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LTT Business Bulletin - October 2014



Amanda Burke, GM, NSW for Talent2 and foundation member of LTT2,

shares this insightful article from Mike McSally of the Allegis Group.

Recruitment challenges are similar worldwide and there is a real need to humanise the

recruitment process, address client and candidate frustrations and make a difference.


I have had the opportunity to land in countless airports across the globe during my recruiting career. In every city and country I visit, I am  consistently greeted with, “I just want you to know that recruiting is different here.” The majority of the folks I meet have never recruited outside their local market so I am always amazed at their level of conviction.

Despite their unwavering beliefs, our research proves that recruiting’s similarities outnumber any differences. Over the last five years, we have collected feedback from over 25,000 employers and 100,000 workers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

While minute differences exist, we have learned that people from a variety of locations, skills and experience levels share common wants as well as frustrations about the job search/recruitment process. Our findings strongly suggest that recruiters should stop looking for the silver bullet or the next new thing and re-examine their recruitment process.

A consistent and disciplined recruitment methodology, that I often see missing, can improve applicant experience and hiring manager satisfaction. Harvard Business Review’s timeless 1964 article “What Makes a Good Salesman” concluded that successful salespeople are able to strike the delicate balance between ego drive and empathy.

According to our candidate feedback, recruiters leave the impression that it’s all about them filling their opening. A common question job seekers hear is, “what is the least amount of money you are willing to accept?” Recruiters who have limited information about the job and the candidate, but take a forceful approach, will end up with unsatisfied parties on all sides.

Despite the HBR article being written in 1964, today’s recruiters could use a much greater dose of empathy within their recruitment methodology. Job seekers universally appreciate when recruiters take the time to understand their unique skills, goals and interests.

However, most recruiters lead with the job description and forget to listen to the candidate’s existing capabilities and career aspirations. Our research in Asia Pacific reveals only 26% of recruitment firms take the time to understand candidates skills, goals and interests. Seems to me that it would be extremely difficult to find a home for a job seeker without understanding what they are looking for.

Candidates also want to hear about multiple opportunities. Yet, agencies and internal recruiters alike are incented to fill a single opening instead of looking holistically across all of the opportunities they may have available.

Job seekers want recruiters to show they have listened by matching them with positions that align with their skills, goals and interests. Across the world, candidates rate recruiters higher when the recruiter places them in a job that matches their skills, goals and interests.

However our research shows that all too often job seekers get inundated with irrelevant opportunities. Treating candidates with the respect they deserve will lead to more successful matches that satisfy the interests of the employee, recruiter and employer. However, listening to candidates is only one side of the equation.

Recruiters must also pay attention to hiring manager needs to ensure a good match. Unfortunately, like the telephone game we played as children, too much gets lost in translation Hiring managers from all over are frustrated with recruitment’s inability to provide quality candidates.

For instance, only 30% of Asia Pacific and 45% of North American hiring managers say recruiters always send them candidates who fully match their requirements.

It is all too common for recruiters to be forbidden to speak with hiring managers. These rules are intended to free up hiring manager time but often hurt candidate quality. Without access to hiring managers, recruiters have limited ability to clarify what is most important in the job description and lack the context necessary to articulate a real value proposition to a candidate.

Additionally, too many of the world’s employers rely on an electronic job description to secure their number one asset – their employee. Today’s job descriptions are basic and have not been edited to include key additional requirements. When recruiters are given the opportunity to have conversations with hiring managers on the front end, they can increase their chances of success by offering suggestions to refine job descriptions, sourcing strategies, like cultures, etc.

Our research shows hiring organisations’ minimum requirement is finding someone who can do the job “technically.” As employees work more in teams and open environments, organisations are making cultural fit a priority, sometimes over technical fit.

A survey by Beyond.com and Millennial Branding found that 43% of human resource professionals ranked “cultural fit” as the most important factor in the hiring process. Experience has taught them that new hires that leave within 18 months are more likely to fail because of attitudinal reasons (89%) than lack of skill (11%) (Source: Leadership IQ).

It strikes me as odd that while cultural fit has become increasingly important, the interaction amongst recruiters and hiring managers has been suppressed. Recruiters are hard-pressed to find candidates that fit into the corporate culture when they are prohibited from talking about the culture and the job itself with hiring managers.

Hiring managers around the world struggle to attract talented people to their positions. In the UK, 74% of IT leaders have experienced difficulty recruiting staff with the necessary skills and experience they require (Reconnix). In Asia, 50% of hiring managers said they currently have a difficult time filling jobs that require critical skills (Allegis Group & Talent2 research).

Yet, LinkedIn research shows that 85% of workers are actively searching for a new job or are open to hearing about a new opportunity. Only 15% of workers are completely satisfied and do not want to move. It is quite a conundrum that hiring managers cannot find qualified talent when so many people are open to switching jobs.

The disconnect lies in an inability to listen to the needs and wants of both hiring managers and candidates Recruiters who listen to both groups will make more matches.

Throughout my career, there have been countless tools and models introduced to revolutionise recruitment. Vendor on Premise, Vendor Management Systems (VMS), job boards, LinkedIn, talent communities, online staffing, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). While all of these can add value, they have inadvertently damaged the intimacy in the recruiting process.

These processes and technologies turn people into procured assets. Recruiters and employers share the burden of overcoming the coldness of technology and outsourced solutions and returning intimacy to the recruitment process. Instead of looking for a silver bullet to shortcut the process, recruiters must think of recruitment as a continuum dependent on communication.

Those organisations that view a job description, sourcing, screening, onboarding and performance management as interconnected steps continue to win when it comes to attracting top talent in any geography, skillset or level. If candidate desires and frustrations are not baked into your recruitment methodologies you will miss the 85% of the workforce that is willing to listen.

The average worldwide unemployment rate for skilled workers is 5%. That means that 95% of the people organisations try to attract are working and don’t need to listen. Great recruiters connect with gainfully employed individuals, seek to understand their unique skills, goals and interests and create a true value-added partnership.

In the increasingly digital and global business environment, I challenge recruiters to humanise their recruiting efforts wherever they may be. The sooner recruiters put minute geographic differences aside and focus on the fundamental human needs of job seekers and hiring managers, the more successful they will be in today’s global workplace.

Talent2 has recently been bought 100% by Allegis Group which is the largest privately owned staffing firm in the USA. It is an exciting time for the business with increased investment in their people development, systems, processes to drive innovation and provide an even better service to their clients and candidates. For further information, please contact Amanda Burke on 02 9087 6210 or amanda.burke@talent2.com