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September 05, 2002
Recruiting Attitude Is EVERYTHING
by Jeff Dahltorp, Director of Global Sales and Marketing

Have you looked at the stock market jumps lately? Wait…a better question may be how much have you looked at the stock market jumps lately. With the slowly improving economy but a very bearish market, everyone is looking at how the stocks are performing on a daily basis. That includes the great candidates you want to hire. These job seekers, whether they are active or passive, are paying attention to the stock and the press releases of publicly traded companies who are 'courting' them for an open position. If they don't like what they see, it will be much more difficult for you to convince them that your company, who just laid off 2,000 employees and whose earnings per share estimates fell short by 20%, is a great place to work and grow. The way to convince them and get the edge on your competition is by reinventing your Recruiting Attitude Habit (RAH).

As a recruiter, you spend a lot of time reviewing resumes, pre-screening applicants through on-line testing or predictive matching (or at least you should be), making the initial phone calls and conducting the subsequent face-to-face interviews to find and entice the perfect candidate. Suddenly, your company goes and lays off people in another division and your perfect candidate is now about to jump ship ­ to your competitor. Changing your paradigm or existing RAH can go a long way in having that candidate still look at your company as the perfect fit for their career.

So what is your RAH today and how do you change it? As a salesperson, and every recruiter is a salesperson, you are 'selling' your company to a candidate. But like many salespeople, you can easily get in a rut when promoting your company. You work there, you like the company and your job, you hear the words of wisdom and motivation from your senior executives every day. You have a very clear paradigm that has been developed over the years that allows you to see your company in a very specific way, but you don’t even realize it. When your RAH is not adjusted for the candidate, company, or market conditions, you run the risk of your best candidates hearing only one side of a story from stock market reports or industry press.

Recruiters like to promote all the things that make a company and job look really attractive ­ pay, vacations, vision statements, teamwork, positive atmosphere, etc. What happens is if those items are in direct conflict with what the public is seeing in a stock price dropping, accounting scandals, layoffs and more. The candidate will assume that you are telling them flat out lies. Changing your RAH is all about being honestly excited about your company and what it can offer to the candidate.

Think about what you tell a candidate in each of the steps you go through when recruiting. Are you telling every candidate the same stories, using the same form letters, and introducing them to the same people at your company during interviews or even skirting the issues that are in the external press? If you are, then you need to change your RAH, because it is coming out more like bla. Be honest with your candidates about what is occurring at your company, especially the negative. If you are going through a layoff at the same time you are hiring, explain why you are doing that and why it does not and will not affect the position that this person has applied for. If your company's stock is dropping, explain what the company is doing to make adjustments other than layoffs. If you don't know what the answers to those questions are, talk to your investor relations or corporate communications group about the specifics ­ or even better, have your candidate meet with someone from your investor relations department.

A great way to know if you need to recreate your RAH or not is to simply put yourself in your candidates shoes. Tape your conversations with your candidates and play them back afterwards. Do you believe what you were saying? Do you truly sound excited about the company? Did you really answer the candidate's questions? Also, have a friend outside of your company read the letters and emails that you send out to candidates. Do they like what they are reading? Does it make them want to come work for your company? How about your career section on your website. Are you adjusting the content online to reflect the company today or three months ago? Then there is the "prepping" the other people within the company that are involved in the interview process? Are you making sure that everyone is on the same page or is the candidate getting various messages that are confusing?

Ultimately you have to make sure that your RAH comes across loud, clear, distinguishable and full of enthusiasm. If it doesn't you are faced with your competitor's RAH coming across much stronger in the eyes of the candidate.

  About the Author
Jeff Dahltorp, Director of Global Sales and Marketing of IIRC
IIRC is the pioneer of Internet recruitment consulting. He has been called upon to provide expert media opinions for Forbes, Human Resource Executive,, Human Capital Solutions and The Wall Street Journal to name a few. His responsibilities include management of the consultative sales force, marketing, products and services, IT and web site relationships. He has over 10 years of business experience in the area of marketing, sales, consulting, product development and product management.

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