Recruiting In 3D

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.

KarmaCop-311x322


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No LinkedIn profile? How will I find you??

I’ve always been a bit perplexed when I talk to a candidate and I look for them on LinkedIn for some additional info, like recommendations, what groups are they a part of, (especially important for technical candidates, IMO), and can’t seem to find them. I’ve actually gone so far as to ask some people if they have one, and never cease to be floored when the answer is “No, what is LinkedIn?”

LinkedIn, for several years now has slowly started to become the digital business card of professionals. It acts as a forum to network, to job hunt, to showcase your skills and abilities, and after all, it’s not Facebook, so you are representing your professional side.

The real kicker for most recruiters, is that how these candidates can send resumes with the buzz phrases “technically savvy”, “bleeding edge” and so on, yet not have one of most simple career management/professional networking tools out there, in their arsenal. I think the most frustrating of the “Un-Linked” are the recruiters. When an agency calls me, and the sales rep, etc. does not have a profile on LinkedIn, then there is truly something wrong, and I make no bones about letting them know that this is a hit to their “cred” with me.

In the end, the world has changed. The game has changed. People want to be able to search for and get a feel for you beyond your resume. And at the end of the day, your LinkedIn profile says alot about you. Not having one, now that speaks volumes, and not the kind you want it to speak.


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Career Services – Good thing they don’t serve coffee

I work alot with college recruiting for my current organization. Hence, I deal with the Career Services (CS) folks at each school I’m assigned to. Some schools certainly have a better handle on things than others, and the size of the school can also play into that. This is a department that is perpetually underfunded, short-staffed, and dealing with staff:student ratios that are somewhere equal to the number of digits in PI.

That said, most CS offices do the best they can in order to serve each of their students. But now that Pandora’s Box has been opened and someone has found the 2009 version of the McDonald’s CoffeeGate, what lies ahead? Haven’t heard? A student at Monroe College sued her school since CS did not get her a job for after school. What is to come of this case remains to be seen.

"Sorry coffee, we don't serve your kind here"

"Sorry coffee, we don't serve your kind here"

What it tells us though, is that we’re grossly misinterpreting the role of CS. CollegeRecruiter.com NAILS it here. Their job is to serve as a conduit for the job search, and to provide advice where it is needed. Let’s face facts here – the class of 2008/2009 faced the worst job market/economic in 30+ years. That said, you’d imagine that a person who was resourceful enough to dream up a scheme to get a free tuition by suing would also have the wherewithal to use job engines such as Indeed, Simply Hired, LinkedIn or even TWITTER to search for their first job out of school.

This sends a terrible precedent, and unless the judge laughs heartily and throws this case out with yesterday’s trash (which he/she should!), we’re looking at the potential demise of the Career Services offices as we ‘knew’ them.

Besides, I’ve got a buck that says she visited said CS office less than 5 times in 4 years.


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Help Me….Help You!

I make it a rule to discuss salary, compensation and the like with virtually all my candidates in the first or second conversation that we have. Make no mistake, I’m not asking for “Name, SS# and how much was your W2 last year”, but I address it at some point in the conversations. You really have to have these conversations if you

Over the years, I’ve had some very colorful responses to my question about what a candidate’s current compensation is and what they are looking to make going forward. I thought having grown up in New York, and watching 20+ George Carlin specials gave me all the dirty words I’d ever hear. Oh how wrong I was. Some people get terribly upset when you ask this, as they feel like you will pigeon-hole them into that number/package, or that there is some ulterior motive. Kinda makes me feel like a really, really desperate Jerry Maguire sometimes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-oHuogx6_Y

The thing is, I ask this because I’m trying to work with the candidate, and build trust and rapport from Day 1. By having a frank and open dialogue, we’re able to establish that relationship that allows for good matches to be made. Recruiters need to act as agents for their candidates and that representation is about trust. Have it, and you’ll have higher success rates. Don’t have it and you’ll be closing the same position five times. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve never had a candidate reject an offer based on compensation, but it is an intricate part of your process. Jessica Lee, of Fistful of Talent notes that this is a launching point for being able to have frank discussion about the candidate expectations, and the industry standards that are out there.

Candidates naturally have to have a skepticism about whether to trust the recruiter, after all, there are shlocky recruiters out there, and how can you be sure. I try to address this up front and let them know that I’m asking because there is a budget (as much as we all want to work without one) and if I know what they are looking for from the beginning, I can be sure we can get them to the front lines. Besides, after a manager gets a resume, the first question is inevitably, “How much will this person cost me?” (Don’t believe it? Try sending a profile and resume to an account manager (for TPR’s) or to a hiring manager (Corporate).

If I know the difference between the desired salary and the budget is say, 10k, I can work with that and talk with the manager. Plus, smart candidates are looking at the whole package. But if the candidate is looking for a 130k salary and the budget is 85k, why bother to take them down a path you can’t finish out for them? It’s a waste of your time, the manager’s time and ultimately the candidates time. The key here is explaining this to the candidate. And if you tell them you’ll keep them in mind for the future, do it. Call at another time down the line, check in, etc. If you tell them it’s not a fit, and you’ll refer them elsewhere, follow up and do so. Your word is your calling card.

In the end, the smart candidates will respect you for the candor. The great candidates will even know of peers or other friends that they can refer to you, either for that job or just based on the fact that you’ve proven your mettle as a viable and trustworthy recruiter. This is all just another tool in your box for building that all important positive reputation. And for recruiters, your reputation is your brand. The question is how’s your brand?


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“I’m Qualified! For EVERY job you have!”

One thing that really gets me going is when someone applies for 12 jobs on your site. And it’s not as though they are the software architect applying for all software jobs. It’s when they apply for the sales job, the accounting job, the medical examiner job, and so on.

REALLY? Are you qualified for all of those? Because if so, I have a car-sales business with bad numbers, and employees having heartattacks everywhere. HELP ME!  NASA could probably use a former Doogie Howser with some skills like that.

I think that it is a poor judgement on the part of the job seeker to just splatter a resume all over a career site. The intent is clear – the more I apply the more chance they will see my qualifications. When reality is when we see you apply for 15 jobs, we are much more likely to go on to the targeted candidate who has clearly targeted the one role they are most qualified for.


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