Use the Old Recruiting Tools You Were Given

Recruitment is simple. Organizations should have one defined objective — to locate, attract, and hire top talent. However, we have made talent acquisition one of the most complex areas of human resources. As a result, strategies are skewed and talent acquisition professionals are bogged down chasing the latest trends and fads instead of focusing on core fundamentals and practices.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.26.51 AMRecently I participated in an HR case study with a leading organization that specializes in deriving fact-based analysis and findings. The topic of this particular case study was “What are companies doing to be successful and to overcome recruiting obstacles.” As I sat there and contemplated my answer … a series of conferences, conversations, articles, meetings, and case studies flashed through my mind. I went blank.

I politely apologized to the interviewer and asked her not to take offense to my answer, but here it is: “What is anybody doing that’s truly new and generating overwhelming results? Are we as an industry spending too much time on alternative sourcing methods rather than sticking to the tried-and-true tools that have always achieved results? 

I have attended numerous conferences including ERE, SHRM, local HR symposiums, etc., and it seems like we are consistently discussing the same topics and methods over and over. While it is great to be creative and up to date on technology, trying to think too far outside the typical recruiting box will lead you astray from your main goals. While these alternative methods may yield some results, it is the proven and very basic recruiting methods that generates the greatest results. In fact, what has brought us great success internally has been to stick to and apply basic recruiting tools and fundamentals that we were taught early in our careers — the human factors  that will never be replaced.

Those tools are: Facebook — NOT; LinkedIn Recruiter seats — NOPE; fancy ATS — NOT EVEN; mass job board postings — NO WAY; Pinterest Page — REALLY?

While all these mentioned tools are nice to haves, that there are certain tools in this business that you cannot buy or replace and those are: common sense, simple decency, an engaging personality, a positive outlook, the ability to build and cultivate relationships, and the natural ability to be personable and approachable. And through observations and gathering what I have learned through conferences and networking — you either have them or you don’t. Combine these soft tools with other tools such as the telephone and referral gathering and you too can be one heck of an effective recruiter. The recipe is really this easy.

Case in point is an email my good friend Cletus received from a recruiter after he applied to a job; I share portions of the email with you verbatim:

Thank you for your application. Can you please answer the following:

Article Continues Below
  •  What hourly rate are you seeking? (Please do not answer “negotiable” or “open.” This is required)
  • How soon can you start a position if offered?
  • Do you have a cover letter that you can provide indicating why this position is a good match for you?

I will go over your resume and contact you if you are a good match for this position. I do need to ask that you do not call to follow up on the status of your application, and ask that you be patient and understanding knowing that I will call you if you are qualified for the position.

If we dissect this email, there is zero engagement and relationship building and nothing personable what so ever. First off, money is a very sensitive subject — why would the recruiter ask this in an email and why can’t one say negotiable? Second, when can you start? Does this recruiter not know that changing jobs is one of the most stressful tasks one will encounter in their lifetime and there are many variables that need to be talked through? Third, the applicant had to resell themselves through a cover letter — why did you contact them in the first place? Did you not even take the time to read the resume? Lastly, now this recruiter is telling Cletus not to call her — don’t call me, I will call you.

Cletus called me and asked my opinion and I advised him to do what is in his best interest — but it if were me, I would email her back and tell her where to go. Before all the naysayers come out of the woods, if this is your attitude and method as the email reads, then you are making excuses, and frankly, I don’t want to hear it. I live it, my team lives it, and we are successful in building relationships, engaging applicants and candidates, providing value to all and finally successful in locating quality candidates and filling our positions with top talent. None of us here on the talent acquisition team are the smartest in the world and none of us possess any supernatural abilities. Rather what we are is engaging, personable, honest, humane, value driven, and active.

So the moral of this story is — don’t be like this mystery recruiter and have an army of Cletus’s angry at you, let down, frustrated, and disappointed. Take 5 minutes and call Cletus and get to know him; find out what makes him tick and just how big his heart is. You may find out that he has a two-year-old boy, he is recently married, he served in the Navy … you may find out you are getting more than you bargained for in Cletus; and lastly maybe … just maybe … you may impact someone’s life without even knowing it and build a long-term relationship which is what is really important in this lifetime of ours. Pull out those old tools, dust them off, and chip off the rust if you need to. I promise you will become more successful than you imagined.

Morgan Hoogvelt currently serves as director, global talent acquisition for ESAB, a leading engineering company. Drawing on his expertise in human capital strategy, executive search, RPO, essential hiring practices, candidate sourcing, Internet recruiting, and social networking, he provides organizations targeted, best-of-class solutions, and employment branding strategies that help his clients meet the challenges of recruiting, technology, and retaining and rewarding top talent. He is also passionate about delivering excellent customer service and building positive, productive relationships. He can be contacted at


49 Comments on “Use the Old Recruiting Tools You Were Given

  1. “What is anybody doing that’s truly new and generating overwhelming results?” I can give you an answer to that with a concept @janzzcom. This is a REAL semantic matching skills platform that is instant and multilingual. Semantic means accurate results for Job AND Talent seekers. Instant matching means you can tweak your offers in real time. Semantic matching means you get the results that you are searching for…no sponsored ads or results that share one irrelevant word in your search criteria. #janzz is a new concept based on the dating site phenomenon and then takes it further. We know we save time and Money in the Initial recruiting process which is why we also totally agree with your further Points concerning a personal Approach….that would follow on from our approach afterwards, once we had found your shortlist for you. Would you contact me to learn more about the Vision we have for future Job markets and our fight against discrimination by using anonymous applications?

  2. Morgan, Well said. It seems things are coming back to basics

    Also, since I respect this website, sorry JOhn Donaldson. I thought, hey, a group member is offering a potentially new tool. I took a look, did 3 searches, nada, zero. Please group, do not waste your time with it.

  3. @Alan can I ask what criteria you entered – could you explain what you did so I can look into that? You have my email above if you wish to describe what happened – this is obviously a concern for me as I know it works and is far more effective than other sites. Your help would be very productive.

  4. Thanks Morgan.
    Re: your very interesting comment about why the same old worn-out discussions and solutions are proposed, just like old, “turned” wine being poured from brand-new bottles:
    Here are some possible reasons-

    1) Because that’s what people paying lots of money want to hear. They don’t want to be challenged and made to question the usually inefficient recruiting systems in which they work (or particularly for the REALLY expensive conferences) preside over. They’d much rather listen to slick hucksters with high-level connections ready to sell the latest (or in this case: NOT the latest) recruiting snake oil or “magic bullet” to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” of their companies’ ill-conceived, over-blown, grossly-dysfunctional hiring practices…

    2) If it’s not on their dime, I bet a lot of attendees really don’t care what the speakers say. They’re there to network, see their friends and colleagues, get away from the office/boss, maybe have some fun in the convention city, etc.

    3) There are always newbies for whom the tired clichés seem like pearls of wisdom. (Oh, for those long-gone days of yore!)

    My question for you Morgan is: If you’ve heard all this **** before, and know you’ll be hearing it again, why do YOU keep going to these things?

    On a different topic here:

    There’s a saying in my contract recruiting world-
    “If you have time to build a relationship with a candidate, you don’t have enough reqs.” Also, as a candidate, I don’t want a relationship with a recruiter,I want a ****** job NOW!
    I found the letter to be polite, professional, and to the point. As a recruiter, if I see someone who looks potentially interesting, it’s my job to obtain relevant information as quickly and efficiently as possible, including (and especially) salary, availability, and start date. I consider the reluctance to promptly answer these questions when politely and professionally addressed to be a potentially serious flag.


    Keith “Not Being Paid to Say the Same-Old, Same-Old” Halperin

  5. I am so happy this got posted. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Hoogvelt’s position. Discussions about social, big-data, predictive recruiting is clogging the wires and giving folks the impression that these tools are panacea and will remove the need to ever engage candidates. Not sure where it got lost, but we only win when an employer AND a candidate accept to work together. So you still have to reach out, relate, and overall, care!

    Mr Hoogvelt’s timely piece reminds us of the true value add of the recruiting business, the human component.

  6. Good comment by Morgan. I have hired literally several hundred people as the line manager (“recruiting manager”) and I never had a problem with spending at least a decent 1-2 minutes per CV during the first round of screening. That’s two working days for hundreds of applications. After that I had perhaps 10-20 really interesting candidates ready for further screening and interviewing. A new employee equals an investment of several million USD (depending on how you calculate it), why couldn’t I spend a few days in order to make sure I have the right candidate for the right job? Where does all this BS about “6 seconds per CV” come from? And finally: After my selection process was completed, each and every applicant got a “thank you” note (sent by my assistant). Why is this not possible anymore?

  7. @ Alan: Thanks. I haven’t been hiding, though….

    @ Manny: Caring? Care enough to be polite, professional, and do a good job: yes indeed. Care about the multitudes of (potential) candidates as distinct individuals? Emotionally exhausting, time-consuming, and rather unseemly, IMHO.

    @ Matti: “Why is this not possible anymore?” Because there is no incentive for making sure each and every applicant (and not just the well-connected or highly-desirable ones) has a polite, professional, and perhaps even pleasant application experience and no disincentive for not doing so. Companies won’t even pay $2.00/hr for a Virtual Candidate Care Assistant to make sure this is done, and the best we can seem to do to encourage companies to do so is to have them get the equivalent of a nice little gold star for doing what every company should be doing as a matter of course.

    No Cheers,

  8. “First off, money is a very sensitive subject — why would the recruiter ask this in an email and why can’t one say negotiable?”

    Because why would you want to put effort into hiring someone who is way outside the scale you’re working with? If I have a position which pays 45-50K annualy, I do not find people who are or recently were making 70K all that attractive for it. First, why are they willing to take such a drastic pay cut? Second, can they maintain such a drastic pay cut? The answer to the first is usually because they need a job, and the answer to the second is almost always no. People tend to maximize their income, very few people live below their means, and many live above their means. As such hiring such a person requires a massive personal readjustment on their part which they usually give up on the second a job comes along that offers something near their original pay, meaning I just invested time and money in hiring someone who is in circumstances that would lead to him being way more likely to jump ship before we get our investment in him back. Why should I pursue such a person? As the recruiter I get to ask first. If they ask me, I’ll tell them the range for the job. However, I fail to see why I should spend time avoiding one of the most critical subjects: pay.

    “Second, when can you start? Does this recruiter not know that changing jobs is one of the most stressful tasks one will encounter in their lifetime and there are many variables that need to be talked through?”

    The question is merely asking when, if a position is offered, would the person be willing to start. A perfectly acceptable answer: “Within two weeks of receiving an offer.” My god, the stress…

    “Third, the applicant had to resell themselves through a cover letter — why did you contact them in the first place? Did you not even take the time to read the resume?”

    Definitely a fair point.

    “Lastly, now this recruiter is telling Cletus not to call her — don’t call me, I will call you.”

    Unforuntately, due to the logistics of actually taking and receiving calls, and the terminally understaffed situation in most recruiting and HR departments, this is a necessity. If I just took the calls I get from agencies on a daily basis trying to ‘build a relationship’ with me, I would never be off the phone and actually able to interview people. If I took the calls from every candidate who applied and just wanted to confirm I got their resume, despite the confirmation that gets sent out automatically, I’d never leave the office. Ever. Time is a valuable commodity, we need to spend it wisely, which means recruiting thought leaders need to stop judging every automated response and lack of a ten minute phone call as some intensely personal insult to the character of the candidate. It isn’t, and it is a reality in this world of massive amounts of people looking for work. I need to talk to the people that I need to talk to, not every single person who applies or comes my way by referral or otherwise.

    I had 126 applications in my inbox when I came back from the weekend. A five minute call to each, not accounting for phone tag and any off call work, and those who want to speak longer, is around ten hours of my time. In other words if I called them all back to back and got an answer and did not pause or do anything else at all, it’s a bit more than a full day. And the vast majority of those people are not and will not be employeed here, ever. This approach works in an agency, or in a high volume hiring situation with various positions to fill because openings can be essentially manufactured. Lower volume, low turnover positions are different, and I can’t spend five minutes assuring some guy who has spent the last five years working at Burger King that, yes, indeed, I did receive his resume in response to our ad for a Marketing Manager, and I wanted to assure him how happy I was he applied.

    If you don’t want to hear naysayers then don’t post your thoughts. It seems once more the agency rectuiers are asserting their methods are the one and only true way of doing things. That is not the case, that is not the reality, and people in different environments need to use different methods. When I was in an agency the phone was my best friend. Now I simply do not have the time, nor is it my interest to build a relationship with someone who I may hire in two years when the time and effort needed to do that takes away from more immediate and pressing needs I have to deal with right now. I can not and will not tell my manager that I need t invest at least 25%, and likely more of my time, talking to people we’re never going to hire, and can tell as much without having to talk to them. In an agency, you’re building a relationship because that capital is much more easily used. In a company, it simply does not work that way unless the company is willing to make the investment and allow their recruiting ‘team’ to act more as an agency would act. Most are not willing to make that investment, and most don’t have teams. They have one person. Criticizing that person for using some automation to make themselves more productive is more than a little ridiculous.

    And all that relationship building can have its downside. I recently spent a lot of time with two sales candidates for a position that eventually was put on hold. It sucked, but I told them both. We left it at a follow up time, when I spoke to them again and told them there was no movement and I’d need to get back to them. Each one called the next day. And the next. And the next, and emailed, and one got my personal email, and my personal cell, and left multiple message, along with over 50 missed calls on my work and personal cell, and… it goes on to this day, this position was earlier this year.

    Really glad I built those relationships.

    I will take the articles on Ere more seriously once people start to acknowledge there’s more than one way to skin a cat, that agency recruiting is only part of the game and one that lost market share to corporate recruiters because most agencies are over priced resume churners who do nothing more than a basic corporate recruiter would do; post an ad and wait, and when they stop assuming every attempt to automate something is some Orwellian attempt to dehumanize the entire population of the planet. I have nothing against Cletus, but if I’m looking for a guy who can do advanced CAD work and Cletus is a Customer Service Rep, and I don’t have anything along those lines, I’m probably not going to call him. Granted, I’m also not going to ask him to submit a cover letter either, which I think is a stupid move on the part of the person who fashioned that response. But that’s the only really objectionable thing I saw in the sample you gave, and quite frankly indicative of a larger issue and dysfunctional process that likely goes well beyond the person who initially set it up.

  9. Morgan – couldn’t agree more with your sentiment of sticking to the fundamentals (wrote a similar blog last month []…).

    With that said, if there are communication improvements beyond the telephone that increases the oppty for enhanced human interactions and relationship building we would be foolish not to make use of them.

    Our work is consistently introducing new challenges to folks who are unaware they exist…and with the ever increasing bombardment of content people aren’t responding to the phone calls and VCM’s with the same response level of just a few years ago.

    Without new human factor enhancements the message doesn’t always get delivered to the intended audience. Top 20% performers miss out and we are always on the lookout for methods to intersect with them…

    The problem I see is that those who fall for programmatic methods of connecting seem to also want a programmatic method of recruiting (as you Cletus example illustrates) and this is where the problems begin…

  10. Keith, Richard and K.C,
    My guess is we all agree Morgan deserves kudos for encouraging us all to be, “engaging, personable, honest, humane, value driven, and active.”

    I thank you for what I hear as the “real-world” context on the matter.

    Now, if we could only get Matti’s assistant to help us with all those personal thank-you notes, we’ll get out of the office on time tonight.

  11. @ Richard: Thanks again for elaborating and “keepin’ it real”.

    @ KC: I’m not quite sure I get your “programmatic methods of recruiting” term, but if I understand you correctly, as an applicant, I’d much prefer a quick, efficient, impersonal system that gets me a good job to an empathetic and friendly recruiter who doesn’t.

    @ Dwight: I can’t speak for the others but I give Morgan kudos for writing good articles, and not for encouraging us to be: “thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, etc.” Perhaps it’s my nature, but I don’t care what someone “is”, I just care how they act toward me and those I care about. That’s in part why I so much distrust those organizations that state the loftiest principles- they usually fall far short of them- “‘Walk’ their talk? They don’t even ‘crawl’ their talk…”


  12. @ALL – thanks for your feedback and comments.

    @Keith – I don’t keep “going to these things”, haven’t gone in a while and no immediate future plans. This article was written on previous experiences. Also your saying in your business “If you have time to build a relationship with a candidate, you don’t have enough reqs” is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Clearly a transactional model and short sighted versus that of long term value. And glad you found the letter to be good, to each their own. I just know what works for me, the value my way works and the benefits I have reaped and continue to reap. There is this powerful item in recruiting called referrals. I doubt you will get referrals with a letter like this – pretty lame.

    @Richard – with the length of your post, I can see you writing this same email out.

    @K.C. – you said “if there are communication improvements beyond the telephone that increases the oppty for enhanced human interactions and relationship building we would be foolish not to make use of them.” There is only one thing better than a phone conversation and that is a face to face meeting, nothing else trumps this now – nor will it ever!

    And everyone drop the “no time” b.s. I would be willing to bet we all the the time to check Facebook, your fantasy football scores, COMMENT ON THIS ERE BLOG, etc.

  13. Many – or perhaps all – people in the business know that the ATS screening will leave lots of very competent and potential people out of the following phases of the selection process. Including current or future managers who perhaps missed the right “keyword” from their CV. Apart from good manners, that is in my opinion the most important reason why especially professional recruiters should treat every applicant with respect. Next year the applicant who didn’t get any kind of answer from you might be in a position where he is selecting an agency to help him hire 50 people to a new branch office. And if you spit on the face of this guy now, he will surely remember that. And all the people participating in this discussion chain can afford an assistant who sends all the messages you want to all the right candidates. You don’t need to borrow mine for that. Phone calls are a different story, depending what your segment is (staffing Burger King restaurants or doing executive search) you obviously need to apply a different strategy. But every person deserves at least some kind of answer, a polite one. Even if it is the standard “thank you” note confirming a) that the application has been received and possibly b) the selection is over and unfortunately you were not selected this time.

  14. @Morgan, Firstly I should apologise for my zeal in promoting our new tool. I hadn’t read your article in its entirety and missed the essence of your point about using the truly human Qualities that make you the professionals that you are in this highly emotional industry. I became distracted by your dissatifaction(?) frustration(?) annoyance(?) with current online tool. This we share, particularly as a one time Job seeker having applied for over 200 Jobs before finally landing this current role. I totally applaud your call to action in applying human characteristics more. There are instances however when even this would be impossible and I refer to a recent conversation I had with a recruiter from Volvo in Spain. Within 24 hours of posting a Job advert he received 20,000 applications. Furthermore, BMW each year receives over 200,000 unsolicited applications and I believe Google recently had 24,000 applications for a global posting. In these cases I believe human contact and Attention is impossible.

    @Alan thanks for replying. I see that in the ONET Taxonomy, Commercial Real Estate Analyst is not actually a Standard Job title. I believe its one of those plethora of cases where new terms evolve and have not been standardised yet. Sites such as Careerbuilder, Indeed and Monster have them because that is the title that is entered in a job offer and Standard string search does the rest. When aiming for accuracy in Job searches an ontology is necessary. We have spent 30,000 hours building ours and have 18,000 Job titles and we accept that we still have far to go – These three that Alan have discovered for example. I have notified our programmers to include your 3 exact descriptions.
    In the meantime I tried several variations (as this is normally the case when accuracy is the target) and recovered the following results from our current ontology:
    For “Commercial Real Estate Analyst” I entered “Real Estate” in occupation then the specialisation “Analyst” and recovered 1800 US results.
    For “Mortgage Broker” I entered “Broker” then “Mortgages” and recovered 2754 US results
    Please compare these with the results with other jobsites to see how the accuracy compares. I hope this explains how some minor effort is required to find true matching and admit that there are still holes in the infinite combinations that companies have when trying to describe a Job description.

    @All I apologise to you all for taking up this space and your attention in explaining this. I do so purely because I am convinced that JANZZ is not a waste of time and does represent the future of Job searching.

    @Morgan finally I promise to read your articles more closely next time 🙂

  15. While I agree with the sentiments of your point, I think it’s important for us to remember that a recruiter can only be as effective as their organization allows them to be. If we allow recruiters to be recruiters, rather than admin assistants, trainers, report writers, etc. then what you suggest is more than doable. When I dissect this email I see a recruiter screaming “I’m overloaded, I have no time to breathe and though I’d like to do this a different way, my organization has prevented me from doing so because they have me doing the work of 2 or 3 people to increase their own bottom line”. Call it an excuse if you want but it’s really just a fact. Perhaps the next blog should be titled “As a manager or leader of an organization, how can you help your recruiters be more effective and enable them to go back to the basics”.

  16. @Richard – Well said Richard! I’ve always wondered how people say they have “not time” yet they spend hours on ERE, RecruitingBlogs, LinkedIn, etc. I personally believe that some people cannot manage their time well.

    @Lindsay – Your first point is correct in that recruiters can only be as effective as their organization allows them to be – bravo. But I disagree with your perceived “fact” of overload. We all want to be excellent at what we do – and if you are not being allowed to…then leave. Go find a place in this world (and there are plenty of them) that will allow you to focus your time on locating top talent, in building relationships, etc. As a recruiter you help other people find their dream jobs – so apply your own skills and find your own.

  17. @ Morgan,

    Incorrect, I would never ask someone to submit a cover letter if I didn’t intend to meet with them. I wouldn’t ask them to submit one, period, as a matter of fact. I hate cover letters. I hate employment applications. In fact, generally I can’t stand anything that smacks of redundancy or uselessness. I would talk to them and get that information myself from them.

    A recruiter who can contact everyone in such a way, thanks to available resources and backing from their superiors, should do so. Most recruiters can’t because they don’t have the resources and don’t have the backing. Since most of us are not in the position to be able to maintain such contact, we must prioritize which means raising the bar on who we talk to based on the resume. There are diamonds in the mud, you are correct about that. To continue the analogy, not all potential diamond mines are exploited because the investment of time and money would not yield an ROI due to opportunity cost. The return has to justify the investment, and has to at least equal and preferably beat the ROI of alternatives before it’s worth it.

    As for automated replies, mine simply states thanks for applying, we will be in touch with you if we think you’re qualified. And yes, there is a request not to call. That request is in there for the specific reason that I can’t spend my entire day on the phone, which I would do and in fact did do for a short while when all contact information was included in all our ads. I had so many calls from persistent candidates and recruiting agencies I had to start hanging up on people just to make it to interviews on time. I still get upwards of 30 calls a day from agencies alone trying to give me free lunches to ‘discuss our hiring needs.’

    The email you mentioned is indicative of a dysfunctional recruiting process, specifically the request to submit a letter when the person doesn’t even know if they’re going to get a call. I agree, that is stupid and probably easily fixed, unless it’s being demanded from someone not familiar with the process but higher up in the company who thinks it’s a great idea. It is not unusual to find such situations behind poor recruiting practices.

    Lindsay is right, when you’re tasked with a ton of other duties that are related, but not strictly so, to recruiting, this puts limits on your time. Someone here once wrote that there are recruiters and recruiting managers, and I guess I would fall into the latter category. However, like most managers I am a working manager which means I have to do the management and the recruiting. Not all companies can have VPs and Directors for every potential function.

    As for the length of my response, it was no longer than your article. If the length of my response is indicative of a dysfunctional recruiting process on my part, then the length of your article is indicative of your unfamiliarity with the real world challenges facing most recruiters. I have a tendency toward lengthy posts, it’s nothing personal.

    My only point in any of my comments is that solutions need to be appropriate for the situation each individual finds themselves in, and that is only possible to assess on a case by case basis. I would never tell anyone that my way of doing things is necessarily the way they should do things unless I knew exactly what they were dealing with on a day to day basis. Doing otherwise would be akin to telling a carpenter to always use a reciprocating saw for all cuts, rather than acknowledging the use of different saws for different kinds of cuts. He should certainly know how to use all the tools at his disposal, but he should couple that with the knowledge of when to use them, and when not to as well.

    It is the same for recruiters.

  18. Morgan – great article and it reminds me that while we are constantly exposed to rapid change, some things always remain the same. I had a saying back in the early days of the Internet Recruiting. The industry’s dirty little secret: All I need to be a good recruiter is a pad of paper, a pencil and a telephone.

  19. @ Richard. Well said, again.

    @ Morgan: It’s clear you don’t operate in the same venue most of us do. As far as the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard, you should read some of our fellow ERE authors- they can easily beat me for ridiculousness. As far as strategic vs. transactional work: I work to establish strategic relationships with my clients and not my candidates. Personally, I think it would be very nice to have the luxury to get to know each person well and be able to have a lucrative relationship with them which can last for years. However as said many times before, most of us in the corporate recruiting, contract recruiting, and recruitment of contractors/consultants/temps CAN’T, compared to a small fraction of those involved in the 1/32 hires (per CareerXRoads recent Employment Survey that come from 3PRs. It’s similar to those Social Recruiting evangelists who think we should use every SM platform in the book to slowly identify, identify, contact, get to know, and build a relationship with people who may or may not want to apply to their job in 3, 6, or 12 months. The vast majority of my colleagues and I have jobs we need filling NOW, and we can’t wait for some slow, indifferent semi-candidate to decide s/he’s ready…If you do: good for you- it’s just not the world most of us recruit in; to varying degrees, Richard A’s world is the one we do…

    @ Ed: “…A pad of paper, a pencil and a telephone?”: New-fangled gew-gaws for wusses and wimps! When I was a new recruiter, we would have been GLAD to have “a pad of paper, a pencil and a telephone”! There we were: 30,000 of us in an office the size of a gopher hole on top of a mountain where we had to get up three days before and hack our way through 300 miles of jungle with our teeth. We took our job orders on granite tablets we carved with our fingernails. We got job orders face to face, calling on the clients using a flock of hundreds of passenger pigeons WHICH WE CAUGHT ONE AT A TIME ON OUR OWN TIME. We called on over 5,000,000 clients to get a single job order, it took nearly 3 trillion candidates to get a hire, and we were paid in buffalo chips. When we got a hire, the manager would beat us for 8 months straight with the thighbone of a giraffe, and WE WERE GLAD FOR IT, TOO! Young whipper-snappers, I tell ya….

    Keith “Almost That Old” Halperin

  20. @Ed – these guys and gals could learn something from you!

    @Keith – then please fill me in tell me what area I do operate in? Recruiting is an art and a skill and a relationship business. Please do not kid yourself by thinking you only work for a “client” because you cannot have one and not the other, your job is to work for both equally and be the matchmaker.

    You have forgotten the simple and most fundamental and in some cases the most lucrative concept of recruiting or even for sales for that matter and that is the power of referrals. I have tons of jobs I need filled NOW like anyone in the country.

    But I am also no hiring managers door mat, rather I get paid to be a trusted advisor and advise my clients on true concepts of recruiting, what/how long it takes to really recruit.

    And like I said in the article and will say now…you can continue to make excuses or open your mind up and see for yourself.

    But in the end, your business is your business and you have to do what suites you. All I know is that I will be here to clean up your candidates and clients as I have done many, many times over.

  21. @ Morgan: “…then please fill me in tell me what area I do operate in?”
    Hell Morgan, I’d expected you’d have that all figured out by now… 😉

    Referrals are the best source of hires, and I get them from the client’s employees. Having recruited for over 200 distinct types of positions, it’s not been feasible to become a “travelling rolodex”.

    It also must be nice to be able to pick and choose only clients who utilize the full extent of your skills, just as it’s fortunate you’re in a position to be able to (as you told Lindsey) easily leave unpleasant clients. Again, most of us are not in that position.

    “Your business is your business”- you’ve hit the nail on the head, Morgan. For most of us, it’s not our business, it’s our JOB, and it’s not our “art” or our “mission from God,” it’s how we pay the bills. I for one get rather tired of where people who clearly aren’t doing what most of us do tell us how they think we should do it. Also, I won’t say whether I’m a good or a bad contract recruiter, but I’m still doing it (and getting paid decently) after 19 years, so I guess I must be doing something right…


  22. Hi Morgan, great article and definitely agree with your points about going back to the basics and building that foundation. We do it every day here by continually being brand ambassadors for “Toyota Quality” and strategically giving lift through long term relationship building. We sort of have to do it this way since we are a bit technology challenged, but it keeps us grounded.

    I had a major success today by dusting off a past talent acquisition tool, thinking a bit outside of the box, and not just relying on a thousand LinkedIn inmails to be sent out (and hoping to get at least one response back!).

    It’s nice to know others are being cognizant of “old” innovations!

    Toyota Financial Services

  23. Wow. An article that is sensible, realistic and devoid of all of the jargon, insanity and nonsense of today’s Recruiting. This is refreshing.

  24. @Earl – “Toyota Quality” is the epitome of of basic tools and principles. Toyota follows its simplistic Kaizen principles which were set in place many years ago and they are still followed to a “T” today. Glad to hear of your success today by returning to the basics.

    It’s funny, because if any of us are sports people, then we know every single year – year in and year out the Pro’s begin with the basics through pre-season training camps and spring training to name a couple. There are no hard core games or a team trying to figure out how to catch, run and throw a ball 400 yards. Pre-season events are for basic skill formation, conditioning, etc. Back to the basics.

    @Howard – glad this is refreshing for you. Thanks for the feedback and make it a great week.

  25. Nicely said Morgan. I have never completely ventured from the “straight and narrow” after being influenced by the flattery of many of the latest and greatest fads and trends marketed out there. It is a bloody mess out there. We have thought leaders all over the place reporting, promoting, and advising recruiters to use different options. It amazes me that something so simple has been stretched so many different ways to accommodate such a wide array of useless opinions mingled with few good ones. I have singled out who I want to listen to and they don’t always agree on opinions but they have substance. There are good things happening in the recruitment space but I will always stick to the basics: referrals, phone, intuitive ATS and from there on depends on the position and not an opinion.

    Also, I have worked as a 3rd party recruiter, independent broker and corporate recruiter. All recruitment roles I have had, required the same capabilities to find a great candidate and close the deal. At the end of the day, we all go home tasked with the principle requirement to lure a person into an open seat. Call it what we like “talent acquisition specialist, career broker, recruiter, sourcer, bum-in-seat-placer, blah blah blah. I am just waiting for the next one to pop up via a new opinion.

    At least watching the recruitment show unfold daily provides for some cool entertainment.

    Morgan I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

  26. @ Gareth: “Also, I have worked as a 3rd party recruiter, independent broker and corporate recruiter. All recruitment roles I have had, required the same capabilities to find a great candidate and close the deal.”
    It’s fortunate that you’ve not been in a corporate recruiting role where your main deliverables were to document and input data 60-70% of the time and successfully play office politics.

    “We have thought leaders…” If I may: someone who calls themselves a “recruiting thought leader” is usually someone who can’t or doesn’t recruit, think, or lead. I’m glad we don’t have anyone fitting that description on ERE….


  27. @ Keith – I am fortunate but I like to be the captain of my own destiny. Recruiters do not have to fit into a pigeon hole to be effective. I decide how I will recruit and in each company, our leadership has had their different tools and what they thought would make me effective and help me produce results. Politically managers would put pressure on us to use their tool-of-choice because the successful implementation would justify their own selfish ambitions.

    I have a LinkedIn Recruiter account and I have used it when needed but I would say I have used it sparingly because to me it is a tool, that’s it plain and simple. Our friends at LinkedIn will continue to evangelize it as the end all and be all but it has limited use for me, as much as any other source at my disposal.

    I try to better myself on the tools that I use daily (phone skills and referral capabilities) and that is what makes all the difference. Its great that LinkedIn are adding all these bells and whistles and some make a decent impact but the point I am driving at is that any recruiter does not have to fit into a pigeon hole to be effective.

    Like I said I have a select few I like to follow and I have connected with most of those I can learn a lot from. I know what I need to succeed and an always on the lookout for knowledge that supports that.

  28. @Gareth – well said on both accounts above – agree with you 1000%. I, like you, am my own Captain of my own destiny. I operate (regardless of which role I hold – corporate recruiter, Executive Search recruiter, Retained recruiter) in the same manner…and that is as a trusted adviser to my clients (companies and candidates).

    There is pressure in every job…in every nook and cranny in this planet – the question is how one handles it. Not all of us, especially in this profession have the uncanny ability to build long term relationships on both sides of the board or have the ability to be a trusted consultant.

    The majority of recruiters allow themselves to fall into to the “door mat” category which sounds like is the case with some individuals.

    When I first started in search, my boss told me “Morgan, your competition is terrible.” I never believed her until I was up and going and crushing the competition and those who were transactional in nature. It’s not about clients and it’s not about candidates. What we do is about relationships on both sides and and using common sense and basic tools…at the end of the day – I am nothing more than a match maker.

  29. @ A Number of People:
    “I like to be the captain of my own destiny.”
    So do most of us,, but “people in hell want ice water – that don’t mean they get it.” It sounds as if you’ve rarely or recently been in a highly dysfunctional, toxic environment that you couldn’t afford to leave because you had bills to pay and mouths to feed, and job offers weren’t exactly clogging your in-box. It must be nice knowing you never have to compromise or eat some ****. How proud you must be being part of the “brave elite”; never suffering fools for clients, managers, colleagues, or candidates- only the best for “those of distinction”. It may just be me, but I think the really brave ones aren’t those who insist only on the best for themselves in life, but those folks (many of whom would be your “doormats”) who take the hits that life sends their way and keep fighting to live and thrive against the odds.

    – Keith

  30. @Keith – I think your response is immature way out of context. This ERE forum is a knowledge sharing and learning environment. No one in here has said they are free without struggle, bad clients, etc. But what people have said and shared and learning experiences. It seems like you are very closed minded and do things your way – and that is perfectly fine…as you mentioned previously “you have been do this for 18 years so you must be doing something right.” And guess what…you probably have and kudos to you.

    You are the one ranting about non “being in hell” and having to eat ****. I personally don’t eat ****. The people in this forum who you directed your latest rant to are ones that do not reinvent any wheels, are trusted advisers, and have LEARNED from others and applied. If everyone in here is as you say they are, then why stick around this forum when there are many others where you can go and beat your head against the wall.

    Good luck buddy. Best to you. Thanks ALL for the excellent discussion.


  31. @ Morgan: I’ve been called many things before, but not “way out of context.” For shame, sir!

    If by “closed minded”: do I prefer proven, practical, day-to-day experience and well-thought out logical reasoning to the worn-out clichés and pronouncements of lucky and arrogant elitists (not that there are any writers or commentators like this on ERE; this would be in other places of course) who think they are better and know more than the rest of us- then I claim the label with pride.

    Morgan, I stay with ERE because I find it stimulating and enjoyable. Occasionally, I get to add something useful or mildly amusing. The main reason I stay is that it lets me get my name out to the recruiting world, for good or for ill.

    You take care, Morgan. You’re one of the stimulating ones, and that’s GOOD.


  32. @ Morgan

    “And like I said in the article and will say now…you can continue to make excuses or open your mind up and see for yourself.”

    While this was addressed to Keith, I’d like to know something: what do I or Keith or anyone else who has been successful while not concentrating solely on the techniques you’ve outlined have to make excuses for? For doing things differently? I have no problem with your point of view and your methods, I do take issue with the idea that it’s the only way to do things. Can you do all you recommend while also spending 8+ hours a day handling an Open Enrollment period for new insurance for employees for two weeks straight? I have. Can you fit all those phone calls in with 5 back-to-back interviews at an hour each, and three meetings likely to go longer than an hour each, one dealing with employee relations, one dealing with a changing salary scale for a company department which is going to affect budgets, existing employees and new hires, the other meetings being completely unrelated to recruiting but, since you’re the only person who is a plausible representative of HR, you have to be there? I have.

    How much accounting do you have to do in your positions? How much contract management? What’s your budget and how many invoices come in that require your scrutiny and approval, and what’s your spending authority and when do you require a PO, which incidentally has to go through an AP/AR department with ten approvals because they keep losing them and, since the manager of the department is in good with executive management, if they drop the ball and you don’t pick it up for them, it’s on you…

    Does your firm ever fill temp positions? Who is responsible for making sure you and your vendors maintain General Liability and Worker’s Comp insurance? How often do you have renegotiate contracts? Lower level manufacturing is a high turnover situation, every manufacturer I’ve known and worked with or for uses agencies to maintain at least a portion of, and sometimes all of their temp force. A few, like myself, who have tried to do it all internally get shot down real quick when we realized the time and effort is massive for the return, and when you realize referrals land you with employing entire extended families (because that’s who gets referred) and internal problems and employee relations issues often result. Does your firm guarantee their hires, or are you one of those “hire ’em and if they leave them’s the breaks” firms? I have to guarantee them for 6-12 months, because that’s a minimum estimate of when you truly start to get some ROI from a new employee. What language does your workforce speak? Mine speaks more than ten. Do you maintain translators? If you offer any pre employment skill assessments are they available in all those languages? How many continents does your firm operate on? Mine is all over the globe and I’ve recruited in 4 countries so far: US, UK, China, and UAE.

    It’s ridiculous to suggest one solution is the solution when the reality is that not everyone’s job is the same. If you’ve worked in environments where you’ve been able to concentrate solely on pure recruiting, the basics as you’ve laid them out, that’s great. One method is not sufficient or appropriate for all of us. And your statements that you’re operating at ‘a different level’ are arrogant in the extreme. When you’ve performed in an environment such that others are working in, and done so successfully, then you can make that claim.

    I don’t make excuses because I don’t have to: I’ve been successful in fulfilling my obligations and then some. The simple reality is you need the right tool and technique for the right job. Spending all 8 hours of my day on the phone ‘building relationships’ with people I only have a marginal if negligible intention to hire would lead to me not having a job, because the scope of my job is not limited to pure recruiting. And the arrogance of third party agencies is not justified in my experience. Every single one of them claims what you claim, every single one of them without fail. And out of all the agencies I’ve tried a bare few have ever done anything but post and pray, and when the results of their wonderful relationship building and proprietery databases and ‘deep networking’ have come in, without fail it was the same tired resumes I got from a previous job ad. In some cases we had already interviewed the person, found them to be vastly under qualified, and the agencies stil tried to ‘sell’ us on the candidate and ‘build a relationship’ between us and the candidate despite the fact that they were totally unsuitable.

    Performance and results are what matter. I get both, and I use your methods when appropriate, and other methods when they are appropriate. And since we rarely use third party agencies anymore because of their poor results, I take it with a few thousand grains of salt any time I hear bragging about their methods and results. I’m sure top level people are out there, and it’s more than possible you’re one of them. But, until you do something like my job – all of my job – and do it successfully and in shall we say less than perfect environments, you’re in no position to claim to be operating on another level. You are not sharing knowledge, you seem to be saying that what you know is all that there is, and all that is appropriate. You are wrong.

  33. @Richard – I have never said I know everything and will never make that claim. I am simply sharing, like others who write on ERE or on other forums, successful practices that have worked for me (and others that agreed here as well). Nor am I saying my solution is best and right for everyone – you can take it or leave it, like everything else in this world.

    While I haven’t done accounting, I have done and accomplished equal work and been equally as busy as you or any other professional in America.

    What really astonishes me, is how busy you claim to be and yet have time to post lengthy comments calling every point of everyone out. But go ahead, I will spend my time where it matters and you can spend your time arguing away on here.

    Have a good weekend.

  34. @ Richard: Bravo!

    @ Morgan: “Nor am I saying my solution is best and right for everyone – you can take it or leave it, like everything else in this world.” You may not be saying THAT, but you are saying that your way of recruiting is superior to other peoples’: “The majority of recruiters allow themselves to fall into to the “door mat” category which sounds like is the case with some individuals.” (I assume you do not put yourself in that category). I perceive that statement as being (as Richard said) “arrogant in the extreme” and very condescending to the vast majority of hard-working recruiters. Finally, it seems rather petty to attack the use of someone’s time- if you have the time to write articles, you should expect people to have the time to write responses to you, and you to write counter-responses and arguments to them, which I guess is “time where it matters” to you. I may be mistaken, but I interpret other statements like: “Before all the naysayers come out of the woods, if this is your attitude and method as the email reads, then you are making excuses, and frankly, I don’t want to hear it” as saying that those who differ with you are making excuses, and since you don’t want to hear people make excuses, you don’t want to hear people with differing views. I would think that someone operating “on a different level” would welcome the chance to hear diverse opinions differing from their own as being a chance to learn from others, but what do I know? I DON’T “operate on a different level”…



  35. As having a fancy camera doesn’t make you a talented photographer, being an expert in social media usage doesn’t make you a good recruiter. Last I checked having common sense and good communicative skills were still must haves in this field, although I wouldn’t completely neglect the opportunities social media offers us.

  36. Marilyn, the link doesn’t seem to work on my laptop. Is it a page open to public? (I saw something like “blocked” when I was trying to open the page.) The topic is interesting, so it would be a pity to miss this article. BR, Matti

  37. @Marilyn, thanks for sharing the link and it is a great article. For me, the best line in the article is the following:

    Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Hsieh, while a huge proponent of social media, said a key tool in their success is the 100-year-old phone. He called the phone one of the most underutilized resources for most companies, even calling it “one of the best branding devices out there.”

    Moreover, for you football fans, if you watched Monday Night Football you saw Peyton Manning once again dominate the field. ESPN showed a video of Peyton through the years and he has stuck to the same basic throwing drills since college. Some will argue that he is the greatest ever, none can argue he is not a hall of famer.

    Point is, he has stuck to the basic fundamentals of throwing and passing year in year out and consistently repeats those same drills and this is why he is one of the greatest ever.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *