3 Common Misconceptions Recruiters Have

September 15, 2015

There’s a lot of rejection in recruiting. So much so, over time, even the most seasoned recruiter can start to make assumptions about what they can and can’t do. Unfortunately, once you start to recruit based on misconceptions, you also start to limit your effectiveness.

Here are three misconceptions you shouldn’t have when recruiting talent:

1. People at “hot” companies won’t leave.

It can be easy to assume candidates working for the hottest company in town won’t be interested in your opportunity. You’re thinking, “Why would they ever leave such an awesome company like ____?”

But, you’d be surprised how many people working at so-called top employers would like to leave. 88%+ of professionals surveyed at CAREERALISM said they’d like a new job. With a number that high, many of them must be working at those so-called “hot” employers. Don’t skip trying to contact talent at top companies - you never know who might be looking to make a change.

EXAMPLE: I once worked with a young man who was in marketing for the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The organization had just broken, “the curse of the Bambino,” and finally won the World Series after decades of not winning. He was ready to find a new job, but nobody would hire him! Each time he got an interview, they’d say in dis-belief, “Why would you want to leave the team now?” They just couldn’t believe he’d want to leave such a popular employer - especially, when they all knew someone who would kill for the job. It was sort of like a guy’s version of, “The Devil Wears Prada,” storyline. Needless to say, he finally found a recruiter who understood his desire to move on. But, he had been willing to move on a lot sooner if the right recruiter had reached out to him.

2. If the candidate doesn’t respond to my email, he or she isn’t interested.

Good candidates get contacted regularly by recruiters. While they may not respond to you initially, it doesn’t mean they aren’t evaluating your outreach to them. Being consistent and providing valuable information to help them assess the opportunity can give them what they need to finally agree to speak to you. Persistence pays off. Especially, when it’s done in a personalized fashion and offers real value to the candidate.

EXAMPLE: On a plane ride recently, I overheard a software developer say he gets contacted on average 17 times a week by recruiters. He said he dismisses most of them, but will occasionally take the meeting based on one of two factors:

  1. the career opportunity sounds like it could help him in the future.
  2. the recruiter contacts him several times, personalizing each email, and makes a sincere effort to speak to him.

He then went on to say that he liked building relationships with the good recruiters because every job is temporary and he wanted to be able to contact the best ones when he needed to find his next gig. He also said he had helped several friends get jobs by recommending them to the good recruiters too.

3. The only way to get candidates interested is to cold call them.

Similar to the example above, it can be easy to assume you need to get the candidate on the phone to sell them on the job and get them interested. That’s not true. You can actually do a lot of your initial selling by promoting your recruiter brand to them instead. The more information you can provide online, the better the chances you can shape their perception of you and your company and get them inspired to talk to you.

EXAMPLE: I worked with a company recently that needed to recruit a large number of candidates for a position that paid on the lower side. They tried reaching out to talent at companies in similar roles via phone with poor results. Many of the candidates were upset the employer was contacting them where they worked. This tactic used to work decades ago, but with the rise of social media, it’s now considered aggressive and creates a negative perception of your employer brand.

Instead, we worked together to create a series of short articles, videos, photos, and recruiter bios that could be shared via email and on social media, so the company could showcase their career opportunities to the desired talent pool and make their employer brand more visible online.

We then set up an email strategy for the recruiters so they could customize their outreach and connect with the talent on their terms. Within six weeks, we had increased the response rate to the recruiters by 200%, who were then able to tap into even more candidates via referrals from the candidates who were finally responding to them.

Tip: Consider the power of a fresh perspective

If your company’s recruiting efforts are struggling, seeking out new perspectives to help you look at the situation differently.

There are a few ways you can do this: Attend an industry event, like Talent Connect (I’ll be there! Here are six reasons why I’m attending), where you can hear from other recruiters about how they’re overcoming similar challenges. Or, work with your marketing team to re-evaluate your recruiter brand and employer brand so you can increase your online visibility and attract more candidates.

If that’s not enough, consider hiring an outside consultant to evaluate your strategy and see where you might be able to leverage more recruiting 2.0 techniques. Recruiting is in a major phase of evolution right now. [This article explains the major shift occurring in the industry.] If you aren’t regularly reviewing your process and looking to implement best practices, your ability to attract and retain the best talent will suffer.

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