NEW YORK - While surfing the web today, I rediscovered something that I wrote for the Fordyce Letter last summer. The Fordyce Letter is the Harvard Business Review of the recruiting business, and the publishers were running a contest called "The best recruiting lesson I ever learned."
My entry (below) won a year's subscription to the Fordyce Letter -- which goes for $189. Since my submission never appeared on this blog, I thought you readers might enjoy it.
The best recruiting lesson I ever learned ...
... is that the odds of my closing a search skyrocket when I get my candidates to help each other get the job.
Here's how I do it: At the beginning of a search, I assure my candidates that I will do every-ethical-thing in my power to help them get the job. HOWEVER: In good faith, they agree that if they get knocked out of the search, they will make themselves available by phone to discuss my client's interview process with all surviving candidates.
For example, imagine that I submit six highly-qualified candidates for the same VP of Marketing job. Usually, four will get knocked out before the two survivors get called in for final interviews. My method allows the final two candidates to have confidential, in-depth calls with the four "dead" candidates before going in for their final interviews. From what I hear, a ton of outstanding intel is traded among these executives.
- What's in it for the "dead" candidates? A great networking opportunity to help a colleague who's about to get a plum VP-level job at a company they respect.
- What's in it for the "live" candidates? Valuable intelligence.
- What's in it for me? Usually money -- and some very impressed VP-level candidates.
I still use this tactic every chance I get, and I'm surprised that other recruiters find this practice so foreign. It freaking works! Plus, you'd be amazed at how much camaraderie can be built up among sportsmanlike candidates who share a common goal -- especially when they belong to a tight-knit industrial community like online retail.
Thanks to Jason Davis and ERE.net for sponsoring this contest. I plan to renew my Fordyce subscription at full price when it expires next month.