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Finding candidates is easy! Recruiting them is not.

Even if you read just the odd article about recruitment trends, you will probably have picked up on the discussions about how easy it has become to find candidates on LI and other networks, such as Xing, Viadeo, Ushi, etc.

There is at times still a persistent notion that all the people a business wants to hire will apply through the career portal.

As you might imagine, these developments initially caused quite a stir amongst many recruiters (and still does in some quarters), fearing that this might spell disaster for their business, while company managers saw a cost saving opportunity, networks and software businesses an opportunity to market profiles and data.

In my opinion, this means only a degree of improvement of the existing process for recruitment businesses.

For the purpose of this post, I am afraid I have to generalise but I am fully aware that every business is different and has different challenges.

Let’s say a company wants to hire someone through their portal. They understandably want the perfect candidate because the world is highly competitive and having the best people is crucially important.

Let’s also say they have a perceived highly attractive brand, corresponding salary, the ‘rock star’ managers. The problem is: HIRING the perfect candidate for the business remains illusive. Line managers and HR are under pressure from the business to get recruitment right. There is a talent shortage. Unemployment is no longer sky high and generally steadily declining across UK, USA and some European countries.

HR and line managers have written posts, spoken at conferences, trying to attract people, they have even publicly apologised for all the things that can go wrong with prospective candidates, because they are so busy, hoping to pre-empt the inevitable opt-out of candidates, through explaining why they might be late getting back to them, not take their calls, why candidates might not get chosen, etc. (as seen recently on a LI post by an in-house recruiter for a global brand)

‘What is wrong’, managers wonder, as they continue to do 3 jobs instead of just the one they officially hold.

Here is what can happen:

1) People the business wants to hire are highly likely to be in a job and will not have the time to keep an ear on the ground for the opportunity another business might have, at the time they have it.

2) The perfect candidates are in a job and come across the opening for one reason or another and then the process kills the desire to continue.  Most company job portals are still too clunky and they really are off putting, if not impossible to work around and candidates abandon the process. The off line process for in-house recruiters can be impossible to accomplish, because they often lack the support structure.

3) There is no one in the business to identify, ‘cold call’ or speak to the perfect candidates.

4) The business actually gets to speak to the perfect person and fails to ‘seduce’ them to join the business, for all the reasons the in-house recruiter I introduced above has so aptly written about. Again, no perfect candidate.

I speak from experience and have since then I have ALWAYS used recruiters. Why? First and foremost because it is more cost effective to do so, provided you pick the right one for you and your business – you will know them when you see them. They are not cheap because they know the value of their time and service. You and they know know what it means to the business to get hiring right.

A recruiter will always have a very different conversation with the candidate, and the hiring manager and HR person will speak very differently to the recruiter than the candidate. The good recruiter will manage the process for the business and ensure the communication is on-going and the candidate is well taken care of.

The recruiter acts almost as a translator, a mediator at times, making negotiations of any kind less personal and therefore more detached. This is especially important because starting a new employment relationship should always happen on a positive footing without the bitter taste of negotiations between the hiring business and the candidate.

My best relationships with recruiters were with those who knew my industry and could talk to me about other businesses within it. They wanted to know my business and understand what the perfect candidate should look like. I have learnt from the best (and the not so good). What I have taken away from this experience when I decided to become a recruiter myself is this:

Recruiting is Marketing, Sales and, believe it or not, Seduction. You must genuinely like people. No portal or network can do that just yet.

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