Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Selecting Job Candidates vs Recruiting Job Candidates

Many recent events have left me feeling the need to write an article on the difference between Recruiting and Selecting.  This is a topic a business partner of mine in Los Angeles talks about frequently and a topic where our minds met in the middle approximately 5 years ago when I worked with Mike to fill his need to find a Converged Chief Security Officer.  Today, Mike runs an HR Consulting firm called HR Alliance.
I bring up this topic because of the number of companies I encounter that have the mindset that their future employees are floating around out there just waiting for their call.  This might be true in some skill disciplines where there is 7-9% unemployment but this is not true when a company is trying to fill information security jobs or cyber security jobs.
For the most part, talented information security or cyber security professionals who find themselves on the street without a job don’t stay on the street very long.  In a market where the skill sets one is seeking to add to a company are in high demand, a strategy of recruiting versus a strategy of selecting is required in order to consistently get to “A” players.
For sake of definition, selecting is what happens when a company places an ad on a job board and their HR department catches whatever comes in.  Within the catch there are often many interested candidates.  Some of the catch is made up of “C” players.  Some of the catch might be “B” players and occasionally, an “A” player will be found in the mix.  Sometimes though, there are no “A” players in the catch and a company finds itself making a selection from the pool of available “B” and “C” players.  This is an example of selecting.

Recruiting on the other hand is a proactive action where a recruiter sets out to find people who are not necessarily looking for a new job.  The method behind this recruiting action is not the topic of this article.  However, I distinctly remember the first time I worked with Mike where he engaged me to do Security Recruiting for his organization.  Mike made the point that he wanted every candidate to feel as if they were being recruited.  Although I had been operating in this manner for 17 years before I ran into Mike, this was the first time a Human Resources Director had ever spoken in this manner to me.  I liked it!

What does that mean to make candidates feel as if they’re being recruited? 
Mike wanted every candidate I brought to him to feel special, to feel appreciated, to feel wanted, to feel as if they were the most important person in the room during our recruiting process.  People don’t often feel important when they’re being selected but they do when they’re being recruited and appreciated.

Evidence of how this statement works is found when a selected candidate comes up with several other offers.  Candidates who are being recruited may decide to consider other offers while they’re considering your offer but it is the feeling of being recruited, the feeling that they’re important that will ultimately draw them to your company.  A recruiting strategy will nearly always beat a strategy of selecting available candidate.
Mike shares a different perspective on this topic in his HRAlliance Blog.
Jeff Snyder’s Security Recruiter Blog's Security Recruiter Blog