Recruiting Facts: People Actually Like It When You Want Them…

If I hear one more person tell me that candidates don’t like phone calls, I’m going to shove a phone up your…

I’m not the smartest cat, but I know a couple of things.  Here are a few things I know:

1. You can’t taste the difference of well Gin and high-end Gin after 4 Gin and Tonics.

2. French Fries, Onion rings and Tator Tots taste great fried and taste awful baked.

3. Great tasting chocolate is the reason women can be single. (okay, I stole that one from my wife!)

4. Candidates with car trouble are lying.

5. People like to be told that you want them for a job! It’s flattering. It makes them feel important. It makes them feel valued. They love to listen to what you have to say, regardless of how satisfied they are in their job.

If I called you right now with a job that was something you have always wanted, guess what would happen?  You would call me back. You would call me back almost instantly. You would run out to your car, telling the receptionist on the way out you have an urgent personal call, to hear what I have to say.

Those people. Those thought leaders. Those idiots, who are telling you candidates don’t like phone calls are LIARS!

Why are they lying to you? Here is why I think they are probably lying to you:

1. They are lazy and hope the internet will solve all of their problems.

2. They are hoping to talk the world into believing you never have to make a phone call to get a job.

3. They are scared.

I did a survey where I asked 100 people, mostly millennials, (all potential candidates, since all people are potential candidates) if I called you with your “Dream Job”, would you either pick up my call or call me back?  Would you like to know the results?

100 out of 100 said they would pick up my call or call me back! 100%!

Recruiters who say candidates don’t like phone calls are not recruiters, they’re administrative professionals. Pay them accordingly.

The One Fix for Talent Acquisition You’re Too Afraid to Implement!

There’s a ton of reasons we are afraid of stuff. I was never scared of the dark, but for some stupid reasons, I’m scared of bees. I know that I’m not going to die from a bee. I’ve been stung. It hurts, you get over it. Yet, I hate when a bee is buzzing around me!

I think most people are afraid to be ‘found out’ professionally. To have it discovered that we aren’t as good as we think we are. Every function has hickeys. Things we really don’t want others in the company to see or know about. They aren’t career-ending things, still, they are things we aren’t proud of.

In talent acquisition, we lose great talent at points in our recruiting process. It happens way more than it should, for a number of reasons. If you were to truly dig into the exact reason why each person was lost, it wouldn’t be something most TA departments would be proud of.

What this is really saying is that talent acquisition isn’t giving this information to the hiring manager, or more likely, your hiring managers don’t believe the B.S. you’re selling them on the reasons why!

The majority of TA departments, when asked why a good candidate is lost during the process will come up with candidate problem reasons. The candidate backed out, it was too far to drive. They got an offer from another company and couldn’t wait. It wasn’t the position they truly wanted. Etc.

All of which might be legitimate, but we forget, many times the hiring managers get a different side.  Usually, hiring managers know people, who know people, etc. and the ‘real’ reason will get back to them. It then becomes, “well, Mark was getting the run around from your TA team about his plane ticket costing too much, and he felt like it just wasn’t worth dealing with this at this level”, or “the Recruiter took three days to call Mary back to schedule the interview time and by then she decided to take the other offer”.

The reality is, the majority of TA leaders don’t want to know the ‘real’ reason because it reflects poorly on their team, and on them. That doesn’t feel good! Uncovering the brutal truth is painful and many times embarrassing.

Want to fix your TA department? Find out why candidates truly left your hiring process. If that’s your focus, you’ll quickly have your priorities of what to fix, change, and improve upon.

How do you do this? First, you don’t allow your recruiting team to ask the question. The answers you’ll get back will be ‘massaged’ to make TA look great and make the hiring managers look bad, or at the very least blame anyone else except yourself. Third-party this out, or find a neutral party within the organization that can make these inquiries and report back the results. This is key.

The best leaders want to know the truth. Not their version of the truth, but the real truth. Unfortunately, the truth might be the scariest thing you’ll ever face.

The #1 Holiday Gift For Recruiting and TA pros Worldwide!

When I worked at Applebee’s in HR we talked about terminations as giving someone a “gift”. Every time I tell someone this, they kind of chuckle. “Yeah! Great ‘gift’ I get fired!”

Of course, there’s an explanation.

Imagine you are working in your dream job (whatever that job might be). You love your job. You love the people you work with. You feel valued. You do great work. The hours work well for you. The location works well for you. You have a really good balance. You are in your dream job.

Now, imagine the opposite. You hate your job. You can’t even stand getting out of bed in the morning, knowing you have to go to ‘that’ job. You don’t like the people you work for. You can’t stand your leadership team. It’s too far away from home. Nothing seems to be right. As such, you probably aren’t giving 100%. You probably aren’t performing at your best. You will probably be fired.

The person who is miserable and not performing in their job needs a gift. That gift is we stop kidding ourselves that this will work out and we terminate them so that they now have the time and motivation to go find that dream job! A job they love! We all deserve that gift! Our life is so much better when we are working at a job we love. It’s a true gift.

So, what’s the #1 gift for Recruiting and TA Pros!?

No, it’s not to terminate them!

It’s to buy my book! The Talent Fix! Yay! It’s back in stock over at Amazon just in time for the holidays, and you can order it in bulk right now! If you want to buy signed copies for your team – send me a note (timsackett@comcast.net) and we can work out the details! I’ll even personalize them with funny messages if you send me what you want to say!

Dear Tina,

I can’t think of a more amazing recruiter who has ever graced the

earth. The world is a better place because you’re in it. Last night, 

I wept with joy from the idea of “you”! 

Tim (but really fancy signature type “Tim”)

You like what I did there!? 😉 It’s really the gift that keeps giving all year long!

Also, you should probably fire some folks who aren’t performing well and hate their job! They will not consider it a gift in the moment, but if they are lucky enough to find that awesome dream job, a job they love, eventually they might come to see it as the best gift they were ever given!

True or False: Corporate Recruiters Fear Agency Recruiters?

True or False?  It’s a common belief, in most Talent and HR circles, that most corporate recruiters fear agency recruiters.  Go ahead and argue if you would like, but it seems a little silly.

The reality is, true recruiting professionals don’t fear amateurs.

It’s like a really great professional Photographer. They charge money because they offer something someone is willing to pay for. Professional photographers don’t fear the mom at the soccer game with her $2,000 dollar camera and $5,000 dollar lens. Who cares that you have the equipment if you don’t know how to use it!? Pros don’t fear amateurs.

So, if you are a really good corporate recruiter who knows how to really recruit and source talent, agency recruiters don’t scare you, because you know your stuff! That’s the problem, though, right? The reason so many people feel the title of this post is true is because we all know so many corporate recruiters, who really don’t know how to recruit. They aren’t pros, they’re amateurs. Amateurs fear professionals when it comes to meeting head to head in competition.

The best professionals love it when a talented amateur tries to play at their level. These types of individuals help to push both parties to do the best work they can. Or, at least, they should! A great agency recruiter should push an average corporate recruiter to want to get better. An amateur agency recruiter will starve, that’s why you only see amateurs in the agency ranks for a very short period of time. If they aren’t good, they don’t eat! That is why on average, agency recruiters tend to have more recruiting skills than corporate recruiters. Agency folks aren’t full salary. How they are compensated forces them to have better skills, on average, of they are out of job.

So, how do corporate recruiters ensure they become professionals? Well, I love Malcolm Gladwell, so I’ll steal a little of his 10,000-hour concept (and go ahead and tell me it’s B.S. – I don’t care, I like it and I’ve seen it work). You must make yourself a true recruiting professional!  You need to invest time and development in yourself, in the recruiting industry, to become a pro. That means as a corporate recruiter, you focus on recruiting, not becoming an HR Pros. What?! Most corporate recruiters are corporate recruiters because that’s their path to get into a straight HR position. Their endgame is not recruiting, it’s HR. That’s a problem because they are not fully vested in the recruiting game. This is an amateur move.

The reality is, those who get promoted are usually professional at something. Become a great recruiting pro and the powers-that-be will take notice, and you’ll find yourself in positions you never thought possible. True professionals don’t worry about promotions, they worry about becoming a better pro at their craft.

The next time you start feeling yourself pushed by an agency recruiter, don’t curse them for what they do, embrace them for what they push you to become — a better recruiter!

I Don’t Always Use Recruiters, but When I Do… (I use Tim Sackett!)

I love those old Dos Equis commercials “The Most Interesting Man in the World” where the most interesting man says, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.” It’s great marketing that doesn’t seem to get old.  It actually ended in 2018, but it’s become part of our vernacular.

It got me to thinking as well. I started my HR career in recruiting working for the company I’m now running, so in a sense, I’ve come full circle. I started recruiting right out of college for HRU Technical Resources, doing technical contracts. It’s a tough recruiting gig but pays very well if you’re good.

When I left my first job, and the third party recruiting industry, to take my first corporate HR job. I left with a chip on my shoulder that armed me with such great recruiting skills that I thought, I would NEVER, I mean NEVER use a recruiting firm to do any of my recruiting. WHY WOULD I?  I mean I had the skills, I had the know-how and I would save my company a ton of money by just doing it on our own.

So, I spent 10 years in corporate HR before returning to HRU in 2009, and you know what? I was young and naïve in my thinking about never using recruiting agencies. It’s not just about having the skills and know-how; it’s much bigger than that. I worked for three different large, enterprise-sized companies, in three different industries in executive recruitment type roles and in each case, I found situations where I was reaching out to some great third-party recruiters for some assistance!

So, why did I change my philosophy on using recruiting agencies?  A few of the reasons I ran into in corporate HR…

1. Having Skill and Know-How only works if you also have the time.  Sometimes in corporate gigs, you just don’t have the capacity to get as deep into the search as you would like with all the hats you have to wear as a corporate HR pro.

2. Corporate HR positions don’t give you the luxury of building a talent pipeline in specific skill sets, the same way that search pros can build over time. As a corporate HR pro, I was responsible for all skill sets in my organization. Niche search pros can outperform most corporate HR pros on most searches, most of the time. It’s a function of time and network.

3. Many corporate executive teams don’t believe their own HR staffs have the ability to outperform professional recruiters, primarily because we (corporate HR pros) have never given them a reason to think differently about this. Thus, we are “forced” to use search pros for searches where executives like to get involved.

4. Most corporations are not willing to invest in the model and tech stack (people, technology and process) that puts themselves on a higher playing field than professional recruiting organizations. I would estimate only 1% of corporations have made this investment currently and more are not rushing out to follow suit.  Again, this comes from corporate HR not having the ability to show the CFO/CEO the ROI on making this change to have the best talent in the industry you compete in. So, the best talent gets sourced by recruiting pros and corporations pay for it.

I didn’t always use recruiting agencies, but when I did I made sure I got talent I couldn’t get on my own in the time and space I was allotted in my given circumstances.  When I talk to corporate HR pros now, and I hear in their voice that “failure” of having to use a recruiting agency and I get it! I get the fact of what they are facing in their own corporate environments.  It’s not failure, it’s life in corporate America and it’s hard to change.

Stay thirsty my friends…

BREAKING NEWS: Symphony Talent Acquires Smashfly! @symphonytalent_ @Smashfly

Well, the M&A activity in the TA Technology industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down as this morning Symphony Talent announced it has acquired the recruiting CRM technology platform Smashfly. You had a feeling that something was going to happen as you began to see the major recruiting CRMs in the industry align themselves with core ATS or enterprise HCM recruiting modules.

3 Big Questions about the acquisition of Smashfly by Symphony Talent? 

1. Who the heck is Symphony Talent? 

I know some of you are asking that because Symphony Talent is the biggest name in the industry! Symphony Talent is the ATS built by Hodes a few years ago, and the first and only ATS that has built-in Programmatic advertising ability. Maybe a bit ahead of the game, when it was launched I was really impressed with what they had. Their CEO, Roopesh Nair, is a super-smart dude that has major passion around the TA industry.

2. Does this merger of brands make sense for both Smashfly and Symphony Talent?

It does because what I am seeing from organizations that truly care about attracting better talent is you better have an end to end recruitment platform that includes a core ATS at the center and a great recruitment marketing platform on the front-end. With this marriage, you also get the strength of Symphony’s industry-only builtin programmatic engine.

3. Will this integrated platform be able to gain market share in the industry?

That’s really the biggest question. For how advanced Symphony Talent’s technology was in the ATS space, they struggled to sell it, mainly because it probably seemed too advance more most corporate TA leaders.  CRM tech is also very advanced and complex and the reality is Smashfly was probably the best in the industry at selling CRM by making it not seem as complex. So, great tech and great marketing/sales should work for these two brands, in my opinion.

What would I do if I was Roopesh? 

To be fair, I’ve met Roopesh a couple of times and I’ve really enjoyed those conversations and his knowledge of the talent acquisition industry. The reality is Smashfly is a great brand because they’ve been great at marketing, and I would drop the Symphony Talent brand, adopt the Smashfly brand, and built out the integrated platform.

To me, you run with a better-known brand, that has a solid reputation in the industry and use that to sell the full end-to-end recruitment platform. Most enterprise HCM users are stuck with vanilla recruiting modules who can’t buy an ATS but can buy recruitment marketing. It just makes sense for them to buy a recruitment marketing platform that just happens to have an ATS built-in!

This opens up their ability to sell to SAP, Oracle, Workday, Infor, UltiPro, Ceridian TA shops, as well as chip away at the best of breed market currently owned by iCIMS, Greenhouse and SmartRecruiters in the mid-enterprise market.

To be perfectly clear, Roopesh didn’t call me and ask, but he has my number if he needs it! 😉

Who are the best companies to work for? And why?

I don’t put much stock into “Best Company to Work For” lists. That said, the data provided by Universum in there World’s Most Attractive Employer Report is pretty cool and gives you some insight on how you can help move your organization in the right direction.

What’s wrong with the best places to work lists?

  1. It only measures those employers who actually do the work to be considered for the list.
  2. It’s based on data that someone, other than yourself, decided was criteria for being a great place to work. And that might not align with what your org considers to be a great place to work, or the talent you market to, etc.

All that being said, I find that organizations, every single one who tries out for these lists, probably care about their employee and candidate experience at a pretty high level. Are they really the ‘best’ place to work? I don’t know, but they’re trying and that’s more than most of us can say!

So, who are they?

So, you can already see the bias, right? Tech, Business services, big brands. There isn’t one company on the list you haven’t heard of. Doesn’t that seem strange? You mean in the top 50 companies in the WORLD, there isn’t one company we haven’t heard of who is just great? Well, it’s the “World’s 50 Most Attractive”, so the one thing about being “attractive” is you’re probably known, when it comes to lists like these.

What makes you an “Attractive” employer? 

1. The ability to have high future earnings (you can make a lot of money) – 49.1%

2. You’ll get professional training and development – 43.8%

3. The job is secure (you won’t get laid off) – 39.1%

4. Working for this brand will help your career in the future – 38.8%

5. You have the ability to be creative – 38.7%

6. The company is successful within the market they compete in – 38.5%

7. The company encourages you to go home once in a while – 38.2%

8. You like the people you work with – 38.2%

9. You have leaders who support and they know how to develop talent – 38%

10. Competitive base salary – 37.6%

Anything pop out at you from the list?

What about #1 and #10? Oh, so, really base salary doesn’t mean anything, as long as I make a lot of money from what I’m doing!?! Turns out we release research and data for a reason. If you’re trying to sell employer branding software, it’s important for employers to understand it’s not about how much you pay because at that point you don’t need a brand, you need to pay the most.

But, it’s not what this data says. Like all modern research around this topic, what you make, is significantly more important than things like ‘being developed” and having “challenging work”. The person has to know and understand that financially this will work out very well for me, and then, all the other stuff becomes important once that question is satisfied.

You can not act like the most important thing on the list (#1 – High Future Earnings) is really that different than the last thing on the list (#10- competitive base salary). Those things are married at the hip if we have any inkling about basic compensation theory on where someone starts their career in base salary vs. the impact that has on future earnings, in the millions of dollars, going forward.

Let’s face it, as an employer you want to be able to deliver each of the ten things on the list in a really good way. If you do, you will not have trouble attracting talent or keeping your best talent.

In Attracting Great Talent, What’s More Important: Employment Branding or Recruitment Marketing?

Like most stuff I write, I try to break down things in HR and TA that we make way more complicated than it really is. We’re just hiring people, and trying to get the most out of our employees that we can. We aren’t launching the space shuttle or performing brain surgery. This stuff really isn’t that complicated.

I asked some of the most brilliant minds in the space and they gave some great advice, tips, and tricks. Some started to get deep into the weeds, but most gave ideas that were simple in nature to execute. There was basically one theme for each function, employment branding, and recruitment marketing:

Employment Branding at its core is your organization just telling your stories to candidates. 

Not made-up stories of what you want people to think about you, but your real employee stories. Simple, straightforward, this is who we are and why we love who we are. Some will love you, some will not. The best EB does just that, allows people to choose, so they don’t make a bad cultural fit choice.

Recruitment Marketing at its core is ensuring your stories get in front of candidates in a way and time they would like to consume those stories. 

So, it’s less “We’re a great company to work for!”, because everyone says they’re a great company to work for. No one says, “Hey, we’re a better than average company to work for!” Even though, that’s probably the real truth.

There is a piece of this, though, that I think the true employment branding experts are missing.

As consumers, we are all mostly dumb. A company tells us they have the best most reliable cars and then they tell us this over and over a million times, and we believe that those cars are the best and most reliable. We actually don’t do any research to find out if these cars are actually the best and most reliable. We got ‘marketed’ to.

Recruitment marketing can work in the exact same way. Put enough content out saying you’re the employer of choice, and people will recognize you as an employer of choice. The reality is the difference between a ‘true’ employer of choice, and an organization that is not an employer of choice is pretty small. Small, like, most people wouldn’t see any differences.

Most employers are stuck in the middle of delivering a fairly stripped-down basic employee experience. We all offer basically the same thing for all candidates. Thus, there’s a great opportunity for marketing to tell people we ‘actually’ offer a ‘better’ experience. Say it enough times and people will believe it.

I know my EB expert friends will say this isn’t being transparent and once the candidates get hired they’ll realize it’s not an exceptional experience. But, this is also mostly bullshit. Most people don’t realize it. They’ll get hired. They’ll go to work. They’ll be super excited about the new job. They’ll post a pic on IG. Life continues. One day, three years from now, they’ll wake up and think nothing. They won’t think either way about your company from the last company.

There are like 3 actual companies that offer up this ‘unicorn’ level employee experience that can actually match your brand. The reality of employment branding is far less sexy and fun than we make it out to be. Our stories are uniquely our own, and yet, very similar to those stories of every other employer.

I love your stories, but don’t discount the power of marketing will have on candidate behavior.

I’m a Proud ATAP Member! Are you?

At every talk I do I put up a logo slide. All of the logos that I personally support in my normal, everyday work world. My company HRU Tech. My blog, The TS Project (this one right here!). Fistful of Talent, where I still write, and the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP).

I always get the question, what’s ATAP!?

Quite simply, ATAP is an association that supports all aspects of the talent acquisition profession. It’s similar to an association like SHRM for HR, or ATD for learning and development professionals. It was the brainchild of Ben Gotkin and Gerry Crispin. The membership is a whos-who of the greatest recruiting and sourcing minds on the planet!

At ATAP we have teams of TA volunteers who are constantly working on solving and improving Recruiting’s biggest issues and opportunities. One of the ATAP committees developed and released a universal set of Sourcing metrics, and are currently working on a similar set for TA as a whole.

ATAP founded Global TA Day where we had thousands of TA pros and corporations support the profession on Sept. 4 this year with some awesome celebrations!

A talent acquisition body of knowledge has been developed and the association put together a complete database of every recruiting certification on the planet (there’s way too many, BTW!). One of the committees has developed an on-going series of developmental webcasts for members.

I’m writing about this today because today I’m in Washington D.C. meeting with the ATAP Board of Directors, of which I’m a part of, and discussing ATAP’s strategy for the future. Our goal is to be the one association that every recruiting professional on the planet can join and have a community that supports them at all levels. An association that for once and all support Talent Acquisition as a full-blown profession, and not a career we fall into.

We launched in 2016 as a 100% volunteer organization and we have recently added our first full-time staff in the role of Executive Director, Kristen LeBlanc. Our President, Jim D’Amico, head of global TA at Celenese, has big ideas and plans for growth. And we have a board of great TA leaders and committees full of volunteers, from all over the country, who give their time and knowledge endlessly.

What can you do to help? 

I got involved with  ATAP as a founding board member because I believe there is no more important function in a company than Talent Acquisition when it comes to improving the talent and success of what we all do. Is that a little over the top? Maybe, but I love our industry!

I need more TA pros and leaders to come join us. To invest in your development and your team’s development on an ongoing basis. Do you know what our peers in HR do? They support SHRM and the HR profession.  You know what most TA pros and leaders do, right now? They show up to work.

The vast majority of our industry does not belong to any professional association or do any professional development on an ongoing basis. We need to change that!

Come join us at ATAP and help us shape the future of talent acquisition! 

If you can’t do it today, build it into your budget for 2020. All of our organizations want and need TA to be better. Joining ATAP is a great step in putting yourself and your team in a community of the top TA minds in the world.

TA Tech Vendors – become a sponsor and support the profession that buys your products! 

The 7 Words That Turn Candidates Off!

Communication is a tricky thing. It’s so easy to turn off another party by simply using just one wrong word, especially when you’re trying to build a relationship with a candidate you potentially want to hire.

I think there are some words and phrases that have a high probability of turning off a candidate to want to come work for your organization. I speak to students a few times a year about interviewing and I tell them something similar, which is what you say can automatically make a hiring manager not want to hire you!

Think about being an interview and the candidate starts to tell you why they’re no longer working for ACME Inc. “Oh, you know it was just a ‘misunderstanding’, I can explain…”

“Misunderstanding” is a killer word to use while interviewing! It wasn’t a misunderstanding! You got fired! The ‘misunderstanding’ is you not understanding the crap you were doing was wrong! 

So, what are the 7 Deadly Words you should never use as a recruiter? Don’t use these:

-“Layoff” – It doesn’t matter how you use it. Even, ‘we’ve never had a layoff!’ “Layoff” isn’t a positive word to someone looking to come to work for you, so why would you even add it to the conversation!

-“Might” – Great candidates want black and white, not gray. “Might” is gray. Well, we might be adding that tech but I don’t know. Instead, use “I’m not sure, let me check for you because I want to get you the truth.  Add

-“Maybe” – See above.

-“Unstable” – You know what’s unstable? Nothing good, that’s what! If something isn’t good, don’t hide behind a word that makes people guess how bad it might be, because they’ll usually assume it’s worse than it really is!

-“Legally” – “Legally” is never followed by something positive! “Legally, we would love to give you a $25K sign-on bonus, but…” It’s always followed by something that makes you uncomfortable. When trying to get someone interested in your organization and job, don’t add “Legally” to the conversation!

-“Temporarily” – This is another unsettling word for candidates. “Temporarily” we’ll have to have you work out of the Nashville office, but no worries, you’ll be Austin soon enough! Um, no.

-“Fluid” – Well, that’s a great question, right now it’s a fluid situation, we’re hoping that hiring you will help clarify it! Well, isn’t that comforting… Add: “Up in the air” to this category!

We use many of these words because we don’t want to tell the candidate the truth. We think telling them exactly what’s wrong with our organization, the position, our culture, will drive them away. So, we wordsmith them to death!

The reality is most candidates will actually love the honesty and tend to believe they can be the one to come in and make it better. We all want to be the knight on the white horse. Candidates are no different. Tell them the truth and you’ll end up with better hires and higher retention!