For my first post on the HR Examiner, John Sumser told me to “bring the recruiting sizzle,” because I have actually recruited (badly), and now advise recruiting technology vendors (awesomely); that is my place in this world and I love it. If marketing has a counterpart in the talent management world, it’s certainly in recruiting. The two practices are more aligned than most would care to admit and attraction is at the heart of both.
Here are a few things that are also crucial to successful recruiting, though I didn’t know any of them when I signed on to a recruiting firm 7 years ago:
You must understand the strengths and weaknesses not of the company but of the team. If the team is fun-loving but misses deadlines, hard-working but critical, creative but demanding — as the recruiter, you should know. Granted, there are few teams who can be described with such broad strokes, but knowing precisely what sort of animal den you are sending your candidates into helps you with successful placement (retention too, but that’s a whole different blog post.).
It is crucial to identify the areas for enrichment and development in the organization. It’s true that many people in today’s job-seeking ecosystem are not looking for a long-term career, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there to learn what they can. The old saw that “people just go to a job to earn money” may be true for some. I believe those people are dwindling. Being able to offer meaningful work, or at least the chance to learn how to do meaningful work, is an important recruiting tool.
Stop bucking against generational differences (Just stop bucking at all). There are lots of blog posts about generational differences in today’s workforce. What is most interesting are the comments. In many of them, there is frustration and near-rage that goes beyond complaints about “young whipper-snappers” and reflects an anger that the world is changing rapidly. There are people who have pushed and shoved to create that change, who may not be in the workforce long enough to enjoy it. That stinks. But stubbornly refusing to change workplace or talent attraction strategies to attract and accommodate newer workers is silly.
We shop online, date online, meet up with friends online, and find work online. That is not going to change, probably ever. So taking steps to include social where it makes sense in your recruiting function is necessary for success. I’m not saying it’s a nice to have. I’m not saying it’s something new recruiters should do. I am saying that every successful recruiter that I know is using social media in some way or another. Your methods of outreach must respond to this movement.
“Lay off retention (no pun intended)” There are those who think that retention should be paramount to a recruiter. To those, I flatly disagree. But even if retention is a recruiter’s responsibility (let me be clear, it is NOT), it matters little. Retention is becoming an antiquated word, not just in Silicon Valley and among millennials, but everywhere and with everyone. It’s called the “project economy,” and it’s actually working out pretty well. So hire for cultural fit and aptitude, then train the skills. You’ll keep the folks who resonate longer, and will have created an avenue for enrichment and development (see my second point), instead of making already skilled people better at what they do and depressing them because they are hanging out with people they hate.
Observe and evaluate. If there is any power that is understated in this world of personal branding, it’s this one. Taking the time to observe the trends, not only in your industry but in your own company, is a skill that few have honed. Evaluating how programs are working after you’ve put them in place is as important as testing and evaluation before you purchase or implement. You can’t solve a development with recruiting, nor can you fill a leadership gap with social. You must be able to see and identify the issues within your workforce before you can address them. This, like many important things, takes time.
It never ends. Like the Newman’s mail, recruiting is a never-ending, non-stop process. It has to be. The current of this river is PEOPLE, who are constantly changing and shifting. At the same time, some of the fundamental concepts of work, and how people view it, are changing (for the better IMHO) and that is having a profound effect on how people work, why they work, and therefore, how you can recruit them.
Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, a consultancy offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built several successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the recruitment and talent space.