Advice For A New Recruiter

Had a guy reach out to me - he's looking at recruiting jobs, and asked for some advice. Here was my off the cuff thoughts. 

First  - check out the archives from, specifically 2005-2006. I talked a lot about staffing because that was my job at the time.


a) My Recruiter and Me. 

b) Do you know enough math to be a contract recruiter?

c) What to do when a candidate asks for more money after the offer.

Second -  Focus on your metrics.
1) Look at as many resumes as you can and keep count

2) Interview as many people as you can on the phone and keep count (never let a call go longer than 30 minutes
3) Interview as many people as you can in person. (never let it go over 30 minutes).
4) Make it a practice to make 100 phone calls a day.

 There is no substitute for pattern recognition in this business. Get it in early, and you'll understand recruiting faster than your peers. Being smart doesn't help. It's about repetition. 

Third - Buy a mirror and put it on your desk. As the phone rings, smile at it. An old secret but a good one.

Fourth - if is your plan to stay in this business, you have to proudly identify yourself as a recruiter and a salesperson. There are no extra points for being a good recruiter in a sea of bad ones. Understand your job is to make introductions, and try not to take it personally when clients and candidates lie to you. Over time, your successes will outweigh your failures. Never apologize for being a recruiter, and never apologize for other recruiters. That will suck the life out of you, and you'll start looking for exits. 


Express Personnel Presents "Small Business And The Courts" In St Louis

Our friend David Burlis, the owner of Express Personnel, is joining with Eagle Bank to present a small business learning session on the Missouri Plan, the selection of Supreme Court justices, and how that affects Missouri small business. 



The session is Friday, September 16th, from 7:30-9:00 a.m., at the Viking Conference Center in Sunset Hills. 

It includes three current Appeals court judges. 


Why Are You Going To Social Media Conferences?

Social media has taken the recruiting world by storm.  From a few tentative panels in the early days, to 70% of the content to full conferences just talking about social, the employment industry is embracing the use of social networks to find, attract, and retain employees.  

Training is a big growth industry, as is the growth in internal positions focusing on social media, but what does that mean for you, the recruiter or branch manager tasked with improving your social skill set, but not sure where to turn?  What conference should you go to, and what webinars should you join to learn what you need? 

The good news is that you're not alone, not just as recruiters, but in all industries.  Social is touching everything, and everyone is asking where they should hang out.  Where should they go?  Who should they pay?

Let's not start there.  Let's start instead with the real question - what do you want?  Do you want direction, or training?  Do you want tips and tricks, or do you want strategy?  Do you want to meet other people at the same level, or do you want to follow people further down the path then you?  Answering those questions helps you identify what you want from a conference.  Having those questions, ensures that no matter what conference you attend, you'll walk away smarter. 

Every conference I've followed, tracked, reported on, or spoken at has been beneficial to me.  Some have great content, some great connections, and some are just good for publicity.  And at each, there are people I could get that value from.  And yet, very few times, have I learned that much from the conference.   And neither have you. Look, you're only remembering a small portion of the conference if you're not writing it down.  And even then, you're not acting on most of it.  What you're doing is getting up the courage to start practicing on your own.  You're looking for assurances from other people that you're not wasting your time, and that something good waits for you at the social media tunnel. 

That's why conferences are getting more fun each year.  There are more people, with more successes, and the message is soldifying into actionable results.  How is that not exciting?  

So what's the advice here?  Stop worrying about where you're going, and do spend a lot of time planning how to get the most out of where you're going, whether it's a small meetup or one of the national conferences.  Here's four things to do. 

1) Make a list of people from your area going, and make sure you find a way to meet them. 

2) Look for the conference hashtags, and follow those people on Twitter. 

3) Every person who gives you a business card, send a LinkedIn invite the day they give it to you. 

4) Get people to take photos of you at the conference, and make sure they are tagged on Facebook.  These pictures will help you get publicity as someone interested in learning.  Hey folks, that's valuable.  It means you're a social person that is interesting, a very valuable personal career tool. 

Independence Day 2011: Freedom To, Not Freedom From

Today is not just July 4th.  It is Independence Day. 

It represents a leap forward in human progress, a period when a nation was born as an ideal.  Pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, giants strode among us, risking everything (and many losing it all) to give you the opportunity to live as free men and women. 

Today, you have the freedom to start a business.  You have the freedom to start a family.  You have the freedom to choose your friends, and to advance your prosperity through the application of your talents. You have the freedom to worship as you choose, in the open, without fear of reprisal.  You have the right to assemble and demand your representatives listen to you.  You have the right to say no when a government seeks to take away your firearms, or search you without consent, or even to quarter troops in your home. 

These are not freedoms given to you by a government or a benevolent dictator.  They are not granted by Supreme Court Justices or Acts of Congress and they are not guaranteed by police officers or soliders or corporate executives.

They are the inherent rights of free men, given to them by the Creator.


Whether you choose to exercise those rights, or whether you choose to hand them over to a self-absorbed elite in a far-off capitol is your choice.

These rights exist, but not in a vaccuum.  We created and continue to support a legal framework where the government can not infringe on these rights, no matter how much they deem it for our own good.  

Freedom.  It sure sounds great.  Are you ready for the responsibility? 

Yes, responsibility.  Freedom is the freedom to.... the freedom to do.  It is not the freedom from. 

There is no such thing as freedom from hunger. 

There is no such thing as freedom from unemployment

There is no such thing as freedom from fear.

There is no such thing as freedom from disease.

There is no such thing as freedom from want. 


Today is no different than any other.  Each day is a struggle to survive, and an opportunity to build a better world for our progeny.  No politician has ever been able to provide this for us, and no politician will.  There is only freedom, and the illusion of freedom. 

Make today your day of Independence.  





Down At SXSW: Recruiter Report

I spent five days at SXSWi last week, hanging out with recruiters and staffing types curious about the old and new ways of leveraging technology to hire.

It would be a shame not to mention #TNL (Talent Net Live) Craig Fisher's recruiting unconference that kicked off the trip, as it got me thinking about recruiting uses from geo-location to databases.  He shared a google search that was crazy the other day.  A search on Foursquare check-ins at corporate headquarters to determine which users were on the service, and where you might meet them or contact them. 

It's serious high-level stuff, and something you should be reading about.

Monster also had an interesting presence, with a large board proclaiming "Find a manager who will let you expense SXSW."  This, along with the Hiring Hub, gave SXSW attendees the ability to be recruited live and onsite by companies looking to hire.  Sure, it's a little underhanded to recruit employees from employers who paid to send those employees to SXSW, but the pitch is an effective one.  You can't keep your employees from attending local events, and what if recruiters started attending, offering a similar technology that allowed people to confidentially interview?  More on that later.

Now, I'm a Sendouts user, but I saw TempWorks there, and it was curious to see a recruiting technology firm that wanted to see the latest and greatest.  In fact, if nothing else, seeing which companies sent people was a checkmark on how seriously they take innovation.  It's not that sending someone to SXSWi makes you innovate, it's that anyone who goes is willing to invest a substantial amount of money and time to see what they can take from the interactive world and apply to recruiting. 

Some very big companies were there talking about their employment strategies, and the danger for recruiters is just how cutting edge they are.  From building talent communities, to applying graphical interfaces to social network analysis, to mobile resume farms, the ideas were truly groundbreaking.  For a long time, individual recruiters led the way in social media.  Today, it is big companies with big budgets that are leading the way in adoption, and I'm not just talking about LinkedIn.

It's never been my thing to talk about the death of recruiting as an industry, if for no other reason, the the structural mechanics of a staffing firm provide a difference maker to corporate HR.  And while SHRM and others are taking strides, the vast majority of HR is already overburdened and can't take on new tasks.

With that said...What is coming... is a rude awakening to firms that work with big companies who are more advanced in candidate selection and engagement.  It's long been a headhunter trope that we're better than internal divisions because we have to work harder for our money and are rewarded by success.  It's going to be quite a psychic shock when internal recruiters generate better results by working smarter. 

Seven years ago, I started blogging about recruiting.  Not long after, I hooked up with Jason and Animal and Anthony on  While we were alternately praised and attacked for looking at the future of recruiting, it's clear that the change coming was a big one.  For those who were at SXSW, what they saw was not some new breakout technology, but instead the interconnected world of the future, where massives amount of information were translated instantly among huge populations, inside and outside the conference.

Welcome to the new world.



Peter Weddle Owes A Lot Of People Apologies

Peter Weddle takes a swipe at recruiter trainers who dare to teach social media yesterday at his Workstrong column.  Actually it's more than a swipe - he calls it a recruiting SCAM.  Now I'm not sure what exactly would cause someone to post SCAM in capital letters, especially on a blog (which is social media), but Peter's intention is clear - he's calling social media trainers out as snake oil salesman.

I've never met Peter, and hold no grudge against him.  I do know he's a big name in the industry, and am the first to say that there are a lot of people in the social media world who jumped on the bandwagon.  Some have proven themselves, some haven't, but the methods for social media recruiting work, both for the candidate, and for the recruiter.  So what compelled Peter to say it's a SCAM?

I would like to note that he doesn't call anyone out by name.  He instead lumps everyone involved as part of the SCAM, which would include names like Shally Steckerl, Glenn Gutmacher, Kennedy Information, Hireability, ERE, Mark Berger, Jason Alba, Jim Stroud, Paul DeBettignies, Michael Marlatt, and me, the Social Media Headhunter.  In one small column, he calls us all frauds.  His proof is a series of surveys taken on the expectations of job-seekers, which he then confuses with the hunting approach of recruiters.  I'm not sure how training recruiters to use social media sites to find candidates translates to candidate expectations, but Peter doesn't bother to make that clear.

Now I posted a comment on his site, but it has yet to be approved.  We'll see what he says, but let me show you the most egregious passages of his column.

"There is a great SCAM being perpetrated in the recruiting profession today. Call it “social capabilities ahead of the market.”"

  "Successful recruiting depends upon our ability to tap the talent market efficiently, and social media sites can’t do that because most people use them in a different context. These sites are popular because they are viewed as helpful in finding a date and keeping up with friends, but not, at this point at least, in connecting with employers and recruiters. In other words, the social market has not yet become a talent market … and no amount of expert hyperbole will change that fact."

He's wrong about that. His second statement doesn't take into account LinkedIn, Plaxo, or even of the successful uses of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace by recruiters.  It ignores the possibility of setting expectations with candidates (which is what I train on).  Jobseekers are on these sites.  It's a great place to reach them.  It's no different than striking up a conversation with a person at a Starbucks, and then converting them into a candidate when you find out they are the right fit. They didn't go to Starbucks to get recruited, but they don't mind if you approach them correctly (They also don't have their resume posted to their chest at Starbucks, unlike on social networks). 

The basis of his statements are two non-scientific surveys - one by a entry-level and job intern site called AfterCollege, and the other from his own respondents.  The first problem is selection bias in these sample populations.  The populations on AfterCollege (no links provided) and at Weddle's site are a tiny subset of the job-seeking population who are looking for help in their job search.  How can people who haven't been successful finding a job be expected to think of social media as a way to solve that problem? They can't.  To make it worse, Weddle makes the mistake of thinking Millennials are social media experts in job seeking, which is impossible as they aren't experts in job-seeking.  The second is methodology, as questions in online surveys are suspect data points (people tend to pick the first answer).  How were the questions asked?  Was there a control group?  How does this group compare against others in surveys?  

I can cherry pick sample data as well.  Jeremiah Owyang, a researcher for Forrester, compiled a survey from his respondents on job-seeking strategies.  The number one result was increase social networking.  It's a bad sample, because it's a group of people heavily involved in social media, but it has more validity than Weddle's survey examples.  Heavy users of social media report that the best way to find a job is to use more social media.  This would suggest that if you put the time and effort into social media, it can help you find a job.  It doesn't say that with hard data points, but it's at least as valid as the survey Peter uses.  You don't find us claiming his Career portal is a scam.  If I did a survey of my readers, and only 1% of them said they planned to buy Peter's book, does that mean his book is worthless?  Of course not.  It could mean that the other 99% need to buy his book to be better prepared.

This lack of scientific data doesn't stop Weddle from twice calling all social media training a SCAM.  It's unconscionable, and we all deserve an apology.  That someone so widely read and so widely admired would descend to character assassination of people he doesn't know is a shame.  That he writes such a column when the very people he attacks are linkedon his website is even worse.  This column might have been hastily written, but it's no excuse.

The beauty of social media is if you're willing to apologize, you can, and you'll be forgiven.  He needs to apologize.  This could have been an decent discussion topic on the best uses of time, or most effective uses of time.  Instead, it's a hit job, from a leading industry voice.

Peter should remember that newspapers said the same things about blogs not too long ago.  Instead of calling us scammers, perhaps he ought to try to learn what we know that he hasn't yet grasped.     

Recruiting Trivia Show

I'm launching a recruiting trivia show, and I want you to be the star.  Starting next week - next Friday probably, we'll be doing a twice monthly show for recruiters and those in online employment.  The show lasts 30 minutes, and will run 11:30-12:00 CST.  

I think recruiters are smart outside of business, and I want to prove it.  So we're going to take the format from Battle of the Halfwits on the Dave Glover show, and make it our own little Recruiting Trivia show.

It works like this - 3 or 4 recruiters will join me on air at BlogTalkRadio, with one judge. I'll introduce everyone, and then launch into three rounds of questions.

Round 1:  Quickfire - Lots of questions in different categories, points vary by difficulty.
Round 2: Referral - questions are a little more difficult, and if you don't know the answer, you can "refer" the question to an opponent.  If they miss it, you get the points, if they get it, they get the points and you lose the points.
Round 3: Wild Card - there can be daily doubles, massive point totals, or creative requests

The winner at the end of three rounds gets to "gift" one of my training DVD's to anyone in the US or Canada.

I have several people lined up, but want to throw it out to the rest of you.  I don't want this to be just people I know.  There is a catch.

These questions can be hard.  We'll have questions on recruiting knowledge, and recruiting pop culture, but we'll also be tackling science, geography, math, history, politics, music, and pop culture.  We're going to test how much you know, so bring your A-Game.

To be considered, leave a comment, email me, Tweet me, or contact me some other way, and we'll get you on the show.

Fistful of Talent Television

Kris Dunn, whose family hails from where part of my family hails in upstate Missouri, had a new idea.  He wanted to take his group blog, FistfulofTalent, and turn it into something a bit more, exciting.  With the approval of his dark-robed masters at Workforce, he has decided to go Hollywood.

Shudder if you will at the thought of more video on the web, but it's better than anything on so-called Primetime Television.  Animal has a radio show, why can't Kris be the next recruiting Oprah?  I've been honest about my thoughts about FoT.  I think they're the new torchbearers of a reborn ( is the new  They have fun over there, and they educate, and you should check them out.   

FOTv - Show #1 from Fistful of Talent on Vimeo.

-If he can come up with a large enough fee to pay for a SAG membership and some fresh flowers for my dressing room, he might be able to entice me to join. 

Top Recruiters On Twitter

Jim Stroud posts a list of the Top Recruiters on Twitter from TwitterGrader.   I'm Number 2 on the list.

What does it mean?   A couple things. First - recruiter is in my profile settings.  I'm graded highly in Twitter Grader for followers/following numbers, frequency of Tweets, RT's, replies... 

What doesn't it mean?  That I'm a "Top" Recruiter on Twitter.  It means I'm a Top "Recruiter" on Twitter.

There's been a lot of chatter in the last month (more than average) on how social media is a big waste of time  I'm used to hearing that in newspaper columns and from people not in the space, but quite a few comments have started coming from those actually inside the applications. How weird is that?  If you're complaining about social media from within a social media community, chances are you're not getting any value for your time. 

The biggest question is always one of competitive value.  Is time spent inside social media of more value than that spent on the phone or other "traditional recruiting" processes.  Detractors say social media is bunk, because they see people wasting time in social media.  That's a fair cop, but it's not a very bright one.

Continue reading "Top Recruiters On Twitter" »

I'm So Sick Of Gen Y Cheerleading

Take this Cheezhead writer who just finished his third RockStar.  He prattles on about being challenged and claims that Gen Y can get a full day's work done in four hours.  1) - The actual useful work they knock out is about 30 minutes, as their inability to pay attention prevents them from actually, you know, working.

And there's another problem. Children who think an 8 hour job can be done in 4 hours usually don't understand the job.

It's like when my wife wants me to clean.  She takes hours to clean. I take 10 minutes, and it's good enough so I can go back to playing on the computer.

Of course, this doesn't work with bosses, which is why the older generation has learned to take the full eight hours.  Much like taking a full hour to clean the kitchen very slowly gets me off the hook with the wife, Gen Y should learn what happens when they go to fast.  They're yelled at for being lazy.  If they happen to be correct, and can get the job done, they're fired and rehired as contractors to do the work in just four hours.  Why do you think you don't see road workers running on the job?

Seriously - this Gen Y is so awesome stuff is really getting old.  I see a lot of people with no real world experience and no financial responsibility cruising their jobs complaining about not being challenged. 

It's nonsense.  Gen Y doctors and engineers and teachers and factory workers and loggers and burger flippers aren't getting work done any faster.  A small subset of white, college degree urban rich kids with  marketing, PR, and other service jobs are chafing that they aren't respected.  Of course, those professions are also the ones where lack of experience leads to lack of results.  Show me a 23 year old  marketing consultant who can effectively manage an email marketing campaign for a national car dealer and I'll eat my MacBook.  Those industries are under heavy spending pressure, and thankfully, this nonsense will go away as they are laid off and have to take jobs that aren't challenging but at least pay the rent. 

If you don't like your job, quit and start your own business.  The workload will make you too busy and tired to whine, but at least you'll find out if you really have what it takes.