“With great power comes great responsibility”
In the movie “Spiderman”, Uncle Ben gives Peter Parker (Spiderman) this sound advice. While he was not aware Peter Parker was indeed Spiderman, Peter learns a valuable lesson from this quote – that while these powers are an amazing gift they also now come with an obligation to use them for the greater good of the world. Recruiters too have been blessed with new powers over the past several years. They have been turned into marketers, sales people and brand ambassadors of the organizations they work for. No longer are they just “filling requisitions” but now they are asked to carry much broader roles with expanded responsibilities. Alas – it appears a good number of us should be heeding Uncle Ben’s sound advice.
Yes – we now must be savvy marketers. But just because this has been thrust upon you doesn’t mean that the suit fits. As a reference to a great TV show from my youth, most recruiters are using these powers more like Ralph Hinkley from “The Greatest American Hero” rather than Spiderman. You have these responsibilities now, but damn if we now how to use them. Let’s just wing it! The problem with this approach is that in employment branding more harm than good can be done without the right and thoughtful approach. Example – I have seen numerous recruiters posting “blogs” that are nothing but job advertisements. Spam. The super suit handbook would tell you that is not what the medium is meant for. Another example – the robotic, spam-like posting of jobs with verbiage like “Now accepting applications” and “I’m Hiring!” or even worse – no trace of human element at all. On top of that – re-posting the same said post EVERY DAY in people’s social feeds. I could go on and on. The heart is in the right place, but the execution is all wrong. There is hope though. As Ralph started using the suit more and more in “The Greatest American Hero”, he started to get better with these powers. So too can all of us – but the key is to know when something doesn’t work. Recruiters have gotten a bad rap in a lot of spaces in the business world – just google “a recruiter is” and you’ll see what I mean – and giving a megaphone (social media, blogs, etc.) to this type of behavior only perpetuate a lot of the negative stereotypes out there. We can do better!
On the sales side, recruiters will always have this as part of their job description. We are selling a company, a job and a career. Hugely important and impactful stuff to anyone. However, there is a fine line between the “boiler room” approach and that of a finely tuned salesperson. All too often I hear the horror stories of pushy recruiters trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Being too aggressive and not doing your homework is not the way to endear yourself to passive candidates. Take the time to hone a well-crafted and thoughtful approach. Listen to your candidates – don’t talk over them with your agenda. Yes – there will be less volume, but the results will be much greater. When searching LinkedIn, don’t mass inmail everyone who lists “java” on their resume when you are looking for a java developer. Likely more than half of those you inmail will not even be developers at all. Use your powers to take the time to actually read and understand their profiles and craft meaningful approaches that speak to their experiences and how they could potentially help solve the problems at your organizations. Also – with reference to the marketing piece, be thoughtful and creative to stand out to your audience. These candidates are getting tons of generic recruiter inmails – if you don’t do this you will end up in the dreaded “delete” or “mark as spam” folders. Or even worse, have LinkedIn create a whole new inmail policy because of this behavior (true story). In superhero jargon, they used their kryptonite on you and will render your efforts useless.
There is a TON of great stuff I see daily that recruiters are doing with their newfound superpowers. Unfortunately, the “not so good”(and I am being kind here) stuff is still happening a ton. Let’s focus and be thoughtful as a group to fix this. Then we can truly form an industry of superheroes that would rival any team DC or Marvel can put out there.