Today’s guest blogger is Jim Lyons, JD, CPC of LHI Executive Search in the New York City area. LHI is an investigative executive search & research outsourcing firm covering the information technology, capital markets, private equity/venture capital, digital & social media, mobile, cloud, big data, and legal business sectors. Jim has been an NPAworldwide member since 2012 and is currently serving as the chairman of the Board of Directors. Below he discusses using the phone as a recruitment best practice.
In today’s talent short marketplace, there is an abundance of social media and AI recruitment tools that make it easy to identify top candidates. The problem is; it is easy for everyone to identify the same top talent.
The second issue is at the first point of candidate engagement. Typically, the first point of candidate engagement is posting the job. For many recruitment practitioners, posting and praying is all they do. In addition to posting, many outside recruiters will conduct aggressive outbound email, InMail and text message campaigns. Regrettably, the process of picking up the phone first and delivering a sense of urgency and intrigue around a position is a dwindling recruitment best practice. In fact, there are many recruiters new to the business who have only placed candidates who have responded to a job ad. Others will engage candidates who are looking to make a career change via social media first contact. Disappointingly, very few outside recruiters will conduct investigative research, identify and engage their clients’ direct competitors’ top talent as a first line of engagement. This is the theatre of executive search, the art of telephonic engagement, perhaps lost to the convenience of the social media.
I say disappointingly, because as recruiters the telephone should be our first line of engagement, our domain. Being proactive, picking up the phone first is what differentiates the outside recruitment professional from the client side internal recruiter. All of the AI and social media tools available to outside recruiters are available to inside recruitment teams. Thus, it is the telephone (for the most part) that is and should be the primary weapon of the outside recruiter. It is highly unlikely that an internal corporate recruiter is going to make a first round sourcing call into a direct competitor organization. So instead of “picking up the phone first,” and using it as the tip of the recruitment spear, too many outside recruiters lead with posting and social media, subordinating the telephone as a follow up response.
Of course, I don’t mean to marginalize all of the social media, AI and posting solutions that are in the marketplace. Many work well and are used by many successful recruitment and executive search professionals. So I guess if your process is not broken, don’t try to fix it. However, consider that your process may in fact be no different than your client’s internal recruitment function. In reality, you are in a race with your client in finding and submitting candidates. In today’s marketplace this may work because the competitive forces between internal and outside recruiter are not as acute; however the future may change this.
What to Consider Going Forward?
Outside recruitment and executive search professionals–pick up the phone and engage top talent. Be proactive, not reactive. We are referred to as headhunters; we are supposed to be disruptive! Remind your clients and prospective clients that you are an investigative recruitment professional. Yes, as part of your research function you have all of the AI and social media tools. More importantly, you are willing and ready to make the hard proactive direct sourcing telephone calls into direct competitor companies. So my friends—PICK UP THE PHONE!!!! It is still a recruitment best practice and the most effective tool in our business.
Always happy to chat about the recruitment marketplace or NPAworldwide.