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I recently had a conversation with a close contact of mine that is considering entering the world of recruiting. I am so happy and excited for him and the opportunities that await. Recruiting can be enormously rewarding work. I’ve played a role (however small) in professionals finding their passion, escaping jobs where they were under utilized or under appreciated, relocating to an area where they met their spouse and started a family. I’ve also contributed to the strategic and thoughtful growth of so many organizations; expanding their network, growing the bottom line, refining their processes, introducing talent that has helped them to see a new way of doing things when the old ways weren’t working. It’s exhilarating, it’s exciting, it’s fast-paced and it’s important work.

But in this conversation, I also had to dish out a healthy dose of reality. Helping candidates to find jobs is only about 50% of recruiting. There is a lot more going on than meets the eye, and some of that work is downright hard and thankless.

So, let’s explore that other 50%. After all, it’s important to have the full picture and go into any new change with eyes wide open, right? If you are considering recruiting, it will be helpful for you to get this full view; if you are in recruiting, you will relate well to this post; and if you are planning on hiring or engaging with a recruiter any time soon, let this post be a guide on what to do (and what not to do) to ensure success while working with a recruiter. (And please also reference two other previous posts on this subject:  Working with Recruiters: For Companies and Working with Recruiters: 3 More Tips for Companies).

Managing the (Hiring) Manager

Working with the hiring manager can be a super fun experience. I’ve worked with some amazing hiring managers who are really engaged in the process. They think carefully about what they need, they define the role clearly and share a lot of examples of how a new employee can be successful, they are thoughtful about the questions they ask in an interview and they are thoughtful about the decision they make to add someone to the team. When you get one of these hiring managers, it’s so fun and so incredibly gratifying to be a recruiter.

When you don’t get one of these hiring managers, your job can be one of the most difficult jobs out there. You end up playing detective to understand what the hiring manager wants to see in candidates, to get feedback about a candidate’s fit for the role, to get feedback following interviews; it starts to feel like you’re chasing your own tail. And the process can drag on and on and on in these scenarios. You can see candidates that you were super jazzed about give up and bow out of the running, or take another job.

And unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to influence this part of the recruiting process. Many hiring managers are over extended, not great at managing their time or priorities, or simply uninformed about the recruiting and hiring process and their part in it. You can help to manage them by setting expectations early on. Things like holding an intake meeting to ask all of the pertinent questions about the role and define the ideal candidate, scheduling regularly occurring status/feedback meetings (and holding them to it), and putting together tools like an applicant tracking log and candidate evaluation forms are ways that you can keep the hiring manager on task and focused during the process.

Project Management

There are a lot of moving parts in recruiting. From getting your hands on the job description (or even creating one yourself) to settling on a start date, you will find that many days are much more project management and much less hiring strategy focused.

Let’s take the interview process for example; typically companies want candidates to interview with multiple team members. Recruiters need to be able to coordinate multiple schedules within multiplie timeframes. Things like where the interview will take place (you may need to reserve a conference room) and ensuring that the candidate is on time and prepared often fall on your shoulders. And if after all of this, the candidate is actually available for the time that you’ve worked so tirelessly to identify and plan, then hallelujah!

My background is in administrative assistance, so I am no stranger to scheduling and logistics. If you are considering a role in recruiting, consider how much of your time will be spent reviewing calendars and sending invites, printing out resumes and candidate profiles, tracking down hiring team participants to confirm their availability, setting up the conference room with water bottles and presentation equipment…the list goes on and on. It’s not glamorous, but someone has to do it. And that “someone” will oftentimes be you.


Company Culture Strategist / Champion

This is perhaps the hottest of the hot button issues affecting recruiting. Who wants to work for a terrible company? No one. That’s who.

So ensuring that your company (or your client’s company) is focused on providing a happy and thriving culture for its employees is paramount to what you do. Candidates will do their research, they will ask questions, they will pick up on nuances that will tell them whether or not they will be happy in this new company. And the chances of them moving forward when things don’t seem great in the office are slim to none. I talk about this in Candidates Are Customers.

You have to be the strategist. You need to be constantly evaluating the organization from an outsider’s perspective. What programs, perks, communication tools, other, can you implement to build the culture and make it a place where people will want to work?

There’s also the question of how you will get the culture message out there. And if you’re “not a marketer” or “don’t do marketing” you should probably hang up the towel right now. Of the other 50% of recruiting, I would say at least 50% is marketing. And branding and writing and sharing and messaging and knowing your target and knowing your audience and… SHEESH! It’s a lot to juggle, isn’t it?!

But I know you can do it. If you’re committed to your candidates and you’re committed to success for your company / client, the pieces of the puzzle will come together. You’ll be tired, but oh so gratified. Best of luck!!


It’s important to note, as we wrap up 2017, that we’ve given this post and these challenges countless hours of energy, thought and consideration over the years. As we move into 2018, our own strategy will change a bit. We will be evaluating potential clients on employment messaging, brand visibility, company culture and hiring manager engagement to determine if they are a good fit for the way we execute the recruiting process. Schedule a 30-minute call if you’d like to discuss partnering in 2018!