Your CEO is a Better Recruiter Than You

Lou Adler, a great thought leader in the recruiting industry (I love to refer to him as “Uncle Lou” – endearingly), has one of the best recruiting articles of the year up on Inc. titled, “An Open Email from a CEO to All Outstanding Candidates“.   The concept of the email was getting your CEO to send out an email directly to candidates you are trying to source.

Just that idea alone is a brilliant strategy, because 99.9% of organizations will never do it!  That means, you’ll standout from the crowd. That’s good recruiting practices.

The article goes on to give you how you should actually write the email and what you should say:

1. No silly, classic job descriptions.  Instead tell them about what they’ll actually be doing.

2. Describe why the job could be a career move to the candidate.  They’ll believe this from coming from the CEO.

3. Don’t tell them to apply. That can actually be the last step. Get them interested first. Applications scream we have no idea what we are doing.

4. Provide an open invitation and a direct way to have a real conversation with someone with direct knowledge of the opening.

5. Let them know what the process would look like and next steps, if they are actually interested in moving forward.

6. Make sure the candidates have access to your hiring managers as well.  I’m assuming if your CEO is this involved, your hiring managers will be onboard as well!

Great stuff, right?!

It probably doesn’t work for high volume hiring when you have a lot of candidates. This isn’t meant for that, it’s meant for hard to find, critical to the business type positions.

I absolutely love this technique!

Here’s what I know. Most companies, and most CEOs, will never do this. Those who do, will have great success in getting candidates to respond. Put yourself into your candidates shoes. You’re sitting there some idle Friday and an email pops up from a name you don’t recognize. You open it and find out it’s coming from the CEO of a pretty good company in town. You better believe you’ll read it.

You will also ‘trust’ what is in that email, over if the exact same thing is sent by a recruiter. Why?  You believe that a CEO would never put themselves in a position to lie.  Right or wrong, you believe this. Plus, you’re flattered that a CEO sent you a personal email, not some marketing email, from their ‘real’ work email address, with their contact information in it.

None of your friends have gotten an email from a CEO telling them they are wanted! This is cool. This feels good. This feels different.

This is a winning strategy.

Thanks Uncle Lou!

2 thoughts on “Your CEO is a Better Recruiter Than You

  1. I think this is brilliant. I’d suggest HR draft the skeleton of the email then let the CEO flesh it out. It needs to have his/her voice, but most often, they won’t think they have the time to just sit down and craft something. It’s a shame, because landing these key people is central to pushing your company strategy forward, and what CEO would be too busy to do that?

    • Amy –

      I think you can get your executives on board if you kept the position (s) they were helping on very narrow. It’s worth a test, at least!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.