Old recruiting habits slowing you down?

Sep 09, 2016

Demanding a resume is a good way to scare off potential hires, but your chances improve if you pick up the phone and sell your firm.

One of the biggest challenges facing the AEC industry is old interviewing habits. As a recruiter working in this industry we see it all, and one of the biggest mistakes is the importance that hiring managers place on seeing a resume. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I just need to see a resume.” It’s an age-old refrain from a bygone era – before LinkedIn and online recruiting changed the game. It’s one of the most frustrating aspects that my recruiting team faces.

As recruiters, we take the time to learn about the candidate and create an informative profile that we present to our client. This candidate profile covers the basic information that any hiring manager would need to determine if someone is suitable to work at their firm. Sometimes we get so much information that the only thing missing is the candidate’s blood type. While I may be exaggerating a little, I think you get the idea. If you are a hiring manager and you are one of those people who always needs to see a resume, you should worry about the future of recruiting. I don’t believe you will be able to keep up over time with the change in technology and procedures.

Here are three things you can start doing to make sure you don’t get left in the recruiting past:

  1. When a recruiter sends you a candidate that looks or sounds good to you, ask them to arrange a phone call with the candidate ASAP. Time is of the essence in the AEC industry, and if a good recruiter finds a potential candidate, you may not have a large window of opportunity. I always tell my clients that it doesn’t cost anything to have a 15- to 30-minute phone conversation with someone who may be a fit for their organization. Requiring a resume before you talk to someone can hurt you in the long run.
  2. Please consider where the candidate’s mindset is. A person who is not actively looking for a job may be more inclined to have a conversation with a hiring manager. In their mind, it’s not a major commitment, and it may be worth checking out the competition up close and personal. As a hiring manager, you must use this rationale to your advantage. If you start making candidates, or potential candidates, jump through too many hurdles, you will lose them.
  3. You have to “Sell the Sh#&” out of your firm. Don’t sit back and make the candidate do all the talking. Yes, of course, you want to hear about them and their background and expertise, but you also want to make the candidate aware of why your firm is the best place in town to work. Asking a candidate who’s not actively looking why they want to leave their firm is a mistake and a waste of time. You should help them understand why your company is great and what you do to help your team members grow and get better at their jobs. Nowadays, personal and professional development programs are a fundamental component of firms that are growing. Growing companies are attractive to candidates. Nobody wants to be in the same place five years from now, even if the pay is good.

I recognize that some of this advice may sound foreign to you, but I’m encouraging you to throw out the old way of recruiting great talent and try to implement some of these practices. Trust me. They work. And if you get stuck somewhere in the process, give me a call or shoot me an email and we will try to get you unstuck.

Randy Wilburn is director of executive search at Zweig Group. Contact him at rwilburn@zweiggroup.com, or 479.856.6171.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.