An Open Letter to Recruiters

October 14, 2013

Dear Recruiter,

I’ve seen you around.

I’ve seen you give that presentation to leadership. I’ve seen you give it again before anyone listens, and another three times before you get the green light and the funding. Yes I’ve seen your grit.

I’ve seen you in meetings with your hiring manager. I’ve seen you take a deep breath and smile when he asks for an engineer in North Dakota who knows 95 programming languages. I’ve seen you ask questions until you know his priorities cold. I’ve seen you point to data and say “Let’s try this instead.”

I’ve seen you thank your hiring manager for her role in winning that top candidate. I’ve seen you tell her that candidates find her smart. I’ve also seen you delicately advise that she could be friendlier in interviews. Or more punctual. Or more attentive. I’ve seen you tell her what she does and doesn’t want to hear because that’s what improves the candidate experience. And that’s what’s best for your company.

I’ve seen you reach out to that superstar candidate not because you have a role in mind, but because you want him in your pipeline.

I’ve seen you write that InMail that is so specific, it could only be for him. I’ve seen you describe an exciting project that’s perfect for him. I’ve seen you crack a joke. I’ve seen you laugh at yourself. Yes I’ve seen you break the ice with that personal touch of yours.

I’ve seen you call a candidate. Yes, I’ve seen you actually pick up a phone, dial a number, and speak. It isn’t cold. It’s strategic - you want to follow up on your LinkedIn conversation and deepen the relationship.

But I know - you’re not perfect. Sometimes you recycle generic job descriptions because you’re strapped for time. Sometimes you want to throw a phone at your hiring manager. Sometimes you put money into job boards because, well, that’s what you’ve always done.

It’s OK though. Give yourself a break. I know you are trying your best to make an impact. I know you want to perform well and get a little recognition along the way.

Maybe you came from an agency, or maybe you came from within your company, or maybe this is your first job out of school.  It doesn’t matter how you got here. What matters is that no one has the visibility that you have. No one works with - and cares for - candidates and hiring managers the way you do. You’re the glue.

I’m not sure if recruiting is what you expected. Maybe it’s too hard. Maybe it’s too boring. Maybe you thought that if your hiring volume increased, your budget would too. But it doesn’t, and you keep having to do more with less. And you do.

What I do know is that when you pull in that superstar candidate, it feels amazing. When this year’s survey shows employees are more satisfied, it feels amazing. When you tell your boss that you’ve reduced time-to-hire by X%, it feels amazing.

People may underestimate you. But you have the power to prove otherwise.

Pat yourself on the back, my friend. You’re doing a great job.

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