I was reminded this past week that recruiting is very hard. No, it’s not hard to post a job on your careers page and wait for a resume, that you won’t screen, and just pass it along to the hiring manager—that’s not hard. Recruiting is hard when it comes down to finding talent that really doesn’t want to be found and has no desire to go to work for your bad culture and crappy manager who turns over people constantly. That’s when recruiting is hard!
I think there are 4 main differences that separate great recruiting from bad recruiting. They are:
1. Great recruiters have the ability to change your mind about an opportunity, before money is even discussed. Bad recruiters lead with the money. Good recruiters believe in their organizations, believe in the position, and believe in the hiring manager as a great leader. Then they make you a believer!
2. Great recruiters know your rejections before you know them and address them as such. Relocation is probably the toughest one that comes to mind. Next to relocation is a spouse who doesn’t want to relocate, which is like kryptonite to a Recruiter! Getting someone to relocate for a new position and new company, when they are already a great talent with a great organization, takes a recruiter with an exceptional ability to connect the dots for the candidates. This becomes the “this is why you need to be here, right now” kind of moment that great recruiters come up with instead of just hanging up the phone and calling someone else.
3. Great recruiters know how to dig, and love to get dirty. Let’s face it, you mining the Monster database isn’t recruiting. I can easily find a $10/hr admin type who can do that and they’ll actually be more engaged doing it! Good recruiters love the search. Yeah, it can be frustrating and heartbreaking, but when you uncover that hidden gem, it is very much worth the work!
4. Great recruiters, whether they are corporate or agency, know what is closest to the money. What does this mean? In the agency world, this means recruiters are going to work those openings that will make them money. Not all positions will make them money. You see, you corporate recruiters don’t really want to pay agencies. So, you give us a lot to work on that you’ll never pay out for a number of reasons. You suck that way! You get us to work for free, then don’t hire our people. The best corporate recruiters are no different; they just don’t get paid commission per hire (although I argue they should if you really want a dynamic corporate recruiting function). Great corporate recruiters know which positions will fill quickly, and they knock those out first and quickly. It’s their version of successful recruiting (i.e. getting paid!), and they’ll work those openings first… before tackling the crap that will be extremely hard to fill.
The last four or five years have given us an environment where newer recruiters just coming into the industry didn’t have to be good—they just had to be present. Being present isn’t a qualification, necessarily, to becoming a good recruiter. High unemployment and low jobs, gives you an abundance of candidates and usually qualified candidates, as well. This doesn’t make you a good recruiter—it makes you a good screener. In many industries, we are now seeing the value of good recruiters come back, as certain job markets are opening up in a big way and candidates, even bad ones, are no longer advertising themselves as available.
Good recruiting is invaluable to a good HR shop, and bad recruiting is the quickest way for your HR shop to lose credibility with your leadership. So, what can you do? Don’t allow bad recruiting to live in your barn! Good recruiting is hard; it shouldn’t look easy and it doesn’t work 40 hours per week, 8 to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday. But, bad recruiting is betting on the fact that you don’t know the difference, or you are too lazy to do anything about it.