The 2013 Recruiting Trends Conference was held on October 24-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada; along with a number of recruiters, sourcers, talent acquisition managers and other recruitment professionals, I was fortunate enough to attend. During my time here, I observed several instances (via presentations and open dialogue) in which leaders and talent acquisition professionals commiserated about typical roadblocks and challenges that arise each day hindering their ability to effectively recruit top talent.
The answer to many of these recruiting challenges is obvious: “Pick up the phone!”
As the Director of Excellence Initiatives here at Cielo, I teach a module titled “Candidate Courtship.” There is an image (shown to the left) within this curriculum that features an iPhone docked to the base of an antique phone; the caption reads, “Old school is the new school.” This visual perfectly represents my feelings regarding the need to remember our talent acquisition roots (“Smile and dial!”), but also the need to partner our efforts with the technology of today.
Survey data tells us candidates want to hear from recruiters via phone. I teach our recruiters that picking up the phone these days is (ironically) what differentiates great recruiters from the rest of the profession, and also what creates memorable impressions with candidatesand hiring managers.
The top 5 reasons recruiters avoid making phone calls:
1. Recruiters don’t understand the value of creating personal connections via phone.
2. Recruiters fear rejection.
3. Recruiters have come to strictly rely on other technologies/programs such as social media and email messaging, among others, to make connections.
4. Recruiters have been burdened with unreasonable requisition loads and can achieve “measurable” activity more quickly with mass emails/campaigns, LinkedIn InMails and tweets.
5. Recruiters might not necessarily avoid using phones, but they don’t have a solid strategy for following up on that first call (which in itself is an art).
The top 5 solutions to each of the above:
1. Recruiters need as much training on soft skills as they do their technical sourcing skills.
2. Aim to hire recruiters who are or show inclination towards being fearless and curious (two traits that lend themselves to resiliency).
3. Create internal service level agreements (SLAs) that focus on the importance of storytelling; talent acquisition leaders need to highlight and reward recruiters for providing the anecdotal candidate and exceptional hiring manager experiences as much as they do measurable activities.
4. Survey candidates and hiring managers to evaluate satisfaction; there are numerous inexpensive ways to conduct surveys, and organizations of any size can (and should) capitalize on these tools.
5. Provide training for recruiters on how to create these practices and manage their time—including specialized training geared towards the recruiter desk and other typical (yet vital) tasks.
My gut reaction regarding much of the open dialogue during the 2013 Recruiting Trends Conference featured a mixed-bag of thoughts: Are your recruiters lazy? Are your recruiters’ requisition loads manageable? Have your recruiters been trained on how to handle making phone calls? As the new generation of recruiters emerge, it is the responsibility of their leaders and predecessors to make certain the art of making the recruiting phone call isn’t lost!