A Growing Trend for Better Hiring Means Better Recruiting

I think most people would agree that one of the most important things a company must do well to be successful is to hire the right talent.  A candidate's track record and credentials are, and always have been, key to spotting great talent.  However, attributes such as passion and potential have recently become the priority when hiring the right candidate.  This trend and shift in priorities has necessitated a shift in recruiting practices - one that involves spending time and energy getting to know candidates better than ever before.  Many recruiters know how to qualify and recruit for experience and credentials….now it’s time to infuse the critical elements of candidates making a life changing decision with the rather ambiguous challenge of how to identify passion and potential in our candidates for our clients.  

For me it starts right here at The Millard Group.  Except on a rare occasion, in our first 15 years, we purposely hired executive recruiters with zero search experience.  Why we do this is a topic for a future newsletter. But suffice it to say, it’s our own success and failure in hiring recruiters, here at TMG, that’s helped illuminate these ‘softer’ yet more critical attributes like potential and passion.  Here’s the common thread that exists in our most successful recruiters; they are determined, engaging, have insight, are very curious, are extremely motivated and are passionate about what they do for a living!  Interestingly, they also have passions in their personal life.  A passion ‘test’ that I use during an interview - I encourage candidates to describe something to me that they are passion about.  If they can’t get me interested or excited in that particular passion then they are most likely not the right match for The Millard Group.    

Now, shifting to outside The Millard Group, one thing that I find unique to the search profession is the opportunity and gift to be able to evaluate successful people and successful companies all day every day.  Conversely, we also get an up close and personal view of what failure looks like.   I have interviewed thousands of candidates since 1990 and I have seen even more resumes; they all appear to be the same on paper with similar credentials and experiences. But what truly separates leaders, future leaders, and A players alike are those attributes that cannot be conveyed in a resume– passion, engagement, insight, curiosity, and a high degree of motivation.  This is the job of a great recruiter, to discover the candidates that possess these qualities because people with these attributes know how to adjust, adapt and change.  Candidates with these attributes know how to grow and adapt into challenging new roles.  

For the past couple of decades, in my opinion, recruiters and hiring managers were successful at caveman recruiting or as I like to say ‘Unga Bunga Recruiting’ or ‘Me have opening, me go find person from competitor doing same job.’   However, in today’s market it’s harder than ever to locate, find, attract, hire and retain exceptional talent.   Whether it’s the rapid change in the world and/or workforce, from globalization, to baby-boomers leaving the work force; it’s harder and we all need to immensely respect that.  Like the steep inclines in the Tour De France, there are tough roads ahead which we need to ‘train’ for and it allows to us build better recruiting muscles.   One muscle group in desperate need of more development is matching.  By matching, I don’t mean job specs to resume; I literally mean connecting people to companies based on what both parties really need to be successful and most joyful at their very core. 

I believe TMG recruiters do a pretty good job at this already.  But it doesn’t mean that we can’t get better, we certainly can!  To do this successfully means a tremendous shift in focus.  A shift that involves moving away from self and focusing on other - the candidates.  We need to completely focus all energies on the candidate first and foremost.  We need to really get to know and understand the candidate fully; their goals, their personal and professional ‘story’, their fears/drivers, their history, their success and failure, their dreams and aspirations and their sense of rightness.   There is really only one way to learn about a person’s potential and passion and that’s by spending a lot of time on discovery which we do by asking great questions.  Modern technology used properly will help you identify talent from a credential and experience perspective, but through the art of real two way conversations which we better understand people.  And to better understand people is to understand their passions and their potential.   I couldn’t think of a better career than helping companies with one of their most important responsibilities – hiring.  And also being able to spend time in conversation identifying individuals’ potential and passions while assisting them with one of life’s most important career decisions.

By Craig Millard