Recruiting – The Basic

I love recruiting.  Most good recruiters really love it, which is probably why they are good at it.  Or maybe they love it because they are good at it.  Either way, I really love it.  In my new role I get to work with some junior recruiters and recruiting interns, which is an entirely new experience for me.  What I have learned so far working with these newbies is I have a lot o knowledge to share but I am missing the proper vessel to share.  It’s not that I don’t like sharing.  It’s not that I don’t want these folks to learn.  It’s that I get so wrapped up in the day to day of my own role I forget to give back.  It’s a shame really, because lots of folks shared with me in order to get me here today.  Anyways. I am committing to start writing a bit more as an effort to help me think more about sharing with the team, and to give them a resource (even if it is a shoddy one like this) to turn to for help.

I figured I would start with recruiting – the basic.  This isn’t a step by step process, this isn’t a series of questions to ask, and this for sure isn’t science.  This is what has worked for me, so I hope it helps.

Recruiting can be boiled down to one simple concept, relationship building.  The best recruiters are the best relationship builders, flat out.  If you can build relationships quickly, and genuinely, than you can be a great recruiter.  Good recruiters can check all the boxes, ask all the right questions, and find good matches.  Great recruiters build relationships that make the matches easier, that make the good times great, and the bad times bearable.  What we do is a roller coaster.   There is nothing better than the thrill of making an offer and having it accepted.  There is nothing more stinging than a candidate going dark or accepted a counter offer.  Relationships make both scenarios better.

If you want to know if you are a good relationship builder just ask your self when was the last time you got a high five.  Seriously.  Nothing exemplifies a great relationship better than a great high five.  If you’re not getting high fives, you’ve got some work to do!


Why Do So Many Unqualified People Apply? The Problem is That Crappy Job Description

This morning I had an interesting conversation with Steve Levy, @levyrecruits, about hiring athletes vs. position players and it got me thinking; why would an athlete be applicable to even be part of the conversation?  The answer: the job description.  Let’s be honest, most job descriptions suck.  As a job seeker you may not realize this, but they do.  Much like crappy resumes, most job descriptions include a summary, some bullet points, and some certifications that would be nice to have.   And just like the crappy resume, most people don’t see any problem with this.

The standard outline looks like this:

Reporting Relationship:  SVP of Whatever

Summary:  Blah Blah Blah


Bullet point

Bullet point

Bullet Point

Work Experience:

Bullet point

Bullet point

Bullet Point


Bullet point

Bullet Point


Have you ever seen a job description that looks like that?  The answer, unfortunately, is we all have all to many times.   While this seems like a good enough, standard enough format, this description is missing tons of important information, like:

What is the purpose of this position?

What are the goals/objectives for this position to be successful?

How are these goals measured?

What competencies do you need to meet these goals?

What will it take to be successful in this position?

If you don’t have this information before you accept a position, you are setting yourself for the possibility of failure.  If the company hiring you doesn’t know the answers to these questions, they are setting themselves AND you up to fail.  If your goals and objectives aren’t tied to the company’s goals in a measureable way, how in the world are you going to be graded?  How in the world will you know your true impact?  And how in the world will you know your true value?

Now, how does this tie back to unqualified people applying to jobs and what in the world do athlete’s vs. position players have to do with this rant?  Simple.

If an accountability for an open position is to is ensure sales growth, then tons of people might think, ”I can do that!”

What if instead, it looked something like this:

Goal: Year over year revenue growth of 20%, EBIDTA growth from 20M to 30M, and closing 15% of pitches.

Top Competencies to Achieve Goal: Communication, Negotiation, Cold Calling Fortune 500 Companies, Networking, etc.

Do you see the difference?  I might be able to ensure sales growth, but I sure as hell can’t commit to goals that large.  No way do I have the experience required when it is spelled out like that.  Many athletes can ensure sales growth, but business development position players can speak to their past goals as they relate to the goals of this job description.

It’s not the candidates’ fault they apply to positions they aren’t qualified for, it’s ours.  If we want to eliminate the multitude of candidates who apply to positions they are not qualified for we need to be sure we write descriptions that show them clearly how they will be measured, the competencies required to meet those measures.  Once we do that, watch them self-select OUT of ever applying.

Why I Love Recruiting – Mack Truck of Reality

I love recruiting for a ton of reasons.  When I first started thinking about this writing competition I thought about all the buzz words I was planning on using to impress the readers; strategically align, metrics, revenue generation, blah blah blah.  I was at lunch yesterday, and like a big Mack truck, the real reason I love recruiting hit me square between the eyes.

The scene: me, alone at subway, eating a sandwich, listening to talk radio on my iPhone, and catching up on all things Twitter.  I was the picture of a recruiter, sitting alone in the corner ignoring the world around me.  Pretty impressive, huh?

While tweeting furiously and trying to pick fights about how social recruiting is turning the recruiting business upside down (Which, by the way, I will argue to the death that it didn’t!), a lady walked up to me and said “Thank you”.  I didn’t actually hear her say it because I was in talk-radio land, but I read her lips clear as day she said it, thank you. I sat there, stunned, and took my ear buds out.

“Thanks for what?” I asked

Her answer, the Mack truck: “For getting me a job.” The person thanking me was actually someone who had just started the day before with our company., I felt like a schmuck for two reasons. First, I didn’t immediately recognize her because I was so deep in my own world. Second, she actually thought I had gotten her the job.  The times had taken a toll on her psyche. She was clearly ready to work for peanuts, desperate for an interview and willing to do what ever it took to get the job. She had been out of work since late last year, and had a previous stint of unemployment just before that. She was beaten down.  The one thing she forgot is that she is really good at what she does. 

I smiled at her and said “Jane(not her real name), you have it backwards. I didn’t get you this job. Sincerely, thank you for accepting a job with our company.  Thank you for sharing your talents and gifts with us, and thanks for making me look like a great recruiter.”  She was taken aback, but managed to eek out a smile while simultaneously trying to hold back a tear.

I can remember three separate times in my career now that I have had a similar situation. I can remember their names, their stories and the heavy hearts they carried with them to meet me. I can remember the job they got and the company they went to work for,and I can remember feeling like I had done something really good.

So Why I love recruiting? It’s simple. Every once in a while I get to do something really good with my talents.  I have gifts that no one else has; I am a blessed man.  I may not solve world hunger or end the deficit, but I have helped change the luck of at least three people. Those people, and those stories keep me grounded, keep me fighting and keep me looking at people, not resumes

Do We Really Want to Hire Rock Stars?

One of the interesting things I have taken special interest in recently is the usage, or often time’s mis-usage, of words in work place.  Have you ever googled the words talent and acquisition separately and then put the two definitions together?

“The act of acquiring or gaining possession of a persons special natural ability or aptitude.”  Kind of weird, right?  Doesn’t sound like a noble occupation, sounds like slavery.

I have being seeing the term “Rock Star” everywhere.  And I have to admit; I bought into it at first.  Go look at my LinkedIn profile; I think I may still be recruiting for Rock Stars.  But, with my new found obsession for words, their meanings, and the images and emotions they represent, I started to think about what a Rock Star really is.  Here are a couple definitions/images that I found with a quick trip to Google:

  1. Someone who is in a popular rock band. Some of these guys live the craziest life that exists.
  2. They tour around the world to play their music while getting worshiped by their fans. After the concert they f#$% a bunch of groupies and leave for the next gig while taking some drugs.
  3. Someone who doesn’t follow rules, they make their own. The go out of their way to be extraordinary,  different from everyone else.
  4. Keith Richards.

No offense to Keith Richards; but this is not a list of characteristics and traits I think I want to be recruiting for.  Can you imagine building a job description with this in mind?  I’ll give it a crack on a few requirements that might need to be included in hiring rock stars, regardless if it a rock star recruiter, developer, or whatever.


  1. 3-5 years living the craziest life that exists, please submit pics, stories, and eye witness accounts to substantiate all claims
  2. Ability to repeatedly fail a drug test
  3. Specific experience defying authority, refusing to follow the rules, and insubordination.  References required for proof.
  4. Inability to work within the defined cultural norms of the company
  5. Criminal record, nice to have (only misdemeanors’, drug/alcohol related charges, or missed child support payments will earn extra credit)

I get there are two sides to the definition and the image.  Do you want to risk confusing the two?  I think I am going to be editing some job descriptions, and my LinkedIn page ASAP.

Homage to the Electrical Outlet

Have you ever thought about where electricity comes from?  The idea came to me when I was staring at an electrical outlet while feeding my infant son at nap time.  I had never taken the time to slow down and notice the outlet.  Then I started thinking about how recruiters are much like electrical outlets.  Think about it.  We aren’t always noticed for what we do, but the connections we make light up the world.  We are on the front lines of business, but the people we bring to the business can make or break it.  Recruiters are the electrical outlets of the people and talent business, we are the connectors.

Many people can tell you who invented electricity and the light bulb, but I would wager most people do not know who invented the electrical outlet.  Harvey Hubbell, a man nearly forgotten in history, that’s who.  I would argue that Harvey’s invention is just as important as the light bulb because the electrical outlet made electricity available to the masses.  In fact, the outlet paved the way for electricity to be the most overlooked commodity of the modern era.  That’s right, the outlet.  Without Harvey, how do you plug in a tv?  Better yet without Harvey, what does the term “plug in” really mean?  How do you charge your iPAD? Think about it; the outlet powers your home.

People most often think about what is behind the outlet; the electricity, and what is in front of the outlet; the thing being powered.  It’s the magical connection of electricity to the thing being powered that is truly amazing, and truly simple.

What if you were to treat every day as if you are an outlet? What magical connections could you make come to life?  As a marketer you have the ability to take the mundane, the everyday, and bring it to life in a magical way.  No, you aren’t making TV’s, but you are making the connection between the TV and the consumer.  You make magic with your ideas, your words, your art.  Outlets seldom get the praise of a beautiful Christmas Tree, but the tree wouldn’t be lit without the outlet.

You have the power to be an outlet.  You have the power to bring electricity to an idea.  You have the power.  Cherish it.


Calling All Recruiters – Humaneness For the Under and Unemployed

A couple weeks ago I started attending a local jobs networking group at a church near my home in Frisco.  I am not sure why I felt compelled to show up, but I wanted to go see what it was all about.  I have to be honest, I think it was one of the best decisions I could have made for my own career.


It was weird, walking in to a room of people that are under or un-employed when not only do I have a job, I have a job helping other people get jobs.  The group didn’t make me feel out of place but I could tell they were suspicious about my attendance.  I represented the person who they were emailing, calling, linking into.  I also represented in many ways a lot of no’s, rejection emails, and unreturned phone calls.  Here are the reasons I think these meetings are going to prove to be a great thing for me personally and in my career.


  1. In talking to these people I was taken back to some of my earliest days as a TPR and why I was better than most of my competition; I cared.  I can remember the calls with the people who were desperate for work, the people who needed help, the people who needed a voice.  I can remember placing a guy who had been out of work for 2 years.  I can remember his wife crying when I called to give her the good news.  I can remember the pride on his face when we walked with him to his first day of work.  He still has that job, has been promoted once, and is still one of my best success stories in recruiting.  Do you remember your best success story?  I hope it was more than the biggest placement fee you earned or the best sale you made.
  2. Each of these people is more than the resume they use to represent themselves in their job searches.  They are people.  Each one is someones mom, dad, uncle, brother, friend, and neighbor.  Each of these people have mortgages, rent, car payments, and dinner to worry about.  Each of them is a person.  Have you lost site of who you are talking to on the other end of the phone?  Do you see resumes instead of faces?
  3. These people want to work, and not just because they want a paycheck.  Most of the folks in my group were really good at what they did, and that makes it that much harder on them.   I have met a call center manager, an aviation stress test engineer, an M/E with 33 years of experience, a controller, a senior buyer, and a strategic planner.  I have met a helpdesk engineer, a mechanic, a financial planner, collections specialist, and a programmer.  While their skills haven’t matched the jobs they have applied to recently, all of them are skilled.  Do you look for the skills in all the people you talk to?  Do you counsel the folks that might have an uphill battle or do you walk away?
  4. What if it were me?  What if I were sitting there as a job seeker?  I would feel lucky to have a network of people all sharing in an experience that an outsider like myself can’t fully understand.  I would feel blessed to have a group so committed to people “landing” their favorite times are donuts and saying goodbye to people that don’t need the meetings anymore.  This group is self moderated by volunteers who keep up to date with job boards, movers and shakers in the industry, and members of the group.  They schedule speakers, industry leading speakers in social media, resume writing, career coaching, and interviewing.  In fact, some them know LinkedIn better than I do!  

So what is my point?  Simple! Please take a step back and remember these are people we are talking to.  Human beings.  Maybe it was you some day, maybe it was a family member, or maybe it is your neighbor.  Not everyone we speak to is in this boat, but 10% of Americans, maybe more, are.  Do you take the time on that 10% to help or do you move on?  Many of you have a voice, an influence, the power to help.  You all are experts at getting people jobs.  Help people get jobs.  Take a chance on a resume you may have normally passed over and see what you find.  Share your knowledge with the people who need it.  You have he power to rebuild self esteem, you have the power to teach, you have the power to champion people, you have the power to be humane to people who need it.


If you want to help my group, please share your own tips, tricks, and best practices that I can give to them.  Share with them heart warming stories of success that can inspire them to keep going.  Share with them your own humaneness in a tough time.  Share them with a comment, share them with an email to me, or come to the group and present if you are in the DFW area.  Please share with my group, and share with your networks as well.