The Stark Truth: How To Really Disrupt Recruiting In 5 Easy Steps.

Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of chatting with several young up and comers – “enterpreneurs,” if you will – who are just now starting out in this fine industry of ours.

Inevitably, these future impresarios are out to disrupt the way our job gets done, and finally fix the age old problems so persistent to our profession.

Through artificial intelligence, or social media or whatever the buzzword of the day happens to be, these would be world beaters are hell bent on finding and fixing what’s broken in recruiting.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time waffling between bemusement, healthy skepticism and outright frustration.

The thing is, many of these conversations remind me of having that argument with a small child about why they need a bedtime, or helping them understand the reason they can’t eat cookies for dinner. They just don’t get it, but it’s impossible to really blame them for not understanding the real issues at hand.

But instead of being the cranky old naysayer, that relic of recruitment still stuck in the status quo, I’ve decided to take a different approach to disruption.

Contrary to my previous advice and commentary up to this point, I do think there are some ways to disrupt recruiting.

Winter Is Coming: How To Disrupt Recruiting in 5 Simple Steps.

So I’ve decided to share 5 simple tips on HOW this end can actually be achieved, since disruption is inevitably the goal of so many startups – and those starting up their careers in this business.

I can’t promise that this stuff will successfully attract VC investors, nor provide a lucrative source of cash or recurring revenues. There won’t be a trophy for participating in this exercise, either. Disruption doesn’t come with a gold star for effort.

What you WILL get, my aspiring talent tycoons, is some real world advice on how to REALLY shake shit up.

You’re welcome.

1. Do the job.

That’s right, do the damn job. Get into recruiting and learn everything you can about how f’ed up we all really are. Do it in big companies, little companies, agencies, corporate.

Do it for at least 5 years. Take copious notes on all the things we get wrong, and maybe the one or two things we do right. Improve on that. Just don’t stay too long – once you hit about 10 years you’re basically not qualified to do anything else, unless you’re OK with public speaking.

You can maybe make a living on the conference circuit telling other people how to do it. I can’t, but maybe you can.

2. LISTEN to a new person every day.

No, don’t TALK to a new person everyday. LISTEN. Ask questions and shut the hell up. One new prospective client, one new candidate, potential business partner, someone. Anyone.

Ask relevant recruiting related questions and LISTEN (pro tip – listen to UNDERSTAND, not to RESPOND; if you don’t know the difference you’re doing it wrong).

3. Validate.

Back up your bullshit idea with facts. If you’re going to promise companies a better return on their investment, show them how. Let’s say I’m selling a piece of software that promises to increase email opening rates.

Don’t just say “we’ll improve your email open rates.” Show them it’s been done before.

Exhibit A – emails without my disrupto-machine. Exhibit B – emails sent through my disrupto-machine. 42% increase. Boom.

Don’t have that data? Sit your ass down then. You don’t have anything to sell yet.

Don’t have data? Get some. How do you do that? Ask people to test your shit. But ask them nicely, not in a way that says “hey, I’m going to make you obsolete.”

Because with that approach, the only obsolescence you can plan for is probably your own.

4. Listen some more. You have a great earth shattering idea? AWESOME!

Us crusty old recruiters love new technologies that can make our lives easier / better / manageable. Don’t just try to sell us shit.

Ask us what we want to buy. We will GLADLY provide you endless feedback and guidance. Fucking take it. And if you’re not willing to listen to your would-be customers, well, sit your ass down again.

You might want to talk to candidates too – if you think for a second in-demand talent is going to sit through an hour of assessments or hand over employment data so you can verify shit for someone I don’t even know I want to work for… just no.


5. There is no 5.


Don’t do that shit.

If you REALLY want to disrupt recruiting, get in it and get good at it. Be an example to others. Help out.

Take baby recruiters to lunch and let them cry on your shoulder.

Call your candidates back and for the love of all that is holy stand by your ethics. Do what’s right even when it’s not comfortable.

Now there’s some disruption I’d really like to see.

About the Author:

amy alaAmy Miller is a staffing consultant & talent sourcer for Microsoft, where she supports the hardware division as a member of Microsoft’s in-house talent acquisition team.

Amy has over a decade of recruiting experience, starting her career in agency recruiting running a desk for companies like Spherion, Act One and the Lucas Group before making the move in-house, where she has held strategic talent roles for the State of Washington’s WorkSource employment program and Zones, an IT product and services hub.

Amy is also a featured blogger on and is a member of RecruitingBlogs’ Editorial Advisory Board.

Follow Amy on Twitter @AlaRecruiter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Amy Miller

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