Recruiting: just a series of conversations?

Want to get recruiters all riled up? Tell them they ARE sales people. Or, tell them they ARE NOT sales people. Then watch the PASSION ignite. 

Whatever label anyone identifies with, isn’t recruiting just a series of conversations?

We are all familiar with how the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion usually accompany any type of sales transaction.

Based on that concept here are a few additional Ps that take the recruiting process from open to close through a series of conversations labeled: Preparation, Pretend, Preliminary, Presentation, Pondering and Power-Player (plus one more).

PREPARATION – intake meetings and conversations with hiring managers to prepare for a search.

During these preparation conversations a recruiter should be listening for what is said as much as what is not said. Based on how much information is readily shared, the recruiter may need to formulate questions to truly understand the real need, not just what the hiring manager verbalizes.

Everything that happens during preparation impacts all remaining steps, including a recruiter’s ability to close.  

Rather than taking a list of experience and education requirements, the recruiter should develop a detailed outline of why the job exists - meaning the purpose it serves in the organization. Along with that, the recruiter should establish how exceptional performance will be determined and measured. Regardless of what type of degree or how many years of experience any candidates may have, they will need to know what is expected in terms of results, productivity, scope of responsibility and short-/long-term impact.

The intake meeting enables the recruiter and hiring manager to strategize on how to define that “fit” in order to build accurate search criteria around those parameters. A consultative approach to this conversation allows the recruiter to not just acquire information, but also inform the hiring manager about market conditions, talent availability and any competitive factors that may affect the process.

PRETEND – building a requisition involves imagining, envisioning (or pretending) what the ideal candidate would be attracted to in a career opportunity and why.

While pretending to be in that primo person’s shoes before the pitch isn’t really the point, the objective here is to build a candidate profile around what the job entails and put together a marketing strategy to target and attract those most likely to succeed in the role. Whether posting the job online or simply conducting a sourcing based search, this step helps clarify and communicate the key priorities that fit both the preferred candidate profile as well as what that type of person would be motivated to discuss in a real conversation.

PRELIMINARY – once the role is able to be articulated and the search begins, the recruiter will conduct preliminary or exploratory conversations with those identified as probable prospects.

Based on the intake information and the recruiter’s efforts to carefully craft a “top-talent magnet” message, conversations with targeted candidates will either be fruitful or require further refining. At this point, the recruiter may revisit the original plans and modify if needed or proceed in preparing for next steps.

PRESENTATION – provided the preliminary candidate conversations produced promising prospects, the recruiter will put together appropriate information to present to the hiring manager.

Once the hiring manager is involved again, the recruiter may need to do some additional probing, prompting or persuading to keep the momentum moving forward. During the presentation process, the recruiter facilitates interviews as well as maintains engagement with top candidates to ensure ongoing mutual interest.

PONDERING – when the recruiter and hiring manager analyze, assess and deliberate whether the available candidates evaluated so far are worth further consideration, it’s time to ponder who belongs on the short-list.

The recruiter resumes conversations with the most appealing candidates to once again promote the opportunity as well as coordinate communication between hiring manager and candidates. The recruiter will also want to find out how the pondering process is going on the candidate side.

POWER-PLAYER – at this phase, the conversations will involve only the most serious candidate(s) that the hiring manager is serious about. The recruiter will need to continuously gauge level of interest on both sides. There could be various logistical matters and other considerations that get discussed or negotiated between all parties pre- or post-offer once a final candidate is selected.

If you are still reading you won’t want to skip the bonus phase conversation…

PUT ‘EM OUT OF THEIR MISERY – Now you may think (or wish) the close happened above in the power-player step, but there is one more piece to the process.

Here is where anyone that was involved in the selection process who hasn’t already been dispositioned along the way, needs to be put out of their misery. Sure, it is a much easier to just leaving them hanging, waiting wondering… but part of closing includes closure. Whether or not you call yourself a sales person, please prepare for that conversation just like any of the others.



Views: 1216

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 9, 2014 at 3:42pm

Thanks, Kelly. Very thorough.

While some think recruiters are full of ****, you've shown us that recruiting is full of p(s)...


Comment by Steve Levy on April 9, 2014 at 5:33pm

Keith beat me to it.

One result of recruiters drinking coffee is a lot of peeing - now we know why?

Seriously KB, there's one more "P" missing...PROBLEMS. We hire people to solve them.

Frightening how many PEOPLE believe the job descriptions includes these.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 9, 2014 at 7:42pm
Prior and proper preparation prevents piss poor performance.
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 9, 2014 at 8:20pm

You pee-pull are funny! 

@Keith - full of p(s) sounds so peaceful doesn't it?

@Steve - whelp, the 99 problems really should be discussed at the beginning between HM & recruiter. You're right though, most postings make no mention of problems to be solved and most interviews don't deal with that topic either. But, that's probably because everyone is all about platitudes like: "hire for attitude, train for skill" while they are busy chasing the one with the most "passionate personality." 

@Sandra - way to sum it up! 


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