recruiting

6 Professionals Who Become Great Recruiters

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As the skills shortage persists, so does the demand for recruiters. The increased demand has put a further strain on an already over-tapped pool of experienced talent. More and more organizations are turning to people without any recruiting experience to stem the shortfalls.

Problem is, hiring people without experience can be hit or miss. But some roles consistently transfer exceedingly well. Why? Because of the nature those jobs. And more importantly, the types of people drawn to those professions.

In reviewing recruiting teams in 1100 organizations, 6 roles have shown up consistently in producing transferable talent who become great recruiters. Great in how quickly they’ve ramped up, fit in, and gone on to meet or exceed expectations.

Does everyone from these 6 roles become a stellar recruiter? Of course not. There are no absolutes, especially in hiring. However, the consistency among these 6 makes them top contenders for your next recruiting hire.

Role #1
Commercial Collection Agents
The skip tracing skills of commercial collectors help them efficiently research the whereabouts of top talent. Since persistence is the name of the game when collecting debt, they tend to have better than average abilities at following through and staying in touch. Add this to the B2B focus of their work, and you’ve got a potent combination that’s made this a favorite hire of recruiting leaders.

Role #2
Professional Fundraisers
You hear lots of “no’s” when selling people on an idea to get them to part with their hard-earned cash. The thick skin of professional fundraisers makes them well prepared for handling rejection and savvy at selling top talent on the idea of parting ways with their current employer.

Role #3
Retail Managers
Managers in retail spend long hours and many weekends dealing with difficult customers. The typical weekday schedule in recruiting is a welcome change as they apply their customer service and problem-solving skills. Retail managers are particularly successful in organizations where recruiters spend more of their time in face-to-face meetings with candidates.

Role #4
Political Campaign Staff
The fast-paced high-octane environment of a campaign prepares these prospective recruiters with important skills. These include managing competing priorities, dealing with challenging expectations, and achieving difficult deadlines. A recruiting opportunity offers them many of the adrenaline filled opportunities without the career interruption that comes at the end of campaign.

Role #5
Professional Organization Staff
People from trade associations, chambers of commerce, and other membership organizations often have superior networking skills and extensive contacts. Selling opportunity is second nature as is building rapport. The income potential in recruiting frequently exceeds the compensation ceiling in their current line of work.

Role #6
Call Center Managers
Recruiting teams seeking people who can create a positive candidate experience over the phone are having success with call center managers. Their background helps them effectively compete for top talent and efficiently make and receive a high volume of calls.

As you consider people with these backgrounds take steps to ensure their fitness for the unique needs of your team. Here are three methods that will help.

Define cultural attributes
People who come from transferable roles don’t always fit it. The most common reason is culture. Cultural fit on a recruiting team can be quite different from fundraising, retail, politics, and the other roles. Look for patterns among the backgrounds and personalities of the people who’ve succeeded on your team. These attributes codify your culture as it relates to hiring. Make these attributes a requirement for every person you hire.

Show instead of tell
The verbal skills of people from these 6 roles tend to be above average. Don’t let them talk themselves into a job on your team. Leaders who do frequently regret these hires. Instead have candidates show you (by performing sample work in an interview) that they possess the transferable abilities and traits required for success.

Do a reality check
Nothing kills a new hire quicker than unclear expectations. Required daily activities is a repeat offender. Too many people coming into recruiting don’t understand the sheer volume of work required on a daily basis. During interviews make clear the amount of calls, documentation, interviews, e-mails, paperwork, and other activities that come with the job. But don’t leave it at that. Include these expectations in writing and have the candidate sign-off their acknowledgement. This will scare off some people, but better that a glimpse of reality end a future bad hire than having to terminate someone for real.

Scott Wintrip6 Professionals Who Become Great Recruiters
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7 Avoidable Recruiting Mistakes

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A baking mishap reminded me of a common mistake in recruiting. The baker, my cousin, decided to take some liberties with a bread recipe. Instead of measuring the ingredients, she eyeballed it, adding generous portions of her favorites. Then she decided to knead the dough for half the amount of time called for in the recipe.

The result—a chewy gritty lump that tasted nothing like bread.

Baking is a science. Follow the recipe and you’ll get a positive result. The same is true in recruiting. There’s a science to getting a good result. Skip a step or fail to follow a proven process and you end up with lackluster candidates and unfilled jobs.

Yes, there’s an art to being good at recruiting, especially when it comes to the day to day aspects of the job, but that never outweighs the importance of the strategic ingredients required for success.

Here are seven frequent recruiting mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1
Drawing in too little or too much talent
This first mistake is the most common. Many companies aren’t drawing in enough quality candidates, blaming the skills shortage as the problem. Some organizations draw in too many people who are underqualified, typically as a result of an unhealthy reliance on automation. Both of these extremes make recruiting labor intensive and filling open jobs a challenge.

Generating a continuous supply of top talent requires leveraging all eight talent streams. Organizations that maximize all eight recruit faster, fill positions more efficiently, and effortlessly create pipelines of top talent for future openings.

Mistake #2
Having unrealistic hiring criteria
It’s common to throw everything but the kitchen sink into your hiring criteria. Making a quality hire is vital and starts with deciding who you’ll select. Unfortunately, the extreme importance of hiring right the first time has led leaders to be overly restrictive about who they’ll consider for a job. This limits the talent pool and keeps positions open for a long time.

There’s a simple way to create accurate hiring criteria—seek proof. Review all of the people who’ve succeeded in the role. Look for the patterns among their skills, experiences, and personality traits. Make those your hiring criteria and leave the kitchen sink where it belongs.

Mistake #3
Getting overly attached to one candidate
Falling in love isn’t just the plot line in romantic movies, it’s why the recruiting process in many companies becomes a drama. It often plays out like this…a superb candidate is found for the job, someone you fall in love with. “She’s the one,” you say.  As a result, the recruiting effort comes to a screeching halt. When it turns out she isn’t the one, a mad dash ensues as you scramble to find more candidates.

Instead of falling in love with people, it’s better to become enamored with a process that keeps talent flowing. Some organizations refer to that as practicing their ABC’s, as in Always Be Cultivating talented people even after you think you’ve found “the one.”

Mistake #4
Becoming too reliant upon one resource
Most recruiters have a preferred stream of talent. For many, it’s referrals. They see referrals as the gold standard of recruiting, believing that this is the best way to find high quality people.

While it’s true that referrals are gold, it’s just one of the eight streams of talent. Some of the streams provide overlapping access to the same candidates. However, no single stream can draw in all of the available quality people. That’s why it’s important to keep tapping into all eight.

Mistake #5
Waiting until a job opens to recruit
It’s not if there’s going to be a job opening, but when. That’s why the most successful organizations plan for the when.

How are these companies planning for the inevitable? They’re shifting from the old way of hiring (keeping a job open until the right person shows up) into the new way of hiring (lining up talented people and waiting for the right job to open). They start with one core role, filling currently open positions and cultivating talent for when that job opens again. Then they move on to the next role. And then the next. And then the next.

Mistake #6
Creating ads and posts that are boring
The majority of job listings read like typical ad copy. That’s why these posts fail to hold the interest of top talent. The mundane content creates a negative first impression, repelling quality candidates.

What kind of content captures and keeps attention? Details about how working in your organization has improved lives and careers is a great place to start. Combine that with eye-catching delivery methods, such as video, gifs, or infographics, and you’ll attract and keep the interest of top talent.

Mistake #7
Engaging in hiring insanity
Einstein has been quoted as saying that insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. By that definition, there’s quite a bit of insanity going on in recruiting. For instance, ask someone why they persist at an approach that isn’t drawing in enough quality talent, and you’re likely to hear, “because that’s how we’ve always done it.”

You can stop the insanity by regularly questioning each step of the recruiting process. Consider why it’s done that way. What results are being achieved? How can you could improve that result? In what ways you could streamline each step of the process?

My cousin threw out that gritty lump of so-called bread. The next batch was superb because she followed the recipe, avoiding her past mistakes. You can do the same when you’re recruiting. Eliminating these 7 preventable errors will allow you to source top people who will become superb new hires.

 

Scott Wintrip7 Avoidable Recruiting Mistakes
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Rejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This

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It’s inevitable that someone you want to interview or hire will say “no.” However, that “no” isn’t permanent. You can get a talented person to change his or her mind by applying a powerful principle of selling.

I first witnessed this principle during a conversation with a longtime client. He called to say there was somebody else. Another company had approached him, offering similar services for 5% less.

My client explained that he had to watch his budget and decided to seriously consider making a change. He further explained to me that he didn’t really want to, but if I couldn’t meet that price, he’d have to go with the other company.

Now of course, I felt a bit betrayed. Rather than give in to this feeling, which was valid but unhelpful for solving the problem, I kept the conversation going.

“Harvey, I want to thank you for calling and being candid with me. I’m curious. What would it make it worth staying with us, paying what you are now?”

There was a pregnant pause. He didn’t just dismiss the question out of hand, which was a good sign.

“That’s an interesting question,” he said. “There is something. Our payables department has been on us about getting longer payment terms to help with cash flow. If we had a bit longer to pay, that might make it worth that 5%.”

Playing off his idea, I simply asked:

“Okay, what’s longer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 10 more days?”

Harvey’s voice had gone from conciliatory and resigned to hopeful in a matter of seconds. Now, instead of prompting me to adjust my price or lose him as a client, he asked me for accommodations in order to maintain our relationship. This created a productive conversation in place of a “break up” phone call.

Harvey’s company had always paid on time and often, in less than 30 days so his request was by no means unreasonable. Now, I needed only one more question to close the deal.

“If I can get you those 10 additional days, then can we continue working together in the way we always have?”

“Yes, Scott. Thank you! That’s such a relief. I really wasn’t looking forward to the transition.”

I remember ending that phone call with a smile on my face. I had just experienced the value of allowing Harvey to sell himself on an idea, rather than trying to do the heavy lifting myself. I let the better salesperson sell. Him. Not me. He sold himself on changing his own mind.

Yes, I kept Harvey as a client. More importantly, I’d experienced a powerful sales principle. A principle that became an important focus in my recruiting and hiring. That principle:

Buyers always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you.

Job candidates are buyers. They’re buying into opportunities. When they say “no,” they’re the most qualified person in the conversation to change it into a “yes.”

How does this work in recruiting and hiring? Well, there was the project manager who wanted a higher salary than we could offer. I asked, “What would make it worth taking the job for what we originally offered?” He talked himself into that number after asking for an extra week of vacation.

Then there was the accountant who didn’t want to drive across town for a job. I posed the following: “Under what circumstances would you consider commuting that far?” The accountant offered up the idea of a flex schedule sealing the deal for her to accept the role.

Candidates always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you. Let the better salesperson sell, especially when it’s a candidate who just said “no.” If there’s anyone who can get them to change their own mind, it’s them, not you.

Scott WintripRejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This
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Want Better Recruiting Results? Make This Simple Shift

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If you want to achieve better outcomes as a recruiter or if you lead a recruiting team and want them to accomplish more, this episode is for you. You’ll take away a simple approach that’s helping leaders and their teams surpass their goals quicker than ever.

Scott WintripWant Better Recruiting Results? Make This Simple Shift
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Want Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing

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One simple often overlooked action can shift your team from sometimes reaching its goals to crushing them on regular basis. In this episode, I tell you how to do it.

Scott WintripWant Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing
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Improve The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps

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Talent fuels the success of your organization. That’s why your process must be efficient. In this episode, I detail the four steps for improving recruiting and hiring efficiency.

Scott WintripImprove The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps
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Here’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire

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Being slow to hire often means a job goes unfilled for awhile. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a way to be slow to hire that’s fast and effective. It starts with understanding the real meaning of the idea.

The Unintended Consequences of Slow to Hire
The idea of slow to hire has been around for years. I noticed it gained traction as leaders became increasingly aware of the significant costs of a bad hire. The financial cost alone has been estimated as a five- to six-figure sum. Then there’s the lost time, missed opportunities, wasted effort, and added stress. Because of these costs, it made sense to make hiring decisions carefully.

That was the original intent of being slow to hire—taking the time necessary to make smart hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, the idea of careful hiring took on a life of its own. One or two rounds of interviews with prospective hires expanded to three, four, five, sometimes six separate rounds before making a hiring decision. Then there are additional steps including testing, reference checking, and background checks.

Finally, if all goes well, a job offer is made to the most qualified person. However, if that offer is declined and the second choice candidate has already taken another job (which often happens after a long, drawn-out hiring process) the whole process starts all over again. That adds more time, more effort, more expense, and more interviews, making slow to hire even slower.

Has this cautious approach to hiring worked? Not if you’re a leader with an unfilled job. Certainly not if you’re in HR and can’t find enough qualified people. Definitely not if you’re in staffing or talent acquisition and your best candidate was just hired by a faster competitor. The time it takes to fill just one job has reached an all-time high, and there’s been no improvement in employee turnover.

Because of this misunderstanding about slow to hire, the world has been operating on a faulty premise. People have mistakenly been equating time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more take they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. It’s given them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save companies from bad hires; it only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong.

Slow to hire became something unintended. It turned into being slow to fill.

You can break your organization out of this cycle, while still taking a prudent approach to decision-making. You do that by being slow to hire and fast to fill. Here are 6 steps that will help.

Recruit ahead
Pick one role and start cultivating talent for it right now, even if there are no current openings. It’s not if that job will open, but when. You’re preparing for the when.

Build rapport
Let candidates know you hire differently, getting to know people before jobs open. You’ll typically find that talented people welcome this approach since this gives them an option for their future.

Interview actively
Just as you try on clothes before buying them, you can have people try-on opportunities. Invite people to experience your company and culture. Having them try out sample work lets you both determine if a role in your organization may be a future fit.

Maintain contact
Touch base with prospective hires at least monthly. Use the few minutes you spend to pass along valuable information, such as marketplace updates or news on a trend you’ve seen. This keeps your relationship top of mind while also making her better off just from having spoken with you.

Fill fast
When a job opens, offer it to the top person with whom you’ve stayed in touch. If she’s unable to say “yes,” offer it to the next best candidate on your list.

Repeat
As you maintain contact with candidates who are ready-to-hire, you can repeat these steps with another role (if you like). And then another. And then another.

Smart decision-making and a speedy process can work hand in hand when you’re slow to hire and fast to fill. This balanced approach lets your organization make prudent hiring decisions while filling jobs the moment they become open.

Scott WintripHere’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire
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Attract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer

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Talented people are bombarded with opportunities. So many that yours could easily be lost in the crowd. There’s a simple way to make your opportunities stand out—package your jobs as if you’re marketing a product.

I was reminded of this method when I was in the tea aisle of Whole Foods Market. If you’ve never been in their tea aisle, it’s a plethora of color, size, and shape. It’s quite a sight…and a potential sales nightmare for individual suppliers.

Manufacturers have learned to compete in this cornucopia by packaging their tea in boxes, tins, and containers of all colors, sizes, and shapes to attract your attention.

There was a woman standing in the aisle gazing at the wall of tea. As I watched her consider her options, I noticed that she was scanning the shelves, occasionally picking up a box or tin, checking out the back and then either placing the item in her cart or putting it back on the shelf.

I watched a bit longer, curious about the system she had going. Eventually my curiosity won out and I approached her.

“Excuse me, I hope I’m not intruding. I was noticing how you were looking at tea. I’m a consultant. My clients are always interested in how people make choices. I noticed you’re very particular with what you’re looking for. May I ask why?”

“Well,” she started, “I’m bored with my current brand of tea. I’ve decided to try some new flavors and brands. Maybe there’s something better than what I was buying before.”

“Okay, and how are you going to pick?”

“Well, I like a robust tea so I’m looking for cues—pictures or words—on the front of the box that tell me it might be full-flavored.”

“Okay. I noticed that when one grabbed your attention, that’s when you picked it up and checked the back.”

“Right. The front of the box is what captures my attention. Then I look at the back to finalize my decision. Simple as that.”

Tea Lady reminded me that packaging matters. How something is packaged either grabs or repels our attention.

This is why good jobs are often overlooked. They’re poorly packaged.

To get the attention of top talent, you must think like a product marketer. Your packaging (ads, posts, and verbal communication) must quickly grab people’s attention. This is the “front of the box.” Only after you’ve gotten a candidate’s attention will the details matter (the “back of the box”).

Take these steps to improve how you package opportunities.

Step #1: Next time you’re in a retail establishment, notice how product marketers package their offerings. Note the colors they use, the pictures they choose, and how carefully and sparingly they use words on the front of the box.

Step #2: Imagine your jobs were in a store competing with other opportunities. Each job is in a box, waiting for top talent to come down the aisle.

Step #3: Design the “box” with the jobseeker in mind. What pictures, words, and colors can you use to grab people’s attention?

Step #4: Test out a few designs with internal staff or an external focus group.

What’s this look like in action? A tech company with great opportunities was drawing in a trickle of talent. Using these steps, they created colorful images and short videos (under 10 seconds) of current employees sharing brief soundbites about how working at the company has improved their lives. They used these same soundbites as the opening content for written postings and conversations with candidates. Today, the company draws in a strong steady flow of highly qualified people.

Your jobs are important. They’re a product as important as what your company provides to its customers. Package them so that they stand out and get the attention they deserve.

Scott WintripAttract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer
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