Recruiting is really hard. It takes time, effort, and tenacity! I spend a good deal of time helping companies recruit new talent, particularly in manufacturing. It’s hard work, but we all continue to do it because the most rewarding part is seeing a candidate become a new hire and then thrive as an employee.
Robert Hatta talks about why HR sucks at recruiting. He suggests that HR people’s primary job is creating rules and regulations for the company, while recruiting is just tacked on for good measure. Would you put an accountant in charge of customer acquisition? Probably not. So why put an HR person in charge of talent acquisition? Such a simple, powerful insight. But HR will be in charge of recruiting for the foreseeable future. Here are four ways to start recruiting in a way that will boost your results and make it far more rewarding!
1. I get to bring “Human” back into “HR”
Hiring a new employee can be like inviting in a new member of the family, especially for the second and third generation family manufacturers. You wouldn’t have your daughter’s new boyfriend submit an online form to get to know him. You’d invite him to dinner, see how he behaves around grandma and helps clear up dishes.
Hiring practices have suffered from being made ‘efficient.’ Why talk to someone when you can have an algorithm or keyword search tell you their potential? What is meant to save time actually results in poor communication, and more wasted time.
We need to bring the human element back into recruiting even if that means taking time to get to know candidates. Small talk. Phone calls. Learning about their hobbies. When it’s time to recommend them for a particular position, I have much more confidence in someone I took the time to connect with on a human level.
2. Recruiting is like putting together a puzzle
Companies and candidates alike have personalities and needs. Recruiting is about keeping a pipeline of candidates I can bring to a company at the right moment. I look at every single candidate as a viable worker. Some may be further along the continuum of being work-ready and some may need more training or preparation. I don’t discard applications, instead candidates are added to the pipeline to keep in touch as they grow, and as different opportunities arise.
3. It’s professional matchmaking
Hiring is strikingly similar to dating. My first matchmaking success was setting up my college roommate with my now-husband’s roommate. I orchestrated study sessions, dinners and other excuses to get those two to together. Several years later, they’re married, have two boys and own a successful chain of restaurants together in Oklahoma.
I love matchmaking and have honed my efforts into a professional outlet. There is a job out there for everyone, and a candidate out there to fill any open position. I don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole, but I do try to give companies and candidates good experiences that help them see the potential in each other.
The trick is to highlight the qualities of both the job and candidate in a way that gets them excited about each other.
4. I get to help candidates show off their skills
It’s hard to get a job. Your resume is swallowed into the abyss of online applications. You rarely get to talk to a real human being.
Just yesterday I spoke with a woman who was brought to tears simply because I gave her an opportunity to show her skills. She told me that she had been trying to find work for months since she was laid off, and never hears back. “I’m a really really good worker. But I’m a terrible interviewer. I want nothing more than to work hard for a company to make us both proud with what we’re making. But I can’t even get through the door most of the time.” The idea of demonstrating her skills instead of talking about them was so simple, yet inspiring to her.
Companies are hiring again! People are going back to work! What an exciting time to work in recruiting. It’s challenging, but you get to participate in your community’s economy by helping companies find talent. Work is such a central part of our identities, and helping people get back to work is so rewarding.
Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.