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A High Touch Idea for Reshaping the Entire Hiring Industry

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When everyone has the same recruiting tools, uses the same job boards and has access to the same candidates, everyone will get average results. That’s what happens when everyone uses a follow-the-leader talent strategy. I call this hiring’s Catch-22 based on the idea you won’t get in trouble by following rather than leading. The concept is fully described in the video.

For proof consider that despite all of the new high-tech hiring tools developed in the past 10-20 years, overall quality of hire has not improved. Under these conditions the drivers of which company will hire the strongest people will be based on the capability of the recruiters involved, the quality of the positions being offered and the quality of the hiring managers doing the hiring.

Understanding the importance of these high touch factors starts by understanding how the strongest candidates compare job offers and accept one over another. Specifically:

  • First, the best candidates accept jobs from hiring managers in their own image, not the other way around. For proof just ask the best people you know how important the hiring manager was as their reason for accepting or rejecting a job offer.
  • Two, the best candidates refuse to take ill-defined lateral transfers unless they come with dramatic pay increases. Unfortunately, this is why many good people get hired for jobs that turn out to be unsatisfying. For proof, just ask the best people you know if it’s the content of the job or the compensation that drives their daily performance, motivation and satisfaction.

So rather than offering better jobs and making their hiring managers fully responsible for the people they hire, companies continue to offer empty jobs, post skills-infested job descriptions and offer unnecessary salary premiums to entice the best people to accept their offers. Using this short-term approach to solve a long-term problem is counterproductive as new hires quickly become disenchanted when the actual work proves unsatisfying.

The core problem is that too many companies emphasize hiring active candidateswho are skills and experienced qualified using an impersonal high-tech process. This approach targets a very narrow segment of the entire total talent market, 5-15% at most. To attract the best people in the entire talent market you need a high touch approach.

The Strongest Candidates are Not Interested in Lateral Transfers

To attract the strongest candidates you first need to fully understand the workthat needs to be performed. The difference in what the person is now doing and what the new job offers represents the career move. An excessive pay increase becomes unnecessary when shifting to this type of performance qualifiedattraction and assessment process. The trade-off in compensation comes from increased growth, more impact, more satisfying work and faster learning. This is what esteemed Harvard Professor Todd Rose describes in his new best-selling book, The End of Average, as the key difference between hiring average people and hiring remarkable ones.

Top Candidates Need to be Recruited, Not Just Identified

Whether active or passive the strongest people need to be identified, attracted, assessed, wooed and nurtured. This requires a combination of aggressive networking and a targeted outbound marketing campaign to identify a small pool of highly qualified prospects. The tipping point in all this is overcoming their initial concerns and convincing them the job you’re offering provides a 30% non-monetary increase. As described below, this is what I consider a career move.

Creating the Career Move Requires a Consultative Recruiting Process

The short definition of a career move is a job that offers more satisfaction thanthe compensation. To prove this, recruiters and hiring managers in partnership need to convince the best candidates their job provides a 30% non-monetary increase. This is some combination of a bigger job, faster job growth, more impact and increased job satisfaction. This requires multiple meetings and interviews spread out over a week or two. This is how you ensure the candidate is both competent and motivated to do the actual work that needs to be done.

Make Sure You Have the Right Talent Strategy

A follow-the-leader strategy driven by more high-tech won’t improve quality of hire. Doing the wrong things more efficiently is the cause of the problem, not the solution. Reversing the trend starts by recognizing you can’t use a talent strategy designed to weed out the below average to attract and hire the above average. Surprisingly, spending more time with fewer candidates doesn’t take more time or cost more. It just takes better jobs, better recruiters, and better managers who are willing to invest the same amount of time doing the right things. This strategy emphasizes more high touch. It’s different, but you’ll soon discover what a difference it can make.