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Turn Good Recruiting into Great Recruiting

Turn Good Recruiting into Great Recruiting

By: Dani Monroe, author of Untapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

The stack of resumes, list of phones calls, or scheduled interviews await your attention as a job recruiter who knows the industry and employer. However, you’re not excited about your to-do list.

Instead, you’re wondering how you always seem to attract the same type of  ‘acceptable’ candidate — viable professionals who  ‘fit’ in the company culture with reasonable expectations of potential success – but who fall short of presenting the talent ‘wow’ factor that results in a win-win for all.

There is another way of approaching your recruiting strategy. It begins by accepting that recruiting is as much of an art as it is a science. 

Science, technology and computers can identify candidates based on buzz words, social networking preferences and online resume posting. Yet recruitment is also the art of determining what makes a candidate that special one.

The human element of recruiting is learned over time with a mindset that allows you to see the varied untapped talents of an individual, as opposed to the literal details of a resume.

This success mindset has everything to do with you — how you think and how you behave — from the moment the candidate enters the talent management process. 

Are you willing to hit the refresh button on how you think about and attract potential candidates?

How Habits Thwart Fresh Leads
As humans we tend to develop patterns and ways of working that result in mental short cuts to our answers and decisions. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the natural way the brain works. The unconscious side of our brain deals with what’s familiar and easy. The conscious side deals with differences. 

We can miss or devalue people’s experiences, their life situations or even people that are different, because the unconscious brain is responding to what’s familiar.

Naturally our conscious brain can be overridden by our unconscious brain. Over time, we are on automatic pilot and our ability to let in new information becomes limited.

What does this have to do with sourcing and recruiting candidates? Our ability to find different candidates from different sources becomes limited because we naturally go with what’s familiar and yes, what’s easy.

For example, let’s say you’re reviewing the resume of a candidate who has attended a college in Europe and a school in California for a Massachusetts-based professional opportunity. You’re based in New England and know that your organization has a propensity for hiring people from the Ivy leagues in the Northeast and other competitive New England-based institutions.

You stop just for a second to consider the resume from California or Europe and then decide to keep looking. Your mental model of what will be acceptable to an organization can be useful, but it can also limit your candidate pool.

Our work as recruiters to tap hidden talent begins with expanding our worldview and embracing a new success mindset to approach the candidate selection process.

Five Ways to Refresh your Recruitment Strategy
Below are five critical strategies that you may use to ensure that you are increasing and not limiting your sourcing and recruitment efforts:

1. Begin by assessing the biases you’ve created over time for finding “the right candidate.” When you consider a candidate that’s qualified for a position, do you go beyond the skills and abilities and look at the “whole candidate”? Or, are you stuck because “Mary” has all the qualifications but you don’t understand her path to success?

People who come from non-traditional backgrounds have had to demonstrate new skills, resourcefulness, resilience and resolve to be successful. These are all examples of leadership traits that are in high-demand in today’s marketplace.

2. Look for talent that has reinvented itself. The crash of 2008 changed the lives of millions. People have had to change or suffer the unfortunate consequences. You’ll discover talent with additional skills and life experiences that enhance their employee profile. These candidates demonstrate the skills, fluidity, versatility and the ability to deal with the complexity of change — the top skills needed for solving complex issues that are presented for resolution daily.

3. Learn to read an application differently. Look for what’s not said on the resume. Ask interview questions that provide you with a strong sense of someone’s professional background and what motivates them. Think about how you have pre-judged the applicant only to discover in conversation new information that clarifies. 

4. Discover a candidate’s transferrable skills. Many people are hired for potential because they have eighty percent of the job skills but performed them in a different industry, job function, or time. Many people have the ability to translate their learning into different environments — at very high levels.

Have you heard of the athlete Vonetta Flowers? She began her career as a track and field athlete from Alabama. She tried for gold in the 1996 US Olympics and ended up as a gold medal-winning bobsled racer in the 2002 Winter Olympics; she was the first African American woman to win a medal in the Winter Olympics. Vonetta was accepted by skilled bobsledders who knew she had the transferrable skills to succeed at the task.  

5. Search for talent in new areas. Recruiters today need to build relationships that take the LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook interactions to a deeper level — by moving past name-gathering and profiles to actually creating new relationships that convey the depth of a person’s knowledge and experiences.

The employer is going to interview the person that a recruiter recommends, so highlight those factors that document the hidden talent factor of the candidate. 

Recruiters who want to move beyond presenting the familiar, traditionally-accepted candidates, will focus on the hidden talent factors that might be invisible to the untrained eye. This is a great time to quantify the untapped factors that may any candidate more valuable to the employer while also scoring a ‘wow’ factor.

Overall, as you refresh your abilities to look beyond the familiar, remember that good recruiters employ the tactical strategies that they already know. Great recruiters are curious and develop the ability to challenge their own biases about people.

Above all, great recruiters find ways to quantify the untapped talent factors that will document new success for an organization. 

It’s time to hit the refresh button and engage that outlier candidate who might be your client’s next game changer.

Untapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce by  Dani Monroe

Author Bio:
Dani Monroe
, author of Untapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), is President and Founder of Center Focus International, Inc.(CFI),one of the top global diversity practices in the US. 

She leads C-suite executives of Fortune 100 companies in global diversity, inclusion and organization effectiveness, favorably impacting their bottom lines, reputations, and business potential. In addition, she was Senior Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at the Pfizer Corporation.

Monroe holds her master's degree in organizational development from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Business. In 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, appointed Monroe to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.