My thought is that leaders and hiring managers need to hire slowly, taking their time to ensure they’re selecting team members that are not a match from a technical perspective, but also a cultural one. What that doesn’t mean, however, is that we recruit slowly. In fact, in an organization where the recruitment is slow, the result is that hiring almost can’t be, because as soon as hiring managers see candidates that look like they’re in the ballpark, they’re hiring them.
We have to embrace a mindset that might seem, at least on the surface, a bit paradoxical. We want to hire slowly, but recruit faster. But wait a minute, you might be thinking, why should we recruit fast if we’re not going to hire fast?
Somewhere along the way, some recruiters and recruitment departments got into the habit of recruiting when there’s a job opening. It’s such a normal mindset that some of you might not have thought twice about the previous sentence. The four letter word in that sentence is the word when. Instead of when there’s a job opening, it should read before there’s a job opening, or all the time regardless of whether there’s a job opening or not. We’re definitely not always going to get it right, even when we are recruiting our little hears out, but we’ve just got to keep working toward doing a better job at being proactive, roll-up-our-sleeves, pound-the-pavement recruiters so that we put our organizations in a better position to hire slowly.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions for faster recruiting.
1. Try not to act like HR all the time. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m in HR myself. But if we take the mindset of an HR generalist all the time, we won’t really be able to kill it on the recruiting trail. Recruiting can’t be an afterthought. Attracting and keeping talent is one of the biggest, most important ongoing battles in the business world.
2. Recruiting has to move more quickly. Sometimes much more quickly. In a way, many HR departments and recruitment functions are too comfortable. If you’re not feeling a sense of urgency in some respect as a recruiter, something’s off. Our organizations depend on us to do what we do at a high level.
3. Have a plan. How many recruiting contacts were in your plan to make this week? How many did you make this week? What’s your goal in regards to the number of pre-qualified candidates for each position? What do you have planned for social media? Any community outreach? Anything with the local colleges and universities? Are you just crossing your fingers and hoping the CareerBuilder gods smile upon you?
4. Play both the long and short games. There should be a variety of strategies you use, some focused on quick return on recruitment effort–like a job fair, for example–and others focused on developing employment brand recognition or positioning for future activity.
5. If you’re not using social media, you’re not recruiting. Am I saying that everyone has to tweet X number of times per day and post X number of things on LinkedIn per week? Of course not. But there’s no denying that social media is an avenue for a huge number of professionals to do a wide spectrum of things, whether you’re there or not. Why wouldn’t you use whatever tools you have at your disposal to connect with folks?
6. Like I mentioned above, our recruitment is often waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy to reactive. HR Person (holding phone): “What? You have someone whose last day is today? Guess I should start really shifting recruitment into gear then.”
No, no, no. If that’s how you reply when a hiring manager tells you something like that, you’re missing the boat. It should be more like, “Oh really? Let’s circle back later on when and how we communicate when we have an employee give his or her notice, but after we hang up I’m going to send several pre-qualified candidates your way. We’ve already confirmed they meet the minimum qualifications as described in your job description….” It’s not the wording itself that’s the big deal; it’s that the latter wording indicates a recruiter or recruitment department that’s been proactively recruiting and anticipating the organization’s needs.
7. You should have a pool in the office. Not that kind of pool. No one wants to see Larry from Accounting and Marge from Quality Assurance in their speedos. I mean an applicant pool. It’s that aforementioned group of pre-qualified applicants that you have ready to go when a position opens up. Keep track of them. Talk about them. Report on them. Make them a big deal.
8. Use culture-based recruiting strategies. Understanding an organization’s unique culture is a key–but too often overlooked–component of recruiting exempt and non-exempt positions. The best recruiting strategies are the ones that will help your organization find individuals who are not only a fit from a technical perspective, but also a cultural one.
So if we want our organizations to be able to hire slowly, we have to recruit fast. What separates good recruiters from exceptional ones is that exceptional recruiters know the right balance between speed and quality. They know that getting people who are going to stay in those seats is just as important as getting people in the seats in the first place.