Stop believing it's a bear market for recruiting

Financial Times.

These two words should be part of your daily work schedule just as you check your email for resumes or your ATS for candidates. Recruiting can't be viewed as merely a relationship (although if more viewed recruiting as a relationship activity rather than something that closes a job order or gets an opening off the books, this would be a very big step).

In today's Financial Times, John Authers writes a stimulating analysis op-ed (at least for me but I know I'm different). What hooked me and what created such a flux of recruiting related thoughts were two quotes of Warren Buffett ...

On buying stocks. "A simple rule dictates my buying: be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors."

On what will happen. "I haven't the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month - or a year - from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over."

I've learned far more about recruiting from sources other than recruiters. To regurgitate what I've said before, the political, economic, social, and technological issues from past, present and future are hidden treasures that can inspire recruiters, recruiting leaders, and recruiting vendors if they take the time to put down the hammer that seeks the same nail.

Back to Buffett. He's saying there's a contagion of action (or inaction) caused by this heinous market; fear will certainly drive this particularly when there are bills to be paid. Why? People are all looking at this market from far above the ground; but what they see is not the big picture. Ever see any of Chuck Close's paintings? They look like portraits yet when you look closely at the canvas, they're constructed of even smaller units.

Josh Letourneau has brought up the concept of psychographics essentially microrecruiting based upon very local demographics. This is counter to the mass recruiting mentality that most follow but he is dead on target with this. Follow the MSAs and study the historical trends. Contact the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Counties in the recruiting target areas. Get into the local chapters of all related associations and practice Zen Recruiting - recruiting without recruiting. Dump your tired elevator spiel used in emails and over the phone; come up with something fresh and unique. Think globally yet act locally... Separate yourself from the herd,

I first wrote about the herd back in 2004 as ERE's first blogger; in Best Practices or Cause for Concern. I was responding to what seemed as several weeks of ERE members adding "Me too!" responses to threads where Shally offered to send you his Google cheatsheet. It just seemed to me that if Shally had told people to wrap themselves in aluminum foil, paint their eyelids purple, and sing Aerosmith's song "Dream On" while standing on a corner in their hometowns, that only then would they become great recruiters, many would have followed.

The difference is wiring - as in Shally is not wired like everyone else (as many would add, neither am I). He takes chances, goes against the grain, ruminates about new ideas and techniques (because, as he will tell you, he's lazy). It's not about the Boolean, it's about the creativity! To Josh's point, the very best recruiters will be practicing their micro techniques - analyzing how job consumers make their choices, when they makes these choices, and why they make these choices. The very best recruiters will think "up" while everyone else is going "down."

And like Warren Buffett, the very best recruiters will not be following the Boolean Herd. They won't be hiding behind their emails or ATS'. They'll be out on the street having coffee with those inquiring about their employment; attending every trade show, association, and conference as possible, reading functional magazines with hiring managers and contacting people who write letters to the editors, paying restaurant managers $10 at the end of the week for the business card bowls, and most of all, collecting lots of data - lots of it. This is so much harder than running ads and pulling resumes off job boards.

Throw away your old hammer and stop looking at nails. And don't wait for Spring.

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