Internal recruiters – A short but hopefully sweet note on how to build trust with your internal customers and the hiring managers within your organisation.
Learning the recruitment craft from agency ensures that your recruitment and talent acquisition expertise has a pretty healthy dose of salesmanship to it. It can then become an issue learning when to cut the sales patter and quite simply deliver. Internal customers do not want to be sold to. They want to know that you are on the same team, looking to achieve the same goal and that you want to work together to get there.
So in simple terms, how do you build that trust? CUT. THE. SALESY. BULLSHIT.
Not saying don’t sell as you will always have to sell e.g. why you believe someone is the right fit for the position, or why they should choose another angles in a particular talent acquisition campaign etc. – All I’m suggesting is to just cut the fake door-to-door salesman act and back the quality of what you do and how you do it.
As recruiters, our edge will come from being able to use whatever means necessary to fill open positions with the best candidates that no one else can find, or building such a level of trust with the best candidates that everyone can find, that when you approach them with an opportunity, they are always prepared to listen. Be the person who knows your market. Build the levels of respect and trust within your sector or industry that if you decide to approach someone, they know they are not simply one of 100 people that you have flicked an automated note to, and that instead they should take the time to listen.
Make this your brand in the market and the rest becomes a walk in the park! Build the trust and respect via letting your actions speak for themselves and don’t let the fluff get in the way. Deliver on your word and choose your word carefully.
Staff benefits schemes seem to be a hot topic at the moment so I thought I’d chime in with my thoughts….
In years gone by the company car, paid phone bill’s or company credit card were pretty much the in domain of the professionals at the top of their game working in the most generous of companies. Now though, almost akin to my blog post on gimmicky long interview processes, companies seem to be using the benefits they offer as a marketing tool, and the list of what is being offered is getting longer and longer. There’ nothing wrong with that, but let’s dissect it a little.
In recent times there has been a lot of debate over what is considered a generous benefits programme and what is going too far. For example, I refer to Facebook and Apple who opted for a very polarizing benefit of freezing any female employee’s eggs (most suggest in a bid to allow feeling more at ease delaying having children). Or Google California, as another example who trucked in snow to create a snowy wonderland for its staff. Times are of course changing and our wants and needs are evolving with the times. I totally get that we are not programmed in the same way that we were 50 years ago where social norms almost pre-defined at what ages children would enter our lives, or when we should be allowed to enjoy a brisk walk in the snow, but is this taking a “company benefit” too far?
In a few less extreme examples such-as, orgs employing chefs to cook meals each day for staff, full gym in-house or even sleep pods. These all sound amazing, right? And who wouldn’t want a part of that, but something that is also worth thinking about is – Are we then blurring the lines further between our professional worlds and our personal worlds? And indeed, is this a good or bad thing? We have already seen a huge shift towards technology interoperability and never being too far away from a piece of tech that could see us struggle to “switch off” in our personal time, but we are now looking at a new age where the comforts of home-life are being brought to the office.
This is not to say I wouldn’t dive straight into a sleep-pod given the chance – just food for thought and I’d be keen to hear other perspective on where boundaries should be in the creation of a solid benefits scheme…
Anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the HR/recruiting industry invariably will have been on the wrong end of candidate opting out of an application process. There are of course a multitude of reasons why this might happen, a lot of which are outside of our control, but sadly in a large amount of cases, accountability rests on the shoulders of the agent/HR pro and in a lot of cases this can have significant ramifications. For example, in agency-land the client can quickly lose faith in an agent’s ability to close the recruitment loop. In internal talent acquisition you will be held accountable for the cost associated with the time spent resulting in a no-hire etc. Not to mention the pounding your reputation could take from the candidate or client perspective if it a regular occurrence. Sadly in HR and recruitment the candidate opt-out is an evil that will always play a part in our role but if we ensure adequate focus on the quality of our communication and efficiency of our processes, the risk will be largely minimized. It’s not rocket science by any means, but it’s good to not lose sight of the basics as our experience grows.
Clarity is King: Grey areas are the mortal enemy of any recruiter. When talking to a candidate, the more details that go undiscussed or the more inaccurate the information you give the applicant, the higher the no-hire’o’meter will rise. When talking to a candidate, if you get the impression that any details you’ve divulged about the remit, remuneration package, location or pertinent skills managed to raise the candidate’s eyebrows and perhaps caused un-easiness, DRILL DOWN!. Don’t be happy with getting a half-hearted approval to flick a CV to a client/hiring manager. Ultimately all you will be doing is facilitating the beginning of a fact finding mission for the candidate (which they will opt out of as soon as any facts they don’t like arise) as opposed to offering up all the facts and ascertaining that they are your/clients next superstar. Yes, your CV submittal rate will be higher but your conversion rate will stink.
Recruit in a timely manner, without lacking substance. Anyone who has read my previous blog post (Why the long……process) will know my thoughts on drawn out, lengthy recruitment processes. IMO, if a recruiter or HR pro must ask a candidate to go through a 6 stage process in order for them to ascertain suitability, or if they lack the ability to consult properly with their clients/hiring managers around why this is not needed, then there is some serious training required. Personally, I’m a fan of a robust phone screening process followed by a panel interview or a well put together 2 stage interview process. Keeping in mind the candidate experience, neither option would be arduous but will give more than adequate time to ensure a full screening process.
As I said, by no means rocket science but I’d suggest just keeping these two things in mind will largely contribute to overall recruitment success rate and conversion ratios.
When hiring a new staff member, what are the key criteria you look for outside of the competence or experience in fulfilling the job description?
We live in an age of collaboration and knowledge sharing and so the ability to positively influence situations and navigate your way around day to day scenarios with tact and diplomacy are fundamental to success. Intelligence, experience and skill are essential for success but we must stop thinking of intelligence as knowledge gained in academia. It is now widely accepted that the most successful among us have a blend of IQ and EQ, the proportions of which are widely disputed. We define and measure EQ in 5 areas. They are Self-awareness/self-control, Empathy, Social skills, Personal Influence & Motivation. So how do you screen for EQ? Here are a few questions that may help:
- Tell me about a time when your actions positively impacted someone else?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you realised that you have had to change or modify your behaviour? How did you notice this?
- Tell me about a time you have had to prepare yourself for a situation you knew would be negative. What did you do? How did it work out?
- Have you ever received criticism? What was it? Were you surprised?
- Tell me about a time that you were angry with someone at work. What did you do?
Situational questioning will require you to observe not just the answer but how the interviewee is answering and how comfortable they are with the questions, but you will be ensuring best possible chance of securing a well-rounded professional who will flourish and succeed in a broader range of environments and circumstances.
So as most already know, this year Linkedin changed their InMail policy. Instead of getting back all the InMails that didn’t get a response, Linkedin now only credit back InMails that are replied to. They also implemented their new policy around a commercial search limit in which in any given month you can only run a limited amount of searches as beyond a certain number they deem that it is being used for commercial purposes. I’ve seen a number of posts for and against the changes and for what it’s worth, I say bring it on!
Sometimes, just sometimes, I shudder when I see some of the activities that are being passed off as “recruiting”. In the last month I have received a number of batch messages that not only are not personalised to me, but have zero relevance to me at all. E.g. I’m an IT/software development sourcing specialist/recruiter and therefore, I have a few technologies listed on my profile. In the greater context of my profile, this is clearly in reference to positions I regularly find myself recruiting and not related to my personal IT experience, YET – I still get messages asking about my interest levels in an exciting and fantabulous open position as a Developer. I’m all for looking at ways to find efficiencies but sending a batch message to anyone with a specific technology(ies) listed on their profile (due to a standard keyword search) is just plain lazy and is certainly not what the vast majority of the recruitment world would identify as effective, solid recruitment/sourcing practice. To date, given the limited InMails available per month on different subscriptions, recruiters were almost incentivised to not be engaging in their InMails and just throw buzzwords in the hope of either a) Quickly engaging a professional who might be actively on the market; or b) being completely ignored, as opposed to opening up conversations with candidates who are not “active” but may be open to discussing other opportunities. If by LinkedIn changing its policies it encourages the careful and more considered use of InMails as a tool of value and as the medium that could be used to open doors to new networks/candidates/business partners/leads, then I’m all for it and can only see it having a positive effect on the industry.
Link to info on new InMail policy: http://sales.linkedin.com/blog/linkedin-changes-inmail-policy-to-improve-quality-of-messages-and-response-rates/
On commercial search limits. I believe that the impact on this will be minimal to any recruiter who considers themselves to be somewhat social media savvy as most will be well versed in other online sourcing techniques and know e.g. know how to run x-ray searches via search engines, should they reach their search threshold. The knock-on effect of this is that recruiter who is perhaps not quite as used to other online search methods will have to begin to increase their knowledge of online sourcing methods which surely can only positively affect the recruitment industry?.
Link to info on new “commercial use limit”: https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/52950/~/commercial-use-limit-on-search
A question that all HR/recruitment professionals get asked on at least a semi regular basis is: “How should I resign?”. The real answer is, there is no textbook answer as there are so many variables and moving parts involved relevant to e.g. company, manager, your professional style etc. but there are definitely a whole lot of wrong ways to do it. Here’s my 4 small tips that hopefully will offer some piece of mind during what in most cases is an awkward conversation (at best), and help it flow with a little more ease and hopefully avoid friction or burned bridges.
Tip 1: No matter how much you might feel like it, don’t use the flaws of the company/manager as your reason for leaving. This is not the time or the place to have this conversation. My advice would be that if there is a burning desire inside you to offer some constructive criticism, do so at an exit interview in a rational and balanced manner. Instead use the positive points of why you have chosen to accept the new role as the reason for your departure.
Tip 2: I’m firmly of the belief that we never stop learning and thus regardless of if you feel it has been the most fulfilling role or not, think of the lessons you’ve learned and thank your manager/company for the opportunity to have learned and grown as a professional.
Tip 3: Unless extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise, wherever possible be willing to work your full contractual notice period. Make arrangements as such so as to make your transition out of the company as smooth as possible.
Tip 4: If not already part of process, offer your time to have an “exit meeting/interview” with your line manager with the aim of trying to shed light on where in your opinion, the organisation could improve. This is where you can offer your CONSTRUCTIVE feedback and show that you are not harbouring any ill feelings due to some negative experiences but instead are aiming to offer your opinion to ensure other employees don’t feel the same thing.
These are by no means complicated steps and is relatively “back to basics” kind of stuff but I hope it will give some piece of mind to anyone who may be looking for a little direction on ways to part ways in a positive light.
Are the multi-skilled, or the specialists among us, more future-proof & better equipped for organisational evolution?
I believe there are two trains of thought on this. These days with organisations advocating agile or iterative processes, we have witnessed a shift in not just how we meet deadlines and time restraints but in our professional mentalities. Everything is quicker, processes more streamlined and we are always looking for ways to create new efficiencies as we all deal with ever changing goalposts on a day to day basis. With this we of course become more than just what our defined position descriptions would have meant 5 to 10 years ago and instead we must be broader skilled, dynamic, out-of-the-box problem solvers who have to turn our hands daily to tasks which historically wouldn’t have been ours.
On the other hand, we have a growing trend of positions being broken up into several roles where in the past they may all have been taken care of by one position. An example of this could be the role of an internal recruiter. In years gone by, a recruiter would be responsible for the end to end process of finding candidates for any given role – engaging them, appropriately screening them, interviewing them, coordinating interviews with relevant hiring managers – and thereafter would also be responsible for “closing” or hiring. However these days, a large number of recruitment roles are broken up more distinctly into sourcing, recruiting and account managing.
There is merit in both methods but I will be interested to see moving forward whether it is the specialist or the broader-skilled that demonstrates more staying power.
Has “normal business hours” become a thing of the past? These days, I rarely meet anyone who almost immediately following waking up in the morning, wont grab their phone from the bedside to check their email, or who considers their nights to be personal or family time, which not so long ago seemed the norm. What is it about modern day issues and work problems that are more important than those that we were facing years ago that can’t wait until the next day? Or is it a simple case that our ability to prioritize is being depleted due to such ease of systems access which allows many organisations’ staff to turn any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device into a make-shift work station?
I’m as guilty as the next person of the late night emails and struggling to switch off but I’m one of the lucky ones who enjoys what I do enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore. What about those who aren’t as lucky and feel like they don’t have the pressure release of being able to go home and un-wind?
Human nature dictates that if we get too used to something, it becomes habitual and we begin to expect it. This being the case, if this isn’t carefully managed, how long will it be before being “switched on” at all times is an expected part of a job as opposed to it being a sign of an engaged and happy employee who will strive to go above and beyond any contractual obligations? Don’t get me wrong, the huge emphasis which these days is placed on interoperability and mobility of internal systems of course is a great thing and phenomenal feat in technology advancement but with it comes the potential for more risk, more pressure and more un-happy staff if it is not managed well.
What’s with the long, arduous multi-stage recruitment processes that seem to be increasingly common place these days? When chatting to job seekers I find that a 6 stage (or more) recruitment process that may incorporate psychometric testing, multiple technical tests, cultural evaluations, competency based screening (to name a few), is nothing out of the ordinary and I can’t help but wonder if it’s necessary?
Has the length, rigorousness or even quirkiness of a company’s recruitment process become a marketing tool to tell the world that what lies beyond this extensive screening must be worth all the work and effort put in?
I believe that in this day and age we should be striving to create efficiencies, thus not being on-board with what seems to me to be an in-efficient waste of time. The only thing I believe you can be certain of after a 6-8 stage process is just how keen the candidate is on the position/company given the willingness to stick around for that long. I don’t believe that you will gain any more of an in-sight into their suitability to the position, over a well put together 2 stage interview process where the questioning is intelligent, relevant to the role and type of person you are looking to hire, which may or may not include a specific skills based test. Specific preparation is key!
During our working lives, almost by default, we look at the long tenured staff members in our organisations with reverence. We see them as professionals to look up to, fountains of knowledge and information, given the years of service. Quite rightly so. In that time, they must have learned a fair amount about the industry in which they operate. But surely having 10, 15, 20 years of experience in an industry doesn’t constitute immediate ‘expert status’?
In my opinion, it’s the breadth of experience you have in your chosen skill-set that will differentiate you. Let’s take the recruitment industry for example. Recruitment isn’t the type of industry that has one clear cut way to do things that’s considered “correct” and does not follow a specific formula or set of rules. Success in recruitment will come from tackling a range of recruitment challenges in your career and the way in which you handle them, along with the experience you gain from them. The length of time in an industry can of course ensure a certain depth of knowledge in one or a number of things and in my opinion, I would put a higher value in less depth of knowledge of 10 recruitment challenges learned over 20 years, than 20 years of experience facing one recruitment challenge.
It’s the age old “1 year of experience 10 ways, or 10 years of experience 1 way” adage. I believe the most successful recruiters who can legitimately call themselves experts fall into the “1 year of experience 10 ways” group. We operate in an industry where our skill-set is not an exact science. It will be our adaptability and ability to be agile in our approach when grasping the intricacies of any given talent acquisition problem, (whether it’s internal or agency, large enterprise or SME, volume or not etc.) and offering expertise on efficient and effective ways to manage it based on previous experience, that will genuinely ensure the worthiness of the reverence you will receive.