Building Pipelines, and Paying It Forward

I read a tweet that someone sent out yesterday, linked to an article that talked about how recruiters are looking always for the exact match. They want people in almost identical roles, from competitors, etc. In essence they are looking for clones, as the article states.

While that may be true, and also a narrow minded way for a recruiter to work, it is the recruiters job to find candidates that have backgrounds that line up with the current skill set of the company, the openings you have now and the ones you will have in the future. All we hear is “build a pipeline” this and “have a bench” that. So IMO, in essence, recruiting for similar skill sets out of competitor companies makes sense in both filling your openings and building the ever-popular pipeline. However, as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to build a pipeline.

When we talk to a candidate, do we explore the entire spectrum of that candidate’s experience, desire, and future goals? Or are we looking at do they have “5 years of .NET programming skills, experience in a widget shop, and did they go to an Ivy League school”? If we only look at that and move on, we’ve only scratched the surface, and likely have wasted time on both ends of the phone.

If you truly take the time to peer through someone’s background and ask about the “why” behind the “how” of their projects, what motivates them, and what they want in the future, you may have just built that wonderful enigma that is a pipeline. While it may not be the exact match for now? How many among us can predict our req load or makeup of that load 3 months from now.

I just hired someone recently, that I had talked to for the 1st time about 9 months prior. At the time, his skill set was just a bit off on some of the experience (technically speaking) that we needed for that role at the time. Instead of just showing him the door, we explored a bit more and figured out what he was really strong at and where he could best showcase these skills. I told him that we didn’t have the fit now, but in time, I was sure that something would pop up, and I’d call him then. Skeptical as he was (and I could tell from the way he finished the conversation, he’d heard this a million times before), I called him back when we had the right fit. Long story short, he’s on board. I kept my word, and he took our job. Win-Win.

That said, there are going to be people you talk to that you just can’t help, no matter what the background. But if that person can demonstrate that they are a strong candidate, and assuming you as a strong recruiter have built up your network to have a small group that shares resumes amongst yourselves, you can get this person networked around. Philip Newman on ERE chats a bit more on this topic, earlier this week.

You’re a recruiter. That means you’re a digger, a hunter, a harvester, a conduit and a connector. You can’t be complete just being a paperboy. Say yes when you can, no when you have to, but always remember to keep it in mind, and pay it forward, because you need to.

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