Last week, I was sitting on The Talent Fix Book Club webcast with one of my recruiting managers, Zach Jensen, and Zach made the comment that great recruiters do something a bit different: they look at applications and resumes through “the eyes of the hiring manager.” It’s a brilliant piece of advice, but what does it mean!?
New, or lesser experienced, recruiters look at candidates like a checklist:
- Do they meet the minimum qualifications? Check.
- Can they work when we need them to work? Check.
- Will they fit the compensation band we have for the position? Check.
- Are they interested in our company? Check.
Get enough checks and you send this candidate over to the hiring manager.
The hiring manager receives this candidate and immediately looks at this person completely differently from the recruiter who was checking boxes. The hiring manager will look at the candidate and immediately think, can this person do the job I have, and do it well? Will this person fit into my team? Do I think I can manage this person? Will this person be challenged by my position, or will they be bored? Is this person better than me or someone on my team? Does this person make me/us better? Etc.
Great recruiters have enough of a relationship with their hiring managers that they are less concerned with checking boxes and more concerned about these questions in the hiring manager’s head. They want to have those answers. So when the hiring manager asks, “What do you think?” what they will respond with is not checked boxes, but strategic explanations that help the hiring manager make a decision.
It’s a transition we usually see happen around year 3 with our recruiters. Checking boxes isn’t all bad, it’s how we all start. The reality is we don’t know much, so we have to go on something. Some, though, never make the transition. They just think recruiting is about checking boxes.
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It’s the one reason I’m not concerned about “technology” taking my job, and why the best recruiters I speak with aren’t concerned either. In fact, they welcome it. Technology will eliminate box checkers. AI can check boxes faster and better than you or I. AI can’t get into the head of a hiring manager and know what she really needs for her team. I can. Zach can.
Great recruiting happens when you build relationships with your hiring managers where they trust you know what they are really looking for. How do you get that? Mostly time and consistency. Keep showing up. Show them you have some interest in helping them improve their talent. Be persistently annoying. Rinse. Repeat.