It's Time to Admit It: Recruiters Are Dinosaurs

Guest Contributorby John Fleischauer | Posted | Talent Acquisition

It's Time to Admit It: Recruiters Are Dinosaurs

What do dinosaurs and cassette tapes have in common?

Teenie little arms? No.

Incredibly loud? Potentially.

Their day in the sun has passed? Bingo!

When I was in grade school, I learned about endangered species like Mountain Gorillas and South China Tigers. I really like tigers. In fact, I have a tiger paw birth mark on my left arm and, to this day, my mom calls me "Johnny Tiger" when I do something stupid and hurt myself.

Okay, so enough about birthmarks. Here's the thing. I won't likely ever see a South China Tiger or a Mountain Gorilla in its natural habitat. I do, however, see one animal that should be on the endangered list. In fact, I see a lot of them on LinkedIn and there are many more of them popping up every minute.

I'm talking about recruiters.*

"What? Blasphemy!" you say?

Here's what I mean...

Recruiters that service large customer groups and handle a significant volume of A-Z job requisitions don't really have time to recruit any more. Sure, they have LinkedIn accounts. They've upgraded their personal LinkedIn profiles or may even be using the Cadillac of LinkedIn's product line- LinkedIn Recruiter. But in my experience, most "social-savvy" recruiters either don't understand the tool to its fullest extent or simply don't execute nearly as effectively as they should.

They may occasionally share links to job postings through their social media accounts, they may join a LinkedIn group or two but, at the end of the day, most recruiters wait for the right candidate to apply.

This drives me absolutely crazy.

The way I see it, if a recruiter's first instinct when a new job requisition lands on his desk is to post it, he's not actually a recruiter. He's really an administrator with a recruiting title.

Recruitersauros vs. talent brand champion

Recruiters, we need to take on a new perspective and accept that the days of tactical recruitment are behind us. In order to reach and engage elite talent in today's uber-competitive landscape we need to:

  • Become members of the sub-cultures of our target audience.
  • Live in the same realms in which our purple squirrels and unicorns exist.
  • Share a common language with our target audience and provide them with authentic value.

We can accomplish all of this and more by simply changing our perspective and focusing on becoming a talent brand champion for our organizations and candidate silos.

So how can a recruiter become a talent brand champion? Simple.

Four steps to becoming a talent brand champion

Step 1: Commit. Fully embed yourself into the sub-culture of your audience. Understand what drives the people you're trying to reach, share in their passions, hang out (physically and online) in the same places as they do.

Step 2: Offer authentic value! Do you think sales professionals and engineers are programmed in the same way? Absolutely not. Take the time to understand what your target audience deems valuable and provide it to them... regularly... consistently... for free. Without expecting anything in return.

Step 3: Leverage your employee base. Talent brand champions know that the best talent attraction professionals on the planet don't work in an HR department. In fact, the best talent attraction professionals on the planet don't even know they're talent attraction professionals. Employees in the very roles you're trying to fill are an incredible, often untapped resource. Form and nurture relationships with your colleagues; treat and educate them as talent brand ambassadors.

Step 4: Create a great candidate experience. Take steps to prove to your customer groups, employee silos and target audience that your execution is not just a transaction. No one likes to feel like a number, but many recruiters dodge phone calls, ignore candidate emails and basically treat nine out of 10 candidates like dirt. Talent brand champions treat everyone they interact with like gold all the time and take steps to monitor and improve the candidate experience at every touch point.

Most recruiters think this is too much work. They put off trying a new approach until after their fires have died down and their requisitions are under control. The problem with this approach, of course, is that their fires only burn hotter and new requisitions continue to pile up.

But as NFL football great Emmitt Smith once said, "all men are created equal; some train harder in pre-season."

When it comes to attracting the best talent for our organizations, we need to stop making excuses and start doing our push-ups.

Our role is no longer about relying on job postings and assuming that the best person for the job will apply. Instead, we need to help develop, spread, cultivate and represent our organization's talent brand to the world.

Recruiters might be dinosaurs facing extinction, but fear not, the age of the Talent Brand Champion is upon us.

Your turn: How do you think the role of recruiters is changing? How are you leveraging any of the above steps to attract the best and brightest to your organization?

* According to LinkedIn there were over 460,000 recruiters registered on the site as of January 2014.

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