Category Archives: Working With Hiring Managers

There is (ALMOST) Nothing Original About Recruiting

I don’t know about you but I always have to laugh when someone says something along the lines of ‘The way we recruit is so different from anyone else.’

When I hear that I have two different camps that go to battle in my head – either to just let it go (which I always do and regret it later) or to set them straight. If I were to really tear into the topic and push it a bit this is how I imagine that it would go:

Them: We do things differently. We are not your normal recruiting department / recruiting firm.

Me: Oh really? So you have found a new way to try to understand what a hiring manager needs and then go out and find it. I’d love to hear about it.

Them: No, we still do that. It’s just all about relationships for us. 

Me: Well how about that. Can you tell me the birthday of the last three candidates you spoke with? What about their dog’s name or what sports they like to play.

Them: Well, no but….

Me: So you plan on having lunch with them next week even if there is no chance of you placing them… ever?

Them: Well, no but….

Me: So it’s not really about relationships is it?

Them: It is – I promise. What really sets us apart is our search process.

Me: Well I am as excited as the day is long. So you have developed a new way to search outside of Boolean and web-search operators.

Them: What’s Boolean? We don’t rely on old technologies. We use social media and networking.

Me: How many placements did you have last year from Twitter?

Them: I don’t really track that.

Me: Zero right?

Them: (silence)… (crickets churping)… Another thing that makes us different is we have a proprietary database that has a lot of good candidates in it.

Me: So you are telling me that if I went through LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, Google, and Bing that I could not find the same people you have in your database?

Them: Well, you probably could but we have relationships with them.

Me: How many folks are in your database?

Them: Fifty thousand or so.

Me: So you are telling me that at any point you could call anyone in your database and have them call you back and be interested in an opportunity when you want them to be?

Them: Well…… No. But we work harder than anyone else.

Me: Excellent. So if I were to call your office on Saturday evening at 7:30 you would be there cooking up new Boolean strings?

Them: No, but we work smarter than anyone else and that sets us apart.

Me: So you are telling me that no one in your office plays around on Facebook uses work time for anything personal?

Them: Well, no but we have great relationships with our hiring managers.

Me: Wow – that’s pretty amazing. When was the last time the hiring manager invited you out to lunch when you weren’t working on one of his reqs?

Them: Well, never really…..

Me: So when was the last time a hiring manager invited you to lunch when you were working on one of his reqs?

Them: Its happened I’m sure, I just can’t remember when. Whatever the case we have such a good understanding of the culture and what makes the company tick that we can fill our reqs all day.

Me: Really? What does the bathroom next to accounting look like?

Them: What?

Me: If you really know the lay of the land there you will know what the bathroom closest to accounting looks like.

Them: I can’t really tell you that.

Me: So you’re not so different after all are you.

Them: We are, I promise.

If you are in recruiting please face the fact that we all do the same things. Some of us are better in some areas than others and that might set you apart a LITTLE BIT but there is not that much different going on. I promise.

Want to really understand how unoriginal recruiting is? I got the idea for this post by reading an article on recruiting.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


Recruiting Truth: Time To Fill Is The WORST Recruiting Metric Ever

I’ll go ahead and say it – judging a recruiter by how long it takes a req to close is the worst idea ever (well…. almost). Today we will present three examples of how a recruiter gets screwed by this metric time and time (and time x 100) again and give (what we think) are better indicators of how to judge recruiters.

Example 1:

Recruiter gets req on February 1st, finds viable candidates on February 3rd, gets hiring manager two candidates February 4th. Despite recognizing that both are exceptional candidates the hiring manager decides not to interview either until March 1st and finally makes an offer March 15th.

How the h-e-double hockey sticks is it the recruiters fault that the manager waited nearly a month to do the first interview and six weeks to make an offer?

Example 2:

Recruiter gets a position that requires 100% travel from a hiring manager who is on the road 75% of the time.

The candidate that is ultimately hired is sourced, screened, and secured within five business days however, the first time that the candidate and manager can meet in-person is three weeks after the req is opened due to travel schedules.

Why must our fearless hero (the recruiter) pay for the travel schedules of a great candidate and the hiring manager when he submitted him within five business days?

Example 3:

The recruiter is told on the front end that a certain position will require a purple squirrel (ie a needle in a field of haystacks). He finds a rock star candidate that interviews and is beloved by everyone on the team (including the hiring manager) but before the hiring manager will commit he wants to interview a minimum of five others (it’s just his way of doing things).

During the time those other candidates are sourced and interviewed the first candidate gets another offer and despite the recruiters best efforts to sway the manager to get the candidate he likes best, he does nothing.

After going through the five interviews (of which none go as well as the first) the recruiter is scolded for not keeping the first candidate on the line and must start a new to find a squirrel that’s purple.

Affect time to fill? Certainly!

Why should a recruiter take the heat for a hiring manager who refuses to be proactive and snag a great candidate when he finds them?

If you have been in recruiting long enough you have seen these types of scenarios play out over and over again. Each affects a recruiters time-to-fill which in return affects how we are judged by the organization.

In your humble author’s opinion two other numbers that are much more valuable when judging recruiters are time to find the candidate who is ultimately hired and time to present the candidate to the hiring manager.

They give a much better indicator of how effective a recruiter is on a number of levels and take away the things that slows down many, many searches – factors outside of the recruiters control.

What say you? Are we looking at things the correct way or are we completely off-base? Look forward to your thoughts and comments!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!s

The Guide to Exceptional Recruiting (Pompous Title; Great Content)

Over the past few weeks I have asked many people both inside and outside of recruiting what it takes, in their eyes, to be an exceptional recruiter. As the title suggests, it is very pompous but it did promise great content (WHICH I WROTE NONE OF) – so here you go:

Those inside of recruiting:

Olivier J. Van Dierdonck, Director of Recruitment, Southwind, a Division of the Advisory Board

  • Persistence
  • Ability to connect with candidates and clients
  • Credibility (industry knowledge and honesty)
  • Solid ability to assess skill sets
  • Trusted advisor
  • Attentive to details

Marty Lovgren, Talent Acquisition Manager, Gresham, Smith and Partners

  • Responsive; Must respond in a timely and professional manner to candidate and client alike
  • Provide true staffing/business consulting skills to the client, must understand the client’s needs and business intimately
  • On the third-party side, recruiters must immerse themselves into their client’s organization/culture to better understand their needs
  • Must possess excellent active listening skills
  • Must demonstrate tenacity in pursuit of the best talent
  • Exhibit salesmanship, people skills, and powers of persuasion in negotiations
  • Must always follow through with commitments

Robert Kane, Director, HR and Talent Acquisitions , Community Health Systems

When I first started at CHS, I asked all of my hiring my primary hiring managers (mostly Division VPs and Presidents) what they needed most from my position. The most common response was “communication”.

Ninety percent of my searches were hospital executives and the average fill time was sixty to ninety days. I instituted a weekly update process that has consistently received positive feedback. Most weeks it is simply an update on my efforts without a viable candidate to share but this keeps everyone on the same page.

I see communication as one of the building blocks for successfully managing the hiring manager side.

On the candidate/sourcing side, the ability to build relationships with potential candidates and knowing the details of the position in question are key. I always recommend focusing on a match. The right candidate has to fit with the right opportunity.

The worst case scenario for a recruiter is for the candidate to have false expectations and end up unhappy three months into the job. This means talking with a lot of potentials until a viable match is found. There have been a number of occurrences where we hire someone we’ve been speaking to for three years or more.

A truly great recruiter will know the intimate details of the position and culture. This will allow not only for deciding who has the skill set to be successful in the role but also for clear communication of a realistic job preview.

Tam Singer, Corporate Recruiter, OHL

Top four attributes of the best recruiters

  • Confidence: Recruiter listens and learns what the hiring manager needs and what they are really saying
  • Drive: Recruiter fills the position in the quickest time in the most direct way
  • Network: Recruiter has large network of candidates to go to in any given situation
  • Trust: Their reputation is that they will get the position filled because they have consistent proven results 

Lindsay Dycus, Recruiter, Shoemaker Financial

I think the main thing that puts a recruiter a cut above the rest is working knowledge of the position you are hiring for. I was fortunate enough to have gotten the licenses required to do the positions I recruit for and also work in a similar firm before I became a recruiter.

This knowledge allows me to give open and honest answers to candidates questions. Another thing that can separate the good from the great is the time you spend getting to know the candidate and being open and honest with them, not only about your firm, but opportunities available to them at other firms that might fit what they are looking for specifically better.

Rick Ross, Partner, NGP

I’ve hired many recruiters through the years and have found that there is a key characteristic that differentiates a good recruiter from a great recruiter.

It’s simple – I always want to understand the motivation to be a recruiter. There’s a few answers to this question but the one that best predicts ‘greatness’ in my experience is an answer that reflects service. “My goal is to help companies by finding the best possible candidates for their roles” or “I just enjoy the reward of someone getting a job that enhances their career”.Even better: “It’s almost community service . . . companies get great employees and my candidates get great jobs – that’s reward in itself”

Any other motivation (money, personal career advancement, or just to do something different) are key indicators that their real passion is outside of recruiting. Great recruiters are interested in the long-term job satisfaction of their candidates and not just making a placement.

Those outside of recruiting:

Linda Teske, a Senior HR Generalist/Consultant

In general, based on my experience, a good recruiter is one that returns the call and follows up with a candidate one way or another. They also know what job best fits the candidate and will not suggest a position that may not necessarily be the best fit. They are considering a ‘long term’ placement, not a ‘short term’ placement.

Jane Smith Stage, Training Professional

Truthful — tell me what I need to know & do in order to present myself in the very best light.  If I’m not coming across as professional or not a good match for your client — give me specifics.   

Responsive, even if it’s a subject-line only e-mail or voice message. 

Collaborative — yes, you represent your corporate client — AND — how can we work together as well?  How can I stay ‘top-of-mind’ with you (recruiter)?

John Bliven, Training Professional

As you’ve said before, job seekers need to understand how recruiters work and
establish realistic expectations when working with them.
That said, here are my thoughts about what makes a recruiter great:

  • professional in all aspects of a working relationship
  • don’t make promises you can’t keep (if it’s doubtful that you can schedule an interview for a candidate, say so, don’t sugarcoat anything)
  • be realistic in describing the types of positions you conduct searches for (if you don’t recruit mechanical engineers) don’t say that you do
  • follow through and follow-up – if you say you’re going to provide feedback on a candidate’s qualifications, do it!

 Carol Oot, Client Services Professional

I’d say that a great recruiter would be someone who can evaluate my background honestly, and offer their own ideas on options that I might not have considered. 

Kathryn Lewis, Non-Profit Professional

The first thing that occurs to me is a recruiter’s questions.  There are plenty of “tests” out there that will tell a recruiter who you are.  I believe that a recruiters ability to ask the right questions to find out who you are, your passions, your work and management styles, and be able to match you up to a career (not just a job) using their instincts is vital to the success of a career path.   They change lives by guiding their clients towards that perfect match.

Their passion for their job is critical as well.  The passion to make that right connection is tremendous motivation for their clients. 

Anna Visnic, Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing Professional

A great recruiter knows not only what the candidate’s past experiences are, but what the candidate CAN do and is CAPABLE of doing.

Great recruiters are “personal”…up to the point where it gets really personal, because great recruiters know that successful relationship with any candidate does begin with the resume, but certainly doesn’t end with the job placement.

Tony Dye, Technology Consultant

Several quick thoughts here:

  1. It might be worth clarifying what type of recruiter you’re talking about. A corporate recruiter (like you) vs. a “head hunter” like Jason Childs or Mark Newsom or others. Retained vs. Contingency might also be an influence…but I’m not sure I necessarily expect a different response.
  2. The key thing I expect, just as a general courtesy, is a response. Even a simple acknowledgement. A “received your resume/app, you don’t fit” is so much better than never hearing anything
  3. Doing what you say you’ll do. Again, simple courtesy and ethics. It is absolutely 100% OK for you to not be able to do anything for me – that’s just life. But if you can’t do anything for me (or even if you won’t do anything for me), don’t say or imply that you will. Specific example: there’s a pretty well-known, high-level, guy in town who has on multiple occasions suggested we get together. Bu then he goes silent and disappears. In a manner of speaking, you have also avoided me, but you were clear about it – you didn’t just go silent. “No,” or even “not now,” is so much better a response than just disappearing
  4. Don’t mass distribute my resume. Actually, don’t even send it out to just one organization without letting me know first
  5. A really great recruiter stays in touch. That doesn’t necessarily mean a personal call or visit. A simple email once a month or so, that could even be a promotional item, but gives the “I remember you and thought about you” impression

 Tammie Lang, Marketing & Advertising Professional

Someone who sends me job posts that actually MATCH my qualifications AND desired location. Not random jobs that are totally NOT a match at all for me!

I hope you have gained a few nuggets of information from those inside and outside of the recruiting world that you can implement into your daily recruiting life to rise to the top of the profession.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!