October 26, 2022

No One Understands Recruiting But Recruiters, Volume 2


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Highlights

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The Mount Rushmore of Sequels: Godfather 2. Empire Strikes Back. 22 Jump Street. No One Understands Recruiting But Recruiters, Volume 2.

That’s right, we’re making a sequel. After breaking LinkedIn box office records with part 1 of the franchise, Jeff Smith and James Hornick continue the tirade on what normies just don’t understand about talent acquisition.

Episode 53 of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, “No One Understands Recruiting But Recruiters, Volume 2”

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Transcript

The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live. I’m James Hornick joined by Jeff Smith and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space, maybe even pitch a solution or two. Before we dig in, all of our content could be found at taleninsights.hirewell.com.

This week’s topic Jeff, episode 53. Really getting up there. “No one understands recruiting but recruiters, part two.” I always wanted to do a sequel. So much fun. We were talking about this before. So like best sequels of all time, Godfather 2, Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2. You either didn’t like them or didn’t see any of these.

I don’t know. What were you saying? Well I- so I did not see either Terminator or Terminator two. I mean, if I’m forced to answer this question, it’s Empire Strikes Back, but. I was very unhelpful with this. Yes. House two, the second story, 22 Jump Street. A lot of great ones. Anyways. All right, so last March we did a, ” No one understands recruiting, but recruiters part one”

and really the purpose was any recruiter who’s ever had to talk to their family over Thanksgiving and always getting the same questions, no one understands what the hell you do. It’s even like that in the business world. I guess the point of the show is to sarcastically point out where there are gaps that makes everyone’s jobs harder.

Because really if the point of hiring is something everyone needs to do, but there’s a lot of tricky things for our job that people don’t get and maybe if we poke fun at them, they will. Anyways. Lead us off here, Jeff. First ones in yours- your court. I now remember distinctly saying something about my old man. The first thing he always asks about when we’re at the Thanksgiving table is, “So do you have any good recruits lately?” like literally the best comment of all time. We took a poll from the peanut gallery. First thing that came up was rec load. Just kind of the discrepancy between what we know to be an efficient number and then kind of what everyone else thinks

is an appropriate number. So there’s two facets. But mainly like it’s what types of job the recruiter’s going to work on. So if the high volume search, like I would argue it’s totally reasonable to have 20 to 25 roles- i.e. you’re going to have a lot of inbound interest. There’s going to be shorter screen times. You’re really narrowing in on a few different competencies and it’s like, “Okay, yep.

You check the box. The hiring manager’s going to move forward, et cetera, et cetera.” Now, number two, if it’s more enterprise or like technology like 10 to 12 is a sweet spot. Seriously. The amount of times that I get into a sale conversation with our fixed cost OnDemand recruiters and the perspective customer like literally gasps when I say that number, is alarming.

Yeah. It leads me to believe- look, the industry standard on this is to make recruiters straight up inefficient. There is no better way to make a recruiter inefficient than giving them too many recs to work. The hiring manager gets frustrated because they’re not getting enough attention. The recruiter’s frustrated because they can’t fill anything and the HR management’s frustrating because the entire business is bitching at them about how bad the recruiters are.

So like, please stop giving recruiters 30 recs to work on and insinuating that a recruiter that has less than 20 is somehow sandbagging things. All right, second one. Speaking of inefficiency, where do all the second place candidates go? You can’t- I did write a post about this because not everyone gets the offer.

I think we can, everyone understands that. Candidates understand that, you know. You can’t and you can’t hire everyone who’s good or great. If you have certain- you have to be realistic about this. And those candidates, they move on. They go do other things. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be the end of the relationship you’ve built with them.

Companies tend to be dreadful at fostering longer term relationships with potential hires. They kind of fall into hair on fire mode, what’s right in front of them right now. Which means all that time you spent interviewing all these other candidates who were good just because you didn’t have a seat for them, is completely wasted.

Now it’s not realistic to think you’re going to be able to hire them all eventually, someday. But the amount of new- every time you have to start a brand new search, it adds to that rec load that Jeff was just talking about. So there’s really three ways that you can actually keep people engaged and interested in talking to you again, even though you gave them a no that first time.

One, is you have to prove yourself as the company in the interview process. If you do good work, you got good people, everyone’s happy, you’re a destination firm, people are going to remember that, you know? They might be disappointed it didn’t work out, but they’re not going to be like, “Screw these guys never want to talk to them again.”

They’re still going to be excited if you call them back some day. And you’re raising the likelihood of them proactively coming to you when they might be peeking around again. Happens all the time with good firms. Yep. Secondly, positive experience. Positive candidate experience, as we call it. Transparent, credible, setting expectations throughout the process, and then most importantly, don’t frigging ghost people at the end of it.

Then lastly is just it’s remembering to stay in touch. The thing is, you’re not going to remember. You have to have some level of automation. There has to be some sort of task system or something to prompt you just to- but a little bit of follow up occasionally, just the checking in, seeing what people are doing, staying top of mind, showing that you actually still care about having some sort of a professional relationship with

them goes a long way. That way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time to do a search. It’s amazing how bad we sometimes do the easiest parts of the job. Yeah. Anyway. Hiring talent within your network- always something we want to encourage. It doesn’t scale. It never will. We have finite amounts of friends, unless we’re our friend James here, who is, talk of a televis- like at some point your friends do run out.

And you do have to hire subject matter experts to fill- like leaks happen. They spring up from hyper growth and entrepreneurialism. It’s okay. That’s supposed to happen, but at some point you do need to say, “All right, we need an expert.” We’re experiencing a little bit right now. We got a bunch of recruiters trying to do non recruiter stuff.

It’s weird. You can get yourself in deep water pretty quickly by hiring too many referrals. You hire a referral, they’re not exactly the right match. There’s some good- they’re friends. You don’t want to hurt feelings and then your four months down the road and it’s like “Holy crap.

The problem has just like expanded exponentially.” So. Mm-hmm. The other negative side effect is like everyone comes to the table with the exact same way of thinking. There’s literally no dissension at all. So you’re not getting any cage rattlers to actually help get past some of like those pain points.

I just encourage you, like there has to be a healthy dose of folks that you don’t know that come from different backgrounds to help you get somewhere. The point is to push everyone to think about the problems in a different way and likely solve some of the stuff that’s been festering for months.

And like I said before, the scalability of just your finite networks just for obvious reasons, doesn’t work. Yeah. Building on that same point because that just finite networks don’t scale, hiring costs time and money no matter what. Shocking. No way around it. Yeah. A lot of founders, CEOs, especially people who are kind of in this for the first time, like they’re excited about the product, their big idea and how to sell it.

That’s what gets them out of bed and excited in the morning. That’s what they want to focus their time on. They think that everyone else is going to be as excited as they are, you know? And it’s one of those things where when people see what we’re doing and how amazing is and everyone’s going to want to join us. There’s literally 2000 of you doing the exact same thing.

Everyone’s- everyone is unique and special Jeff. Anyways, When the referral network ones runs dry, what do they do? They get an HR person to fix it. They hire an HR person. An HR person doesn’t really like recruiting, so they hire usually a junior recruiter. That’s what they can get the budget approved for.

So you got this junior, maybe mid-level recruiter, and you’re throwing five software engineering recs at them and 10 BDR recs, and a sales leader and a bunch of custom success people, and a bunch of maybe a demand gen person, maybe an accountant. I’ll dump it in their lap. Like none of this stuff is easy

especially when you’re asking someone who doesn’t have maybe specialization, maybe just one of these areas, if any. And then when you realize the rec load is too high, it’s too specialized, you have to make another decision. Are we going to hire more people internally? Are we going to look externally for some more help?

So sometimes they go externally, but sometimes they look at those costs and they realize, “Oh, we can’t afford that. Let’s just hire another recruiter. It’s cheaper.” But fortunately, that plot twist, that one extra recruiter turns into a third, turns into a fourth, turns into a bunch of LinkedIn recruiter seats, a bunch of job ads.

Next thing you know, you realize this is an expensive project. Worse and worse, and we’re seeing it again. Then at some point you get out of it, you get out of the reactive, then you got canamal and it stinks. Or that, and sometimes you build this whole team out and you still have to go to external firms anyway because you still didn’t have the amount of specialization you need.

Obviously we’re agency homers and that’s not, we’re not saying you have to use agencies, but the point remains, it’s expensive no matter how you slice it. Internal recruitment oftentimes underestimates their own cost of what it takes to go run a division. So either you work with, keep things internally and you hire the right people to do it. Or you ask, maybe you ask hiring managers to focus on it, which just sucks up their time, which is not an ideal situation either.

Not saying you have to use agencies, but again, realize it’s not cheap. Ask a partner. Ask us. We’ll tell you what we think your potential spend will be and what it would cost for the other agency. Anyway, moving on. Way past 10 minutes. Who cares? We’re going long. You have to talk to people and be willing to have conversations.

I mean, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but since recruiting, literally talking human to human. Like we get into this cycle, recruiters and hiring managers going back and forth over a candidate’s background. Picture this, like hire manager gets- recruiter does this deep hour long conversation. They send this note, the notes over, they’re pumped and the hiring manager like nitpicks, two little things and it’s kind of like you go back and forth, like clarify this, clarify that.

Just have the first round interview. Just have the inter- literally what it’s for. All these follow up questions, all valid questions. Yeah. Not even- questions you should be covering in the first round interview. Like let me gatekeep, I’ll gatekeep for you, I promise. You know? So, and I put a lot of the blame honestly on corporate HR and us.

I don’t think we do a good enough job of teaching hiring managers how to assess talent, especially when they’re just looking at like a piece of paper. How to look at it when they’re presented. Like literally we’ve gone so far as to template out this stuff so that it eliminates some of that bias.

Like I said, you’ve mentioned it before. If you start down this path, you’re relegating a relatively expensive resource internally to admin duty, which is just dumb. Yeah. On the same topic too, talking about like, you have to talk to people at some point when you’re hiring people. And like the job hopping conversations about that too.

I’ve said job hopping is capitalism just not the way you want it. And there’s plenty of stats out there. The numbers don’t lie. The amount of increase you can get. Some quick numbers, which I got from Zipia, job switchers get an average of 5.8 yearly increase. People who don’t switch get a 3.1.

Might not seem like a lot but compounded, not to mention, those are averages. 29% of people say there aren’t compensation increased by over 30%. So a small percentage get enormous increases, yet we’re dinging them, we’re looking down at them for making frankly, logical decisions.

Also, it’s not just money. Like what just happened the past couple years, right? You had people who- imminent end of civilization was happening. They lost their job, they took any job they could, even the ones that sucked just because they need to make ends meet. Then of course they took another job after that, you know?

Mm-hmm. Takeaway is this, again, you have to just talk to people. The guy who gets fired over and over again versus the person who’s a job hopper for actually valid reasons and made good decisions. Two completely different people and the only way you’re going to figure out who’s who is by having a chat.

All right, we are short on clock. Way short. Thanks again for tuning in The 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insight series, which is always available for replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com as well as YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon. Jeff, thanks again as always. Everyone out there, see you soon.

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