The 5 Reasons Your Recruiters Aren’t Recruiting!

Oh boy, here we go. Buckle up, gang!

I guess I need to start at what the hell is “recruiting” and what’s not “recruiting.” We have to because what most of you are calling “recruiting,” I call processing candidates who applied to your job. To me, that’s administering the recruiting process, not really recruiting.

If you post a job and someone applies, technically, most of you call that recruiting. You’re paying a full-functioning human anywhere from $65K to $165K for them to be a “recruiter,” and they are posting jobs and waiting for someone to apply. I used to say I could train a monkey to do that job, but now I get to say I can easily train A.I. to do that job for pennies on the dollar.

Posting and Praying is not recruiting. Posting, collecting candidates who applied, and screening them, is what I like to call “Inbound Recruiting,” and that’s not really recruiting. It’s just administering the recruiting process. Do. Not. Get. Me. Wrong. Being amazing at administering your recruiting process is still valuable and needed. The best “outbound” recruiting shops will still have about 70% of their hires filled by “inbound” recruiting!

Outbound recruiting is then “real” recruiting. That’s when a recruiter has a requisition and really has no valid candidates for the hiring manager, and thus they have to go out and find valid candidates. Now, part of that process might still be finding new places to share and post jobs, but that’s only one small part. The larger part of “real” recruiting is cold outreach to people who don’t know your job is open or might know, but they need some persuasion.

Okay, Why Aren’t Your Recruiters Doing Any “Real” Recruiting?

1. They don’t have capacity because, as humans, we naturally fill our time with what gives us the most success, and in your current state, that is “Inbound recruiting.” This means you tell your recruiters, and you expect your recruiters to do outbound recruiting, but they can easily fill their day with inbound recruiting, and it pays the same. So, why not take the easier route?

2. They don’t know how to really recruit. Honestly, most corporate talent acquisition pros who have never worked in an agency have spent most of their career doing 99% inbound recruiting. That’s just the truth, and we know why from what I said in #1. So, we have to teach them how to do outbound recruiting! (Side note – HireEZ’s own internal Recruiter, Vivian Jiang, will be doing an Outbound Recruiting Session specifically for Corporate TA Pros at the Michigan Recruiters Conference on Nov. 10th in Detroit!)

3. They aren’t rewarded and recognized for doing real recruiting. Almost every time I work with corporate TA teams, I find that the recruiter who fills the most jobs is looked at and rewarded like they are the top recruiter. What I find is they rarely are the top recruiter, but they are the recruiter who processes the most fills through inbound recruiting.

4. Your TA Shop is not structured to do real recruiting. See #1, but basically, you should have “processors” who only do inbound recruiting, and they are amazing at it, and then you have recruiters who only really recruit in a modern TA function. You can get processors for half the price of real recruiters, and they are measured completely differently than outbound recruiters.

5. Your hiring managers don’t know the difference. Right now, today, your hiring managers honestly believe that your TA team is recruiting for their opening. They have no idea that you are only posting jobs and collecting whatever person applies. Those people applying might be the worst talent in the industry, but you are selling them on they are the best. If they knew the truth, they would demand change. What I find is real recruiters work with hiring managers to actually uncover the best talent together in the best TA shops.

This isn’t easy!

I get it. The change management alone from moving from inbound recruiting to outbound recruiting is painful, which is why I think the best approach is to break up the function into two very specific processes of inbound and outbound. It never, and yes, I’m saying never, works to have and expect recruiters to do both.

We built the Michigan Recruiter’s Conference to specifically work with Corporate Talent Acquisition teams to start to work on these challenges and pain points, and I’m super excited to bring it back on November 10th in Detroit with our awesome corporate TA team sponsor DTE Energy onsite at their beautiful and modern campus. Join us!

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 constantly get 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.

The Recruiter Texting Rules!

Here we go! Your boy is back with some more rules! You know I love me some rules! I’m high rules, and low details, which drives most people crazy!

I was having a conversation recently with some recruiters about texting candidates. For the most part, in recruiting, we’ve gotten to this point where we believe every candidate prefers texting over every other kind of communication. And, if they don’t want a text message, then they want email.

This isn’t exactly true! I did some research and surveyed over 1600 candidates we screened to find out the facts and published it – 6 Things Candidates Want You to Know – you can download it here for free. But I’m not here trying to sell you a free whitepaper!

The entire reason we believe candidates prefer text over any other form of communication is some creative marketing around text vs. email response rates in overall text vs. email communications. Now, this is where all of this falls apart. I get over 500 emails per day. I get maybe 25-50 messages. Of course, I’m going to respond more to text messages vs. email. But that doesn’t mean, as a candidate, I want text vs. email, necessarily!

This all lead me down a path where I believe we need some rules around texting as recruiters!

The Recruiter Texting Rules:

Rule No. 1 – As the first outreach to a candidate you don’t know, texting is not preferred by candidates. They don’t know you, and they certainly don’t want you jumping into their private text messages with a spammy job offer!

Rule No. 2 – No one of quality ever accepted an interview and job offer through text message without first speaking to a real human. Pick up the god damn phone. Once a candidate is all in with you, then yes, they will most likely only want texts from you.

Rule No. 3 – Give me a way to opt-out of your bad text recruiting automation hell! For one, it’s the law. But, most still make it way too difficult to stop the automated texts.

Rule No. 4 – Just because you have my number as a candidate does not give you permission to stalk me for a date. It’s super creepy!

Rule No. 5 – If we aren’t friends, don’t text me like we are friends. Avoid sarcasm. Keep it professional and short.

Rule No. 6 – If it feels like you’re sending candidates too many text messages. You are sending candidates too many text messages! Also, don’t text me a novel! Send long stuff in an email.

Rule No. 7 – If I ask you a question, answer the damn question! We are adults. You can tell me the truth I don’t need some run-around answer that doesn’t really answer my question.

Rule No. 8 – If you expect me to respond within minutes. I expect you’ll respond within minutes. Set the ground rules around expectations early.

Rule No. 9 – Never! And I mean, NEVER! Text with a green bubble! Just Kidding! 😉

Okay, peeps, what did I forget? Give me your favorite rule for texting candidates in the comments below.

The State of Hourly and High-Volume Hiring in 2022

It’s Friday. It’s the Summer. Blog traffic is crap on Fridays in the summer! You get my raspy, deep morning voice instead, enjoy! So, here’s a vlog instead:

It’s Your Boy!

Here’s the link to the report – The State of Hourly and High-Volume Hiring in 2022 by HR.com. Here’s the link to Matt Charney.

Greenhouse Adds Sourcing Automation to ATS #Open22

I’m out at Greenhouse Open this week, and Greenhouse made a major product announcement adding Sourcing Automation to their core ATS solution. What the heck does that even mean?

From the press release:

Introducing Sourcing Automation: a new outbound sourcing solution that helps users find, reach and engage top talent quickly and effectively – all with Greenhouse. Sourcing Automation improves email deliverability, scales outreach through personalized and automated campaigns and gives hiring teams the insights they need to become sourcing experts – and turn more candidates into hires.

What does it all mean?

So, isn’t this just Interstellar, the CRM they purchased, finally just launching? A little bit, but to call this “CRM” is a misnomer. CRM in the recruiting space is really designed for large enterprise TA teams that have a team that can run the CRM and gets the value out of it. Greenhouse’s Sourcing Automation is more marketing automation designed for individual recruiters to use daily.

Does this replace HireEZ and Seekout?

No, this is more of a complementary product. How so? Sourcing Automation isn’t a sourcing engine like HireEZ and Seekout are. You use those tools to find the talent you can’t find anywhere else. Sourcing Automation makes it way easier for you to actually connect with those people, plus easily add in candidates from your own database to connect with as well. The reality is one of the biggest challenges we face as recruiters is connecting with candidates as fast as we can, at scale, and this type of automation allows individual recruiters to do that effectively and efficiently.

Do your recruiters need this?

The short answer, in today’s world, yes.

Long answer, it depends on how you want to recruit. If I’m totally honest, way too much of the recruiting we do is a simple post and pray, inbound candidate processing. If that’s what your recruiting is, and that’s what you want to continue to do, save your money. This product is not for you. If you want to give your team a tool to do more outbound recruiting and add capacity to your ability to recruit more candidates quickly, then this product is worth a look and a demo.

I don’t say that in jest. The reality is some of us aren’t in a position to do outbound recruiting for a number of reasons. We are all on various levels of our recruiting maturity, so it really depends on where you are at and where you want to take talent strategy. Sourcing Automation is an amazing tech, but like any tech, you must use it to get the value out of it.

It’s well worth your time to dig into Greenhouse’s sourcing automation product and compare it to full-blown CRM recruiting tech and understand what sourcing automation is and isn’t. I think you’ll find that Sourcing Automation is a tool your recruiters can use every day in their day-to-day outreach and connection.

Why is Walmart Struggling to Find $200K/Year Store Managers?

6.68% of Americans make $200,000 a year or more. Of course, that almost 7% is definitely centered around certain areas. States like California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc., have a much larger percentage than the average. States like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, most of the Midwest, etc., are under the average.

The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about how Walmart is struggling to fill their store manager jobs. Specifically, their General Manager job, the number one job in a Walmart store, which pays around $200,000 per year.

You would think with so few people making $200,000 a year, Walmart would have smart, ambitious folks knocking down their doors for a chance to make $200,000 per year!

But they don’t. Why?

First, most organizations tend to promote from within. Walmart is similar to this, but reality eventually hits the ceiling. An average Walmart store probably does a revenue of $50-100 million per year. The net income of those locations probably runs around $3-5M per year. There are roughly 350 employees in a Walmart store. Running a single Walmart store is like running a mid-sized enterprise business! Most SMBs in the country have a revenue well under $1M.

This means that Walmart can most likely train an hourly store employee to become a department manager, but to become a General Manager, they are looking for some formal business education. You have to run a giant P&L. You have major risk factors. You need real leadership skills. In many towns, “the Walmart” is probably the biggest business in town!

College kids, on average, don’t want to leave State U for a $65,000 a year job as a Manager in Training at Walmart. It’s not something you go back to the homecoming football game and brag about. Your friends took that $50k per year job with the tech firm in town as an entry-level, you make more, but they look down on you.

I know some folks are reading this and thinking, “So! You make more! You will continue to make more! You run are in line to run a giant business! You f’ing cares what others think!” Young adults do. Young adults care what other people think. If I’m frank, and I usually am, we all care what others think!

What would I do if I was at Walmart?

I love this game. It was the basis of my entire book! What would Timmy do if he ran your shop!

#1 – Stop trying to hire or require any form of formal education. Yes, you need smart folks, so give cognitive assessments. Find smart people who can learn quickly, who also have some “hustle” and “grind” to them. You probably have a ton of folks already working for you that you won’t consider. You also have to look at talent pools we tend to discount, most notably, in this case, 50 years and older, retired military commanders, etc. Walmart wants to solve this by talking new college grads into these jobs, I’d be talking failed executives into these jobs! Big salary. Big team. Big job. College grads don’t want that, your Dad does, and a retired military leader who is used to leading hundreds of soldiers does. Also, your Dad will work 60 hours a week and think it’s normal. A new grad will work a solid 40 and think it’s North Korea.

#2 – Build the Manager School. If a great GM in a Walmart environment makes them $3-5M a year, there are margin dollars to build more great GMs! Part in-person instruction. Part on the job training. Part virtual instruction. All the way in on fully engaging non-stop. Send them to manager boot camp. Make it exclusive. Bring in big-time celebrity speakers around leadership and performance. Do graduation with a gold watch.

#3 – Make it so lucrative they won’t want to leave. $200K is really nice, but you need some other stuff. You need to make folks say, “F! You!” To their friends that don’t think Walmart is cool enough. What is that? I don’t stock options. Partner programs on profit sharing. Company SUV.

Here’s what I know. The profit difference between Walmart’s worse GM store and their best GM store is so big it would make you blush. It’s millions of dollars. So, making sure you hire, train, develop, and take care of the great ones is priority number one. Building the talent pipeline to successful GMs would be the job of a team of people that included great recruiting leaders, brand and marketing leaders, and technology and data leaders.

I’m not saying this is an easy job. It’s enormously difficult and complicated. But, it’s doable. The problem is, that every organization thinks the solution to their problem is new college grads. They can help, but it’s only one sliver of the full pie that is needed.

Scarcity and authenticity are powerful!

I get asked multiple times a day about how organizations can find more talent. The desperation in today’s world around this one topic is concerning. People are losing their jobs and their well-being over it. Corporate recruiter experience is at an all-time low.

The formula for hiring and attracting talent has not changed and it won’t change. Like anything we desire in the world, it comes down to scarcity and authenticity. That being said, that is also extremely difficult to provide to a job seeker.

Why?

99.99% of us can’t present our jobs in a scarce way. Google can, you can’t. Turns out, you’re not Google.

There are very, very few of us who have the luxury of working for a brand that almost anyone would kill to work for. The unicorn brands, as I like to call them. These brands can create scarcity around their jobs. This scarcity feeds upon itself, where candidates will go to extraordinary lengths to get noticed for a job, just trying to get their “foot in the door”.

The “authenticity” part is where we in the 99.99% of us can fight back!

Whether you are big or small, if you have a non-unicorn brand, we can always be super authentic. It’s harder for those running the scarcity game to do this because part of the game is to have some mystery behind door one.

To be able to leverage your job postings with videos from potential co-workers, the hiring manager, and an executive giving deep insight and understanding of your jobs and brands can be something very powerful to pull in more talent.

Can you combine these? Yes, but you rarely ever see it. Mainly because if you’re lucky enough to achieve scarcity around your jobs, you feel like what do we really gain? We already have almost all the candidates we want, why do the extra work for a small incremental increase.

The key is you have to do one or the other really well. One you control, one you don’t.

What I find is too many organizations act like they have scarcity when they don’t. And almost none of the organizations that should be killing authenticity actually do it.

The formula didn’t change.

Mailbag: Can an experienced Recruiter be any good with 378 LinkedIn Connections?

I had a Talent Acquisition Leader reach out to me this week. She is having a hard time hiring recruiters and was looking for some insight. Now, she was looking for more of a professional generalist recruiter. Someone who can hire some hourly, but also corporate positions that include: finance, IT, operations, marketing, etc.

She mentioned she had gotten a resume of a recruiter who had four years of experience, but when she looked her up on LinkedIn, she only had 378 connections. Could this recruiter be any good with so few LinkedIn connections?

The Answer

No.

Okay, before you become unglued, let me explain.

Let’s say this four-year recruiter was only hiring high volume hourly. That would mean this person would never spend time on LinkedIn, since hourly workers, for the most part, do not have profiles on LinkedIn. So, now you’re thinking, “yeah, Tim, LI connections don’t matter for this person so they could be a great recruiter!”

Still, I say no!

Because, for me, a great recruiter builds a network of other recruiters and sourcers to constantly learn from. It basically takes almost no effort or skill to connect with 500 other recruiters, sourcers, HR pros, and your personal network on LinkedIn. Once you get to the 500 mark, no one knows if you have 501 or 30,000.

I challenge my own entry-level recruiters that have no recruiting experience to get to 500 connections as quickly as possible. Within six months, they should be able to do this very easily. So, if you run into a recruiter who is three or four years into their career, and they are under 500, they are showing you that they probably have very little interest in expanding their network and learning from others.

500 LinkedIn connections are like training wheels for a recruiter. I don’t expect every profession to have over 500, but recruiters, sales pros, and people looking for jobs should always have over 500. There’s no reason not to, it’s literally the easiest professional networking available to everyone for free.

Do more LinkedIn connections then equal someone is a better recruiter than another?

No.

But, wait, you just said…

Recruiters, of all types, need to get to 500. After that point, it really becomes more about the quality of the connections that you build. If you just accept every Open Networker on LinkedIn, that network will be full of Life Coaches and Pyramid Scheme sellers!

Great recruiters build networks that help them learn more and recruit better. I would say once you establish a network, you then become much more selective about who you invite and which invites you to accept. Right now, with my network that runs over 20,000, I only accept about 1/3 of the invitation requests I get based on the criteria I want in my network.

I know recruiters that quickly maxed out their LinkedIn networks with garbage and had to go back and scrub their networks, and it’s very time-consuming. But, I also see recruiters who switch industries and skills who do this as well. Your network should grow and change with you based on where you are at in your career.

So, LinkedIn connections matter and they don’t. That’s just reality in today’s world of recruiting. Whether you are recruiting doctors or truck drivers, you should still be using LinkedIn for your own professional development on an ongoing basis.

The Most Brilliant Talent Tips Condensed Into Tiny Sentences!

I wrote a book with a lot of words. One I discovered is that people love for you to have a book, but no one really wants to read 60,000 plus words. They want you to break it down to about 500. “Just tell me what I really need to know!”

Okay – Here you go:

  • Always give personal feedback to candidates you’ve interviewed but didn’t hire. 
  • Make every candidate believe you desire them until you don’t. 
  • Job advertising works. Programmatic Job Advertising works best. 
  • You don’t hire the best talent; you hire the best talent that applied to your jobs. 
  • If your team only uses 50% of your ATS, it’s not an ATS problem, it’s an adoption problem. (which means it’s a leadership problem) 
  • Measuring the recruiting funnel will give you far better results than measuring days to fill. 
  • Only hire Sourcers if you truly have recruiters willing to do outbound recruiting. 
  • 90% of your recruiting is inbound recruiting, but your hiring managers believe 50% of what you do is outbound recruiting. 
  • Your diversity hiring woes can be tied specifically to certain hiring managers, but we are too afraid to connect the dots politically. 
  • 99.99% of candidates will never accept a job without first talking to a real person. Call volume, in recruiting, matters. 
  • If your sourcing tech is failing, it’s not a failure of the tech, it’s your recruiters hate doing outbound recruiting. 
  • They key to being a great recruiter is getting someone who doesn’t know you to trust you with their career. 
  • A candidate will always respond to a hiring manager more than a recruiter on average. They’ll respond to the CEO of your company even more than a manager of a function.
  • On average, there are worse selection strategies than hiring the most pretty people you interview.
  • The most underutilized recruiting resource you have is your own database of clients.

What is your favorite tiny piece of talent advice? Put it in the comments, and I use it in my next book which will only be 2,000 words!

Why do candidates ignore recruiters?

Oh, Lord, let me count the reasons! Can I get an Amen!?

Basically, candidates ignore recruiters because as recruiters we have sucked too many times for them to pay attention any longer! Also, it’s a lie, candidates don’t actually ignore you, they see you, but they don’t respond, because we can be worse than a used car salesman who’s about to be fired if they don’t sell one more car before the end of the month!

There was a brilliant article written recently by a Software Engineer, Alex Chesser, Career Advice Nobody Gave Me: Never Ignore a Recruiter. From his post:

The obvious adaptive response that I suspect the vast majority of us use is to roll our eyes and ignore them. We tell each other jokes about the problem all the time. We’ll gripe and moan about how annoying it is, how obvious and crass it is.

No one ever explained to me that recruiters are also one of the best career resources you can find.

If you think about it, who better to be completely honest with about what you want from your career? Who else has real and direct insight into how much money any given role pays?

Alex shares the script he uses to respond to each recruiter outreach he receives and it’s brilliant –

BTW! Alex says “Steal This and Use it!”

Candidates Ignore Recruiters Because We Waste Too Much of Their Time!

This is the reality. Because we, as recruiters, don’t really know enough about them, we tend to waste a lot of time discovering if a candidate is right for us or not. Maybe, Alex has found a better way to communicate this back and forth that is valuable for both parties. The candidate gets what they want and we get a response, that might lead to a positive outcome. No response leads to no outcome!

The truth is, every candidate does actually want to hear from a recruiter. Recruiters think this isn’t the case. Candidates mistakingly say this isn’t true. But it is. If I contacted Alex, today, and I had his dream job, he wants to hear from me. If I have a crappy job that is four levels lower than his ability, he doesn’t want to hear from me. But, as he found, you don’t know that until you know that!

Alex’s response to every recruiter, while canned, is perfect in getting positive responses from him. If more candidates did the same thing, I’m sure we would see more positive interactions across the board between recruiters and candidates.

Candidates ignore recruiters simply because far too often recruiters are reaching out to them with positions they wouldn’t be remotely interested in. Why do recruiters do this? Desperation. Ignorance. Overconfidence. Lack of clarity on what the hiring manager wants/needs. Lack of basic worldly understanding of what someone would possibly want given the information they have. All of the above.

Candidates don’t ignore recruiters who deliver the goods and treat them as a professional. As someone who values your time. There’s hope, because of the Alex’s out there helping us be better by being very specific about what and how that looks.