What differentiates your recruiting model?

I attended an HR Conference in Fort Worth, Texas at the tail end of 2009 and had the opportunity to meet with dozens of exhibitors and attendees who work in the HR space. Par for the course; the event coordinators placed all of the staffing and recruiting exhibitors in the same row, which enabled me to listen to the presentations/elevator pitches of a number of my competitors over a two day visit to Texas. I couldn’t help but smile as I passed a booth and overheard the company representative say, “We aren’t the traditional recruiting company”, “we take a different approach” and I wanted to scream… OK…WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY? See, I had heard this IDENTICAL elevator pitch from the 4th company in 2 hours and it taught me something important; I had to quickly determine if my recruiting delivery was able to stand up to the question of –why is your firm different? My row-mates from this conference kept alluding to “being different”, but I didn’t hear anything that supported that claim.

Most recruiting professionals have a proprietary process and/or technology that enables the “smooth delivery” that our client and candidate prospects are thirsting for. If we’re being honest though…most recruiting organizations have a pretty universal recruiting process that flows a little like this:

· client hiring manager/HR manager calls a recruiter who he/she knows personally

· recruiter finds a candidate (through networking, internet, cold calling or referrals)

· recruiter screens a pool of candidates (5 minute introductory conversation with 50-75 people found from their recruiting activity)

· recruiting team interviews a short list of candidates (behavioral based discussion, 20 minutes in length, with the 5 strongest people from that list of 50-75)

· recruiter introduces a candidate portfolio to a client hiring manager (top 3 professionals from that short list of 5 are sent to the hiring manager or HR leader through email)

· coordination of interviews (recruiter arranges interviews at the request of the hiring manager or HR leader and statistically speaking, 2 of the 3 candidates get interviews with the client company)

· offer a job (1 of the 2 candidates interviewed will received a job offer from the client company)

For the sake of this article; I looked at the high level process flow (above) and started wondering if my company does anything “different” in this space. My conclusion; yes, my company does something different and it’s not simply the process or technology that we utilize; it’s the “how” we deliver that will set us apart. I’m no longer talking about simply finding the next great candidate; I’m talking about “how” you communicate to your client if you don’t find a great candidate. I’m not referring to representing the best talent, I’m talking about “how” you treat a candidate who might be represented by another firm and when they seek your help; how will you respond (do you continue talks with them and offer guidance or do you let the candidate deal with their problems on their own because you might not be representing them)? In summary, as an organization that specializes in assisting organizations with the acquisition of their talent; we need to differentiate ourselves and here are some philosophical beliefs that help illustrate why our team creates a different experience for the people we interact with:

· Partnerships- We desire/demand that our candidates and clients become partners with us. For those who know me, I work in a “hug it out” kind of environment, so a candidate or client who isn’t truly open to partnerships or connections might not want the “experience” we try to create.

· Acts of Kindness- being kind is a philosophy, so if you need someone to vent to, done! If you need some consulting advice to better your decision, done! Our team looks for ways to help others before we help ourselves and it makes our business that much more rewarding.

· Control- I can’t control other human beings, so I have coached our team to control what we can, our actions. Our team will own up to the commitments they make whether that means returning phone calls from candidates or if it means delivering a customized proposal at a certain day and time, we control our actions.

· End Game- Some people’s end game is the “placement” of a candidate or the new contract signed by a client. The recruiting industry has thousands of people trying to differentiate in order to make money; we are trying to differentiate by doing right by people.

Travis Furlow is the Managing Director for Resource Recruiting and Learning Solutions. He can be reached through is weekly blog, www.fearlessleadership.wordpress.com or through the company’s website, www.smartworkforce.com .

Views: 320

Comment by Jerry Albright on March 16, 2010 at 3:11pm
I'll jump back in here.

Jacob - I'll agree with a few points but have to offer my different view as well. Matching a candidate with the opening has not changed. I can't really see it changing much - if any - in the future. My personal opinion of "social recruiting" is that the phrase is more of a scape goat than anything. I'm still not quite sure why the phrase itself is even needed. Recruiting has to be - at it's core - one of the most "social" professions around. What's more "social" than connecting with people about their work life? I've been doing it for quite a while - regardless of the way those relationships got their start.

Where I feel recruiting has fallen short - is not so much the "recruiting" part - but where your desk meets your clients. For decades now we have in one way or another simply shared a 1 or 2 page written description of the person we're presenting. This part of the process has really only seen one dramatic shift in my entire career - moving from hand delivery or fax - to an immediate/online delivery.

That changed everything.

The problem as I see it is pretty stark. Technology has advanced well beyond simply hitting the SEND button on your computer. Yet recruiters have done very little to move ahead with the power the internet can provide.

As I've watched email enable recruiters to submit a poor candidate just as easily as a top candidate - I've taken notice of how that one simple act has indeed become the primary reason for many recruiters to provide poorer and poorer service to their clients.

Along the way our clients have had their work day squeezed for every spare minute they have. They're not as free to spend 1/2 hour on the phone as they use to be. The "audio" connection has been gradually siphoned out of the day-to-day recruiting service.

This has always troubled me.

As I was scheduling a first-round telephone call with a solid candidate - one I knew they should just bring in for an in-person interview - it occurred to me! "Hey - I already had that conversation. It's what you're paying me for!" and a light bulb went off for me. Why not capture the work I'm doing - and GIVE it to my client? Rather than a 20 minute call covering the same ground I've been paid for - why don't I come up with a way to grab the 2 or 3 relevant "key" areas of the discussion and let my client jump on the internet and listen - whenever they are free?

So is my approach "repackaging"? Nope. Until now my work has not been packaged at all. My work - the uncovering of skills beyond the paper - the true essence of what I do - has until now been shut out by the use of email. Clients expect an email. For better or worse.

Now they get an email. They get a resume. And they also get my work. Right on top of the resume. Just click the play button!

Note to RBC Management - I have done my best in this thread to not appear as a pushy salesman - spamming this fine blog with ads and the like. I just feel the topic merits my contribution from a first-person "what are you doing differently" perspective.
Comment by Jacob S. Madsen on March 16, 2010 at 3:30pm
Jerry, great (and this meant as a compliment) that I wasn't allowed to get away with my comments without you coming back at me, - thank you for that.
Hmm, had candidate today a Frenchman that I had a scheduled 45 min. telephone screen with that due to this guy taking alot of time explaining himself meant that we went on for more like one hour. As internal candidate couldn't as easily cut him off. Of that one hour I believe the chap could have said what he needed to in more like 15 mins. but thinking of your way of doing things, putting this guy on a video and letting him present himself would have been a disaster and would likely not have got him the role (unless located in France, which it wasn't, - international focus) So great idea, and compliments to you for thinking out of the box, but can and will it work every time and with all nationalities/types (what if mega introvert candidate, highly skilled but not able to string a sentence together?)
If it works in your set up and context then great, - but as with everything it needs to be seen on a case by case/business/company structure/need etc. basis.
Comment by Sandy MacDonald on March 16, 2010 at 4:58pm
Thanks for the information, Travis. It's much appreciated. I will certainly keep it in mind.


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