Can someone make a Recruiting Degree happen?

Ever wondered why colleges don’t offer a degree in recruiting? With plenty of human resources programs around, it’s always surprised me that there’s no focus on recruiting and talent acquisition.

Typically, folks in recruiting come from programs like Communications, Business Administration/Marketing, Liberal Arts (not known for job prospects), Sports Management, or Human Resources. These degrees open doors to a field where newbie recruiters can earn $40,000 to $50,000 in their first year, and the top ones make six figures.

Imagine a Bachelor’s degree in Recruiting, with classes designed to prepare students for the real deal.

Timmy’s Proposed Bachelor’s in Recruiting Classes:

  1. Recruiting 101 – History of Recruiting
  2. Recruiting 102 – Recruiting Processes and Procedures
  3. Recruiting 103 – Recruiting Communication and Marketing
  4. Recruiting 104 – Sourcing
  5. Recruiting 105 – Negotiation, Offers, and Recruiting Finance
  6. Recruiting 106 – 100 Ways to Connect with People – #1 is the Phone!
  7. Recruiting 107 – Writing Job Descriptions like a Marketer
  8. Recruiting 201 – Employment Branding
  9. Recruiting 202 – Candidate Experience
  10. Recruiting 203 – Recruiting Technology
  11. Recruiting 204 – Advanced Sourcing
  12. Recruiting 205 – Specialty Recruitment
  13. Recruiting 206 – Recruiting Analytics
  14. Recruiting 207 – The Law & Candidates
  15. Recruiting 301 – Senior Project – solving real-life recruiting problems in real-world companies

So, if colleges had a Recruiting degree, would employers hire those grads? Definitely. Employers would dig hiring folks with targeted recruiting skills.

What do you think? Any other cool ones you’d throw in? I think the potential for creating practical content in a Recruiting degree is huge.

The Truth About Job Hopping

Ever thought about whether job hopping is a wise career move? If you’re old-fashioned like me, you probably concluded it wasn’t. But hold on – playing devil’s advocate here! Let me remind you of a Fast Company article I shared a while back. It claims that job hopping can actually enhance learning, performance, and loyalty. Wait, what?! Do Talent Acquisition leaders worldwide really believe in this concept?

Let’s break it down.

According to the article, switching jobs every three years is key for developing quick job-getting skills and ensuring career stability. But not everyone agrees. (It’s me, hi, I’m the problem! It’s me!)

The truth is, that hiring managers often see job hoppers as a red flag. It might signal a lack of commitment or trouble sticking to a role. While some job hopping could be due to a bad company fit, relocation, etc, repeating the same pattern might make them question your decision-making.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “But Timmy, there’s more money in job hopping!” Well, let me not be the first to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, right?

Looking back on my own experience, I hopped jobs early in my career, chasing an executive title. In hindsight, not my smartest move, maybe even my dumbest. Job hopping, as the article suggests, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s the deal: Avoid job hopping. For every person that it helps, it will hurt ten others. Most hiring managers don’t like seeing a resume filled with short stints, raising doubts about your stability.

So, stuck in the job hopper cycle? How do you make it look better?

Bundle your projects under one consulting job, creating the illusion of a cohesive work history. Many IT folks are doing this as contingent workers, handling multiple projects under a single brand. It’s not perfect, but it makes your resume look better.

Job hopping isn’t the career move it’s made out to be. If your career feels stuck, make a change strategically. Most careers don’t stall in just 2-3 years.

4 Habits of Successful Recruiters

In recruiting, success can come down to some simple daily habits. After hiring hundreds of recruiters, I’ve seen what works. Let’s break down the four simple habits that I’ve identified as key factors in making successful recruiters stand out.

  1. Daily Motivation: Successful recruiters stay self-motivated. No doubt about it. They set small goals, like closing a client or job order, to keep themselves on track. Whether it’s meeting specific activity numbers or focusing on a larger goal, daily motivation is key.
  2. Own Up to Mistakes: The best recruiters take responsibility for their work. If something goes wrong, they don’t pass the blame like a hot potato. If an interview is a no-show, they learn from it and make adjustments for the future.
  3. Step Up to Challenges: When critical positions open up, successful recruiters step forward. They embrace challenges and are comfortable working under pressure. They not only excel in their tasks but also contribute ideas for organizational improvement.
  4. Maintain Daily Focus: Successful recruiters stay focused on their daily tasks. Despite the distractions in recruiting, they don’t let the noise disrupt their plans. They concentrate on their goals and persist until they achieve them.

HR and Recruiting both have the same main daily issue we face, we turn ourselves into firefighters.  We run from made up emergency to made up emergency.  It feeds our need to feel like we accomplished something today and became a savior. The most successful recruiters are no different.  They get the opportunity to be fire fighters, just like we all do, but they make a conscience decision not to allow themselves to slide down the pole. How can you make yourself more successful today? And what factors did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Why Do Good Candidates Slip Away?

Hiring can be a puzzle, and losing good candidates is something that happens more often than we’d like to admit. I once heard that a whopping 95% of hiring managers are curious about why good candidates bail during the hiring process.

Now, the big question is whether talent acquisition isn’t telling hiring managers why candidates bail, or if hiring managers just don’t believe the reasons they’re given.

When asked why a candidate left, most teams usually blame the candidate – they backed out, the job was too far, or they got another offer. But hiring managers often hear a different story from their connections. It could be the TA team dragging their feet on travel expenses or taking too long to schedule an interview. Or a candidate might have been left in the dark for weeks about the status of their application, leading them to accept another offer out of frustration with the lack of communication.

The reality is, many TA leaders shy away from finding out the real reasons because it might make them and their team look bad. It’s not a pleasant thing to deal with, but if you want to improve your hiring process, you’ve got to know why your candidates are actually leaving.

So, what’s the trick? Don’t have your recruiting team ask the question directly. You’ll probably end up with answers that make TA look good and blame others. Instead, get someone neutral or a third party to find out and spill the beans. It might not be pretty, but real leaders want the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable. Facing reality is the first step to making your hiring process better.

Keep at it!

Back in the day, sales, marketing, and recruiting weren’t about fancy automation tools. It was all about your trusty ‘date book’ or relying on your memory to give Timmy from HRU a ring just to check-in.

Old-school sales meant one thing: keeping at it. Reminding folks that you’re still interested, still eager for their business. It was all about bagging that deal before someone else did.

CRMs? They’re good at their job, but sometimes, they miss the mark. I can easily brush off those automated CRM messages—I’ve been in that loop. But you know what I can’t ignore? The persistent lady who’s left me nine voicemails. The power of a nudge. That level of dedication deserves respect. I get how tough it is to make that many calls.

I’m all for tech—I’ve tried it all and automation sure makes life easier. But there’s an art to the old way of following up, keeping at it, a rhythm and persistence that’s hard to replicate.

Sure, you might get tired of “John” who calls every month, but guess who’ll come to mind when you’re in a bind? Not the newcomers who show up when you’ve made it big, but John who was there from the start. John who kept at it.

The downfall comes when companies forget the human touch in their CRM strategy. It’s not about choosing one or the other—it’s about blending both. So, next time you see a familiar number calling or delete an email without a read, remember the effort behind it. The humans are keeping at it, working hard to keep those connections alive!

The 2 Key Criteria

If you’re looking for a new job, it feels like every move, every past action, and even future potential is under intense scrutiny. But one of my favorite studies (an oldie but a goodie) from a Harvard professor reveals that when it comes down to it, job seekers are primarily judged on two critical factors. That’s it – just two.

In a study spanning over 15 years, Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy revealed what shapes initial impressions. She unveils the core inquiries individuals subconsciously ask upon meeting someone for the first time:

  1. Can I trust this individual?
  2. Can I respect this individual?

Trust and respect. These are the immediate judgments following the lightning-fast assessment of one’s appearance. But once you start talking, they start checking how believable you are and the background that earns their respect. It’s often based more on the person making the judgment than on your actual attributes. Unfair? Absolutely.

So, how can you tip the scales in your favor?

  1. Adapt your energy to match that of your interviewer. Harmonizing your demeanor with theirs can bridge gaps in compatibility. If your energy doesn’t match, they might wonder if you’re a good fit for the team.
  2. Research your interviewer beforehand. Understanding their background and weaving connections during the interview fosters trust and respect.
  3. Be interesting. Share a short, engaging story that connects and grabs attention.

Remember, an interview is not an examination; it’s a conversation with strangers. Sometimes the chemistry clicks, and sometimes it doesn’t. If you find yourself disliking the interviewers, chances are the job might not be the right fit either. Trust your instincts.

Challenging Corporate Complacency

There’s this persistent buzz about technology stealing our jobs in our line of work. The staffing industry, a massive half-a-trillion-dollar global business, thrives on a rather bold assumption: corporate laziness.

I’m not banking on your laziness, though. At my company, we focus on contract work, not only the typical direct hiring. But this laziness perception isn’t exclusive to us; other industries are guilty too.

Look at the diet industry—it’s full of expensive shortcuts like bars, shakes, and pricey gyms, all because we sometimes prefer an easy fix over healthier habits. Guilty as charged!

Here’s the kicker: if corporate Talent Acquisition (TA) simply did their job—filling openings—the direct hire staffing industry might vanish. It’s not that complicated, yet we do everything but fill the position.

It might not seem lazy outright, but it’s sidestepping the core task, which is just as harmful. Ever seen a kid dodge mowing the lawn by doing indoor chores instead? Same principle, different setting.

Recognizing how others bank on our presumed laziness is crucial for TA leaders. And doing something about it? That’s where the real game starts.

Here are some actionable steps from one of my previous blogs:

  1. Set clear, measurable goals for each TA team member.
  2. Make these goals visible daily.
  3. Address performance issues immediately.
  4. Adjust measures to fit business needs.
  5. Keep at it consistently.

TA isn’t a handout; it’s an investment. Great leaders get this and act against corporate complacency.

It’s not just about working harder; it’s about working smarter. It’s time we all took that step forward.

The Big List of Sh*t You Can Do in HR and TA for 2024!

The gift and the curse of a new year in business is we are tasked with doing stuff. Stuff that matters. Stuff that will have a positive financial impact on our organizations. We have the same issue in our personal lives, but unlike our professional lives, our personal lives don’t demand and pay us to get better.

So many of us spend the first week of the year, or many weeks last year before we left for the holidays, trying to decide what we would do in 2024. Some of us will have big projects ahead of us. I know more than a few who are implementing new tech this year. Some of us will just be looking for incremental improvements on things we put in place in 2023. But the work doesn’t stop. Our job is to get better. And something is motivating about that. It’s a very straightforward, clear direction. Get better. Be Better. Do better.

The question is, what are we going to do in 2024? Here are some ideas to get you motivated:

Fix your apply process. It’s the one thing I can almost always go and look at for a company and immediately see a number of things that can make it better. The first step is easy: go apply for your own job on your career site, but do it in the parking lot of some fast food joint, stealing the WIFI on your mobile device. It will be painful and take too long. Fix that!

Become a top 10% user of your current tech stack (I.E., Super User!). Have a plan to get on stage at the user conference to share your story. Most of us will never be super users of our technology, but it will move you forward more in our careers and our organization more than you can imagine. All it takes is interest and effort.

Start measuring one new thing that actually matters in your function. If you’re in TA, start measuring conversion ratios of screened candidates to hiring manager interviews and work on making that better. In HR, start looking at benefit utilization around preventative healthcare and develop a simple nudge communication strategy to get more of your employees to use their healthcare benefits before they get sick.

Create a Save Strategy around one role in your company that has the most financial impact. We let people leave us too easily. We can save many of these folks. I’ve seen save strategies reach 40% save levels one year out. Stop letting your good employees just walk away from you. You would not allow someone you loved in your life to just leave without fighting for them. Fight to keep your employees. Everyone will notice!

Mentor one person in your company, from your school, from your profession. Just one! We are surrounded by individuals who want and need a little help. Someone who can be part of their network and help them grow. It doesn’t take hours per week. It might take an hour per month. You think this is all about helping someone else, but every time I’ve done this, I’ve actually helped myself so much more. Get your best upcoming leaders in your company to do the same. Challenge them.

Find out what your CEO and senior C-suite team want from HR and TA. About twelve times per year, I meet with different senior teams, and one of the first questions I ask them is what it is they want from their HR and TA teams. The answers always blow me away because I already know what their team is working on, and it almost never aligns with what the senior executives want. This simple conversation can align your entire year. We don’t ask it because we think we are already supposed to know the answer. That is nonsense. Go ask! Almost always, the CEO will say to me, “No one has ever asked me this!”

I can ask them for you and send you the results. Just share this survey link with them, and I’ll send you the overall results. Also, if your CEO or senior executive team fills this out, I’ll put your organization’s name in a hat and do a raffle for a full team TA meeting with me for free! That’s a $5000 value!

The What the Hell Does Your CEO Want From HR/TA Survey!

Whatever you decide to do in 2024, make it something you will actually do. So, I recommend you only commit yourself to one thing. Stay laser-focused on that one thing! Our life and job is hard. I can do one thing.

The Unbeatable Top Email Subject Lines for Recruiting

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

What Email Subject Lines are Getting the Best Candidate Response?

Recruiters love to talk email subject lines! I think I could run my response data every month, and it would easily be my most-read post each month. It’s part of the secret sauce of talent acquisition, especially as ultra-low unemployment continues to make it very difficult for recruiters to get responses for candidates.

G*d Dammit, Tim! Just give us the secret magic subject lines so I can use them!

See? It’s like giving out that first hit for free! You give them a little taste, get them addicted, and now they can’t live without it. You start feeling itchy, so I’ve heard, and you can’t focus on anything but those free guaranteed-to-work subject lines!

Calm down. I got you, baby.

Try these on for size:

  1. “We need to talk” – Like any good subject line, this comes from a place of personal psychology. Usually, when you see this in a message, it’s not a positive thing. Most likely, you’re in trouble, or you’re getting broken up with. Which, like any good subject line, is why this is so good. This gets extremely high open rates because it triggers something personal in people.
  2. <Just Your Last Name> – It still works as well as any subject line I’ve tested over the years. I use this one more than any other subject line in my toolbox, and 60% of the time. It works every time! This works because no one does it, so the person does not view it as spam.
  3. <A question that speaks to someone’s expertise> – This works because most of us have this psychology of wanting to help others and show off all at the same time. “Hold my beer. I need to show this person how smart I am, and make myself feel good that I help others…” A good example of this might be something like: “Tim, Can you help me with a recruiting issue I’m having?”
  4. <Salary Data Subject Line, Personalized> – Why does someone change jobs? Nope. You’re mistaken. It has very little to do with their manager. It’s most likely someone else has shown them they can make more money by making this change. At least, that’s what all “the new” data is showing! “Software Engineers are getting 28% salary increases by making this change.” “A Technical Recruiter in the ATL is making $140K.”
  5. <Anything specifically personalized to the receiver> – If you take 13 seconds to look at the resume or profile of a person you’re emailing, you can get something personal from that information to use. School mascots for men work well because you’re gambling that person is a sports fan of the school they graduated from. Or maybe you saw a post they like some certain professional team. “Go Green!” because I’m a Michigan State fan would get me to open that email every time.

Honestly, most of these subject lines work simply because they just don’t suck. 90% of recruiters still use lame subject lines like “I’ve got a great opportunity I would like to discuss with you” <vomit face emoji>! Actually, the vomit-face emoji alone in your subject would be a great subject line to test!

Try these out and let me know how they work.

Also, if you’ve found one that works great, help a brother out and share it in the comments below!

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

Are You Really Still Ghosting?

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

The Reason You Got Ghosted by a Candidate!

Yesterday I answered a question from a candidate about why an employer ghosted them after their interview. Many readers were upset because they were also getting ghosted by candidates. In fact, like all the time, way more than they would ever ghost a candidate. Oh, two wrongs do make a right!

All ghosting is sh*tty behavior by candidates and by those of us who hire. Period.

The reality is that this is hard to admit, and as a professional, we own a portion of the candidate ghosting. Are candidates awful for doing it in the first place? Yes. I will not let them off the hook. But I also only control what I can control, and that is my process, behaviors, etc.

Why are candidates ghosting us?

1. We are moving too fast. Wait, what?! We are told to move fast because that’s what candidates want!? Yes, but when you move so fast, the candidates don’t know you (your company and you personally), the job, the boss, or the reasons why they should come and interview. It all doesn’t seem real. So, it becomes easy to just not show up. (Que Taylor Swift – We need to slow down!)

2. We aren’t giving candidates a way to easily tell us they moved on with another offer. Hourly candidates, especially, are moving fast and have multiple offers. You might have scheduled them for an interview later in the week, but they have already decided to go with another offer. While we gave them instructions on where to go and when we could have made it easier for them to opt out. Many organizations are using auto-scheduling tools like Paradox, which sends reminders and lets candidates choose to reschedule or cancel via text. Those organizations get significantly less ghosting!

3. We believe that once a candidate schedules an interview, our job is done. The most powerful human emotion in existence is being wanted by others. Candidates come to you for a number of reasons, all of which they can most likely get from someone else as well. But, showing them more desire than someone else is a key to great talent attraction. You still need to do that with your messaging even after the interview is scheduled.

4. We allow it to happen without any ramifications. (Okay, this might be a bit aggressive!) What if, every time a candidate ghosted you for an interview, you posted their picture and details on social media!? Yikes! Right?! “This is Tim Sackett, a cute redhead. He ghosted us for an interview yesterday at 3 pm. If you see him, tell him we are thinking about him!” Do you think it would get noticed? Heck, yes, it would!

5. We are making it too easy for candidates to interview. This is a catch-22. We need talent, so we reduce every roadblock possible for candidates. It’s so easy. Most don’t care if they burn the bridge or not. That is truly why employee referrals are so valuable for most employers. Referrals are far less likely to burn a bridge. That might be a trick to use. Ask a candidate: Do you know anyone at our company? Begin to tie the personal connection back to them, and they will be far less likely to ghost. Also, make it super hard to get an interview, and people will hold it as a higher value! “Only 1% of people who apply to our company ever get an interview! it’s a rare thing we offer to only the top candidates.” If you knew that was the case, you would show up for that interview!

I think most of the candidate ghosting is truly reflective of the poor morals and values of the people who are doing it. You made a commitment to someone. You keep that commitment, or at the “very” least, you inform that person you will no longer be able to keep that commitment. It’s a pretty basic human condition. Those who ghost probably had crappy parents and mentors in their life who didn’t teach them the basics. I’ve never once spoken to or met an upstanding individual who thought highly of themselves that would ghost. High-quality people don’t ghost. Low-quality people do.

People don’t like to hear that. They want to talk about circumstances and bad employers, etc. The reality is high-quality people will contact someone and let them know they no longer want to be considered, regardless of how crappy the employer may or may not be. Low-quality people just don’t show up. Don’t hate the player. Hate the game. I’m just telling you the truth. You already know.

If you’re an employer and you ghost candidates after interviews – You (not your organization). You, personally, are of low quality, just like the candidates who ghost you. I don’t like to hire low-quality people. But I also want to give every opportunity for a low-quality person to become a high-quality person.

Posted on  by Tim Sackett