Why I Would Hire The Spy, Robert Hanssen

Sounds crazy right? Well, let me explain. Mr. Hanssen knew something the rest of us seem to have lost sight of. He was technologically astute, and could have used technology as a primary information delivery vehicle. Instead, he made the decision to use less technical, more traditional means of communication in his activities. In other words, he chose the right tool for the task. So what does this have to do with recruiting? It’s simple. Last week at ER Expo 2001 in San Diego, we heard many discussions and questions about the future of technology in our profession, about how we could use technology to replace more of our job functions. But we never stopped to consider the wisdom of automatically applying technological solutions to our problems. Let’s take the Internet as an example. It’s a familiar scenario. You spend $1,000 or more to learn the latest and greatest techniques such as flipping, x-raying, mining, Boolean searches, etc. Then you return to the office and begin to apply your new knowledge, forgetting about the telephone. Several hours and emails later, you have little to show for your efforts. Prior to this, you relied on the phone, networking skills and resourcefulness with much success. The end result is a decision that the Internet doesn’t work. So what went wrong? In this scenario, the recruiter chose to rely solely on technology, replacing the activities that contributed to past success, instead of looking at how the Internet could be leveraged to enhance other activities. So many recruiters go wrong when they learn the techniques, but lack the understanding of how to best apply them. Now let’s look at an example of strategically applying this tool to enhance other activities. In this “real world” example, one of our strategy teams faced the following challenge. The client was planning to under go a major sales force expansion and had to have it completed within six weeks. We were faced with a limited budget, and all candidates had to be from the local market. Our team went to work, taking the following steps:

  1. Identifying and calling sales candidates currently in the system and/or process
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  3. Posting jobs to all of the local career sites
  4. Putting out an APB (email) to friends and family in the local area letting them know of our staffing needs
  5. Scheduling an open house
  6. Writing a marketing-oriented job description, and posting that description to the company website as well as advertising the open house on the company’s homepage.
  7. Registering career pages with all of the local sites and search engines
  8. Placing a small ad in the newspaper redirecting people to the Web
  9. Engaging in radio advertising promoting the open house and sales expansion efforts
  10. Identifying email addresses for sales people in the local area by perusing Chamber of Commerce websites, AOL membership directories, Infogist resume pull, and local company websites and associations
  11. Using “evites” (www.evites.com) to send all of these individuals a virtual invitation to apply for a position or attend the open house
  12. Contacting local universities to obtain alumni and student resumes
  13. Targeting competitor companies in the area and cold calling local sales representatives
  14. Contacting local downsizing companies and outplacement firms.

The outcome was a successful recruitment campaign and the mission was accomplished. So often today we look to technology and forget the other things that have made us successful. It’s important to keep in mind that even as technology continues to advance, we will have to use it in conjunction with other activities in order to maximize results, and the human factor will always be a crucial element in recruiting. Robert Hanssen knew that – but surely recruiters can put that kind of knowledge to better use! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Kimberly Bedore (kimberlybedore@earthlink.net) is a consultant and public speaker who develops and implements staffing solutions for clients, resulting in increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. She uses her wide range of recruiting experience to provide companies with a wealth of information related to sourcing and sourcing strategies, recruitment training, and the implementation of solutions and metrics that enable a higher degree of staffing effectiveness.


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