How to Not Suck at Recruiting

If you ask people who are recruiters that work in an agency, RPO, or corporate TA, 90% would say “they” (meaning the organization they work for) don’t suck at recruiting. But, if you asked them about whether another organization sucks at recruiting, a much higher percentage would say others suck. Not surprisingly, you get this with most functions – IT, Finance, Sales, Marketing, etc.

We all love to believe we are awesome and others suck. At least they suck as compared to us!

If you ask a CEO if their recruiting sucks, way too many say “yes”. Now, there are a couple of reasons for this. First, they have no idea how to recruit or what’s being done in recruiting in their own barns. Two, CEOs usually come from a function within the business, and 99.99% of the time, that wasn’t recruiting! So, if you ask a CEO who came out of Sales if their Sales function sucks, absolutely they would say it does not suck! There’s a little functional bias at play with all of us, no matter our level.

I got a very simple question the other day from a webcast I did over at SHRM titled, Recruiting 2022: How Not To Suck! (just kidding – it was called “Recruiting 2022: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times) and you can see it on demand, it got a very strong reaction. That mostly speaks to how hard recruiting is right now. The question? “Tim, I’m brand spanking new to recruiting, out of HR, and I have no idea what I’m doing. How can I not suck!?”

How to Not Suck at Recruiting, a Primer

  • Sell! Sell yourself, sell your organization, sell your jobs, sell your hiring managers, sell the dream! Your stuff might not be what everyone wants, but someone does want it. You just have to sell it to those people.
  • Advertise the crap out of your jobs. We buy stuff not because we need it, we buy it because the power of advertising makes us believe we need it. Job advertising works in the same way. The grass is greener at your place!
  • Make candidates feel wanted. Respond to them. Pursue them. Tell them they are wanted, until you don’t want them, and then be honest enough to tell them that.
  • Don’t allow your hiring managers to F around. If they aren’t doing what you need, let them recruit on their own and tell them that’s what is happening. If they want to take that to people up the chain, welcome the opportunity to tell your executives what’s really happening in recruiting.
  • Use any recruiting technology you have to it’s fullest. It’s the only way you’ll know what you don’t have, what you need, and what you desire. Using your ATS 60% of the way, tells you nothing about whether it sucks or not.

At the end of the day, recruiting is about getting people in front of hiring managers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a hiring manager to interview a 60% of the way candidate that they ended up hiring and that person was amazing. Of course, that’s not ideal, but that’s reality. Find good people, who have skills, and want to work, and make hiring managers talk to them.

Almost every organization is a market recruiting organization. Meaning, you are only going to attract talent within your market who is looking to move. Unicorn brands can blend markets and pull from anywhere. You are not a unicorn brand. Remote helps, but it’s not perfect. You can find just as many crappy people in another state willing to work remotely as you find in your own market. I like to start hyper-local and slowly move out.

What I find is that recruiting functions that suck are ones that have given up. They think they have nothing to offer, that no one wants to work for them, etc. I never find an engagement recruiter or recruiting team that sucks. They might not have super high skill, but they are doing everything they can with high energy and hope, and so often that is enough to be average!

It’s hard out there right now. You have an entire global recruiting community will to support you and help. Keep the faith. Keep smiling. Know at any moment of any day in recruiting, you have the power to change someone’s life for the better!

2 thoughts on “How to Not Suck at Recruiting

  1. Spot on! You need leaders to buy in to the process and hold them accountable. Change isn’t easy, but they need to get with the program and understand how important Recruiting is in the Org…finally we are in a “cool” job–about time!

  2. This right here!

    “Don’t allow your hiring managers to F around. If they aren’t doing what you need, let them recruit on their own and tell them that’s what is happening. If they want to take that to people up the chain, welcome the opportunity to tell your executives what’s really happening in recruiting.”

    Thank you!

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