Arrogant Recruiting Approaches No Longer Work, Says RecruitCon 2019 Keynote

In yesterday’s post, HR Daily Advisor Editor, Jim Davis sat down with RecruitCon 2019 keynote speaker, Jeff Hyman, to discuss the world of recruiting. Hyman touched upon key predictors to look for in an applicant and how the world of recruiting has changed.


Source: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images

Hyman is the Chief Talent Officer at Recruit Rockstars, an organization with a simple mission: no more bad hires! He is also author of the bestselling book Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find The Winners & Ignite Your Business. As Professor at Kellogg School of Management, he teaches an MBA course about recruiting. He is also the host of the 5-star-rated Strong Suit Podcast and weekly contributor to Forbes.
Jeff Hyman is the keynote speaker at RecruitCon 2019. Join Hyman for the opening keynote: The 10 Deadly Sins of Recruiting, which takes place May 8-10, 2019, in Austin, Texas. RecruitCon features workshops on May 8 , while the main conference will be held on May 9 and 10. Click here to learn more, or to register today!
In this second post, Davis and Hyman will discuss what is and isn’t working in the world of recruiting and more.
Davis: What do you think is working these days when it comes to recruiting?
Hyman: The basics still work—the basics of understanding what you’re looking for, which I know sounds obvious, but 90% of people don’t start with a very clear understanding of what they need in this candidate, in this position, at this particular point in time. Have the discipline to create a scorecard, which is not rocket science, to write a very compelling job invitation that appeals to people, that gets them engaged and open to having a conversation.
Most people are miserable in their job. Eighty-five percent of people are open to a call, receptive to a call, so the level of disengagement has never been higher. But most companies are just so awful at trying to engage them that candidates just say, “Ugh,” and they look the other way. So those fundamental, basic things still work, but a lot of people have lost sight of them or have tried to rely on technology to do them, and I don’t think it’s going to change.
Davis: I think you’ve covered this in bits and pieces already, but what doesn’t work?
Hyman: Well, a lot of companies still bring a very arrogant approach to the recruiting process. By that, I mean they still think they are the buyer. They still feel like, “This candidate should feel lucky that we have tapped him or her like God,” and say, “We want to talk with you about a position and come in for the interview.”
That arrogant approach doesn’t work anymore. It turns off candidates. They will go on Glassdoor and tell millions of other candidates, and pretty soon, you’ve got a problem because now, your arrogance and how you treat candidates—much like if you tried to build a business treating customers that way—don’t work.
So whether you’re a Google or whether you’re a five-person start-up, take a humble approach, and remember that at a 3.7% unemployment rate, you’re the seller, not the buyer. You need to educate people on why they should even have a conversation with you and why they should even spend time with you.
You need to dig your well before you’re thirsty and not try to hire people just in time. You need to get ahead of it months or quarters to build the pipeline of talent. Again, it’s not rocket science. I describe it as simple but not easy because it takes time. It takes making this a priority, which not everyone’s willing to do.
Davis: You know, I’m glad that you brought up Glassdoor because I feel like part of my job should just be yelling at our listeners and at our readers that Glassdoor exists; whether it’s employee motivation, whether it’s engagement, or whether it’s retention, that tool that we can all see affects every one of those.
If you’re not good at engaging or pay, someone’s going to say that. If you’re not paying people enough, someone’s going to say that. I know I look at it for our company, and I look at it for our competitors, and I look at it for companies that I have an interest in forming a relationship with. Do you have any other advice for people about Glassdoor?
Hyman: Well, there have been a lot of studies on Glassdoor and the voracity of the accuracy of the reviews, much like any other review site, whether it’s Amazon or Yelp, you name it. There was a huge expose in The Wall Street Journal just recently.
So the problem is that it’s not going away, and whether it’s Glassdoor or some other replacement for Glassdoor, the genie’s out of the bottle when it comes to how you treat your employees and how you treat your candidates.
So somehow, some way, you need to get the religion pretty fast that it’s going to become easier to recruit and hire rock star performers if you take this stuff seriously and treat them well, which, by the way, does not mean you need to pay top dollar because you don’t. You don’t need to be the highest-paying job in town.
On the other hand, if you treat candidates like crap, and you treat your employees like crap, you’ve got a real big problem. It’s like treating your customers like crap, and it’s going to downward spiral much faster than ever before.
So what I tell people is, “You may not like what you see on Glassdoor, but that’s what your candidates are seeing. It’s the first place they go, and so you better do something as opposed to just hoping it’s going to go away because hope is not a strategy.”
I’ve seen it make the difference. I mean, literally, I will talk to candidates who will not engage, will not come to the table, will not have a discussion with one of my clients just because the Glassdoor scores are low and maybe even unfairly low. It’s that impactful to people, and it’s just that they have infinite choices now.
Davis: That’s a great answer. Maybe you could give us some statistics to show why hiring matters.
Hyman: Oh my God, there are infinite. Well, probably the biggest and scariest is that 50% is the average hiring accuracy—50%, which basically means we could skip this whole process. We could skip the interviews. We could skip the reference checks and background checks. We could skip all this stuff, flip a coin, and have the same accuracy. That’s pathetic, right? What other part of your business would you be OK with 50% accuracy?
Best in class is 90%; you’re never going to get to 100%. This is not a perfect science, but the difference between 50% and 90% is a game-changer, right? That’s the difference between a world-class company that is a talent magnet—that has people lined up outside the door to come work there—and a revolving-door place that’s just going nowhere.
So that’s a huge statistic, and it’s important to look yourself in the mirror and say, “18 months later, are we happy we hired this person?” It doesn’t even matter, even if you haven’t parted ways with that individual, if your answer is not “Oh my God, I’m thrilled we hired her”; then it’s a no, right?
Most companies I talked to, I hate to say it, are not far off that average. I mean, maybe I’ll see 60%, 70% once in a while, but it’s usually, yeah, “We’re kind of 50%,” which stinks. That’s a key statistic.
Another key statistic is how long it takes. In a job market like this, you can’t afford for a search to take months or quarters. You need to be very clear on what it is you’re looking for. You need to have your pipeline built in advance before you need it. You need to be prepared to move swiftly and decisively when it comes to finding a candidate who you’re like, “This is the right person.” You’ve got to move; otherwise, they have five other offers within a couple of weeks. So there are a lot of statistics around speed and efficiency of the process.
Again, it doesn’t mean you have to pay the most … you just need to pay enough. Philosophically, I actually like to pay at the 75th to 85th percentile range—so paying above average but not paying top of market, right? There’s always someone who’s going to pay more than you. You have to pay enough, and candidates will be drawn to the other things that you offer, presuming you have other things you offer.
They understand that that last $5,000 or $10,000 is not the end all, be all. If you have other benefits, if you have other career paths, if you are able to offer them other challenges, scopes of responsibility, stretch projects, etc., they will, in some cases, take a lateral move, and sometimes even a reduction, to get their learning curve back up.
Davis: So that 50% statistic—I mean, I think everyone should be really concerned when they hear that, especially because the number one thing that everybody does is look at résumés and conduct background checks and do all that stuff. I always looked at those as … I mean, I, like every other person, have to engage in that same process because that’s just how people do things. But it’s almost like, can you make a perfect résumé test? Not, are you a good employee test?
Hyman: Yeah. Correct.
We’ll continue the conversation with Jeff Hyman in part three of this article series, stay tuned! Listen to the full episode, here.