Why Recruiters Should Take Advice From Their Elementary Selves to Create the Best Hiring Process

Sep 08, 2017 - Joe Matar
As everyone returns from summer vacations, the quick hustle of back-to-school closes in. Whether you’re planning for your own kids or witnessing family, friends, and co-workers scurry to find the best superhero backpacks and bright colored sneakers, there’s no doubt an exciting, but familiar energy is in the air. From the nerves of the first day to the excitement of reuniting with friends and learning valuable life lessons, those nostalgic feelings remain -- no matter how long you’ve been out of school. For employees at AWeber, an email marketing and automation platform, those fun-filled school days truly haven’t gone away. With offices that have slides going from the second floor to the lobby, colorful wall decals, and a video game station, team members are reminded of a simpler, more relaxed time in their lives every workday. Your company may not be ready to introduce sliding boards or ice cream trucks to inspire employees’ creativity and good nature. However, as recruiters, there are a number of traits we innately exhibited in our younger years that should continue into our professional careers as we develop and manage the best hiring processes. Here is a reminder of three elementary lessons every recruiter needs to put into their hiring process:

In any hiring process, standing for something is the best policy

Remember when you were a kid on the playground giving your classmates nicknames? There was Sleepy Sam who never stayed awake in class or Silly Sally that was always telling jokes. Everyone had a distinct personal brand, whether intentional or not. Recruiters need to take ownership of the same transparency and bold belief in their company’s brand throughout the hiring process. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s U.S. and Canada Recruiting Trends 2017, 81 percent of talent leaders agree that their employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent. Offer job seekers 100 percent of yourself and your company. Showing off the company’s unique brand during the hiring process will attract more talent that’s right for open positions. It will also let job seekers know they can trust in having an honest and true connection with you.

Don’t judge a book by its cover: be open during the hiring process

Jen Teague, hiring and onboarding coach at Jen Teague, LLC, learned one of her first recruiting lessons observing her father working with candidates. Watching how he recognized potential in people through youthful, non-judgmental eyes was one of the most important lessons Teague learned as a child. “The most important lesson for recruiters to always remember is that they are in the people business. While they have quotas and daily demands, they need to treat each applicant with respect and be personable,” Teague said. It’s this non-judgmental attitude in the hiring process that drove her parents’ employment agency forward with both success and compassion. “There were times they had great candidates for career opportunities but they didn't have the right clothes or weren't polished for interviews. My dad would lend them clothes to wear to interviews and coach them on how to answer questions,” she explained. Like Teague’s father, you need to have a childlike disregard for preconceived notions and trained biases. The more everyone is able to look past those, the more quality connections will be made during the hiring process. Once these walls are down, you’ll bring in even more top talent to clients, no matter what their first impressions are.  

The golden rule applies to everything in life, and your hiring process

We’ve all been asked that one rhetorical question, usually with a stern finger shaken at us: “Is that how you would want to be treated?” There’s no doubt that the golden rule crosses cultural and generational boundaries. But once in the real world, where life gets hectic and more competitive, it’s an easier concept to set aside. While your recruiting efforts aren’t full of ill-intentions, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important in this fast-paced, stressful environment. As a matter of fact, according to Spencer Knibbe, partner at MBK Search, LLC, it’s time to get back to basics and remember the most important part of recruiting and the hiring process: the candidates. “Always approach each candidate interaction with the mindset that you are helping them make a monumental decision in their life and focus on playing the role of an 'honest broker,’” Knibbe said. “Your role should be to represent both sides with integrity and with the end goal of ensuring a win-win relationship for both your client and candidate.” For Knibbe, this lesson didn’t come easy. “I think the above lesson came to life when I had a single mother start to weep on the phone after I had worked with her to find a tremendously better opportunity,” he said. It was at that point when he realized the impact he had on someone’s life and the life of her family during his hiring process. Set time aside to write down the top five reasons you became a recruiter. Then, write down one or two of your favorite, rewarding or most moving candidate interactions. Use this as inspiration when meeting with new job seekers and starting a new hiring process. Remember to slow down and offer people the time and genuine attention they deserve. In return, you’ll get to know candidates on a level that will make them certain they’re finding the right -- not just talent, but -- people for their clients. Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 3,000 companies across the globe. Follow them on Twitter.