Author Archives: Erica Leone

The Art of Recruiting

By: Erica Leone, VP of Recruiting, Enterprise Staffing

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Marrying Science with Art in Recruiting

If you think of the science of recruiting as driven by technology; the art of recruiting is governed by intellect and insight. Tremendous progress has been made in the past two decades to advance the science of recruiting, transforming recruiting from slow, unwieldy and fairly subjective into a highly efficient and process-driven approach to building a better workforce. With technology liberating employers from so many time-consuming transactional activities in job search and placement, there is now greater freedom to concentrate on refining the art of recruiting. That’s a good place for staffing industry professionals to focus their efforts, as all of that scientific progress and productivity has generated a lot of expectations that are not as easily transformed or met by technology alone.

How Technology Transforms
In a fairly short span of years, technology has allowed us to shift candidate sourcing from the Rolodex to the job board and the Automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Paper records—from requisitions to resumes—have gone digital. VMS technology has automated and streamlined the entire req-to-check process of talent sourcing. Innovations such as digital video interviewing, online skills and behavioral assessments, automated candidate schedulers and e-file on-boarding processes have all contributed to a more disciplined and accelerated process. These are just a few examples of how recruiting has changed since the mid-‘90s. All these “scientific” advances have boosted efficiency, generated tremendous productivity and accelerated cycle times. These are all good things – but only part of the equation.

The Artistic Side of the Recruitment Equation
Whereas science is explained in absolutes of yes/no, positive/negative, true/false – art is less precise. It deals with shadings and nuances. The art of recruiting is the application of knowledge based on experience and insight regarding the nature of the work, the skills, and expectations of both the candidate and the client. While artists apply subtle variations of light, shadow and color to create a portrait, recruiters approach the talent search with an understanding of the market and industry, job expectations, the economics of supply and demand, workforce trends, candidate aspirations and more. They deliver an experience to candidates and clients, albeit one made easier by technology but not displaced by technology. Recruiters are the artists who transform a series of transactional steps into a rewarding experience.

Meeting Changing Expectations
Technology is a powerful tool, but it cannot substitute for the experience and knowledge that recruiters apply to successfully match the best-fitting job candidate to the right employer. Along with all the good that technology has brought to the recruiting and staffing industry, it has also heightened the expectations of both candidates and employers for a better experience and better results. Recruiters hold the key to delivering those experiences. A successful job placement is like a good marriage. It brings together two parties with needs and expectations that are often at different ends of the spectrum. The recruiter’s job is to create mutual understanding of those needs and adjust expectations to match the realities of the marketplace.

A Case in Point
A client wants a Java developer with 10 years of experience at a price point that reflects the starting salary of the last Java developer that the employer hired in 2005. This might signal a protracted and frustrating search. However, even the most inventive and diligent search of the market will not likely find a suitable match. Keep in mind that job market trends are not something the client has to think about on a daily basis. His focus is on getting the work done. So, rather than set up the hiring manager for disappointment, it is the recruiter’s job to help that client be a better informed purchaser of high-demand skills. She/he might share research on market trends so that the hiring manager understands what is available and at what price. She/he might brainstorm with the client about opportunities to reconfigure tasks and deliverables so that a different type of candidate might make a better fit. Or they might propose a candidate who has less experience than originally requested but a resume that shows quick adaptability to new situations. The eventual placement may be quite different than initial expectations but if it is the right fit, then the experience is a positive one.

Making a Good Marriage
The science of recruiting drives efficiency. The art of recruiting drives satisfaction. Together, these two can increase quality and help recruiters respond more effectively to the demands of their clients and candidates. They allow them to deliver a positive experience based on knowledge and insights that ensure realistic expectations for all parties.