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Recruiting 101: The Secret Hiring Sauce

Recruiting is something that many folks simply happen in to. Expedia's Jeremy Langhan did, I did and countless other recruiters will tell you a similar tale. While some of us are naturally gifted and others need a bit more polish the truth is, there are basics that everyone needs to learn. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of corporate recruiting.

The secret hiring sauce is like any other finely tuned recipe, it changes subtly over time. It may have different high and low notes depending on the chef, but there are some tried and true skills that must be mastered, whether you're a talent natural or a highly educated worker.

StartingUp.is has one of the best lists of recruiting basics that exists. I wish it had been around when I started recruiting and read it with pleasure when author Elliot Loh posted it in 2010. His first step is crucial:

Create a filter, not a funnel

Successful recruiting is measured by efficiency in identifying and closing great candidates so they can become great team members. Ideally you will be approached by candidates with high degrees of relevance to the position you seek to fill. This is easier to achieve if you create a filter rather than simple funnel into your organization. This starts with your job descriptions. Tell a story with your job postings: who you are as a team, what the job will entail, why the opportunity matters. This is the time to be creative, when the team is small enough to speak in one voice. Then, give these descriptions a permanent home, with URLs that can be emailed and tweeted. 

Drill down

We posted a fun blog post over on Recruiter that talks about typical interview questions (go ahead and read it, we'll wait). Now while those are questions that you should practice reading into as you go about your interviews, keep in mind that every answer is worth examining a little further. Marie Larsen discusses a placement that could have tarnished her reputation because she didn't double check the salary. If you are unsure about any facet of the candidate, find a way to get the information you need to make the hire. Or not.

Improve your process 

This is more well-known in IT circles but there's no reason it can't give your organization the best darn recruiting process in the world. Always be tweaking. Look at the best practices of other organizations and see what you can change in your own. Don't mess with success, but be honest when an idea falls flat and seek out alternatives paths to the goal.

Respect your candidates

You don't owe any candidate that applies to a job. But you DO owe them a good experience. In a day and age where bad candidate experience is just a tweet away from coloring your market perception, a little respect goes a long way. This means that you can and should hire only the most qualified people for your company, but your process should be as painless and informative as you can make it. 

Always answer the phone

When I first started recruiting, I hated the fact that I had to answer the phone. I still hate it. But in a world where email reigns, answering the phone sets one apart. Business opporunities abound and the earlybird recruiter gets the candidate worm (ugh) but seriously, if you aren't answering that phone, you are not the best recruiter you can be!

Jettison useless metrics

But not until you learn them. Time to hire, quality of hire and applicant to hire may or may NOT be useful in your company, or they may only be useful for certain positions. Use these standard metrics to determine how your team is performing until you come up with those that work specifically for you. 

Tap into the power of social

Via your employees. So you're not quite ready to handle social recruiting, that's okay. Just recognize that there are tools that can help you tap the power of social and employee referrals quickly and easily. 

Build your pipeline

This means staying in touch once you've identified those who are a great fit, even when you don't have an opening. Keeping that relationship nurtured and ready to go is what separates great recruiters from adequate folks.

Be a connector

This is useful in virtually any field, but especially so in recruiting and HR. Knowing someone in every group, at every party, in every company is not only useful- it's smart. Keeping those connections alive and thrumming will ensure that even if your company is very small, people know you're there.

What's your best Recruiting 101 tip? Have some of your own secret sauce to share? Let us know and we'll share it next week!

As always, thanks for the photo! photo credit: DesheBoard via photopin cc

Would you like to read more great articles? Check out our other blog here.

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Tags: Blog, Branding, Corporate Recruiting, Employer, FirstInHR, HR, OnBoarding, Recruiting, blog

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