Is More Efficient Recruiting Always Better? #TruthBomb

If you’re in HR or TA and read this blog on a regular basis, you know I’m all for making our recruiting process as efficient as possible! Primarily because so many of us are woefully inefficient in using our technology and the belief that a more involved process must be a better process.

I’m a little nervous about the future and recruiting efficiency.

I think in our rush to become ever more efficient. We might miss out on some great talent. At this point in the recruiting tech stack, I can actually automate every single piece. Anything you have a person do in recruiting, I can automate. I can even ensure that candidates “don’t” get dispositioned if that’s how you like to play it! I mean, about 50% of you don’t do that now, so it seems like that is probably the way you like it.

If recruiting was only about taking a requirement, matching that requirement to available talent, screening that talent, interviewing that talent, assessing that talent, and onboarding that talent, well then, technology can do that better and more efficiently than humans at this point. But, I think recruiting has always been about getting the best talent for your organization.

Available vs. best is where the technology starts to fall down if talent truly makes a difference in your organization. Honestly, for many, “best available” will work just fine, and it has for decades. The vast majority of organizations are hiring the best available at this point.

Technology is exceptional at hiring the best available. Technology hasn’t figured out how to hire the best talent that isn’t openly available at this point. If you don’t have that talent in your database, and that talent isn’t active on LinkedIn or other job boards, technology has a really hard time getting your message in front of them.

The future of recruiting isn’t about efficiency. That is already here. The future of recruiting is about your organization’s ability to actually go out and discover who is the best talent for your organization. That person might not actually be on the “jobs internet,” or they were, but that was five years ago, so you’ll never see them as someone you want because the five years ago person isn’t the person you need today.

Efficient recruiting is great until it isn’t. If you suck at recruiting, then becoming more efficient at best practice recruiting (which recruiting technology can definitely make happen) will elevate your function for sure. But efficient recruiting isn’t world-class recruiting. It’s just efficient.

The best talent acquisition in the future will be able to go out and discover the talent that hasn’t been discovered by everyone else. We like to believe that everyone who is anyone is on LinkedIn, Indeed, or you name the site. But they are not, or they haven’t been active for a long time, so this is a hidden talent.

Too many TA shops are currently working too hard at becoming efficient and not hard enough at becoming experts of the talent for their industry and their marketplaces. You know I love technology. So, be great at technology, but don’t forget to be great at recruiting.

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.

4 Strategies to Get Candidates to Open Your Emails!

I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!

CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample, and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!

These four things work really well in getting people to open your email:

1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc., in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”

2. Short Titles. Less is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under five words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!

3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.

4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!

So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work?

What should we stop doing with our subject lines? 

  • All of the opposites of the above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
  • Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
  • Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”

The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!

It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher-level stuff.

What is your most responsive email subject line?

The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask A Hiring Manager!

How are those hiring manager “intake” meetings going?

You know, those meetings you have with a hiring manager every single time they have an opening. You sit down with your hiring manager face to face and ask them a page full of questions.  Why is this position open? What would make a candidate most successful in this role?  What color of skin would you like this candidate to have? Boobs or no boobs? Whoops! Scratch those last ones. We would never ask those…

We begin to hate these meetings. They feel forced.

The reality is Talent Pros really only have one question they need to ask hiring managers. That question is this:

“Do you trust that I can find the talent you need?”

Ultimately, this is all that really matters for your success.  If they trust you, they’ll give you all the information you need to be successful.  If they don’t trust you can find the talent they need, they tend to hold stuff back.

Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s real world talent acquisition stuff! Welcome to corporate America. A lot of stuff doesn’t make sense!

Most hiring managers have no faith you’ll find them great talent.  They have this belief because of so many bad Talent Pros before you failed them.  So many before you didn’t really go out and find the best talent, they just delivered whatever warm body came into the ATS.

I just come out and ask the question.  The first answer you’ll get from 99% of hiring managers is a weird, “Well, sure, I do.” If you really dig into this answer, you’ll get the true answer which 90% of the time is, “Hell no! Why would I?  Your department has really never gotten this right!”

Thank you! That’s what I really needed.  I needed to get that out in the open, so now we can really build trust and make great things happen.  They’re mostly right. Talent Acquisition fails many of our hiring managers for a number of reasons. Right now, your hiring manager doesn’t need to hear those reasons, they need to hear why this time will be different.

Then, you have to live up to ‘different’! You have to be better.  You have to get it right. Getting it right earns trust.

Once they trust you, great things will happen. Earn that trust.

I’m back from London – What did I learn?

I was over in London during the 4th of July holiday. I hosted the DisruptHR London event and attended RecFest 2022. The weather was very un-London like in that it was amazing!

This was my third time in London and every time I learn a little more:

London –

  • Still the best mass transit system around. Nothing beats the Tube!
  • London is a better New York. Big city. Big city stuff to do. Smells wonderful and seems like a smaller city. Flowers everywhere. There’s so much to see.
  • Food is improving, but mainly that’s all the non-English food coming in.
  • Shopping is funny in London. So many people from different countries and middle east tourists love the gaudy logo brand clothing! The gaudier the better! They wait in line to get into the biggest brand name stores! Like, you never have to ask what they are wearing, you can read it clearly across their chest! The English, tend to not be so loud about their dress.
  • They still laugh at how much soda Americans drink, but that’s only because instead of drinking soda they drink the same amount of beer.
  • The English men dress exponentially way better than American men on average. Also, almost none of them wear shorts. I had folks comment on my “American” shorts, mostly that it was too cold for shorts. It was in the ’70s every day.
  • It’s one of the most diverse cities I’ve been to. You meet people from so many countries it’s unbelievable. And no one is complaining that England is trying to make the country their country. London is London, you came here, welcome to London. We’re going to stay being London, we hope you like it. If you don’t, you’re free to leave. That doesn’t mean they aren’t accepting and welcoming, they are. But they are also English, no matter your skin color or nationality.
  • I had drivers from six different countries – Afghanistan, Italy, South Africa, Iraq, Norway, and Croatia. Each one was excited to talk about America and all couldn’t wait to go back or go for the first time. They seemed truly excited. Also, unfortunately, most wanted to go to Las Vegas or New York. To them that’s America! This wasn’t normal driver chit-chat, these folks really wanted to talk about America and many had stories of them trying to get to America, but England was easier.

DisruptHR London –

  • Just an amazing group of HR professionals and speakers. The London HR crowd was so engaging.
  • We struggled to get 200 folks to sign up. Which is strange, but it’s really about advertising and marketing. Everyone who came raved about the event, but almost 100% said they had never heard of it. It felt like we hammered the marketing for eight straight weeks. Also, this was actually the 16th DisruptHR London, so it begs the question of who was coming to the first 16?!
  • If you’ve never done a 5-minute DisruptHR talk – as a speaker – it might be your greatest challenge! You must try one!

RecFest2022 –

  • 4,000+/- Recruiting professionals at an outdoor festival. Jamie Leonard, the founder of RecFest, hates when I call it the world’s largest Recruiting party, but it is! It’s also a festival and conference and it’s amazing.
  • It was a warm, sunny day, and I and like 50 other people had on our American shorts!
  • Word is, RecFest might be coming to America in 2022, but if you have a chance to go over to London for RecFest 2023, it’s a must-do!
  • People in the UK seem to love to queue (that’s standing in line, for Americans). When I arrived at the festival there were 1,000 people in the queue just waiting to get in! Eventually, they just opened the gates, then people went right back into the queue for coffee, food, and beer. I think the English just walk around looking to stand in a queue! That won’t work in America. Jamie and the crew will have to figure that out. If Americans stand in line for ten minutes, they’ll never come back!
  • There is nothing like this anywhere in the world! The RecFest folks truly have something special on their hands.

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.

Is it okay to be biased toward underrepresented communities in hiring?

I’m a big podcast listener. It’s one of the reasons we started HR Famous because we loved the format! One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway.

If you aren’t familiar with Scott Galloway he’s a New York University professor of marketing and hugely popular. He’s a liberal and rails openly against Trump and also his own industry, Higher Education. I’m a moderate and he’s so freaking smart, I could care less about his political leanings, I just get smarter listening to him.

Besides being a professor, he has started and exited a few technology companies, sits on boards, has school-aged kids, and talks a ton about the stock market.

On a recent pod, Elitism: Money vs. Influence, he gave his top 3 attributes to the top-performing employees of the companies that he has started. These are:

  1. Most likely Female. “First they were female. If they were male I couldn’t say this but it’s okay because as long as you are biased for underrepresented communities your okay, but we try and ignore that…” (42:03 in the pod)
  2. Graduate from a world-class university. Ivy League, Penn, Michigan, Stanford, Berkley, Vanderbilt, etc. “Better schools matter…more applicants…start with better core human capital…better screening.”
  3. Athletes are very successful. They understand teamwork and discipline, and they can endure and push themselves harder. “Someone who can finish an Ironman isn’t lazy”, says Galloway.

So, a Professor of NYU, former business owner, and thought leader says it’s okay to be biased in selection.

I’m not sure I agree we should ever be biased in our hiring selection practices, but Galloway points out a reality in our culture. As long as we aren’t biased towards the majority, we will look the other way and ignore it.

What Galloway is saying is not different than how the vast majority of hiring managers are making their final selections. They take a look at past and current performances and they make some educated inferences about what those top performers have in common. Based on this knowledge, it will shape their hiring selection. Does this, or could this, lead to bias? Yes.

Does it make it wrong?

That’s the big sticky question, isn’t it?

We want to say, no, it’s fine, continue to hire the females if those are your best performers. But, just because your current females are your best performers doesn’t mean they’ll be your best moving forward, or that maybe one of the males will be even a better performer.

Flip the scenario.

Galloway now tells us that one of the three attributes for high performance is they are “male”. Do we have a problem with this now? Most likely, you do have a problem with it based on hiring equity issues, broadly, but it’s hard to say specifically since maybe this organization doesn’t have gender equity issues.

Want to know what Inclusion is difficult when it comes to organizational dynamics? It’s because what Galloway laid out is exactly what every organization lays out. The difference is, it isn’t always friendly to the underrepresented community.

Like I said, regardless of your feelings on this one subject, Galloway’s podcast is money! It’s on my must-listen to pods each week.

Give me your thoughts on this in the comments?

4 Tips in Hiring Candidates with Grit!

In our ever-constant struggle to find the secret sauce of finding the best talent, many organizations are looking to hire candidates who have grit. What the heck is grit? Candidates who have grit tend to have better resolve, tenacity, and endurance.

Ultimately, executives are looking for employees who will get after it and get stuff done. Employees who aren’t waiting around to be told what to do, but those who will find out what it is we should be doing and go make it happen. Grit.

In tough economic times, our organizations need more employees with grit!

It seems so easy until you sit down in front of a candidate and try and figure out if the person actually has grit or not! You take a look at that guy from 127 Hours, the one who cut his own arm off to save his life. That’s easy, he has grit! Susy, the gal sitting across from you, who went to a great state school, and worked at a Fortune 500 company for five years, it’s hard to tell if she has grit or not!

I haven’t found a grit test on the market, so we get back to being really good at questioning and interviewing to raise our odds we’ll make the right choices for those with grit over those who tell us they have grit but really don’t!

When questioning candidates about their grit, focus on these four things:

  1. Passion. People with grit are passionate about something. I always feel that if someone has passion it’s way easier to get them to be passionate about my business and my industry. If they don’t have a true passion for anything, it’s hard to get them passionate about my organization.
  2. Doer. When they tell you what they’re passionate about, are they backing it up by actually doing something with it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll ask someone what their passion is and then ask them how they’re pursuing their passion and they’ve done nothing!
  3. What matters to them. Different from a passion, you need to find out what matters to these people in a work setting. Candidates with grit will answer this precisely and quickly. Others will search for an answer and feel you out for what you’re looking for. I want a workplace that allows me to… the rest doesn’t matter, they know, many have no idea.
  4. Hope. To have grit, to be able to keep going when the going gets tough, you must have hope that things will work out. The glass might be half full or half empty, it doesn’t matter, because if I have a glass, I’ll find something to put in it!

I’ve said this often, but I believe individuals can acquire grit by going through bad work situations. We tend to want to hire perfect unscarred candidates from the best brands who haven’t had to show if they have grit or not.

I love those candidates with battle wounds and scars from companies that were falling apart but didn’t. I know those people had to have the grit to make it out alive!  I want those employees by my side when we go to battle.

Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!

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.