(as published on RedCanary)
So you’re trying to improve the quality of your recruiting.
You want to hire more people, people with talent who bring their ‘A’ game every day.
How do you do that? Do you need new tactics?
Better tools and technology, or a recruiter with a better network? Before you do anything, check your attitude. That’s right. The fundamental difference between success and failure in recruiting comes down to attitude and the role you choose in the process.
What’s your stance? Are you a buyer of skills or a seller of opportunities? You might think you’re a little of each, but most recruiters and companies lean strongly one way.
Don’t know which you are? Here are some hints.
- Your recruiting function runs like a purchasing department and probably rolls up into Admin and Finance; you use words like Talent Acquisition.
- Your job descriptions look like shopping lists; you advertise prerequisite skills and qualifications.
- You look for exact fits; square pegs to fit into square holes.
- You focus on the quantifiable attributes of a candidate that are usually listed on the resume.
- Your interviews have the primary goal of qualifying candidates and minimizing the risk of a bad hire.
- You pitch a role based on the deliverables. “We need you to do this/ make this/ behave this way.”
- You feel that you have the control and power in the recruiting process.
- Your recruiting function is quite independent and might report to Sales, Marketing or the CEO.
- You advertise jobs based on the opportunity, culture, perks and benefits to the candidate.
- You create loosely-defined job descriptions, defining outcomes and projects more than qualifications
- You look for great people and create roles so they can add maximum value.
- Your interview is an extension of the sales pitch. And you often do much of the talking and ask questions to define what the candidate wants in a role, with the focus on how to close the candidate on a future offer.
- You see the candidate as having the power in the recruiting process.
- While each of these recruiting positions might have merits, the risks are worth noting.
To the Buyers out there, you are scaring off great candidates by treating them as though they are lucky to be under consideration. You are making offers to people who don’t mind this feeling, but understand that you are simply purchasing skills and output, but not loyalty. You and your company will have a tough time with employee engagement and retention.
And Sellers, you’re not perfect either! You tend to oversell jobs and are at risk of hiring underqualified candidates. You might also pay more per hire than is required. The people you hire may approach their employment with a sense of entitlement that may not be deserved.
So what’s a good recruiter to do? How can you effectively embody the best of both Buying and Selling and find a happy balance where the prospective candidate is seen as a potential partner.
Perhaps it is too simple to suggest that a change in attitude alone will immediately fix your recruiting woes. And the outcome will be many interactions won’t be an immediate hire. But I guarantee that when a hire is made and a partner found, the level of engagement and overall success of the relationship will be incredible.