Recently, I came across this sign posted in front of one our local churches
Google has a number of great solutions but indeed it cannot solve every search ….neither can any search engine, job posting site, mobile recruiting, phone sourcing, social media or any other new strategy or tool that comes out. I’m not saying they don’t solve many and I am sure someone will come out to debate me on the subject as there often are but really there is no one set way of doing things. Not every search is the same and most definitely neither are the recruiters who conduct the search or the candidates and employers we work with.
So why do I tell you this. When Ryan approached me about writing a blog post I tried to think about something I could write about that I am most passionate about in recruiting. What I am passionate about is not one particular part of the recruiting process but the search itself and the evolving ways of conducting a search.
Every day I get hit with emails and phone calls trying to get me to buy “the” product for recruiting today, switch over to “the best” applicant tracking system around, purchase postings on “the best” new or old job board out there, etc. I am sure many of you either are getting these solicitations or are in a sales role but who determines who or what is the best? There are arguments back and forth every day about why someone thinks their way is the best. If every one of these were actually the best and the only way to work then why aren’t we all doing the same thing? Wouldn’t we just get the same results?
Instead of exhausting yourself trying to do things the way someone else is telling you, work in a niche you really don’t like because it’s “the” hot industry today or emulate the search process of a self-proclaimed guru, explore a little and find what works for you. Most likely the answer will be you enjoy what you do, the searches will come easier and candidates and employers will notice how genuine you are about the process.
Plan Each Search
Even if it takes 2 minutes and most of the process is repeated like checking your ATS first or reaching out to your network for referrals, try to make a plan for how you are going to conduct your search. Plan for change, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s the needs of the job or the availability of candidates, whatever it is we are dealing with people and life and people are not static. Even Google as an example – if you sat on Google with the same search string plugged in for a week most likely your results would change from beginning to end. The more complicated the search, the longer the process the more that changes.
Know how much time you have to devote to a search and what needs to be accomplished during any particular time period. Stick with what already works but if you have time explore something new. You cannot use every tool in every search but by taking a few minutes to plan your search especially if you have multiple searches running at once you will find time savers and wasters. As it happens often it will also keep any online recruiting time directed at searching not surfing.
Searches can involve paid or free tools, ad posting, research, whatever. Know what your budget is and what you feel comfortable using. Just because “everyone” is using a tool does not mean that you should blow your budget on something that might not work for you.
I wanted to purchase a piece of software once that I knew I would only use for a week or two at max. I called a sales rep explained the situation and they said no problem what you are looking for is really inexpensive, it’s only twenty nine ninety-nine. Luckily when they told me the amount that would be charged to my account it was phrased as two thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Their inexpensive was $2995.00, mine $29.95. Does it mean I wouldn’t spend $2995 on a tool if I felt it saved me more time and money than the cost, no but for that particular tool I was not willing to go above a couple hundred dollars. What’s fits into your budget?
Skill and Comfort Level
A tool or technique is only as good as the recruiter using it. Whether it’s technical or presentation skills are you really going to be comfortable with your skill level and knowledge to utilize a particular tool or technique?
Last year at SourceCon both Dave Copps and Michael Marlatt blew me away with some of the mobile recruiting technology they discussed. I’ve listened to follow up discussions by Michael and am an avid visitor to his site. Now do I still think mobile recruiting is going to soon be a part of our main stream recruiting culture and can be very useful? Yes. Do I have the budget to implement an SMS campaign and the skills to make it happen? You got it. Do feel comfortable enough with it to actually use it? Heck no!
There are a lot of discussions lately about whether Social Media is useful as a recruiting tool. Those who have not at least experimented I think are missing out but if they have tried an avenue using Social Media and they just are not comfortable using it I completely understand. And those of you trying to cross them over, why would I debate a competitor to use something I have success with that they have no interest in using? I’d rather they don’t use it, more for me. Like SMS, there are things I know I have the skill, budget and knowledge to utilize but I just haven’t gotten comfortable with yet. You’ll find phrases or scripts people use when marketing candidates to new employers that may work perfectly for them but if you try to repeat them in it may not work for you.
Listen to what others might have to offer but find your own voice.
Prepare Your Environment for Your Work Style
This may seem a little geeky and will definitely give you insight into how organized I do things but every day I track things with lists and spread sheets. I think I’m probably one of the few women who gives her husband to-do lists on the weekend that come directly from a categorized spread sheet. I keep track of things constantly to keep organized the ever evolving piles of information. Every day seems to be a new site, a new trick or technique, a question or a way to phrase something. I may not use them right away or have time to try each one out but I try to explore a little each week and see what new things I can incorporate into my arsenal.
When I worked in a bullpen office setting I was amazed to see how each cube was different yet the person with the quietest voice, sparsely decorated environment who came in an hour early every day was equally as successful as the loud boisterous one who was always late and whose cube you required only the sense of smell to locate. It didn’t matter the environment or the words they used when speaking with candidates and employers because they used what worked for them. My endless organizing would drive someone else batty but it works for me. Some people strive for the paperless office. That’s a great accomplishment but if you find yourself happy and productive finding the best candidates to fill the jobs and it means you turn off your computer, use sharp #2 pencils with a polka dot notebook, go for it.
On the technical end, just like customizing your surroundings, maybe try configuring your computer browser to use the tools you most need as well. IGoogle is still a favorite of mine but there are endless to choose from Opera, Alefo, Netvibes, myYahoo, GoogleChrome, etc.
Change Your Approach
When using search engines explore other options besides Google and Bing. Try posting the same search to various engines and watch the different results. Some of my favorites are Google, Exalead and Clusty but now we have search engines just for specific types of search like TwitterSearch, Bloglines, Icerocket, Everyzing, Whozat, Pipl, Wink, etc. If you are bored with the way you view results try SearchMe or Viewzi. Or better yet create something that resembles your own search engine using RSS Feeds or Yahoo Pipes. The list goes on but the idea is to experiment.
Too often we fall into a routine of using the same terms to describe the same jobs and often get the same results. It’s always good to shoot first for the easy target but when that fails, find out what else a title or skill could be called. I like Broadlook’s Title Research tool and the dictionary or thesaurus. I also look at competitor’s ads online, note different wording on resumes I receive or use sites like Onetcenter.org and Wikipedia for detailed job descriptions. Use your stand by descriptions but try incorporating some new ones and see what results you gain.
Only you know what motivates you’re the best. A manager can ring a bell, hold a contest, buy everyone pizza for lunch, etc but they are just grasping for ways to find something that is going to motivate you. If you get stuck in a rut try a different approach. Maybe work from a different desk, stand when you are on the phone instead of sitting, take on a new persona if you are phone sourcing (it will at least be fun for a phone call or two), blast some music for few minutes between calls or take a quick run around the block. Don’t wait for someone else to motivate you, find you own motivation.
Listen and Learn from your Candidates, Your Employers and Your Colleagues
Recently someone was on Twitter complaining that it was crazy to follow other recruiters online. To each their own, seriously, but I have gained so much knowledge by following other people in our industry its amazing. Sites like RecruitingBlogs.com and ERE.net have really opened a dialogue for people to share ideas. Twitter, Plurk, even the beloved Recruiting Animal Show are an expansion to continue the dialogues in real time. Industry experts who offer webinars and host sessions at events, bloggers who open themselves up for endless comments and coordinators of small one or two person events to coordinating large conferences are all people you can learn from. If everyone is following someone and you don’t know why that’s even more reason to reach out to them. Know who you are learning from. If you connect with someone online and find them interesting, reach out, pick up the phone and talk to them. Hold a discussion that entails more than 140 characters at a time.
People love to talk if someone seems genuinely interested. Take the time to ask the right questions and Candidates and Employers will give you the answers. How did the employer find the last person that started with them? What works what doesn’t? Where do they hang out online and in person, go there. You get the idea.
The essential thought I am trying to convey is to take what you know already works, listen and learn from others exploring new options but ultimately clear out the clutter and find new success however it works best for you.
About Shannon Myers:
Shannon Myers is the Managing Partner of Walton Search, recruitment and sourcing firm that specializes in the Healthcare Industry. Prior to founding Walton Search in 2007 she began her career in a combination of photography and higher education, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and working as both a photographer and in Student Affairs at fine arts colleges. She made the transition to recruiting in 2001 beginning as a sourcer quickly moving to full cycle recruiting in healthcare. Shannon is always exploring the newest sourcing methods and was a Grandmaster Sourcing Challenge winner for SourceCon2008. In addition to her recruiting effort at Walton Search Shannon also trains others on the use of Social Media and remains active within the arts community.
By Noel Cocca
CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.
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