Plato, a great philosopher, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle called the study of numbers the highest level of knowledge. Numbers can be divided into groups, demonstrate relationships and are used in religion, superstition and mythology. Numbers have been identified as the purest form of communication that crosses the boundaries of languages, understanding and perception. Numbers are woven into every aspect of humankind and critical to life on earth. But have you ever been treated like a number? I asked several candidates this question and one of the responses was worth sharing, “I have. Being treated like a number left me feeling undervalued, unimportant, lacking support, and in many ways helpless where help was the key component of the service I was seeking.”
Recruiting is a fairly simple business and it can quickly and easily become a numbers game but yet it is an industry founded on relationships, people, and understanding – counter to a numbers game where emotion and relationships simply slow momentum. We can often forget that candidates can become clients, candidates know other candidates, candidates act as our advocates, and candidates are our strongest marketing asset. When a candidate becomes a number instead of Susan, William, Marie or Phil we create an anti-marketing campaign. We lose clients, advocates, referrals and assets become liabilities.
One of our temporary candidates put it this way in a one-on-one review interview, “The true gift was the time they took to call us by name, ensure we were happy in the placement, and visit us. We were not numbers or a pay check that was forgotten – we were people and remembered for who we were and the value we represented.”
Regardless of perm searches, temporary placements or contract, as recruiters we easily contact 10:1 candidates to clients - probably more. Every candidate can be a person who markets for you or a number that derives no real value in a people industry - the choice is ours. So how do we ensure we keep people top of mind…we stay less busy. This is the theme of many movies like Gerry McGuire…a single candidate that gets 100% attention and will show you the money. The only problem is that this is also a very competitive industry where volume creates success. No one survives on a single candidate for long or gains clients with a pool of contacts the size of 1. We are forced to play a dangerous game of perception – every candidate and client is our only candidate when they are in fact one of many candidates.
This is very difficult when running a 360 degree desk but when we play the numbers game we are short term thinkers – sacrificing relationships for short term gains. Relationships should be built from the first receptionist hello through to the congratulations of a successful first year in a placement. That is what is required to build a long-term sustainable business in this industry.