I attended an HR Conference in Fort Worth, Texas at the tail end of 2009 and had the opportunity to meet with dozens of exhibitors and attendees who work in the HR space. Par for the course; the event coordinators placed all of the staffing and recruiting exhibitors in the same row, which enabled me to listen to the presentations/elevator pitches of a number of my competitors over a two day visit to Texas. I couldn’t help but smile as I passed a booth and overheard the company representative say, “We aren’t the traditional recruiting company”, “we take a different approach” and I wanted to scream… OK…WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY? See, I had heard this IDENTICAL elevator pitch from the 4th company in 2 hours and it taught me something important; I had to quickly determine if my recruiting delivery was able to stand up to the question of –why is your firm different? My row-mates from this conference kept alluding to “being different”, but I didn’t hear anything that supported that claim.
Most recruiting professionals have a proprietary process and/or technology that enables the “smooth delivery” that our client and candidate prospects are thirsting for. If we’re being honest though…most recruiting organizations have a pretty universal recruiting process that flows a little like this:
· client hiring manager/HR manager calls a recruiter who he/she knows personally
· recruiter finds a candidate (through networking, internet, cold calling or referrals)
· recruiter screens a pool of candidates (5 minute introductory conversation with 50-75 people found from their recruiting activity)
· recruiting team interviews a short list of candidates (behavioral based discussion, 20 minutes in length, with the 5 strongest people from that list of 50-75)
· recruiter introduces a candidate portfolio to a client hiring manager (top 3 professionals from that short list of 5 are sent to the hiring manager or HR leader through email)
· coordination of interviews (recruiter arranges interviews at the request of the hiring manager or HR leader and statistically speaking, 2 of the 3 candidates get interviews with the client company)
· offer a job (1 of the 2 candidates interviewed will received a job offer from the client company)
For the sake of this article; I looked at the high level process flow (above) and started wondering if my company does anything “different” in this space. My conclusion; yes, my company does something different and it’s not simply the process or technology that we utilize; it’s the “how” we deliver that will set us apart. I’m no longer talking about simply finding the next great candidate; I’m talking about “how” you communicate to your client if you don’t find a great candidate. I’m not referring to representing the best talent, I’m talking about “how” you treat a candidate who might be represented by another firm and when they seek your help; how will you respond (do you continue talks with them and offer guidance or do you let the candidate deal with their problems on their own because you might not be representing them)? In summary, as an organization that specializes in assisting organizations with the acquisition of their talent; we need to differentiate ourselves and here are some philosophical beliefs that help illustrate why our team creates a different experience for the people we interact with:
· Partnerships- We desire/demand that our candidates and clients become partners with us. For those who know me, I work in a “hug it out” kind of environment, so a candidate or client who isn’t truly open to partnerships or connections might not want the “experience” we try to create.
· Acts of Kindness- being kind is a philosophy, so if you need someone to vent to, done! If you need some consulting advice to better your decision, done! Our team looks for ways to help others before we help ourselves and it makes our business that much more rewarding.
· Control- I can’t control other human beings, so I have coached our team to control what we can, our actions. Our team will own up to the commitments they make whether that means returning phone calls from candidates or if it means delivering a customized proposal at a certain day and time, we control our actions.
· End Game- Some people’s end game is the “placement” of a candidate or the new contract signed by a client. The recruiting industry has thousands of people trying to differentiate in order to make money; we are trying to differentiate by doing right by people.
Travis Furlow is the Managing Director for Resource Recruiting and Learning Solutions. He can be reached through is weekly blog, www.fearlessleadership.wordpress.com or through the company’s website, www.smartworkforce.com .