In the past few years, I’ve personally reviewed 150-200 new recruiting apps and while some have the potential to be important, most miss the mark in some way. As I review these apps I always filter them on the problem being solved and the following biased criteria:
- Improving quality of hire is more important to me than process efficiency.
- I prefer solutions that fully address all aspects of the hiring process including job analysis, sourcing, interviewing and recruiting. Narrower solutions are fine as long as they consider the big picture implications.
- The soundness of the underlying recruiting process especially the perspective of a strong candidate with multiple opportunities is essential.
- I’m most interested in finding and hiring passive candidates who have different experiences and who tend to move more slowly and deliberately.
- Heavy dependence upon LinkedIn will face problems without formal approval.
- Ease of integration with the ATS is a key point, since most HR leaders are reluctant to add new technologies.
- The uniqueness of the solution and how soon it will face diminishing returns or competition.
Most new recruiting products are too impersonal for me. Since passive candidates represent about 90% of the talent market for high-demand positions, this should be the focus of every new recruiting product. However, these people are not interested in taking some ill-defined job advertised with a laundry list of “must have” skills, experiences and personality traits. And while over 75% of these passive candidates are open to discuss a potential career move, they won’t be rushed into deciding.
This is why I believe new products should be designed around a “less is more” concept: less sourcing, less technology, less impersonal and more high touch, more job knowledge and more career discussions.
And the winner is….
With that in mind, and since it captures the “less is more” concept, I consider the single best recruiting app in the world to be: the phone.
However, it’s the one that too many recruiters and hiring managers are unwilling to fully use.
For example, the other day the owner of a small staffing firm in the Dallas told me that all of the recruiters who joined his firm left after one year since they didn’t like picking up the phone and talking with strangers. In their opinion even though the corporate recruiting jobs were less satisfying, not needing to make phone calls and convince passive candidates of the merits of the jobs was worth making less money.
Unless I’m wrong, getting on the phone and calling people is called recruiting. More important, embracing the phone is the single best way to improve process efficiency and raise quality of hire at the same time.
Given this, here are some ideas on how you can get to love making phone calls:
1. Convert strangers into acquaintances
Most recruiters have no problem talking to people they know about a new opportunity. To create a similar first contact situation, start getting referrals of great passive candidates from people you know and co-workers you don’t know. You establish instant credibility when you mention the referrer’s name.
2. Sell the discussion not the job
Calling about a job to someone who isn’t looking for one is worse than selling ice to Eskimos. Engaging in an exploratory call with a referred person about the possibility of a career move takes off the pressure.
3. Tell stories
When people tell you they’re not looking, tell them that’s exactly why you called. Then tell a story of the best people you know who changed jobs when they weren’t looking.
4. Find a 30% non-monetary increase
Tell your referred prospects that it only makes sense to switch positions if the new job has more impact, provides an increase in job satisfaction and offers a chance to grow faster. If the combination of these factors is greater than 30% it makes sense to have a more substantive conversation later on. Use the first call to see if you can find the 30% together.
5. Stop the transactional box checking
If you find the 30%, ask the person to describe their most significant accomplishment related to some real job need. If it’s comparable, they’ll have all of the skills necessary to do the work.
6. Ask, “What if we could modify the job to better fit your needs?”
After doing the above, but your job isn’t quite big enough (or too big), find out if the person would be open to consider something bigger (or smaller) in the future. If so, you know the person is ready to move for the right opportunity right now. More important you’ve converted a stranger into an acquaintance.
For passive candidate recruiting the phone is the “must have” app. Being reluctant to use it is a surefire way to put a lid on the quality of people your company will be seeing and hiring. More important, it will put a lid on your own recruiting effectiveness.