Assets in the war for talent: Smart use of recruiting experts can help fill jobs


In my last column, I covered the frustrations applicants experience when applying for your open positions. Today, I’d like to give you an inside look at what your recruiters are feeling. Believe me, it’s a safe bet that while they may be frustrated with job seekers, they are often even more frustrated by their internal customers.


Remember, recruiters are caught in the middle – among your candidates, hiring managers and internal decision making. It’s the proverbial “rock and a hard place” and then some.

Let’s take a step back. Remember that today’s discerning job seekers have choices. The employment market is more competitive than ever. On top of a general talent shortage, there are specific regional shortages and “skills gaps.” Your recruiters are facing new and significant challenges and they need every advantage!

So, what specifically frustrates your recruiters?

  • Hiring managers who are not communicative about what they want. (Sure, they’ve seen the job description, but that’s not really what you are looking for.)
  • Hurry up and wait! Hiring managers who express urgency about filling the job – then fail to make time to interview candidates.
  • Hiring managers who want to interview “passive talent” (currently employed) – but aren’t available before or after regular business hours.
  • Make a decision! “I’d like to see more” is not an answer to the question, “Is this candidate qualified?”
  • Is there sufficient budget for the position? “Champagne tastes, beer budget” doesn’t work in today’s competitive employment market.
  • Insufficient budget and support to experiment with new marketing and screening strategies. The rules have changed – smart recruiters know that they need new resources, tools and tactics to reach candidates in a new way.

In your organization, it is important to acknowledge that your recruiters are the “recruiting experts.” (If you don’t believe that is true, it’s time for a new recruiting strategy. Your HR Department may be great at employee relations and benefits, but you need recruiting experts on your team.)

So, what can you do to help your recruiters be more effective?

  • Hold them accountable to monitor and inform you about the talent market conditions, your competitors, how they are recruiting and what results their strategy produces.
  • Expect strategic innovations. If your recruiters think all they need to do is more of what they did last year, or simply do it better, you may not have the right recruiters in place.
  • Give your recruiters the resources and flexibility to become marketers! There are new and innovative ways to promote your opportunities and company culture. New tools are available to get better and faster results.
  • Encourage your recruiters to be proactive. They can’t simply rely on the old “post and pray” strategy for recruiting – it’s no longer effective. Most recruiting departments have added outbound sourcing to their recruiting strategies.
  • Your internal job descriptions aren’t great advertisements and never have been. Instead, make sure your recruiters utilize attractive summaries about your company, company culture and job opening.
  • Referrals are important and often cited as the best source for new employees. But in many organizations, the employee referral program is stale and overlooked. Promote/revitalize the referral program you have in place or create one.
  • Create an environment where your hiring managers are engaged partners in the recruitment process. Hold them accountable for job scoping, resume reviews and interview times, as well as quick, fact-based decisions about candidates.

The war for talent may be the No. 1 challenge facing many American businesses for at least the next 10 years. You need your recruiters to be engaged, committed, and on top of their game. Help them to be the superstars you need by working to minimize the frustrations that hold them back.

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