What is the difference between Recruiting and Sourcing?

I get asked a lot about what’s really the difference between Recruiting and Sourcing? Or, where does Sourcing end and Recruiting begin? Or something similar to these questions.

The answer is it doesn’t matter.

The organization has a need for talent.

The organization has to find or grow talent.

You and others in the organization need to figure this out.

So, figure it out!

Everyone is going to design and process this differently. Some will have Sourcers take it all the way until the candidate is screened, then the Recruiter will come in and finish the process. Some will have the Sourcers just find the talent, then have the Recruiter work to contact, screen, etc.

It doesn’t matter how you design it if it works for your organization, and, this is key, it’s replicable no matter who you have in the role.

Stop. Think. Let that process for a second.

One of the biggest mistakes I see really good organizations make is they build and design processes around the talent they have right now. One piece of that talent changes and all of a sudden it no longer works.

“Well, Tim, did all the sourcing and just handed me great talent!” Great, Tim quit because he was doing most of the work and you took all the credit. How is that process working now?

Talent Acquisition is really hard when you have to make it up new each time you have an opening! Talent Acquisition becomes sustainable when you can plug in the skill sets you need and the machine keeps spitting out talent no matter who it is.

Is it Sourcing? Is it Recruiting? It doesn’t freaking matter. Make it work for your organization.

What I find with the most innovative TA shops on the planet is they didn’t look at what everyone else was doing. They looked at what their organization needed and they solved for that problem. Many times the solution was doing something no one else was doing.

The Past-Employee Walk of Shame!

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job. You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company, and oh, boy, just where do I sign!? The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up, and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck! Not so fast. He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame”.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough. Let’s face it, it is different. You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away. A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone. There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left! There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!

What if we hired employees like NFL teams draft players?

The NFL draft, kind of like college football recruiting, is still mostly a crap shoot. I mean, you kind of know what you’re getting, but you truly have no idea if that player is going to be a great success or a colossal failure! It’s all a game of statistical chance. Our hope is this player is more likely to be successful than this other player, but there are no guarantees.

Kind of sounds like Hiring, right!

Here’s kind of what we know about the NFL draft. There are usually a few transcendent talents in the first few picks, like picks one through five. For the most part, if you have one of these picks, you’re are highly likely to get a player who will be productive for an above average amount of time, and more likely they’ll be a superstar talent.

Once you get into the late first round through the seventh round, for the most part the talent is all very similar! This guy runs a 4.56 forty yard dash and this one runs a 4.58 forty yard dash, etc. The stats, the playing experience, the physical traits they have, are bunched very closely together.

There are a few coaches and teams that have kind of figured this out. They are known for “trading back” in the draft pretty consistently. Why draft one player in the first round at number 25, when you can trade back and get two picks of players at 30 and 52? Virtually all three players are basically the same, and if you want better odds at picking a good one, you should give yourself more picks! Hall of fame coach, Bill Belichick, and Baltimore’s GM, Ozzie Newsome, are known to do this frequently and have built very consistently good teams with this strategy.

More picks equals more chances for success!

So, why don’t we hire like this? Let’s say you have an opening for one engineer. You interview a bunch, they’re basically all very similar, and you have no way of really knowing which one will be a great hire for you. Why don’t you hire two or three!?

“Well, Tim, if you knew anything about anything, you would know we don’t have budget to hire two or three engineers! That’s expensive!”

So, if you hired one and they failed, what did that cost you? Also, if you hired two and one made it and one failed, are you better off, or worse off, from where you started? What if both became great hires? Would your company be better or worse?

Let’s say you were hiring a Sales professional. Now, if you hired one and they failed, you start over. If you hired two and one failed, at least you have one performing. Hire three and all of them do well, that is awesome! All three fail and you just quickened your false positive rate on sales hires!

We don’t “over” hire because we, falsely, believe we don’t make bad hires. Until every time we make a bad hire!

What some great NFL personnel have found is “over” drafting, getting more picks, actually gives you more opportunity to get some great talent. Again, this is not just about the number of picks or hires. It’s a combination of doing the right due diligence on talent, all of your selection science, and then getting more chances!

Very rarely, in extreme cases, I’ve seen organizations that could not over hire. But, 99.9% of the time, all organizations would be just fine by over hiring and giving themselves more chances of finding someone great for their organization. Yes, you have some short-term salary budget issues, but most find that is offset by actually being fully staffed with high performing people!

It will either cost you more upfront or more on the backside, one strategy is proactive and one is reactive. As a leader you must ask yourself which one are you more comfortable with?

Talking Talent Acquisition Tech w/ Madeline Laurano (@madtarquin)

Madeline and I are back with our second “Vlog” as the kids like to say! We are Vloggers! Which is like one step below “Influencers” but you get to keep your dignity!

In this episode of Vlogging with Talent Nerds (not the real name, we aren’t naming it) Madeline and I talk Recruiting CRM technology. It’s part of the recruiting landscape that keeps morphing into other areas of the stack, and honestly, we find it pretty complex for the average TA leader.

Madeline Laurano and Tim Sackett – Vlogging TA Nerds!

Question: Do you use a Recruiting CRM? If so, about what percentage do you feel you and your team actually use?

Hit me with your answer in the comments!

Recruiting Idea! This Might Actually Work!

Why don’t potential candidates pick up your phone calls? Well, yes, no one picks up phone calls anymore, but, no, people still pick up phone calls for certain reasons. We don’t pick up phone calls when we don’t know who it is or we don’t want to talk to the person who’s calling.

Why do we pick up phone calls? 

  1. We actually like the person who is calling and we want to talk to them.
  2. We actually believe the incoming call is super important.
  3. It’s a return call we have been waiting for.

Under number 2, let’s put things like, it’s your boss calling, the kid’s school, your spouse, the police or fire department, hospital, etc. You see who it is on your cell phone screen and you instantly believe you need to pick up that call!

My family hates me! 

There’s this fun game I like to play with my family. You see, my monthly cell phone bill is equal to the GDP of a small country. So, I will, from time to time, get onto my cell phone account online and change the names of my family to something I think is funny. So, now when they call someone, instead of the receiver seeing “Tim Sackett” they might see something like “DJ TImmy T”, as an example!

Did you know you could do that!? You can, and it’s super fun! At least, it’s super fun if you have the power to be the person who can change those names to anything you desire!

My wife’s phone still says, “Kimmy” and I chuckle every time she calls me. I’m sure my son, Cameron, would love it if I changed it to “Queen”.

What does this have to do with Recruiting!? 

Oh, be patient little baby birds! I’m going to feed you!

Let’s say you’re trying to track down a potential candidate. You’ve sent the emails, the In-Mails, and even tried texting, but you are being shut out. You even *69 direct-dialed, and still, no pickup or response! The average recruiter/sourcer would have given up, but are not average! You’re slightly above average and you want to keep trying!

You see it now, right?

You go into your cell phone account and you start testing different names to see who will this potential candidate pick up for! Let’s say this person works for General Motors, here is what I might try:

  • “Ford” , “Chryseler”, “Toyota”, “Tesla”, etc.
  • “City” Police or fire – of whatever town they might live
  • “College” where they graduated
  • “Your Dream Job” they probably won’t pick up, but they’ll laugh!
  • “General Motors” who isn’t going to pick up a call coming from their own employer!

Just like Sex Panther, 60% of the time, this works every time!

Want to know why recruiting can sometimes get a bad reputation? Because I have the ability to come up with ideas like this!

If it works. It works. Don’t hate the players, friends, hate the game!

3 Things You Can Start Today and Be Instantly Better at Recruiting!

You’re not as effective as you could be right now! Do you know why? If you’re like me, you might start blaming some things: your tech, your boss, your company, your co-workers, etc. It’s easy to blame others for our inefficiencies. It’s incredibly difficult to own it and fix it!

I’ve got some fixes! Heck, I wrote an entire book called “The Talent Fix!” What I’ve found as I work with talent acquisition departments and TA leaders from all over is that most of us fall into some traps around inefficiencies. So, today, I want to give you three things you can start doing that will increase your capacity immediately:

1. Give Your Candidates a Gift! 

We as TA pros waste more time dealing with candidates we’ll never hire and try and tell ourselves we are doing this for ‘candidate experience’. You know what sucks as a candidate? Being led on by a company that will never hire you! Stop doing this! If you know you won’t hire a candidate, let them down fast, but professionally.

“Look, Charlie, I’m going to level with you. I don’t see you as a fit for our culture/position/organization. This doesn’t say anything about you, it says a lot about us and how we are looking for something very specific. Thank you for your time and professionalism. We will not be moving forward with you.”

This is short and sweet and 99% of candidates will get the “gift” of being able to move on and find the job and the company that does want their unique gifts they have to offer. This isn’t being mean to a candidate or providing poor candidate experience, this is helping them, and saving you time by not having to deal with this candidate continuing to contact you thinking they have a shot. They don’t.

2. Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle!

I don’t set up interviews with hiring managers for candidates. What I’ve found is the majority of hiring managers and candidates, find it annoying that I’m stuck in the middle when two adults just need a quick thirty-second conversation to figure out how to align their schedule! Or, maybe even use technology to do this!

We like to think setting up interviews provides great ‘service’ for hiring managers, but it doesn’t. It’s a really inefficient process to drag in multiple parties to something very simple. Any hiring manager, who is marginally effective at their job, will be able to see this if you have a simple conversation to explain the process inefficiencies.

3. Stop Starting from Scratch! 

Here’s how we go about filling most new job openings. The hiring manager informs us they need to hire. We get the job description and information. We post the job everywhere. We wait for candidates to apply. We screen applicants. We pass these onto the hiring manager and await further instructions.

Every. time. we. do. this.

Add one additional step to this process before you post the job. Go into your ATS database and send a quick mass email to each candidate in the database that meets the requirements of the job (if you have the tech, also send a quick text message!). We spend an enormous amount of resources building our ATS database, then we ignore it when it’s filled with candidates who have applied and said “I love you! I want to come work for you!”

Our first step to finding talent starts in our own database, not out in the wild to see what ‘fresh’ meat is looking like today. If your ATS sucks at search, there are many new technologies on the market labeled as “talent rediscovery” that will reach into your database and do this for you.

So, there are three. The reality is, if you really dig into how you’re doing what you do, you can probably come up with a hundred improvements to make your recruiting more efficient! The key is to look at your processes, not as the one who built it and owns it, but always through the lens of constant improvement.

I don’t have a set recruiting process in my shop. I have a process I’m constantly testing to make better. We try stuff. If it works, we keep it. If it doesn’t, we end that test and try something else. The most effective recruiting shops in the world are effective not because they have the best process, but because they continually improve their process!

How long should it take a candidate to decide on a job offer?

When you make a candidate an offer, how long do you give them to tell you they want the job or not? 24 hours? 3 days? 1 week? Immediately?

For two decades I’ve been in the camp of a candidate should be able to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ immediately, or you (the recruiter and hiring manager) did something wrong in closing! But, I think I’ve changed my stance on this, if “fit” is really important for the position, your culture, etc.

Here’s the deal, if the job and/or company fit is really important to your organization. The candidate should take as long as they need to, to make sure that your organization is the one for them. That might mean they need to finish up other interviews, do more research, go through counter-offers, etc.

So, if that takes two or three weeks, so be it. The fit is critical for you and you actually want the candidate to take their time with this decision.

I feel so strongly about this, I think you should actually make candidates wait 72 hours after you offer them the job, to give you an answer! Yes! You won’t accept an acceptance from them until they’ve taken 72 hours to really think about the job, the new boss, the organization, everything!

Why wait 72 hours if they already know!? 

A “cooling down” period will give them some time to get through the infatuation period of getting the offer! It will give them some time to really think about your job, their current job, other jobs they might be considering. This time is important because too often, too many people get that offer and at that moment everything feels so awesome!

After a couple of days, they come down from the high of being desired by you and start to think clearly, and all of sudden you’re not as pretty as you looked two days ago, or you’re even more pretty by playing hard to get.

But what if a candidate gets cold feet by this technique? 

That’s a real concern especially with historic unemployment in many markets and fields. If you force a candidate to wait 72 hours there is a good chance someone else might come in and offer them a job!

Yep! That actually would be awesome if that happened, because then you would really know! Do they love you, or did they just fall in love with someone else!? Remember, this isn’t for every organization. This is only for organizations where fit is critical to your organizational culture.

If a candidate gets cold feet by another offer or by waiting 3 days, they don’t really believe your organization is the one for them. They don’t believe what you have is their dream job or organization. Also, if you get cold feet by having them wait, you don’t really believe fit is important!

So, how long should it take a candidate to decide if your job offer is right for them? 

There is no one right answer. Each of us has our own internal clock to make those decisions. If you force a candidate to decide immediately upon an offer, that speaks to your culture. If you let candidates decide on their timeline, that also speaks to your culture.

In a perfect world, I still believe if the process works as designed, and everyone pre-closed as they should, both you and a candidate should be able to make a decision when the offer is placed on the table. But, honestly, how often does our process work perfectly?

Hit me in the comments with what you believe is the proper amount of time you should give a candidate to decide whether or not they’ll accept your job offer?

The Secret Sauce to Landing Your Dream Job? Apply Less!!!

Robert Combs over at Fast Company had a brilliant article recently, and if you’re in Recruiting or HR, it’s a must-read! If you’re looking for a job, it’s also a must-read!

Here was Robert’s concept. A.I. (robots) are running the world. It’s the biggest innovation to come into recruiting since Big Data (wait, didn’t we always have data…). If robots can run the application process and find you where ever you are, Robert thought, why not use a robot to apply to jobs for him. Let the robots fight it out!

So, that’s what he did, he built a robot to go out and find jobs he would want, apply to those jobs, and then even follow up!

He applied to hundreds of jobs in minutes! It got a bit out of control:

So I started slowly casting about for new challenges, initially by applying (perhaps naively) to openings at well-known tech companies like Google, Slack, Facebook, and Squarespace.

Two things quickly became clear to me:

  1. I’m up against leaders in their field, so my resume doesn’t always jump to the top of the pile.
  2. Robots read every application.

The robots are “applicant tracking systems” (ATS), commonly used tools for sorting job applications. They automatically filter out candidates based on keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience, schools attended, and the like.

As soon as I realized I was going up against robots, I decided to turn the tables–and built my own…I fired it up I accidentally applied to about 1,300 jobs in the Midwest during the time it took me to get a cup of coffee across the street. I live in New York City and had no plans to relocate, so I quickly shut it down until I could release a new version.

After several iterations and a few embarrassing hiccups, I settled on version 5.0, which applied to 538 jobs over about a three-month period.

So, what did Robert find out? Here were his biggest learnings:

1. Even your ATS robots suck at giving responses! Around 70% of his applications never got a response!

2. Only 4% of 538 jobs he applied for, got a personal email response from a recruiter.

3. Only about 6% of your hires come from people applying to your career site.

Robert found out what most of us in the business already know. Applying to jobs doesn’t actually work. Yet, we spend so much time, energy, and resources building these great tech stacks and apply processes for just his!

So, what works?

Turns out about 85% of jobs are filled by good old fashion networking. You know someone, who knows someone, who has a friend, whose cousin works in the department you really want to work for.

“Out-of-the-box hires rarely happen through LinkedIn (or any job board, career site) applications. They happen when someone influential meets a really interesting person and says, ‘Let’s create a position for you.’”

I disagree somewhat with the above quote. I’ve worked in large corporate TA shops, we just didn’t run around all willy-nilly creating jobs for really cool, smart people! We did many times find really great people and then stick them into a job we already had open, and usually, the reason we found the person was someone who knew the job was openly referred the person to us.

My advice to job seekers is always the same. Stop applying to jobs, start networking with every person you have a possible shred of connection with, and let them know you’re looking for a position, what position you prefer, what position you would take, and where in the world you would work.

Every minute you spend networking is a thousand times better than every minute you spend online applying for jobs. Robert just proved this!

Do you ask your interviewer about your competition?

So, here’s the deal. Timmy gets his big break and gets the interview he’s always wanted. Goes in. Kills it. You know how Timmy does! The interviewer is doing interviewer things and drops the question, “So, Timmy, do you have any questions for me?”

Do “I” have questions for you!?! Heck, yes! I’ve been preparing for this interview for all of my life, or at least for about thirteen seconds before walking in the door! I do have some questions!

What question can an interviewee ask that will totally turn you off? 

There are probably a lot. We covered one a few weeks back in terms of asking about money, which is a big turn-off for a lot of interviewers. But one question came up and I wanted to crowdsource some results! Here’s the question:

“So, Mrs. Interviewer, can you tell me how I stack up against my competition?” (The other candidates who are also interviewing)

Hmmm….

I’ve got some feels on this:

  1. Gutsy. It could definitely blow-up on you in a hurry! Might be an immediate turn-off, and I’m not sure it would ever be a real turn-on.
  2. It does allow you to redirect the conversation back to strengths if your competition has some things they like over you. “Well, let me tell you a little more about how I also bring this to the table…”
  3. Most Hiring Managers will politely decline to talk about other people interviewing, maybe chuckle a little at the question, it’s a bit old school, so the older the people in the room, probably more likely to get a positive response.
  4. It’s aggressive, so if the role is a position where aggressiveness is a trait that is desired, it might be worth a shot.

I think there might be a better way to ask the same question, but use different wording to engage the conversation:

“What have you seen, by others interviewing, that you really liked about what they would bring to this position? Or, was there something you were hoping to hear from me, or others interviewing, that you’re not hearing?” 

This now takes it off the personal comparison of one candidate to another, and back to what the hiring manager is really looking for. Which again, allows you to redirect to your strengths, or minimize a weakness.

What say you TA and HR Pros? Hiring Managers? Does this question turn you off? If not, is there a question that would turn you off on a candidate?

Hit me in the comments!

Why Does Spam Recruiting Work?

I just got done deleting the 17th phishing email from my personal email inbox today. Comcast, Amazon, Princes from far-off lands, I’ve never been more popular and, apparently, soon to be rich!

I was asking our Cyber Security company why phishing is still such a big deal. I mean don’t we all know by now that some Nigerian Prince isn’t going to give us a million dollars, or that Amazon doesn’t send us emails asking for our credit card numbers, or passwords!? There is no way someone can be this stupid, right!?

Apparently, I’m way wrong, we are all still a lot stupid! 

The reason phishing and spam are not because they are really tricking us. It’s the sure volume of messages and cadence. While we can all spot a fake fairly easily, can you always spot a fake when it’s sent a thousand times, all different times, with all different designs and strategies. Scammers will send a million to get one click. That one click will pay off.

Therein lies the strategy of why Spam Recruiting still works. It’s not about being good, or the best, it’s about being there all the time, knowing a certain percentage of the time will be the right time! Do we like it? Well, I guess that depends on who you are. If you happen to be that one person who gets the spam recruiting message at the exact time you’re desperate for a job, then yes, you will like it!

If you are the superstar performing software engineer getting twenty spam recruiting messages a day, you hate our industry!

Spam Recruiting Works Because It Works Some of the Time

I have never met one American-based TA Leader who believes that Off-Shore Recruiting firms (you know the off-shore RPO spam emails you get constantly all day long) actually are good. For the most part, they don’t recruit, they spam. Because they pay next to nothing to their workforce, they can spam a whole bunch and still make money, even if the entire process truly sucks.

They don’t have to be good. When you’re being paid like $10 a day, all you have to do is spam a couple of thousand people a week to get one placement a month and you’re making a profit for the “man”! Any company engaging in off-shore recruiting for hiring in the U.S. is basically engaging in slave labor. But, I digress. Back to crappy recruiting.

Bad recruiting is a lot like bad sex. If you really need a job, you don’t care how you get it. Which perpetuates you just continuing to be bad.

Spam recruiting works, and will always work, because the world will always have candidates who just need a job. They don’t care that you’re awful at your job. They don’t care that you are spamming them. All they care about is getting the job. Also, if you do care. If you do hate bad spammy recruiters. It turns out you also are fine with them being awful when you’re out of a job!

Spam works because we are all vulnerable at some point. It feeds on us being weak, naive, and desperate. But, at the end of the day, it works. It doesn’t work well. But it does work. And that sucks.