I'm A Recruiter ... Not A Mind Reader
7 June 2017
Picture the scene …
You are a travel agent. A client emails you and says “I need you to book me a holiday, somewhere hot, near a beach, leaving in 2 days. Just sort it please, as I am too busy to talk”. So, you do your thing & sort a last minute trip to Turkey, leaving in 2 days, for a really great price.
Now it’s the next day. You’ve sent all the details to the Client, but they are far from happy. “I don’t want to go to Turkey, It’s too hot and the food is terrible. Please just rebook a holiday ASAP as I am too busy to talk”
So, you cancel that booking and rebook for a week in Tenerife, leaving tomorrow, for a great price. You send details over to the client. Next morning the client come backs and are still not happy. “I don’t like the Canary Islands – too windy. This is now very urgent, please book another holiday right away, we are supposed to leave today! If I must - I can spare 5 minutes to make sure you get it right this time”
Finally! A conversation, and the chance to find out what the client actually wants (and doesn’t want). Turns out they don’t really like beaches all that much, or excessive heat - oh and great food and good wine are the top priority - so a holiday to Tuscany is agreed and duly booked.
The flight leaves in 2 hours - it’s an expensive rush job to organise, and there are no decent hotel rooms left. The Client gets their holiday, but they are still not really happy. They will probably tell their mates they had a rubbish experience booking this holiday. Bad travel agent!
I bet there were cheaper flights and a good range of hotel options available in Florence 2 days ago.
If the 5 minute chat had happened on day one – the client would now (most likely) be happy - knowing they were getting what they asked for/wanted, and the travel agent would know they had done a good job (without having to go through the motions 3 times). The client would probably tell their mates you did a sterling job. Good travel agent!
I’m going to hold my hands up. For some of the jobs I have been sourcing for recently, I have sent unsuitable candidates for jobs. You can guess where I am going with this …
I estimate that at least a third of the roles I recruit for would fit into the scenario above. I receive a generic role profile in my inbox, have no contact with hiring manager, no conference call available, and I am expected to supply ‘suitable’ candidates – often within 48 hours.
So, I go out to the market and attempt to source the best talent - often with zero information or insight to share, other than a generic profile. In these cases, candidate experience is typically awful, the hiring manager is usually frustrated and unhappy as they receive CV’s that don’t actually fit their idea of the perfect candidate, and MY experience isn’t great either. Usually the job does eventually get filled after several attempts, usually by a process of attrition - wearing hiring managers down with a succession of unsuitable candidates, until they pick someone who isn’t completely right (but isn’t terrible); or by blind luck.
What value am I adding to my candidates or clients in these instances? Very little. Are my candidates happy applying for jobs I can’t properly brief them about, and do the hiring managers at the end of this believe their recruiters are rubbish as they can’t get it right first time? I take no joy from filling a role under these circumstances.
EVERYONE can benefit from better engagement.
- Being too busy to engage with your recruiters and being unable to properly brief them is counterproductive. Make time. Ask them to meet you after hours or early morning instead.
- Putting a process in place that bans recruiters from speaking to managers is counterproductive. Who is this actually helping? (Hint: It’s seldom the hiring manager)
- Spending a full day that you don’t have, interviewing candidates that you don’t want (because they don’t actually meet your requirements) is counterproductive, and only exacerbates the problem.
The fix is simple. Meet your recruiters, share what you do with them, and what skills/traits you look for when recruiting, share what your business is doing - success stories, growth areas, recent wins etc, answer the questions that will enable them to recruit for you and your business properly, host conference calls for new roles, be available to answer questions, provide meaningful feedback.
Your recruiters are your primary link to the external candidate market, they represent your brand when recruiting for you, and spend a lot of time and effort building and maintaining candidate networks to ensure the individually they present to you are the best possible fit for your roles. If your recruiters are not part of the conversation and are kept at arm’s length, can they truly do a credible job recruiting for your business?
This isn’t an angry rant (maybe it is a little bit). This is a plea: Allow me to do my job better. Work with me to find the very best talent for your business. Let me send great candidates to you who fully understand the role, your needs, and working environment. Try it once - Your recruitment experience may become easier and a bit less painful as a result.
If you’d like me to find highly skilled candidates to create tangible change and transformation within your business, click here to see my details.
Written By Dean Durrant