Real Life Recruiting From The Trenches: What Keeps Us Up At Night

You read a lot about talent acquisition (that’s what fancy people call recruiting) from consultants, agencies and analysts paid to attend conferences. Who don’t you hear from?

Corporate Recruiters.

Corporate recruiters, in the trenches everyday, knocking it out for companies everywhere. Not for commission (in some cases), but for the love of the company. For the love of connecting. For love of finding the employee of the century.

Jobvite and I thought it would be great to do a series about “Real Life Recruiting From the Trenches.” What better way to kick off the series than interview MY team of recruiters at Daxko? Yes, a company known for some pretty cool employee engagement practices. And, hear me loud and clear: employee retention starts with the recruiting process.

I talked with two of Daxko’s fabulous team members, Kim Bailey, Sr. Talent Sherpa (fancy name for most excellent Sr. Generalist) and Beth Wolfe, our Talent Acquisition Specialist (fancy name for most excellent recruiter).

After interviewing these two phenoms (yes, they can pay me later) here are the top take-aways regarding the life of recruiting from the trenches:

  1. The biggest challenge, period, is finding qualified candidates. Seems simple, but it is a mighty, mighty challenge. Tech candidates are all purple squirrels and keeping competitive with salaries while trying to sustain a reasonable EBITA is always a dance.
  2. Candidates care about who they work for as much as what they do. This adds another layer to the recruiting, sourcing and screening mix.Recruiters must know their cultural realities and business strategy to be successful.
  3. The most impactful tool in the technology arsenal is still the good ‘ole Applicant Tracking System. A lot of bright and shiny “HR Tech” doesn’t compare to a great, modern, social-facing applicant tracking system. #justsayin
  4. Video Interviewing platforms are the most fabulously disruptive recruiting technology in the market. Team Leads love it, candidates love it, and it eliminates a significant amount of time “pre-screening.” Start with SparkHire and HireVue to get acquainted with this tech.
  5. Administration (especially scheduling interviews) associated with recruiting is one of the least rewarding components to a recruiter’s job. Certainly important, but it’s not what gets recruiters out of bed in the morning. Recruiters truly value moving the organization forward with a great candidate. Either hire a great Jr. Generalist/Assistant to schedule or buy tech that will handle this.
  6. There is never time to passively source. It is a HUGE problem with many corporate recruiting shops and one that is negatively impacting results. This problem must be solved.
  7. Your corporate careers page is the window to the company’s soul. If it is not attractive, authentic to your culture, and easy to use, candidates will flee.
  8. LinkedIn is still the best social media platform to source form. It is a challenge if your company doesn’t value LinkedIn, invest in branding or simply doesn’t get social media.
  9. Managers must understand that recruiting is a team sport—a process that takes a village. A recruiter’s role is to provide the tools and be the subject-matter expert to hiring managers. However, if a manager isn’t an equal partner in the process, isn’t crystal clear on what they want, believes that “casting a wide net” is a sound strategy, doesn’t prioritize filling roles or harness the power of their own social media networks—filling the job can be an exercise in futility.
  10. Last but certainly not least: if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. HR needs to do a better job helping leaders create a compensation strategy that makes sense for the organization and is agile enough to flex with the market. Also, this comp strategy could be replaced with items that your ideal candidates value, (i.e. remote workspace, etc.).

So, I’d love to hear from you if you can relate. I’d love to hear from you if you have solutions to these typical trends.

It takes a village!

This post is sponsored by the recruiting pros at Jobvite, who, each month, let FOT write about a topic that will help recruiters raise their games via continuing education. Be on the lookout later this month for the new FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—also brought to you by

FOT Background Check

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke (PHR) is VP of People at DAXKO. That's right - the very DAXKO that our very own KD is an alum of because there are only so many people (okay, just one) in the big B'ham who are worthy of that VP of People title. Dawn would be it. Former actor/singer/retail guru, her HR career has spanned the last decade. A true Generalist she’s done a little bit of everything, but recruiting and training is where she gets her mojo. She's based in the good 'ole blogging capitol of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, where you can frequently find her listening to the Beatles and REM, watching tons of Sex in the City reruns, drinking copious amounts of coffee and wine, and wondering how in the world this theatre grad ever got into football or HR…. Talk to Dawn via emailLinkedIn, or Twitter...


  1. Ane says:

    Love this – we need to hear more, directly from the recruiter! Thank you for an excellent post and an interesting list. Keep challenging your recruiting technologies. Most of this should be solved by us for you, so recruiters can focus where they bring the most value: building relationships with candidates and hiring managers.

    • Dawn Burke says:

      Thank you so much Ane for your comments! Agreed on the tech front. DB

  2. Archaic Recruiter :) says:

    There isn’t one thing on this list that I don’t agree with, so I’m screaming on the inside -“why can’t my leadership get with the 21st century!” I work for a utility company that is slow to change, although we recently changed our name to Talent Acquisition because that was easy enough, so prodding management to spend money on an ATS, SM marketing, and EE compensation is next to impossible. Since we’re such a stable industry, they know that talent eventually finds its way to us so our focus is on infrastructure and rate payers and they just don’t see the ROI of HR. If anyone else has faced this battle and won, please let me know how you accomplished it!

    • Dawn Burke says:

      @archaic — so many feel your pain. An ATS is a non-negotiable AND you can find cheap ones that are easy to implement. now a little forwarning — technology is supposed to save time on admin. So some archaic leaders will say, if you save X amount of time with this ATS, you won’t need to hire that next HR team member. That could be OK — but something you’ll need to navigate.

      Also, pitch to them that newer entrants to the workforce (aka millennials) will typically flee from companies that have archaic practices. Again, may not be your demographic– but there you go.

  3. FDuke says:

    I hope what keeps recruiters up at night are all the candidates who spent time on their applications only to hear nothing back. Ever. Even though everything in the world is automated and the field is also known as *human* resources.

  4. RJ Marks says:

    I hear great things about Beth Wolfe. 🙂

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