If you’ve never watched ballroom dancing then you may not quite appreciate how elegant a person can navigate a space. They glide gracefully across the floor, careful with each step until they finalize their routine with a smile on their face. They remain composed until the very end and even if they make a mistake along the way you may never quite know.
I’ve had the privilege to watch a graceful recruiter in my career and every time I watch the process I continue to learn more and more and be impressed by the way it all takes place. Recruitment is an art form. You either approach the process with grace and elegance or you toss a stack of resumes on a desk and choose the best one, often resulting in picking the best of the mediocrity mix.
I’ve written before about how I believe in two forms of recruitment. You either lead the process by picking out your dream list or you let the resumes come to you often forcing you to pick a B+ in a stack of C- level talent. True recruiting for your business is proactive. It’s making all the right phone calls to track down a great candidate just like a superstar sales person would do. A good fisherman can sit on the dock and catch what comes close, a professional fisherman goes out in the boat and find the best catch.
Recruitment though is an art form. It requires a delicate and artistic approach to every level. From the start to the finish of the process you must understand exactly how to navigate the waters with your candidate and not make any known mistakes along the way.
Consider the following when actively recruiting your dream candidate.
1. The Approach
Whether you start the process via a phone call or email to introduce yourself you must know what points are going to resonate with the candidate. If your company has specific benefits that you believe will resonate with the candidate then be sure to highlight them early and subtly. Introduce yourself with charisma and charm, remember you are recruiting, just the same way you would recruit a date in a bar. The approach needs to be calculated. It needs to have all the flair and charm of a model but at the same time say, we are serious about you working for us.
Be careful not to over state your desire for a recruit but at the same time dangle the points of benefits out there such as income, flexibility in scheduling and or benefits. When you have the candidates attention, schedule that first meeting in an environment that will be conducive to the environment your company wants to showcase. If your company has fun culture and a young atmosphere then consider meeting at a bar or a new classy restaurant.
Whatever the approach, make sure it mirrors your values and the company’s. you want the candidate to walk away saying they truly enjoyed their time spent and that they were left wanting more. Again, think about the time you met someone who captivated your attention such as your spouse. You were left always wanting more. It’s the reason you started dating them in the first place. Approach this candidate with that same charm as if you will be setting up a second meeting before the first is over.
If recruiting someone who is out of your market then be proactive and fly to meet them. Sure buying them a plane ticket is great but if you go see them it provides a whole new level of excitement. Imagine this, the candidate now tells their friends that someone is coming to visit them. You have upped the ante.
2. The Meeting
When you meet this individual for the first time consider it less about you and more about them. Ask questions that show interest in them as a candidate but that also allow them to engage you to tell their story. Again, it’s like dating. If you went out with someone and all you did was talk about yourself, your not getting that second date. Your recruiting, you need them to feel its a comfortable and safe environment that they can speak in.
Focus on why they may want to make a move, what has gone well in their company and what would they change. Maybe income isn’t the biggest reason they would leave, perhaps it’s the environment. You can’t speak to your company until you know all the reasons they took a meeting with you.
Over the course of this meeting find points to connect on whether they are about things to do on the weekend or your families. Whatever the case, the candidate wants to know that if they will be working for you, you both will be able to connect for 40+ hours a week. The candidate wants to be able to tell their friends about their potential fun new job with their fun new manager in their awesome new environment. If you don’t connect, these points are never made.
3. The Follow Up
Your follow up is equally as important as the approach. If you say you are going to set them up with someone then you do it. You can’t let a day go by without doing the things you have committed to. While this may seem to be 101 to many of you, it is a step that often gets over looked.
The communication needs to be done properly to fit the candidate. If they are a texter, then text the candidate. There is nothing worse than being called when you just want a text or email and believe it or not you can annoy someone. The younger your candidate the more likely they will be to want to communicate in short messages and often. The older, they probably will want a phone call. If you have found points to connect on them stay in touch on those. For example, if you know they love a sports franchise then shoot them a note when they have the big game. It shows you are engaged and listening to them when they tell you they bleed a team color. If you found points to connect on during the initial meeting then you will have a flawless follow up.
4. The Close
Closing a deal with a recruit is like singing a huge new client. But the process doesn’t end just because you have a great offer on paper. The close is a delicate situation in which you are now dealing with financial issues and the idea of a life change for this candidate. For a brief period of time they are putting their career in your hands and are trusting that this move is best for them. It’s a vulnerable state of mind that requires delicate hands and frequent communication.
When you present the offer make sure it is in person. You can connect and discuss the changes that are coming while face to face and if you know there are sensitive points that need to be connected on then the last thing you want is them opening a PDF in their home after a rough day. Present in person so you can both discuss the bullet points together.
Once the offer is accepted don’t lose focus that you are still recruiting the candidate up until the day they start for your company. It isn’t until they are in your office with business cards on day one that they are actually yours. If they feel as though you have lost touch with them at any point in the process then you are in trouble. You need to be consistent from day one and that means continuing that presence.
In closing, proactive recruitment will bring you the best candidates, be sure to follow a warm and polished recruitment process to secure the best talent.