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Darwinism and the Evolution of Recruitment

Posted by Larry Murff

I am old, or to be a little more PC, I have had the opportunity to question why I am in a meeting more than most of the workforce out there today.  Over the course of my career, I have seen many changes in the way people do business. When I started working, I had to write…. with a pen and paper. I did math. LOL didn’t mean anything. And ‘meeting’ meant speaking with people face to face. While not all changes are for the better, they are all forever and, regardless of the interactions, it is still ultimately people dealing with people.

One area of work life that has evolved most profoundly is the recruitment of talent. When I first entered the workforce and went on job interviews, professional recruitment was uncannily a lot like another type of ‘recruitment’ that was quite widespread at the time.  Back in the ‘80’s, all males my age had to, by law, go to a Recruitment Office of the Selective Service. There I was ‘recruited’ by a humorless gentleman with very short hair who held out a paper form and a pen (no erasing) and made me sign up for the draft into the military.  If I was drafted, I had a job. There was no pay negotiation and it did not occur to me to ask if there were healthy snacks, nap pods or unlimited ‘me’ time.

While at times I wish recruitment still worked that way today, it does not. It’s not even close. Competition for the best and the brightest is vicious, unforgiving and only the strongest companies can draw the best recruits.  The current candidates choose employment based on far more than a sense of security and a paycheck. Recruitment requires understanding what each individual candidate wants out of life, not just the job.

And for the majority of companies, it is still incredibly inefficient.  

To attract your future workforce, you need to embrace the pace and the needs of candidates. In today’s fast paced, snap-tweet world communication is the key.  If you want your company to stand out to the stand outs, keep them engaged and informed at all times. Let them know what you stand for and how they will be treated before they start.  If you lose touch, they will lose touch--and the rock stars are receiving a paycheck from another company.

This is a problem easier discussed than solved.  Candidate service can be cumbersome and expensive if not addressed in the right way. Vigilance with communications to drive engagement is hard to do and even harder to do efficiently.  It requires lots of time and time is money, so it can be expensive. However, not bringing in the right co-workers who believe in the company and want to work to the same goals is even more expensive.  

But think about this. Companies that not only survive--but thrive--spend billions annually on customer service to stay in touch and keep apprised of customers’ engagement, as well as how they feel about the product or service offered.  A customer has to trust your brand and feel like you want them, or they move on to the next company that makes them feel wanted. Without customers you have no revenue--and you don’t have to be an accountant to know that is not a good thing.  We can only secure the future by owning the relationship with our customers.

So why not recruit the future of your company’s workforce the same way.   Candidate engagement is often an afterthought. Just as we take the effort to keep our customers engaged, we should make the effort to keep our candidates engaged.  Common wisdom in sales states it takes 6-8 touchpoints to generate a lead, and as many as 12 to close the deal. Yet recruiting averages 4-6 touchpoints with what can be months sandwiched in the middle.  A good CRO would fire us all. Constant communication and transparency in regard to status and process will keep candidates informed and engaged. Information empowers and will lead to a much greater ‘candidate experience’ in your hiring process.  

The best companies to work for strengthen their employees with information through open communications.  This begins with how they treat top talent--who desire and deserve to be informed--during the candidate experience.  It’s each company’s choice, but if you want to survive you have to have the best people. Having the best people requires you to keep them engaged and in the loop--every step of the way.  

In the information age, survival of the fittest starts with exactly that--information.