Lisa Rokusek, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor.

Lisa Rokusek, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor.

Engagement is everything in the world of recruiting. People currently spend tons of time and money figuring out how to get prospective candidates to play with them. To me, engagement at its most essential is the ability to elicit desire.

As a working recruiter I am a desire broker. I discern my client’s wants and needs, I go find people who want to do those things, and I make love happen. I am able to find out what people want because they trust me and open up to me, and because I ask the right questions. We connect.

Recruiters suck (and we do, trust me) because we have muddled the authenticity of a personal connection with the allure of scalability and volume as measure of success.  The cocktail we’ve produced tastes foul indeed.

You might think my perspective dated as I’ve been doing this awhile. I started recruiting before people were emailing resumes regularly.  Yes, even before LinkedIn, whippersnapper. With some luck I’ll be recruiting long after the cesspool has been cleaned.

Technology is changing recruiting.  We can now send thousands of emails at the touch of a button.  We know more than we ever have – with less effort – about industries, companies and candidates. We build Applicant Tracking Systems, and we automate communication, and we screen for keywords and there is no end to the new and shiny and beautiful coming down the pipeline of recruiting automation technology.  WE CAN APPLY WITH THE CLICK OF A BUTTON and with barely any thought at all.  But candidates are more unhappy than ever.  There are many, many websites set up for the purpose of exposing clueless recruiters and bad behavior. Our technology is currently amplifying our problems not correcting them.

Want is personal. No matter what, none of the platforms and tools and shiny tech will help us if we cannot find a way to understand the world from the perspective of those we are seeking to engage. Trust doesn’t scale. Connection doesn’t scale.  Desire doesn’t scale. The human search for value and meaning and worth is not about scale. It is a personal search.  Certainly numbers matter, but the truth is job offers are accepted – not in the aggregate – but in the singular.  We’d do well to remember that.

One of my favorite lines is “In business as in life and love.” We all want to be valued, we want to be useful, we all do battle with fear, anxiety and uncertainty in our rapidly evolving world. When I tap into those themes I get people’s attention. When I continue to tune in to the world as seen through their very personal, very individual, lens I get better results.  I study imagination, cultivate empathy, and work to check my assumptions every day. I specialize in desire.  That is how I close deals.  Add those practices to your recruiting arsenal. I guarantee we’ll all – recruiters, candidates and hiring managers – be happier. I bet you’ll fill more jobs, too.


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