There’s change in the wind inside many companies I’m talking to today. It’s a move toward identifying, seeking and ultimately hiring new people that can help the business grow and succeed. And it’s sorely welcome.
As I talk to many of you who are managers and leaders, you’re finding yourself in the fortunate place to be able to hire again. But the landscape of hiring has changed dramatically. The right people you want aren’t just falling from the sky and into your open cubicle. The magic online recruiting systems aren’t chugging through a fancy algorithm and burping up the perfect person to call.
No, it’s not as easy as it looks. You–the hiring manager–have work to do.
I was talking about this with my friend and recruiting expert Mark Lotz of Camden Delta Consulting. With experience on all sides of the recruiting table, Mark generously offered to share his advice about how to make the recruiting process work for you if you’re currently trying to hire your next perfect team member. Enjoy this insider’s advice on the process. . .
Five Things Your Recruiter Wants You to Know
by Mark Lotz , Principal, CamdenDelta Consulting
As a business leader, you’re likely experiencing the excitement and challenges of an improving economy. Companies are growing and expanding, which is really positive.
On the flip side, an improved economy means turnover rates are on the rise. People now have access to a large number of job opportunities. A recent study by AON Hewitt shows over 40% of millennials will be actively looking for a new job in 2015.
If you manage a team, you’ve likely been recruiting to fill open positions. Hiring great talent is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. Your success is often dependent on your team’s performance.
Bad hires are costly. The Department of Labor estimates the cost is roughly 30% of the individual’s salary. Other studies tell us the cost is much higher when factoring in lost productivity, the stress on the broader team, and potential damage to customer relationships. You understandably want to make sure the people you hire are high performers and stay.
Enter the Professional Recruiter
As you recruit, you will probably work with a corporate recruiter or may hire a third-party agency recruiter to help you find great talent and make a solid hiring decision. Your recruiter should act as a broker and advisor for you, similar to how a realtor works for someone who’s selling or buying a house.
As a former a recruiter, I’ve worked with hundreds of hiring managers to fill openings. Most of these searches went well and we hired great people. Some searches, unfortunately, ran off the tracks and resulted in long hiring cycles, lack of qualified talent, and frustration for everyone involved.
I’d like to focus on five things you can do as a hiring manager to get the best results during your recruiting effort. These are things you recruiter wants you to know. They may not tell you directly, but they are common themes I hear from the recruiters I speak with.
1. The hours you invest on the front end will save days, maybe weeks, on the back end.
Your recruiter will probably ask you to meet with them prior to starting the search. Please resist the urge to say, “Just get the job posted.”
When you’re buying a house, you wouldn’t ask your realtor to show you homes without an in-depth discussion about what you were looking for, would you? The same is true for your job opening. Your recruiter needs tounderstand what you’re looking for in a new hire.
Make time for this crucial meeting.
When you meet, be prepared to prioritize the skills needed to do the job and help the recruiter understand the selling messages for the position. Your recruiter will need to sell candidates on why they would want to consider the role, why they would want to work with you, and what career growth looks like. Don’t leave this information up to the recruiter.
2. Don’t search for purple squirrels.
I once had a manager tell me candidates for a fairly entry-level post must have an MBA from an ivy-league school, global experience, a strong mix of consulting and corporate experience, and basically had to have done the job we were trying to fill in another company of a similar size. They also had to be willing to travel 75% of the time. Oh, and the compensation we could offer was about 25% below market average.
Recruiters have a term for candidates who could fill such a role. We call them purple squirrels because they don’t exist, or at best are very rare and almost impossible to attract.
The recent recession allowed us to be fairly exacting with our list of skills and experiences the candidate had to possess. Plenty of people applied to our openings, and there weren’t many jobs available. Today people have plenty of options, and this works against you.
I’m not suggesting you lower your standards or hire someone who can’t do the job or has character flaws. Instead, I’m suggesting you prioritize your skill and experience requirements to keep them realistic. Your recruiter should be able to tell you how your requirements compare to the skills, experience, and compensation expectations of the candidates in the market. If they’re not offering this up, you should ask them.
3. It’s your opening, and you need to own it.
Your recruiter should lead the effort to find top candidates. They should reach out to people directly and send you some outstanding people to consider. Even so, you still need to engage your professional network. You have access to people your recruiter will never reach.
Ask your recruiter to create a job posting with language you can use to market and sell the role. Share your opening with your LinkedIn network. Email or call peers who might know someone who is looking for an opportunity. This helps to get the word out to people who can help you. You also might discover candidates who have a track record of performance with someone you know and trust.
4. Manage the candidate interview.
When you interview candidates, make sure your questions are relevant to the job requirements and your company culture. Ask for specific examples and require them to describe the situation, what they did, and the results. All three are important.
The candidate should do most of the talking—around 80% of the interview. If that’s not the case, you need to rethink your approach. Your recruiter should be able to help you come up questions and help you hone your probing skills.
Your company may have assessments to predict on-the-job performance. Pay attention to the findings. Your recruiter should help you understand what the assessment results are telling you. If they don’t offer this, ask them for it.
5. Always be closing.
When you discover the candidate who is clearly suited for the job and is a cultural fit, you’ll likely want to move quickly to close the deal. You may go through some salary negotiations, and your recruiter or HR team should help you. Make yourself available to the candidate during this time to answer any questions they have.
Once the candidate accepts, you’ll breath a sigh of relief and maybe even do a dance. This is a dangerous time.
Your new hire is likely to get a counter offer from their current employer. You need to stay close to them until they walk in the door on day one. That’s when the recruiting is really over.
Don’t leave this work to your recruiter or HR team. Your new hire is coming to work with you. Establish the relationship before they walk in the door. Send them something that shows you care about them. A handwritten note welcoming them on-board is a really nice touch in our electronic, social media age. That sounds corny, but it has impact. Call them often and stay close to them until they walk in the front door.
Even the best organizations are having difficulty attracting high performing talent. Assuming the economy continues to get stronger, it’s likely to get tougher. Set yourself up for success by paying attention to these points. Best of luck as you recruit!
YOUR TURN: If you’ve been hiring, what have you learned about the recruiting process? Or what questions do you have? Just leave a comment below.
Mark Lotz is a Principal with Camden Delta Consulting, a human capital consulting firm (find them on Twitter @CamdenDelta). With over 20 years as a recruiting leader and consultant, he helps companies improve their recruiting results. Mark’s area of expertise includes workforce planning, recruiting strategy, talent attraction, employment branding, on-boarding, and the effective use of talent management technology. Reach Mark on Twitter at @MarkLotz or on LinkedIn at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MarkLotz.