Here’s the thing: social media recruiting is, well, pretty awesome. Highly searchable people databases, with oodles of user-generated, fresh data on candidates. Highly targeted advertising opportunities. Deeply engaging talent pools. Wordtwist.
It’s also a great way to develop some bad habits.
Here it is: social media recruiting matters. You can accelerate your placements, build your rep, etc. Because of it’s seeming ease – and ubiquity – it can be easy to skip over the fundamentals.
Like: when did you close your candidate? At the offer? Maybe your client told you they were thinking of an offer in a certain range, and you did a close then?
If you waited until either one of those times to do your close, then you waited too long – way too long. At that point, you enter crap shoot territory. If you’re a professional recruiter, a big part of your job is to avoid that murky place. The only way to do that is to establish a level of candidate control from the very first meeting.
(Is it weird that a social media recruiting company is talking about the limits of social media in recruiting? Not at all: It’s the equivalent of a company that sells bicycles to tri-athletes reminding them that they need to know how to swim, too. Just good service).
That’s right: meeting. Not in an e-mail, IM exchange, Facebook message. It’s either on the phone or in person. Talking to them. You don’t get to pitch jobs to them at this point, btw. That happens when you start presenting opportunities that you’re reasonably sure they’re going to be excited about pursuing – and will accept if offered.
I can hear some of you now: “But my client’s hiring now! They won’t wait! I just need to get a resume and get going!”
Slow. It. Down. Your goal should be to present offers you’re pretty sure are going to be accepted – and to get acceptances that don’t turn into fall-offs. It should never, ever be a guessing game as to whether or not your candidate is going to accept an offer – the minute your client tells you the details, you should know how the candidate will react.
I know – what?? How do you know if they’ll accept even before they go on an interview? By closing. I don’t mean “what’ll it take to get you in this car today??” type of closing. It’s about asking the fundamental questions. “What would you change about your current job, and can you?” (Great way to get their pain points, as well as find out if they’re susceptible to counter-offer. “What if I had the perfect job for you, but one thing was off – money, location, you name it – should I not call you?” (Gauge seriousness, and more importantly, if you really know what it takes to close them – if they say they’d be flexible, then you have some more digging to do).
Write down every stinking thing they say. Keep copious notes. Ask them – in every single call – who else they’re talking to, has anything changed (from money to their spouse’s attitude about the search, thoughts about commute), etc. You should hate surprises. Surprises in recruiting usually mean no money for the recruiter. Candidates will forget to tell you things, and it’s those things that will surprise you.
Close them. At every call, close them, be it “how are you feeling about the search? Any concerns”, to “I got you an interview – they’d like to see you this week. Hey, if they make an offer quickly – I doubt they will but you never know – are you ready to accept if the job is interesting?” This means talking to them – lots and lots. Don’t hide behind social media. Use it for all the great good it can do for us, but not as a crutch.
The job market’s up – make some hay. Get out there, and get talking.
It’s rainy/ snowy here in Boston. The week’s been long. This morning? Longer. Time to stop being so freaking serious. Let us serve you up a few slices of “they’re even funnier because they’re true” stories from the web. All geared towards recruitment, of course – and generally suitable for children. If you want them to grow up with a jaundiced view of humanity. Your call there.
From Yelp Washington DC:
- “We had someone turn in an application that was completed in crayon.”
- My funniest interview was with a certain D.C.-area talk show host… It was an intense line of questioning like, “So the GPA you put on your resume … I know that is a lie. It seems very high,” and “Why would you ever get married??!! Why??” and my favorite “Have you ever READ a newspaper?!? No one under 30 ever has! Please stop lying to me!”
From my word!:
- Job ad they stumbled across: The Assistant Secretary is extremely busy and will require someone who is flexible in the role. For example, the role will require someone who is comfortable getting the Assistant Secretary’s lunch, otherwise, they probably would not have anything to eat. If you would be comfortable with this then please read on.
One from me (true story):
- One of my cousins had been living in Ireland, and had a background in social work. He was interviewing for jobs to work with disadvantaged children (he’s kind of a saint). The interviewer – like a lot of people in Ireland – tended to drop verbal bombs pretty frequently. My cousin (let’s call him Jimmy) decided to mirror the language:
- Interviewer: “So, why the f&*k do you want to work in Ireland?
- Jimmy: “I love it here – the people, the scenery… it’s beautiful. That beautiful photo you have hanging on the wall, of the seaside, it’s why I love it here so much.”
- Interviewer: “That’s the bloody south of France. Maybe you should f*&cking move there.”
- Jimmy: …
- Interviewer: “Alright, so why do you want this job?”
- Jimmy: (deciding to rescue things by joining in on the salty language): “Oh, it’s because I love f&*cking kids.”
I have no idea if Jimmy got the job. He did live there for awhile, so somebody was paying him.
Waaay back in the 90′s, I was introduced to recruiting by one of the industries best recruiting managers. She was old-school, smart as anyone I’ve ever met, consumed the written word and eschewed television. She’d been in the industry for 20 years when I was under her tutelage, and with the assistance of her equally talented assistant manager, ran a well trained machine. I was lucky – it helps to start out like that.
I took a lot away from those 5 years. Here’s one that I’ve always thought was important:
From the end of your first “real” (ie, more than a 2 minute IM or e-mail exchange) connection with a candidate and throughout your period of working with them, you should be able to answer these 5 things about them without hesitation:
- Why are they really looking?
- Will they take less than they’re currently making for a better situation?
- Where else are they interviewing? (they are, they always, always are)
- Have you checked references yet – if so, what do they say? If not, why not? (okay, I’m cheating and added another question – it’s now 6)
- If they get an offer that satisfies their reason for looking as well as is in their comp range, will they accept and cancel all other interviews?
Here’s the thing: if you don’t understand that picture of your candidate – especially one you have in interviews – then you’re gambling. Remember: in the end the house always wins. You’re better off with a higher level of candidate knowledge – it may take some time on the upfront, but staying informed like that can make the difference between days and weeks of work that results in a turn-down or (worse yet) a fall-off, versus a solid placement that generates goodwill with your client and candidate (and, more than likely, additional business).