upwardly me, hiring, career, engagement, job, recruit, social

Fundamentally Speaking…

by kc on August 9, 2013

in Musings on Marketplace Trends

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the hoopla of the newest Social Interaction App or Recruiting Program.  With all the advances in Technology it’s easy to fall in love with new possibilities.  Surely, a “holy grail” type solution for recruiting only the best talent for our openings is out there somewhere.  There has to be an App that can make the 30 odd steps of recruiting great new hires disappear…right?

For the last few years, pretty much that’s all I’ve been chasing after…voice of employee marketing, talent communities, digital recruiting events, unlocking a prospect’s motivation or assessing their capability and several others.  To be sure, we’ve crafted some pretty compelling solutions in these areas, but in the end what matters most hasn’t changed one bit.

Let’s face it, the main thing we’re all after is hiring people from the top end of the talent pool.  That’s it.

Certainly, there are jobs where we’re merely seeking a “cog” in the machine and not a “lever,” but even these roles need the best “cog” for the business to thrive.  Technology can seduce us into thinking that this can be achieved with 1’s and 0’s (I can attest to that), but to really isolate the top 10-20% from a talent perspective, the human element is ridiculously tough to replace.

The simple truth is that top performers on average don’t cruise job ads, won’t probably sign up for employment newsletters or blogs, usually don’t respond to LinkedIn InMail and probably isn’t considering a change in career venue.  This is NOT to say top performers aren’t looking for new roles – of course they are – there merely aren’t as many (it is only the Top 20% after all…).

There are a small handful of characteristics that can be plied to tally interest from the best talent, yet these are difficult to mine with a technical whiz bang recruiting tool (we’ve tried).  Mainly, high achieving people consistently look to improve themselves, they seek the most compelling challenges and by overcoming them – craft an upwardly progressing career (it’s where Upwardly Me comes from…).   Building trust and curating “professional conversations” between top performers and those who possess compelling challenges doesn’t happen without a strong dose of human interaction.

For critical roles where no trusted referrals exist, it’s difficult for any company to establish an unbiased connection with a top performer.  Selling jobs to top 20%-ers is usually a non-starter.  As much as we’d like to achieve this with technology, it takes human intervention to connect these types of dots. There’s a reason we hire fishing guides to help us land a coveted Marlin amongst schools of Barracuda.

With the critical nature of an opening, hiring the best isn’t a luxury – it’s a requirement.  If you’re lucky enough to be working with a recruiting firm that has the skill to communicate your needs to the talented top 10-20%, continuing the dialog with a “professional conversation” instead of the typical “gotcha” type interview can make a big difference.  Either way, the more human we can all be, the better chance we’ll have to catch the best fish ever – regardless of how fancy our fishing poles are…


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy Parks August 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Well said. We do live in a time where it’s tempting to believe we can do everything “cheaper, better, faster” given the right “new something — probably some form of app!”.

But you and I would probably be in “violent agreement” that at the end of the day, recruiting is a “contact sport”. And it’s the quality of that contact that gives each of us our ultimate competitive advantage.

Great sales people — and great recruiters — are able to create key “moments of truth and/or insight” for our clients and prospects. And to my knowledge, there’s no “app for that”. 🙂


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