for project management:

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  • Initiating = recruiter and hiring manager kickoff meeting
  • Planning = Outlining the sourcing strategy, defining milestones, and identifying interview team (selecting interviewers who actually know what they are doing) with their respective focus areas. Also,  defining objective criteria by which applicant qualifications are assessed.
  • Executing = This is where the recruiter is making good things happen.
  • Monitoring  and controlling = After two weeks, do you know how effective your sourcing strategy is? What adjustments need to be made to support your efforts?
  • Closing = Ensuring that the candidate says “Yes” to the offer.

The recruiting process breaks down when:

  • There is no clear sourcing strategy.
  • The hiring manager/team has no objective measures to assess candidates .
  • Simple recruiter functions aren’t being executed (e.g. contacting candidates, using employee referrals, understanding candidate career objectives and motivations).

If you want to effectively fill positions, do three things:

  1. Have an effective sourcing strategy.
  2. Execute your recruiting process like a project. Make sure that the stakeholders (interviewers) know what they are doing and have objective measures by which to assess the talent you present.
  3. Know how to sell.

Keep things simple and have success!

Reggie Pendleton, CEO and founder of Acuityhire, has 19 years of technical recruiting experience, doing work for Microsoft, Disney Internet Group, Intuit, Ask.com, Warner Bros, Clearwire, Airware, and most recently Google.

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