Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Technology Alone Doesn't Recruit and Attract Top Talent...Talented People and a Process Attracts Top Talent

Today, my writing inspiration comes from a colleague I’m connected to on Facebook posting an article written by another colleague I’ve known for many years but haven’t spoken to in a while.

Back in the late 1990s when companies learned to post jobs to job boards and job candidates learned to load their resumes into job board resume databases, many predicted that the role of a “recruiter” would go away because the Internet had arrived.
There is no doubt that recruiting has changed since I started recruiting IT professionals in 1990 but my colleague Mike Ramer captured the story well in this article:

After reading Mike’s article, a recent situation I’ve encountered came to mind.  Since I wrote this as a response to Mike’s article, I thought it might make a useful blog for the Security Recruiter Blog today.

Mike, thank you for investing your time to capture recruiting in 2013 in written words.  Because I agree with much, maybe most and perhaps all of what you wrote, I'll simply share a real situation I am currently facing that I believe captures the point of your article.  A CEO from a fast-growing security technology company that has created game-changing technology recently contacted me.  For a mission critical role he has to fill, he explained that his team had surfaced several qualified candidates.  He had trouble admitting what the problem was but after I carefully probed just enough, I discovered that this CEO and whoever makes up his hiring team could not close the deal.   Once this fact was on the table, I asked more questions.  There is no doubt that the CEO I was on the phone with was very intelligent and there was also no doubt in my mind that this CEO had never thought through what recruiting is really all about.  Brilliant engineering students are not taught much about the human side of their future professions in school. I explained that recruiting starts long before a company has a position to fill.  I talked to the CEO about his branding from the standpoint of attracting talent.  He'd never thought about branding that way.  I explained that since recruiting in its purest form is sales, he would need to have someone involved in his recruiting process who could both teach his hiring team how to sell and that person needed to be a seasoned sales professional themselves because they'd need to understand how to begin closing top candidates at the same moment in time when they were evaluating top candidates on behalf of his company.  I asked the CEO if he had a player like the one I'd just described on his team.  He did not.  In fact, he'd never given this much thought to the mechanics of recruiting before. I asked the CEO who had built his company's process around talent acquisition.  He explained that they had all kinds of processes built around software development but he had never thought about building a process around talent acquisition.  We then talked about the necessity of building a talent acquisition process. Prior to our discussion, the CEO thought about recruiting in a linear fashion.  By the time we were finished with our call, I had introduced a multi-dimensional thought process around talent acquisition that the CEO had never before considered.   While he didn't understand how to personally address the multiple dimensions of thought I put on the table, this CEO clearly understood why he needed help. It was the CEO after all who made my phone ring. He knew that what he was doing wasn't working but he didn't know how to solve his multi-dimensional problem alone. This CEO no longer believes that posting a job on any job board alone will attract top talent to his company.  Though he doesn't know how to turn his problem into an opportunity by himself, I'll soon be helping this CEO to build a system around recruiting that is driven by branding, technology, process, people and sales to ultimately close top performers on the idea of joining his team.

Mike Ramer got it right.  Recruiting top talent requires much more than just pushing buttons.  Recruiting requires many dimensions of skill. Does your company have a strategy in place for attracting, acquiring and retaining top talent?'s Security Recruiter Blog