Top RECRUITER (Not Recruiting) Fails

Dawn Burke Always Be Closing, Recruiting, Selection

As a VP of People I’m responsible for lots of things. Although my People Team is responsible for all HR competencies (recruiting, training, comp, benefits, employee relations, culture) the tide of what we deal with swings back and forth. Some months are chock-full of employee relations issues; other months are training heavy… yada, yada. This month is recruiting.

I’ve recently been re-engaged in some hands-on, full-tilt recruiting activities. It is astounding how quickly you remember what works as a recruiter and what does NOT.

Today’s post won’t be sexy, snarky, or scrappy. Today we’re getting back to the basics. You can have a swell ATS, have a fab recruiting campaign, and give office tours all day long, but if a recruiter doesn’t remember, get, know, or demonstrate the basics they. will. fail. Here are a few fails:

  1. You Overbook Time. I get your hiring manager wants you to interview 20 people tomorrow, and/or you just got three more requisitions, and/or you took a day off to take care of your pet rabbit and you feel time-crunched. Overbooking is not the solution. Shoving a 60-minute interview into 20 minutes doesn’t cut it. It’s not fair to the candidate or the hiring manager. Selfishly, it’s not good for you.
  1. You Multi-Task During The Interview. What is multi-tasking? Reading your email while you are interviewing. Putting someone on mute so you can answer an employee question as the candidate talks. Trolling Facebook. Looking at other applicants’ resumes while you are on the phone with a candidate! Your job is to listen to the candidate. Simple, you may think—but no, it’s not. Really it’s not. It takes focus and mental fortitude. You completely eliminate the “art” of the interview if you do not listen. The art includes knowing how to follow up, creatively finding ways to dig deeper, and finding ways to connect. Not possible to do if you are concurrently doing something else. (I will give you a free pass on taking notes.)
  1. Give Up On A Candidate Too Soon, Part A. You’ve had a long day of interviewing, and you’re tired. It’s amazing how your brain starts to work. You almost start to find reasons to cut the interview short. “Man this guy has said the word “synergy” 5 times… he’ll never work!” Your inability to focus should never affect the candidate. Reschedule if you have to.
  1. You Give Up On A Candidate Too Soon, Part B: You are really excited about a candidate. You call. The phone rings… no answer. Hmmm. You call again. Voicemail. Hmmmm. 20 seconds later they call back (really not a long wait at all), but your mind is already made up. “If they weren’t able to pick up at ring one, they are dead to me!” Come on. That’s lazy recruiting.
  1. You Don’t Know When To Flip The Script. “Flipping the script” is knowing when to pivot. For instance, you may be on the phone with a great candidate. You (the recruiter) are fully engaged, completely focused, and are asking all the right questions but legitimately this candidate isn’t gonna cut it for this job. You have a choice, do I cut the interview short or do I flip the script? If you think this person is a good culture fit, flip the script to questions that solidify they could work well in a future role. If you think this person is good for another opening, flip the script and ask questions about the second job.
  1. You don’t like to sell (aka aren’t competitive, aka don’t care about “winning”). Attracting and obtaining talent is very competitive. If you don’t get a high after you land a candidate, you shouldn’t be a recruiter. Easy enough.

I’m sure there are 20 more. Would love to hear the FOT Nation’s additions.

Be on the lookout tomorrow for the FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—brought to you by