Empathy in Recruiting

Jill Krasny had a good article earlier this week on Inc.com called The Awesome Power of Empathy. This of course being the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The article reminded me of when I first applied to be a search consultant at an Indianapolis MRI office.

As part of the hiring process, after multiple interviews and I took a battery of tests meant to determine if I would make a good recruiter. It was the first time I’d been asked to take these types of tests during a hiring process. I had no expectations as to what they were looking for in regards to answers. I answered each question completely unbiased.

Later, when discussing the opportunity with their managing partner in a final interview, he discussed I scored very high in all areas except one. The one area that I tested significantly lower than what they what they would typically look for was empathy. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked. As someone who spent practically as much time volunteering in the community as I did at my full-time job, I felt I had a pretty good grasp on compassion. At that time, I thought that is what empathy meant.

My soon-to-be manager explained that empathy was a critical piece in recruiting and that it was something I would need to work on if I wanted to be successful in his office. He also shared with me at the time that his highest performer had scored exactly the same score on all areas, including the empathy, which he found remarkable. He was giving me a shot.

It took me a while to understand why empathy was so important in recruiting and even longer to truly embrace it. The test was pretty accurate. When it came to screening candidates for example, I had very little patience for grey. I was all black and white. The candidate had the right answer to my question, or they didn’t. Had I not been trained to notice it I wouldn’t have. It was true for clients as well. I took a thorough job order and determined the client was someone I could make a placement with or they weren’t. There were no room for maybes on my desk for a long time. Eventually I learned what I would like you to consider, and that is the power of empathy in recruiting.

You have to get to know your candidate and client beyond what is on their resume in order to understand what motivates them. If you can put yourself in to their shoes, probe for the reasons they made the decisions they have in their career, or in the hiring process, good or bad, you have an advantage. For example, having empathy for a candidate can help you coach them through the process. Having empathy for the pain the client is feeling about the open position helps you drive urgency for hire. It also may change your decision on whom you work with, particularly candidates. By this I mean if you take the time to get to know the individual you may decide to spend more time with them than you expected before knowing more.

When I was conducting an initial phone screen with a recruiter candidate recently, I asked why she chose to leave her last recruiting role. She had obviously quit, albeit on good terms but her resume indicated she had been extremely successful for a new graduate in the recruiting industry.  Her answer surprised me. ” I didn’t like how competitive the job had become. I was miserable in the environment. ”

Now, as you can imagine, I immediately had the vision of my client’s face if she were to say this to him in an interview. First, I empathized with him because, let’s face it, recruiting is almost always a little bit competitive and many recruiting firms with have a similar environment. Someone that does not have a desire to compete to win, just might not be the best choice for a recruiter position in the first place. I could completely relate to why he would not want to waste time on a candidate that said this.

Then I forced myself to go one step further, probably because of the empathy reminder I got from reading that article on Monday.  I asked more questions of the candidate. Doing so changed my mind about the viability of this candidate because suddenly, I had empathy for her situation as well.

In reality, the issue was not about competition at all, but rather, an issue with the company’s process for determining regional accountability and with tagging “ownership” of candidates. She was exceeding all expectations but not being compensated for it. She was a new grad that was clearly still a bit of a rookie but she had no intention of working without being fairly compensated. She had the confidence in herself to walk away knowing that her skills would provide her with another great opportunity. Is it the way I would have handled it? Probably not, but could I put myself in her shoes? I tried.

The bottom line is, was this something that should keep her from being considered for a recruiting position. Would it effect her performance with the next employer. Had she been encouraged to share what her issues were before she left, would she even be on the market. Were her concerns valid?

After a bit of a chat, my perception of this candidate changed. I was able to coach her about how to answer the question when she met with the hiring manager so that I could feel confident about presenting her to a client. Her hungry desire to succeed was very evident in the results she showed. She might work perfectly for an employer with a different process.

So think about empathy as you make your own calls this week. Probe further when you hear a response you don’t necessarily like. See if you feel like that little extra bit of understanding might help your recruiting process. I’m not suggesting you “settle” for less than great, but consider putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. I’m convinced now that  empathy can be a powerful skill in business, with my own team at REKRUTR and ResumeSpider and with those I recruit for private clients. I challenge you to get to know your candidates, and your client’s a bit better. The ability to put yourself in their shoes will offer you an advantage. It will allow you the opportunity to alleviate their pain, and that might be the most important part of the entire recruitment process.

Sound off below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Amy McDonald is a free-lance recruiter and employment specialist. She currently works with employment websites including REKRUTR.com as an executive consultant. As a veteran of the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years, Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360. – See more at: http://rekrutr.com/blog/

Posted in Business Consulting, Communication, Recruiting, Recruiting etiquette, Recruitment Process, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Search For Joan : When Recruiting For Fit Becomes Expensive

I’m working on a job order for a retained client right now. This will back-fill a position within their organization that I like to call their “Joan”. Joan – like on Mad Men, you know? I love that series. If you watch it, you can probably identify that person in your own organization, right? She is absolutely, positively, irreplaceable. Or maybe she is a he; John. Maybe you have a John.  I’m sticking with Joan just because this is my post and I don’t have a good example of a John.

So, by my definition the office “Joan” is someone in the office one considers practically irreplaceable. Let’s face it, she’s the one that knows everything there is to know about the company and the people that work there. She knows all the secrets. She knows where the company has been (because she was there) and where it says it is going because you are pretty sure she is sort-of psychic. She wears a lot of hats -A LOT. She probably has had her hand in every department at one time or another and she takes up the slack for almost anyone that is out of the office unexpectedly and makes sure that the world, which is your office, keeps right on turning. She is the glue.

Whoa! Now wait a minute. We are recruiters, are we not? NO ONE is irreplaceable, right? It is all about who is brave enough to take on finding the replacement! This client just needs a brave little soldier to take on the search! You are just the person to do it! Before you do, I’d like to offer some advice.

The company thinks Joan is irreplaceable because she defines the “fit” of their organization. She has the perfect amount of business acumen, accountability, exceptional communication skills, pride in what she does and impeccable style in her professional appearance. Oh, by the way, everyone loves her too. Those that don’t won’t survive in the organization anyway. She has drive! She has passion! That’s a Joan…or a John. They are the position that has become personalized. It is no longer a position, it is a person they are trying to replace. Many times, no one even knows the job title. She or he doesn’t have a job description. They just make it happen.

The past month (or so), that brave little soldier, ahem…recruiter, has been me. I am currently engaged on a retained search for a Joan. I have worked with this client for a while, and I really understand the fit they are seeking. In fact, I found her replacement in a week.  Yep. Three calls and I found her! The managing partner loved my candidate. The supervisor loved my candidate. Heck, even the current “Joan” loved this new Joan I found for them. She couldn’t wait to start training the new Joan for the position! I was already picking out a very brightly colored feather to insert right in to my favorite recruiter hat. The offer was made. The offer was accepted.

Okay,okay.That probably sounded a little “braggy”, but wait. Let me finish the story.

The day she was to start I got the email. The new Joan’s life had been impacted by a fatal disease. She would NOT be starting today. In fact. She might not be able to start at all. What? No! I went immediately in to crisis mode. I had to figure out how this candidate could in fact start because she was perfect. There were not going to be many more perfect fit candidates. There were only so many “Joans” in that city after all.

As a recruiter, recruiting a position that depends heavily on fit, can be risky. We might as well just admit that a recruiter never reallycompletely, controls their candidate. My perfect candidate, or so I thought was not perfect at all. no one is. There are situations in life to which none of us have control and this was the case here. The candidate hated it as much as I did, because the position was perfect for her as well but sometimes there are things more important than career.

Look for the signs that your job order is the office “Joan” or “John”.  A Joan “wears a lot of hats”. Her “background is not typical”. She is “almost irreplaceable”. She was “perfect for the position”. She’s “been here forever.” You need to recognize that you are recruiting for fit early in the process because it can be expensive. If I were a contingent recruiter, I might moved on to another job order because finding this particular fit twice in a month is pretty rare.  In this case, I’m retained by a client who wants to see the best of their options, so fortunately that doesn’t have to happen. I can continue to bring them value by submitting the best of what is out there so they can determine when and if there is another “perfect fit” out there, and when it is time to hire outside of fit.

There are a lot of studies to support both sides of the argument about hiring a candidate that is qualified but not a good fit. Barry Schuler says it is baloney to hire someone for fit. I’m not so sure. Fit can be very important to success for both the job seeker and the client. Ultimately you need to look at the cost for finding someone that has an exceptionally unique “fit”.

Ultimately, when you find yourself in this type of situation, it is my recommendation that you give the client (or hiring manager) indemnity to choose the criteria that is most important to their bottom line. That’s because every day that the position is open costs them money.  They need to determine how much it is worth to have a longer time-to-fill. The recruiter needs to determine how long this type of job order could take to fill. If you are a contingent recruiter, you may want to limit the time you will focus on this type of job order, because it can be expensive. John Zappe had a great article on ERE last week about time-to-fill. Did you know that it is at its longest duration since 2001? My theory is that this has a lot to do with recruiting for fit. Recruiting for fit is great, until the fit is hard to find. Then it is expensive because the time-to-fill is longer. I’m not saying it is not worth it. For some positions, I really believe it is.

Do you recruit for fit or submit just otherwise qualified candidates? How important is fit to the hiring process in your organization?

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360. – See more at: http://rekrutr.com/blog/

 

 

Posted in Candidate Screening, Collecting Fees, Communication, Recruiting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Importance of Notes in Recruiting

Last week I received a message from a candidate I placed in 2003 about where she might send a friend who was job searching. Her email indicated that her career had advanced significantly since we last met and she is someone that I might market my services to. We had a nice time catching up when I called her.  I softened my questions about her own hiring needs by  getting reacquainted. I asked about her beloved Great Dane pups. She referred to them as her babies when we spoke last and I knew their names were Major and General. She introduced me to them (by phone) when they were barking in the background  during one of our calls. She laughed and told me that she could not believe that I remembered their names after all these years, and complimented me on my memory.The truth is, it was actually my notes that jogged my memory on the dog names. My notes, as a recruiter, are one of my most valued possessions.

Good Notes Empower Better Relationship Management

Remembering every detail about your contacts is impossible unless you have a photographic memory. As a recruiter, you need notes to help you remember critical information you learned in an interview or sales call and a few personal points of interest that will improve your relationships. By this I mean human interest speaking points that make your relationships more real.  After all, you can’t expect to make real relationships with your clients and candidates based only on a contract or verbal agreement to work together. Good relationships are built on common experiences, values, respect, and sometimes shared memories. The only way to remember all of those things for the volume of contacts most recruiters have, is to take notes.

How Do You Manage Contact Notes?

Most recruiters have access to a contact management program where they can keep notes. That is what I use as well. I also try to take notes on anything that strikes me as interesting about a person as soon as I meet them, even those I may not know as a business relationship yet. Sometimes my notes have to be transferred from napkins or business cards or even  my hand. I just take all of these little scribbles at the end of the networking event, trade show, or other chance meeting and transfer them to my database when I have time. Notes on where we met, how I got their card, or a conversation that took place helps me make softer cold calls. 

Some people prefer taking written notes over typing notes in to a database. I was a die-hard Franklin Planner girl for years and the first time I was required to record all notes in a contact management system was sort of hard. Regardless of where you keep your notes, taking them will help you keep track of important facts. Look at the picture above. I found it on a blog. The author started using rubber gloves at work because his preferred method was writing on his hand but it got messy. Hilarious to me, but hey, whatever works for you! The important thing is that you capture the information and keep it in a safe place to assist you in your relationship building. You never know when a candidate will become a hiring manager or a former client will become a candidate. Know all that you can and have it available for review.

A Word Of Caution About Note Content In Recruiting

Notes about things like race, age, maternity or religion are not acceptable for notes when you are a recruiter. That is NOT the kind of notes that I’m talking about here. Those are bad. Anything that could indicate the individual belongs to a protected class (or doesn’t for that matter) should not be jotted down on a business card, noted on a resume, or recorded in a candidates file. Whether you work as a corporate recruiter, an agency recruiter, or an independent recruiter this can be a very serious mistake. Digital notes or hard copy notes of this kind can present a huge legal liability for you and your company. If there is a question about discrimination in your hiring process, applicant notes could, and likely would, be subpoenaed as evidence.

 

Posted in Communication, Contact Management, Recruitment Process, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Prepared to Face (Any) Animal

“The Recruiting Animal”

This week I made my debut appearance on The Recruiting Animal show.  For anyone that doesn’t know this show, compare this to getting the opportunity to meet with the best client you could ever ask for with the reputation of being a lot like the Wizard of Oz BEFORE Dorothy and her crew knew he was really just a guy behind a curtain.

Whatever they tell you, no matter how prepared you think you are for an appearance like this, you’re not. I was quite familiar with his format after listening myself for some time to his show. I knew that as far as recruiting and social media went, he was the top dog. I liked his show, and caught it whenever I could. The times I did, the guest was usually being crucified.

When I saw his comment inviting me to defend my blog post : 3 Secrets to Building a Great Recruiting Desk  on RecruitBlogs my first thought was, Oh Crap. I can’t say no to a public challenge like this. I HAVE to do this. Ugh. And they are going to try to make me cry.

It seems a little silly to me now, but that is exactly what I thought. Like I said, I’d listened to his posse roast some guests on more than one occasion and I was pretty sure I’d heard a whimper from a full grown man that thought he was “all that” in the recruiting industry until he met @Animal. Sure, I could say no, but then what kind of wuss would I look like? No way. I don’t just write this blog, I really believe in what I’m telling you. I did not get to where I am letting fear stop me. My parents taught me long ago that you “don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.”

So I made it a mission to be as prepared as possible to tame the Recruiting Animal. I was convinced I could make him like me and at the very least respect my point of view. I followed his directions to the letter. I cleared it with my boss, who made it very clear that I did not HAVE to do this, but he certainly encouraged it. I chose a date in advance so I could clear my calendar for the day. I went to his site and read every page @Animal suggested.

I even listened to archived examples of good and bad shows and prepared a few stories to share. I had a quick bio and elevator pitch for REKRUTR. All of answers would be free from any of his “bad words” which was a big concern for me, because my vocabulary is something I’ve been called out on more than once in social discussions. I’ll admit, I think I use this “recruiterease” in an effort to disguise the real Southern Indiana hick talk that can slip out now and again. Phrases like ” go way beyond” when I should probably say exceeds or “folks” when I should just say who I’m talking about.  Anyway these shop-talk buzz words he hates. Words like “paradigm”, “visionary” and “thought leader” and I was determined not to use any on that call!

As the date drew near I got  back up  for my childcare, and back up for the back-up. I read that a land line was a must, so I dug out a nice office plug-in type that I used “back in the day” just to make sure there were no failing battery or electricity issues. I got on my social networks and asked for advice about preparing for an appearance on a show like this. I was ready!

Then a few minutes before the show, my twitter notifications lit up. I started to get a glimpse of what I was in for. I was responding to tweets when I would have normally been doing some deep breaths. ( Don’t laugh! Deep breaths are important prior to a public appearance. )  Before I knew it, it was just before noon. I called in. The voice on the other end said that I should press “1″ to speak and that I was the first caller on the line.

I heard my cue: “Amy McDonald, come on down.” I took a deep breath, pushed “1″ and started in with my prepared hello. Then I realized they couldn’t hear me. What? Push 1. I’m pushing 1. One. One. “Hello!” “Hello, I’m here. Can you hear me?” Arghhhhhhhh! They couldn’t. They were discussing what the protocol is for no-shows.

“What?” “Noooooooo. No. No. No.” In desperation I hung up the phone and dialed back in. “Press 1 to enter the host’s cue”.  ”Is this her?” “Yes.” Sigh of relief. Relief? I was relieved to be entering the animal’s den?

Anyway, since we are a few minutes behind, we dive right in to our conversation, and before I know it all of my preparation is out the door. I’m not even looking at my notes. I’m doing exactly what he said not to do. I’m “winging it.” Shoot.

“Define Great” he said. What? Define great. That was not on my prep list. “Give me an example of when you were visionary.”  No. I didn’t use that bad word on here, he did. I said, ” I knew I should have edited my LinkedIn profile.” You get the idea.

In the end, I did just fine. I gave a reasonable answer to support my views on the topics we disagreed on, and I didn’t leave any dead air space for the “I have no clue” moments. I think, if you listen very carefully to the broadcast you might even hear The Recruiting Animal say that he changed his mind about me. I came off of that call ready to take on anything, and I have The Recruiting Animal to thank for that.

I really enjoyed being on the show. I would encourage my readers to face YOUR animal -or high stress meeting, interview, appearance. When you do, be as prepared as you can be. Know everything you can about the person that you’ll be meeting with. Research the company, their website, their history. Then be prepared to be un-prepared.  Be prepared to be honest above all. Expect that there are going to be some questions you might not have easy answers to. Above all, be prepared to represent the most genuine “you” that you can.

In the end. That’s what most people want to know  in these situations any way. Who is this person? Could I do business with them? Could I work with them? Could I see myself referring this person to someone else? That is what they really want to know. Sometimes that answer will be no. But if you commit to representing who you really are, and what you really believe, I’m certain you’ll be o.k. with that too.

Posted in Recruiting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Time I Found a Purple Squirrel

If you’ve been in recruiting for very long, you may have heard the term “purple squirrel.” I remember the first time I heard it. It was probably my first week in marketing training for agency recruiting. I came to my mentor smiling ear to ear with my new job order.  He looked at it and said, “Do you hunt squirrel?” Confused I said, “Uh no, but my grandfather used to hunt squirrel.” (Yeah, I really did.) Needless to say, he laughed out loud. In fact it was such a genuine hearty laugh that the whole bull pen stood up, head-sets in tact, to signal their displeasure at the disruption. “I bet he never bagged a purple one,” he said. Ouch. By this point, I was aware the joke was on me, but I still had to have the term explained to me.

For a recruiter, a “purple squirrel” is a candidate that matches the seemingly impossible criteria the hiring manager has asked for on a bad job order. Finding this candidate is likened to finding a purple squirrel. The lesson being that purple squirrels should be avoided at all costs because even if they could be found, which is unlikely, the time you’ll invest is not profitable. That being said, many will still take one of these job orders at least once. Whether it is the spirit of the hunt that makes us think we can find one of these folks, or the commission we’re going to get if we do, the lesson is really hard to learn unless you actually find one of these purple squirrels.

“My candidate was seemingly perfect to the very end. I COULD find a so-called purple squirrel. Ha!”

I knew the job order was bad, but it was my best client.  It took a while, but I found this prize winning rodent with a magnificent violet hue! His cover letter, was smart and articulate. His skills matched the job description and then some. He had more experience than required, but just  enough to make him look really good to the client, not overqualified. The compensation was a hard sell, but the perks and benefits were enough for me to close him on accepting an offer at their high end. The icing on the cake was that he actually lived in the location that the client was completely prepared to re-locate someone to. That alone would save them 10K right off the bat. He showed up impeccably dressed and interviewed well. We were going to get the offer, pending reference checks, drug screen etc.

That is when I realized that I had moved too quickly with my process after spending so long on sourcing a fit. After all, this was a match I assumed would be practically impossible to find. What did I leave out? The reference checks! That part of my typical process got lost somewhere in the excitement of falling witness to a live purple squirrel.

No big deal, right? We’ve come this far. I’ll just call and let him know, call them quickly and we’ll be on our way. I was already thinking about how I was going to spend that fee on a little travel over the summer. I left a quick voice mail, “Hi Joe! I talked to the hiring manager and we expect to see your offer letter today. Of course, it will be contingent on background check and drug screen. Give me a call so I can get your references and give you more details.”

” Then it happened. My perfect candidate showed his furry purple squirrel tail! “

First, he returned my call with immediate questions about what the issue was and why they needed to do a background screen. “Um, well, that is a very typical process for most clients I work with. Is there a problem I should know about?” I asked with hesitation because I really did not want to hear his answer. It snow-balled from there. By the end of the call I had way more information than I ever wanted to know, including the fact that he had no idea how to reach two of his past three employers and he would be refusing a drug screen. I won’t even go in to the criminal history, but based on the role, I’ll just say it could have been a factor. Frankly, whether or not the information I receive would have disqualified him is irrelevant because he simply refused to do any of it. His behavior on the call was borderline scary and left me sure I did not want him to have another conversation with my client. I knew for a fact that the screening was required of all employees in this organization, so it was over. Essentially he pulled out. It was done whether I let them find out from him directly or I pulled the candidate with limited disclosure as to why. Either way, I was going to take a black eye with the client on this one.

Lessons learned:

1. If a candidate seems too good to be true, they probably are. This has nothing to do with their color or species. Be very, very cautious when you find a perfect candidate for a bad job order.

2. Don’t waste time on bad job orders in the first place. Even if you are lucky enough to find a purple, polka-dotted, FLYING squirrel, you should probably avoid working with them. In this case, the client eventually determined that they needed to adjust their job requirements to align with the salary they were willing to pay and we filled the position.

3. Always, ALWAYS check references on your candidates before you submit to clients. You won’t call their current employer obviously, but you need to have some kind of assurance they are who they say they are, even if the references are personal. I managed to keep my client despite the significant time we all wasted on this disaster, but I could have lost a great account.

4. Prep all of your candidates on what they can expect with your client’s hiring process. I assumed this candidate would know that a background check and drug screen would be required for the position he was interested in. Instead, he reacted with shock and frustration that it would even be necessary. Never, assume. Never.

Have you ever found a purple squirrel and had a better outcome? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Sign off below!

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360. – See more at: http://rekrutr.com/blog/

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Interviewing, Project Management, Recruiting, Recruiting etiquette, recruiting humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking Recruiting Secrets : The Match Game

This is the final post in the series I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. To start from the beginning you’ll want to go HERE. We’ve talked about  great client relationships and mastering real talent.  This week we’ll talk about the third and final key to being a great recruiter. In my opinion that is making the match between the client  and the candidate. This is where the game gets serious. Now there is money involved. Sometimes a lot of it.

Many would argue this is the most difficult part of the recruiting process because to consistently make placements, you have to match great talent to great clients. but you must also determine if the two are a good cultural fit. I’m still of the opinion that building client relationships is most important, but if you don’t provide them with good matches, you certainly won’t have it.

A quick search on “finding cultural fit” and you will know why this final skill is important. Organizations spend a ton of time trying to figure out who will make a good cultural fit. The bottom line is that candidates who are both qualified and a good cultural fit are less likely to fall-off or turn-over. Remember, we are looking for clients that call on us again and again. Fall-off is not good for a recruiter’s reputation. So how do great recruiters determine if they have a good fit?

1. They Understand Their Client’s Culture.

This is another place where having great client relationships are crucial to a recruiter’s success. The key communicator for culture is going to be the person that supervises the role you are trying to fill. While few will admit to this, many companies have multiple cultures contained under one organization. The best judge of a fit for their team is the supervisor. If your contact at the company is not the person who decides whether or not this person is a fit for their team, you will need to make arrangements to have a conversation that includes that person about cultural fit.

I know that this will be tough in some scenarios. If your contact for example is an HR rep, you are going to need to convince this company representative that “team fit” as I like to refer to it in those circumstances is different than their corporate culture. Assure them of the benefits this will bring to their organization. Do they really want to waste time on candidates who just meet the basic qualifications, or do they want to find the best candidate? The candidate that will be a strong fit for the position, the team, and an asset to the organization is what you will find if you can screen for it up front. If you think there will be objection to you speaking with the position supervisor, try requesting a meeting with all the three of you.

2.They Understand What Motivates Their Candidate.

Great recruiters do a thorough job of screening the candidates they plan to work with. It is important when you do so, to diagnose the candidate’s “pain” in their current position. Knowing this will help you to clearly determine what would motivate them to make a move to another position. Understanding what is important to your candidate is critical in recruiting even if they don’t pay you. They are your product. Their talent represents yours. When you take the time to identify great talent AND understand what motivates them,  identifying a cultural match will be much easier.

3. They Go With Their Gut

I’ve said that there is no secret to being a great recruiter, but there might be one. It’s that little thing called instinct. Great recruiters are able to make a reasonable assessment as to whether or not their candidate is a good “fit” for the client based on the facts they’ve learned and  a “gut feeling”. They might not be able to put it in to words but they just know that their client is going to love this candidate as much as they do. It is that little something extra.

Beyond these key items, a lot of good follow up with both candidate and client is required to make the placement. I don’t want to make light of how important that is, because even the mediocre recruiter knows that beyond the match, the work is far from over. You must coordinate interviews, evaluate feedback, negotiate an acceptable salary and benefit package between the two parties, etc. That, however is a whole other blog series of its own.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Debunking Recruiter Secrets : Become a Master of Talent

This week I continue with debunking recruiter secrets, which we’ve already determined, aren’t really secrets at all. To catch up on the series, start with the first post here. Last week, I debunked the secret to great client relationships. This week I want to talk about how you identify, qualify, and maintain contact with a database of exceptional talent, or simply put how you become a master of talent.

Becoming a master of talent is no easy task, friends. It takes hard work, due diligence, and a lot of discipline. Let’s break this up into three areas:

Identifying Top Talent

The first thing I learned as a recruiter was how to source candidates. You have to gather names, you have to get past gate-keepers, you have to have no fear when it comes to cold-calling in to where they work. Chances are you learned about all of these your first week as a recruiter. Sourcing is only the first step. You can identify a ton of candidates and only find five that really have talent, right? So next, you’ll need to qualify.

Qualify Talent

Let me first say that there is a difference between being a qualified candidate and being qualified talent. Don’t confuse the two. Just because you have identified someone that meets the job order’s basic qualifications does not mean you have found talent. Sorry. I wish it were that easy. While a candidate may technically “qualify” for a position,  are you willing to put your name and reputation behind this individual? Anyone can produce resumes that qualify for a position, but a great recruiter knows real talent, and they know how to manage that talent for a client. How do you know you have marketable talent?

There are 2 main things that I use to qualify my candidates:

  • CAN I SELL THIS PERSON TO ANY CLIENT?
  • CAN I SELL THIS CANDIDATE ON A BETTER OPPORTUNITY?

When it comes to selling a candidate, I still create a “FAB” chart. Features, Achievements, Benefits. Features are the things they have to have, degrees, experience, etc. Achievements the things that will differentiate them from the crowd. Awards, examples of revenue generation, or cost savings. Finally, the big “B”. The benefits. How can all the features and achievements this individual has benefit your client? The A and the B are what will separate a great recruiter’s candidates. If I have a strong FAB chart for a client, I can probably sell them. If I can add in items that are a “plus” like good cultural fit, action-oriented, confidence, integrity, leadership qualities, intelligence, or born communicator, I know I have real talent.

Maintain Candidate Contact

The second qualifier, “Can I sell this candidate on a better opportunity?” is also our 3rd objective in identifying if we have the kind of talent that a great recruiter works with.

Let’s face it, no matter how qualified the candidate is, if they are not willing to work with a recruiter to explore a more exciting opportunity they are just not worth your time. You have to be able to produce your product after all. Nothing is worse than selling your client on an incredible, talented, candidate that you cannot produce for an interview! That will do nothing for maintaining your relationship with the client and will frustrate you both.

You must ensure this person is willing to explore opportunities up front. Look at these type of things: Do they call you back? Do they express pain of any kind in their current role? Are they looking for more responsibility than is available in their current position? Do they call you back? Are they motivated by more money? Do they want to relocate? Do they call you back?

You get the idea. They must be willing to maintain a relationship with you. If they aren’t, you cannot depend on this person to drop what they are doing and go meet one of your clients. Being able to present talent that WILL, differentiates the mediocre recruiter from a great one. To keep great relationships with your candidates, take a look back at last week’s post about maintaining client relationships. The same skills apply. Only present them with opportunities they will care about, don’t lie, consistently show them great opportunities, and be a partner not a peon.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.ree. If there is a particular area you are interested in, let me know in the comments section below.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

De-bunking Recruiter Secrets: Client Relationships

If you missed last week’s post, be sure to read it first HERE.  If you have read it, you know that I came clean and told you that there really are no secrets to great recruiting. The real secret is just following through on the standards of recruiting that we all know exist. Everyone knows  what you are supposed to do to be a successful recruiter. Actually living them in your day to day business is what is key. I promised to drill down on the Big 3 assumed “secrets” last week. This week I elaborate on client relationships.

For some reason, building great client relationships seems to stand out (at least in teams that I’ve personally worked with) as a trait of really successful recruiters. In my experience those that “get it” are much more likely to be big billers and respected in the industry. After all, the client, or employer, is your customer in recruiting. They pay you, not the candidate. Without “owning the client” you can never fully own your placements or your desk.

Finding clients in the first place is a post that warrants it’s own blog series. People design entire training programs on that topic. I will definitely have a blog about that in the future, but in my opinion, getting a job order, or obtaining the client for a first placement is not the hard part. It’s keeping that client and securing a relationship with the employer for multiple placements that is is the true value to you in great recruiting. The best search consultants I know do not have a lot of clients. They have a few clients that they place candidates with, over, and over again.

Here are 4 ways to build better client relationships as a recruiter:

1. Only Present Great Candidates.

Great recruiters only present great candidates. They aren’t just good, they aren’t just qualified, they are great. They are the candidates that go way beyond meeting basic qualifications. We’ll talk more about this topic next week. These are candidates that have that something extra that demonstrates they will be a great employee no matter who they work for. A great recruiter does not offer a “mediocre” product.

2.Don’t Lie.

Just don’t do it. There is no reason to ever lie to your client. As Mark Twain said, ” If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Don’t tell them you have a background that you don’t really have. Don’t say you have a candidate that meets the criteria they are asking for if you don’t really have one yet. Don’t embellish things to make yourself look better or give the client any reason to question your credibility.

3. Consistently Deliver.

One of the biggest mistakes recruiters make with clients is over-promising and under-delivering. They promise the hiring manager they can have a candidate for them by Friday before they have even began a search. They take on job orders that are impossible to fill. They say they will call and they don’t. Sure, you want to please your client, but pleasing them in the short term and disappointing them in the long term will not build a good relationship. The ability to consistently deliver on  your promises is essential in recruiting. If you set a deadline, be sure you can meet it. If you don’t lie in the first place this becomes easier.  If you consistently deliver, they will feel obliged to do the same and that will build a strong business relationship. Trust me on this one, it’s a biggie.

4. Be a Partner not a Peon

To expand upon the 3 items above, let me explain the biggest key to keeping great client relationships. Great recruiters are partners because they have great candidates, they don’t lie and they consistently deliver. When you submit a candidate that is just ok, you risk your reputation to find great talent. When you lie you risk your integrity. When you agree to work on job orders that are impossible to fill, if you are a contingent recruiter, this essentially means you are agreeing to work for nothing. Would you consider a candidate that told you they didn’t care how much someone paid them or if they were paid at all? Ultimately you are compromising your respect. Would you respect someone that had a mediocre product, lied, made promises they couldn’t keep? Instead, demonstrate your value as a partner in their hiring process! Push back when you need to. If a client knows you consistently have exceptional talent, and are always honest, they will not question why you can’t spend your time on an impossible job order. They will listen to your advice. They will understand that you have other clients that are competing with them for your time. Never be afraid to back away from a proposal that makes bad business sense for you. That only makes you a more valued partner to them. It will earn you respect which is key to any relationship.

What other skills do you find are key to keeping great client relationships? Tell me about them in the comment section below.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360. – See more at: http://rekrutr.com/blog/#sthash.5I5IKwBM.dpuf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3 Secrets to Building a Great Recruiting Desk

Please pardon this week’s title. I used the word “secrets” to get your attention. The truth is that there is really no big mystery to great recruiting. There is not some book of secrets for the industry. There are 3 core skills that separate mediocre recruiters from great recruiters, though. Ask a recruiter for their secrets and chances are what they tell you will not seem like such a big secret. It is probably something everyone knows about but just doesn’t use. The bottom line is that if you want to be a great recruiter, you simply must be able to do the following three things well, and there is no secret about that!

ONE: A great recruiter must maintain strong professional relationships with employers/hiring managers that are willing to trust you to deliver candidates that are not only qualified for the position they need to fill, but ones that consistently stand out from the crowd. You know the ones that meet  their criteria and then some. Candidates that they immediately want to hire.

TWO: A great recruiter must be able to identify, qualify, and maintain contact with a database of exceptionally gifted talent that are willing to consider new job opportunities that might be even better than the one they are currently happy in.

THREE: Finally, a great recruiter must understand and embrace the process of matching the prior two groups. A recruiter that can match the right employer with the right passive candidate creating a win-win situation for both will never be without a job. There will always be a need for this type of recruiter.

So how exactly do you deliver on all three of these when any one of the three could be a job of its own? It is not easy. It will require a lot more than working 8 to 5 Monday through Friday in the beginning.  But, it is still not a secret. If you are succeeding at even one of the areas and are up to learning more about another, stay tuned. Over the next three weeks, I will be digging in to each of these three areas individually then wrapping up with how you can learn to be successful at all three. If there is a particular area you are interested in, let me know in the comments section below.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

Posted in Business Consulting, Recruiting, Recruitment Process, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

90 is Real. The Real Issue of An Aging Workforce.

Were you one of the 11.3 million that tuned in to see Jimmy Fallon‘s premier as host of The Tonight Show this week? I’m already a Fallon fan, so I thought it was terrific. I mean, the U-2 roof-top performance, the Rutgers Drum line, Will Smith and at least 10 other stars paying up their bets on one show? Wow.  That was one of the best late-night shows I’ve caught in a while.

So what does The Tonight Show have to do with recruiting? Let’s face it, people like me find something to do with employment, jobs, or the recruiting industry in just about everything they see and do. Geek hazard I suppose. I planned to write on recruiting new talent to replace the aging workforce this week, and then Will Smith helped me change gears. Here’s how:

Will Smith‘s appearance was as awesome as would be expected but when he spoke about having his 45th birthday in September it really got my attention. “I’m 45 right now, ” he said. With the state of modern medicine—90, we’re all probably gonna hit 90… 90’s like a real thing now… 90 is real.” Whoa. That was like an epiphany for me. My wheels start turning. I repeat what he said aloud to my husband, who says it as well.”90 is REAL.”

Smith went on to say, “So, I was thinking ‘This is halftime.’ Right? So, when you come out for the third quarter, in any sporting event the third quarter’s an important quarter. That’s not the time when you start relaxing and you start chilling. You gotta go get it in the third quarter.” Well, YEAH. He’s right. Forty-five is definitely the time to bring it! By 50 you are just getting in to your career groove.  So why in the world is turning 50 scary to the unemployed?

In the past, 50 meant winding down the last 15 years until retirement.  If living until 90 is a real thing, is retirement really feasible at 65? Retirement requires some pretty significant financial security. I can assure you, based on my current situation I will likely be working until at least 80! Those in exceptional wealth like Will Smith probably could retire then, but will they want to? Doubtful.

Teresa Ghilarducci, is a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research. She wrote an article in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times in 2012 that sums up my concern. She wrote, “To maintain living standards into old age we need roughly 20 times our annual income in financial wealth. If you earn $100,000 at retirement, you need about $2 million beyond what you will receive from Social Security. If you have an income-producing partner and a paid-off house, you need less. This number is startling in light of the stone-cold fact that most people aged 50 to 64 have nothing or next to nothing in retirement accounts and thus will rely solely on Social Security.”

So if we assume that the general population will need 20 times their annual income to comfortably retire at 65-70, is the aging population really such a big concern? Do we really need to start bringing in the “Millenials” to replace the “Baby Boomers” and those die-hard workers from “The Silent Generation” ?  I think one could argue the answer to that is no.

I bet there are definitely some members of that millenial generation that would agree with me. After all, what about all the jobs we told them were going to be out there waiting for them as college graduates? Are they really there? An even bigger concern might be the unemployed in the 50 plus age demographic. Why is is so hard for a person with 20 plus years of impeccable job experience finding it difficult to find a job at 60 when the economy left them job less due to downsizing.

Beyond the issues above, I am specifically worried about companies that will choose not to adapt their current healthcare programs to manage safety and health concerns for older workers that refuse to retire. An aging workforce internally will require attention to schedule flexibility, wellness programs, ergonomic job accommodations and safety checks to determine whether safety procedures are being followed correctly.

Smart employers will consider the needs of aging workers, both to aid retention, and to create an environment that is inclusive, but how many will actually be prepared for this? I suspect the number is low. Ultimately a workforce with blended generations will likely be the ideal but how easy will that transition be? Are recruitment teams prepared to identify excellent candidates from any age demographic and are employers prepared to ensure that there is a fair and consistent process for screening that ensures this?

I found one article on Business Insurance that noted a survey of 522 employers. The survey reported 85% of respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about an aging workforce. With that said, 64% of the respondents said they had NOT designed their absence and disability management programs around those concerns.

While I don’t have any data to back it up, it is my opinion that employers are much more focused on how they will recruit new talent, not on keeping the aging talent that will hit retirement age, much less providing an aging-friendly workplace that will encourage employment of those that may be nearing retirement age with no intent to actually retire. It will be interesting to see what happens when they don’t see the turn-over from retirement that was expected. It is a prime landscape for under-the-rug age discrimination, and the younger age group is not really protected.

What challenges will an aging workforce without the means to retire do you foresee? Do you have examples of individuals over 50 already struggling to find employment opportunities at all? I’m very interested in this topic and plan to devote another blog to the topic. Sound off below and tell me your thoughts on the subject!

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment