Hiring, Recruitment, Sourcing

How to Recruit Talent if You’re Not a Recruiter

“Fake it until you make it” is the direct quote from a recruiter I just met. Humor aside, there is some truth to that phrase when it comes to recruiting. Combine successful sales techniques with marketing and Human Resources principles, and voilà – you’re a recruiter in the making.

Depending on who you talk to, some companies will delineate between the HR professional and the recruiter. For some reason these two “worlds” don’t intersect and the interactions are segmented. If this is the situation in your company, I would strongly encourage that the general HR professional and recruiters work together on recruitment efforts to ensure a streamline transparency in the process. (On-boarding, anyone?)

We’ve all heard of horror stories of a candidate with an excellent profile getting the cold shoulder from a recruiter. Or so they thought. Like anything, there are two sides to the story. One of the most significant challenges a recruiter has to balance are both the hiring manager’s demands and sustaining the interest of the candidate going through the process. Not an easy task to do when the candidate might have more than one offer and the hiring manager just learned that the job will be frozen for a few weeks due to funding. On the other hand, the candidate feels that the recruiter isn’t responding to emails or phone messages promptly.

What are some ways to recruit if you’re not a recruiter? First, you need to understand what a recruiter does and some of the challenges they are faced with. Network with recruiters, do research, and talk to people. Not all hiring managers make good recruiters; and not all sales people know how to recruit talent. Like anything, it’s a balance. Second, you have to know where to find talent. (In the recruiting world that’s called ‘sourcing.’)

Sourcing talent is code for researching and digging into the professional networks to find the candidate you’re looking for. Depending on the type of requisition (aka job opening) you’re looking to fill, you’ll have to use some strategic creativity. LinkedIn searches, LinkedIn groups, Yahoo! groups that are segmented on professionals, university alumni groups, networking groups (such as FUEL Milwaukee), and your own professional network are all great places to start.

If you don’t have time, delegate. You needed a contractor or temporary employee yesterday, and you don’t have the time to fill the position for a permanent hire. There are companies that specialize in this type of demand.

–          Consider companies such as Valerie Frederickson to help you find a HR or recruitment professional on a contract basis to help you fill your HR needs. (Don’t want to be a recruiter – hire one on a temporary basis.)

–          Another option is to find a Recruitment Platform Outsourcing (RPO) vendor who will take on the burden of recruitment entirely. Never heard of a RPO? Check out Pinstripe Talent for an idea of what RPOs can offer to you from sourcing to onboarding, they can take the pressure of recruitment off your plate.

Taking the bull by its horns… tackling recruiting on your own. Maybe your financial resources are more limited, so the suggestion above isn’t applicable to your company. In this case, you’ll need to know the recruiting basics. You will still need to know how to source candidates, but you’ll also need to know what kinds of questions you can ask. Don’t set a bad impression by asking an illegal question about (let’s say), “That’s a nice accent you have. What country are you from?” Bad idea. “That’s a nice ring you have, your spouse must spoil you.” Yikes. Do yourself a favor and go to the SHRM website for some legal questions to ask.

  • Recruiters typically do an initial phone screen to cover the basics: When can you start? What are your salary expectations? Why are you interested in this role? Do you have any questions at this time?Going forward, select the best candidates to move into a phone interview.
  • A phone interview can be comprised of standard or behavioral questions. Don’t know the difference? There are examples online about the types of questions to ask candidates.Tip: The objective is not to ask questions to find the most qualified candidate (i.e. highest level of education, best experience, or perfect responses)…. You want to find the best candidate for the requisition you are filling; someone who can grow into the role, a great cultural fit, and motivated. Hiring someone who is over qualified could be a recipe for trouble – leaving unexpectedly, frustrated with the work, and so forth. If your favorite candidate is over qualified, then talk through those thoughts with the candidate as far as what their expectations are in terms of salary and professional development.

Tip: Give your candidate plenty of opportunities to ask questions. This will demonstrate their enthusiasm and understanding of your company or the role.

  • Making an offer. You can extend an offer verbally, but you will need to follow-up in writing. E-mail is sufficient. Thank the candidate for their time and you see their talents as assets to the team.
  • On-boarding is an area where everything ties together. There is an old saying that many people leave their jobs because of their managers. Don’t let this happen to you. The cost of replacing an employee can be double the salary you are paying the individual. (Add up the time it costs to recruit, hiring costs, overtime of employees on extra duties, and loss of productivity.)Have an articulate training program. Don’t know where you’re going with the position? Then communicate this in the interview process. Tell the candidates that you’re looking for someone who is self-motivated and they will be asked to contribute their ideas toward further defining the development of this position as the company grows. Mentorship can be a highly valuable tool for a new employee to feel welcome, but more importantly, have someone to guide them through the challenging aspects of the job.

Recruitment is what you make of it. Reflect on some good and bad memories of when you were interviewing for opportunities – what would you have changed? Hopefully this article gave you some strategic direction as your company is moving through the recruitment process.

Category: Hiring, Recruitment, Sourcing

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About the Author: Vistage Staff

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  1. Green3592

    May 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    This article is very interesting. Thank you for the tips.

  2. Karen

    May 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Emily, this article is very well written, articulate, and great ideas! Thanks for sharing this information. My company has 13 employees. While we’re small, we still need to understand that HR stuff. I will look forward to your next article.

  3. Robert T.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Emily, I just discovered your blog after Googling your name. Your background is really interesting and I like that you make HR relevant to someone who isn’t in HR. Good luck to you.

  4. Talent Assessment

    May 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Fortunately, there are numerous web-based tests and assessments employers can use to find the right talent for a company. Many companies tend to focus these testing and assessment efforts on lower level positions, but it is just as important, if not more important, to perform assessments for executive level positions and position everywhere in between.


  5. Prime Outsourcing

    October 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    A very interesting post. There’s always tons of methods when it comes to recruiting. Be it as a recruiter or as part of the HR department. Everyone should study on what style will work best for the company.

    Thanks for posting.

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