Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for October, 2008

Passion for Recruiting

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

On separate occasions last week I had the wonderful opportunity to meet two “seasoned” recruiters (Frank and Terry). Each of these gentlemen probably had 15+ years of experience in recruiting and both of them had previous third party and corporate recruitment experience.

In both meetings, it was awesome to see they still had a burning passion for recruiting after all these years.

OK – if I questioned both Frank and Terry, I’m sure they would admit to having many frustrating days (like we all do), but as our conversation(s) progressed, it’s clear; they both still get excited about:

  • Filling a difficult search
  • Getting a hiring manager to change their point of view (for the good)
  • Receiving a call from a new employee thanking them for engaging and securing a new career opportunity that positively “changed their life”

My conversation with Frank was a discussion around a position he had just filled! Frank’s eyes lit up as he discussed the difficulties, challenges and success with a search for a hiring manager he had never worked with. Frank shared that when developing the sourcing strategy for this search, the hiring manager was adamant that Frank would never be able to recruit a candidate from a certain ‘sector’ of the market. As the hiring manager stated – “those folks would never leave their cushy, high paying jobs.”

Frank being a confident and experienced recruiter was now excited and on a mission! He told me how he had identified all the folks the hiring manager said were “untouchable.” He then discussed how he prepared for each and every call to the potential candidates, making sure he was prepared to sell and overcome any objection. He studied the candidate’s company, what his (Frank’s) company could offer, etc. and crafted a compelling message. When he made the calls, he was not only persistent but inspiring as well. Sure enough, he engaged a person at the right time and . . . the rest is history. A successful hire and satisfied hiring manager amazed at his ability to recruit talent within the market place.

In my conversation with Terry, I asked the simple question – “how was your year going?” It was as if I had just asked him – “what do you want for X-mas!” In meticulous detail, Terry also “lit up” as he talked about the talent he had brought over to his organization this year. You could tell how proud he was of his ability to find, recruit and hire some of the top professionals within the industry.

These days, (many times) I meet with/talk to recruiters who “complain” that:

  • Hiring managers are difficult
  • Positions are too tough to fill
  • They have too many “req’s” on their ‘plate’

In both my conversations last week, it was clear that both Frank and Terry took pride (and received great satisfaction) in their jobs, and were passionate about getting the job done regardless of the challenging circumstances they faced!

It was inspiring speaking to both of them and they provided me with some renewed enthusiasm!

I hope you have a productive, passionate week!

A Good Friday

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Last Friday as I planned my day (actually, Thursday night), I wanted to get in and reach out to those people I have either been playing phone tag with, and/or needed to contact. Since Friday’s are always a great day to connect with folks (winding down for the week/at their desk more often), I figured I would do the following:

  • Script out my first 20 calls. Have their names/numbers on a print out right in front of me for the moment I walk in and get going.
  • Since many folks arrive to work at 7/7:30 in preparation for 8/8:30 meetings, I figured I would come in and immediately launch into my calls at 7:30 sharp; not check emails, and already have my coffee, etc.

As a result, in that ½ hour I connected with 4 people that had been on my “to-do” list for two weeks.

For any recruiter, a Friday morning blast session is a great habit to develop!

To make it most effective, I would recommend:

  • Script out your first 10, 20, 50 calls (depending on your sourcing assignment, who you are trying to reach, how long you plan to make calls). Make sure it is printed out (ease of use) with phone #’s. I am all about being paperless but that rush you get while working down a list; scratching off names you have been trying to contact, can be very motivating and powerful.
  • Know the audience you are calling. If, like me – your audience usually start meetings at 8 or 8:30, start your calls at 7:15-7:30. That ½ hour (like mine was last Friday) could be worth 2 hours or countless messages/activity that we all know will yield results.
  • Set a goal for how many people you will talk to and what the outcome will be. The power of positive thinking does work!
  • With each dial, mentally say in your mind “they will pick up the phone.” The power of positive thinking does work!
  • If you work with other recruiters, do the call-blast together. Get on the phones together, end together, and review results (side bets on most calls are a lot of fun too).

While I have written many articles and blog posts on this subject (please check out our resources section), I don’t think we can be reminded enough of best practices in this area. Isn’t engaging quality candidates and educating them about the wonderful opportunities that we can offer our main job?!

This Friday morning – don’t wind down with admin work like others, wind up and get on the phones!

You will feel so good (like I did last Friday) for doing it!

Do you have credibility with your hiring managers?

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Do these phrases describe some of your hiring managers?

  • “I send them resumes and they don’t get back to me”.
  • “I don’t get feedback from them after interviews.”
  • “They want to offer them less than they are making now.”
  • “They don’t know how to sell an opportunity.”

While many hiring managers can be described as finicky at best, often times I find that these are symptoms of the real problem – credibility (or lack thereof) with the hiring managers.

Do you have credibility with your hiring managers?

How many of these questions can you answer with a “YES”?

  1. Do you sit in on your hiring managers weekly/monthly status meetings? Are you on the agenda to discuss recruitment/employment activity, status, etc.?
  2. Do you assist your hiring managers (and HR) in developing headcount forecasts? Succession planning? Do you know their projected/budgeted hiring needs for the year? Quarter? etc.?
  3. Do have a strong functional knowledge of what their organization does?
  4. Do you have detailed knowledge of the labor market for the skill sets you recruit for?
    1. Who are you competitors? Who are their top performers? What do they get paid?
    2. What are alternative sources of candidates?
  5. Do you have a defined hiring process and set Service Level Agreements with your managers?
  6. Do you deliver quality, passive candidates for their needs?
  7. Do your hiring managers understand and appreciate how you source candidates?
  8. Do your hiring managers allow you to schedule candidates for interviews with them WITHOUT reviewing resume/credentials?

If you could answer “yes” to the following questions – you probably have credibility with your hiring managers. If you were not able to answer yes – this might be an area for personal development and growth as we head into the New Year! :)

How can you build credibility?

Consulting with organizations/recruiters around the country, I have found that recruiters build credibility by:

  • Defining and controlling the hiring process.
  • Setting Service Level Agreements with hiring managers.
  • Having a “seat at the table” by participating in operational/staff meetings (recruitment is an agenda item).
  • Having a strong functional knowledge of what their line of business is.
  • Being aware of their Hiring Managers hiring needs and how it impact’s their business.
  • Understanding the labor market for the job families they recruit for.

Simply put, they function as an internal consultant and expert on recruiting/assessment/hiring within the organization. They are a respected peer and are viewed to be a credible source for their expertise (recruitment).

I have already touched on The Most Important Service Level Agreement, please check it out. In the coming weeks, I will provide more helpful/tactical information on the other ways you can build credibility.

“I know you were not looking – but you listened!” – working with passive/not-looking candidates

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

While passive/not-looking (PNL) professionals are arguably higher quality candidates then active seekers, PNL’s provide unique challenges when navigating them through the hiring process.

As my friend, Shally Steckerl (www.jobmachine.com) points out, the major difference between active and PNL’s is initiative.

  • Active candidates take initiative to find you and engage in the recruiting/hiring process.
  • With PNL’s, you take the initiative to find them and engage them in the hiring process.

With that said, if everyone involved in the hiring process does not fully acknowledge and understand this difference and instead . . . treats PNL’s like Active candidates during the interview process . . . you will probably lose their interest along the way.
Some tactics you can take to ensure you are providing an excellent candidate experience with PNL’s include:

  • Informal “grab a cup of coffee” first meeting – A quick way to lose a PNL is immediately engaging them into a rigid, formal interview process. Think about it. You call someone out of the blue and inform them about a position with your firm. They are curious to learn more but . . . are not looking for a new job and, honestly . . . somewhat concerned about anyone finding out that they are even talking to a recruiter. They ask you about “next steps,” and you say “. . . I need to have you show up at our office at 3:00 pm for interviews with myself and three hiring managers…” How would you react?Instead – once you have gained their interest – what if next steps were to “have a cup of coffee” with you (or the hiring manager) to discuss the opportunity a bit further and see if there is enough mutual interest to move forward. Even if that meeting is at your office, a more informal approach to “next steps” is critical.
  • Make sure everyone knows that the candidate is a PNL – Most hiring managers do not know how to work with PNL candidates. First off, hiring managers are typically interviewing active seekers. Secondly, hiring managers have very little real training in the art of courting a high quality recruit and mostly bring a wealth of candidate “assessment/evaluation” training to the table. With that said, make sure you let everyone know your candidate is NOT LOOKING for a new position so your hiring team can handle the initial, informal discussion accordingly. 
  • Make sure both the candidate and the hiring manager are prepared for their first discussion! – While the candidate was not looking, they did listen and have enough interest to discuss the opportunity over a cup of coffee. So make sure you understand and identify at least 2-3 ‘non-compensation’ motives as to why they listened. Relay this information to the hiring manager BEFORE the meeting so they can be prepared to discuss how their opportunity/organization could be an excellent career move!

In preparing the candidate for the meeting, remind them that while they were not looking, they did listen! Review with them the reasons why you are excited about them coming in for a visit (career motives) and/or meeting the hiring manager. Make sure they do their homework and prepare them for the discussion/initial interview with the hiring manager. For more information on Candidate Interview Preparation, please contact us for our Candidate Preparation Check-List. 734-414-9816 or Dszary@recruiteracademy.com

Crafting and delivering an "Attention Grabber"

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

For the last few years a few of my peers (in addition to many of my clients) have been focused on recruiting passive candidates within the financial services industry. Given the recent market turbulence, it is not uncommon for quality, proven professionals in this space to receive 5-10 calls/emails a day from recruiters.

This has only heightened the importance of crafting/delivering a compelling message [we call them “Attention Grabbers” (AG)] that distinguishes you from the competition, and ultimately – – gets you engaged with the top candidates in your market.

While there are many keys to “The Art and Science of Recruiting Passive Candidates,” I thought I would outline a few that have been instrumental in our latest successes when recruiting quality professionals in high demand. 

  1. Remember the 30-second/90 word rule. In Milo Frank’s book – “How to get your point across in 30-seconds or Less,” he discusses how humans ‘consume’ information and emphasizes that we have just ’30-seconds’ to grab someone’s attention and/or make a point. Here are 2 keys to make sure your recruitment message is compelling, to the point and delivered (via email, voice mail, or catching them live) in 30-seconds or less.
    1. First, I recommend role playing with your peers and/or leaving yourself a voice mail. (When leaving yourself a voice mail, time it, it may surprise you).
    2. Second, try the, “90 words or less,” rule. If your email is 90 words or less, it is probably 30-seconds or less.
  2. Outline 1-3 compelling reasons why they should listen. Most recruitment messages describe the skills you are seeking in a candidate, RATHER than the reason(s) someone would/should take a few minutes to check out a new opportunity. Don’t use trite, cliché, or often-used generic phrases like; “excellent career growth,” “uncapped compensation plan,” “flexible schedule.” They don’t work. Instead, insert a point that actually describes what you mean. 
    1. Instead of, “Excellent career growth,” Insert: The last 5 outstanding performers we hired into this position were promoted within 15 months from date of hire!
    2. Instead of, “Uncapped Compensation Plan,” Insert: Our top 10 performers in this role average $130,000.
    3. Instead of, “Flexible Schedule,” Insert: Students – we will sit down with you each semester to craft a work schedule that fits nicely with your class schedule.
  3. Respect & remember you are contacting them unannounced. If you are recruiting passive candidates that are not expecting your call/email, it is nice to be respectful of their time. Some phrases that “soften” the delivery of your message include: 
    1. Email: Hi Dave. I apologize for emailing you unannounced. I have an excellent opportunity and was hoping you might be able to help me out.
    2. Catching them live: “Hi Bob: My name is David Szary and I am a recruiter with ______. I am sure you get calls from recruiters all the time but I have an excellent opportunity and was hoping you might be able to help me out . . . “
  4. Use an indirect, networking approach when contacting passive candidates. When contacting passive candidates (especially folks that work for your competitors), we have standardized an indirect, networking approach. Instead of the direct approach (“I would like to talk to you about an opportunity . . . “) we use phases like:
    1. “I am networking with professionals in the industry and thought you might be able to help me out . . . “
    2. “If you know of anyone that might be interested in this opportunity, I would appreciate you passing my information along . . . “
    3. “If you know of anyone that fits this description, please let me know . . . “
    4. “I just started this search; any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Is there anyone in the industry well respected and connected that could help me with my search?”

Steven Covey tells the story of two folks chopping wood:

  • One that works frantically all day chopping wood with a dull ax.
  • One that takes precious time to sharpen his ax during the day.

Of course by the end of the day, the one that takes time to sharpen his/her ax ends up with the most chopped wood!

I relate this to crafting compelling recruitment messages. If you don’t take time to:

  • Understand your candidates motives
  • Craft (and edit) compelling messages
  • Practice and role play

You are sourcing candidates with a “dull” ax.

Crafting and delivering recruitment messages is “an art AND a science.” And, the ideas presented above are just a few of the many keys/ways to successfully contact passive candidate!

As I mentioned in the Newsletter, if you would like another set of “eyes/ears” to help constructively critique your message(s), please contact me as If I was a candidate. I would be more than happy to help you review and critique your message.