Thanks, Dave

(Nov 14, 2008) I spent an amazing couple of days with Dave Mendoza, our resident networking genius, sourcer extraordinaire and all around good guy. Dave organized a group of us (including Dan DH Harris and Sean Rehder) to spend a day engaging an amazing organization on the full range of Staffing and Recruiting Issues.

I tackled the big picture and "why" questions of Recruiting Strategy. Dave focused on microsites and the general "How" question. DH dug even further into precise sourcing tactics. Sean gently touched on the "architecture of community".

It was amazing to be in a place where those ideas resonated.  It allowed me to see that a fully implemented Recruiting Strategy has (at least) four main components:

  • The Current State of Things (What we have, how we got here, weaknesses and strengths)
  • The Strategy (Where we want to be and how we want to get there, the plan for all recruiting, tactical guidelines...sourcing hierarchy.. which too to use first)
  • Sourcing (Candidate Acquisition)
    - Gathering and Articulating the Current Requirement
    - Media Planning and Candidate Acquisition
    - The Network Energizing Function (outreach, networking, ongoing value to the community)
    - Data Cataloging, Mining and Maintenance (keeping the data live, growing and up to date)
    - Detailed Data Acquisition (enthusiastic data acquisition)
    - Short List Development
  • Hands On Recruiting (Presenting and Closing The Deal, Refining The Requirement)

We were fortunate to be in an environment where everyone clearly understood that transactional reactive recruiting is a great way to make long term mistakes.

It also became clear that the downturn will be a great time for retrenchment and reconsideration of strategy and the architecture used to implement it. I am seeing more and more firms trying to get their arms around the process of identifying all of their potential hires well in advance of the requirement (even years). They are using economic slowness as a way to retool for the future.

Lots of people in our industry are on the receiving end of difficult economic news. While there is general agreement that those who survive the next 18 months will be long term winners, it's still hard to see who they will be. There are lots of financial pressures on organizations that looked strong yesterday.

The cool thing about Mendoza is his resilient focus on doing things for others. He tends to stay away from the sort of patronizing help that feels like pity. Rather, he thinks long and hard about how to help other people make money.

We talked at length about how Recruiters might productively use the downtime.

Here are some suggestions (blame me for this, Dave just got me thinking):

  1. Slow economic cycles are inevitable in recruiting. Success means learning ho to thrive in them.
  2. Look at the opportunity and the 18 month horizon line, Failure comes from over focusing on the immediate challenge.
  3. Retool. Rethink your strategy. Where do you want to be in five years. Take some time to figure this out and write it down.
  4. Spend an hour each week thinking about the ways in which you can be helpful to other people. Do two specific things to make someone else's business better each week.
  5. Read about the changes in the environment. Old industries are dying and new ones are forming. Which category are you in?
  6. Take the time and energy to personally and actively reject a candidate. Many of us hide from this human process with form letters, dropped email and unreturned phone calls. Take ownership of the dark side of the work.
  7. What is your greatest weakness as a Recruiter? Make a plan to improve in that area.

Are you doing something productive with unplanned free time? Take a moment and let us know.

John Sumser has been chronicling the Recruiting Industry forever. You can catch his work at He's the CEO of the Recruiting Roadshow. These days he's been working out the kinks in a new process for developing a top level Recruiting Strategy


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Are you doing something productive with unplanned free time? Take a moment and let us know.

I am retooling the MagicMethod Phone Sourcing course - look for a fresh new format soon!

I am e-mail marketing my services for the third time in twelve years - picking up a small amount of new business but more "I'll use you someday!" promises...that's okay - I know they will!

I am developing a new line of business that I always wanted to pursue - now I have the time. Watch for it to be announced!

I am "keeping-on" with my twice weekly MagicMethod sourcing chats - I was going to cut back to once a week but hey! I have the time so why not? They deliver amazing amounts of new information from some of the greatest telephone names sourcers in the business today - you should take some time to read through some of the 60+ posted chat logs if you want to learn about phone sourcing!

I am meeting new people and learning new things!

I am trying not to watch the news too much but am becoming mightily amused how the stock market rises and falls so drastically these days but doesn't seem to want to drop below that 8000-8500 mark. There's alot of money being made in the swings.

I am buying real estate - there's never been a better time. Maybe there will be, but I'm not waiting!

I am very hopeful for the future and look forwad to 2020!

More than a moment but hey! I had a lot to talk about!
Need telephone names sourcing to fill your hard-to-fill positions? Call the experts at TechTrak 513 899 9628
John - great post as usual! I would only reinforce the need for increased FOCUS during slower times. I started recruiting during a downturn - learned the business and the skill at that time - and have worked through a couple since - and FOCUS is the key. Learning the business and industry during challenging times is something that I draw from constantly throughout my career.

Focus on everything you and Mendoza have already listed, focus on candidates you can actually add value to, focus on positions you can fill, focus on your sweet spot, focus all your energy where you can add value personally and professionally and waste no time where you can't. It sounds easy, but it is one of the hardest things I have found recruiters and sales pros alike struggle with.

In challenging times people tend to panic and chase everything that looks like an opportunity when what you really need is resolve, focus, and of course to work incredibly hard.

Great topic. Great post.
Good points, John (and Dave). I am happy to say I had a chance to talk with Dave in advance of that event about my thoughts on microsites, so I'm glad that was a focus of his at the presentation.

To Maren and Rayanne, your thoughts about misspellings reminded me of something (not claiming original material here - but relevant in this context). When sourcing, not only be forgiving of misspellings, but take advantage of them. Many recruiters fail to use common misspellings in their search strings. They can turn up a lot of talent that other sourcers miss -- and unless the job is for a newspaper editor, they are probably still highly qualified!
That's an excellent point Glenn - making lemonade outta lemons! I guess that way you find candidates that the "good speller" misses?
I am trying not to watch the news too much but am becoming mightily amused how the stock market rises and falls so drastically these days but doesn't seem to want to drop below that 8000-8500 mark. There's alot of money being made in the swings.
Investors coming to terms with market gyrations

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