I’ve got four awesome kids! They are ages eight, six, two, and seven months. I know, that’s a lot of kids, and let me tell you, they are a handful. But I absolutely love them. One thing I love about my two oldest kids is that they love putting together puzzles. We’ve bought a lot of puzzles over the last few years. For a while, my oldest boy was really into Spider-Man, so we got him several Spider-Man puzzles. Some of these were made by the same company and had the same sized pieces, and it was hard to tell them apart. They often got mixed together when putting them away.
On several occasions, my boy and I would be working on a puzzle together, and he would try to fit in one of these mixed pieces. I would try to tell him, but he would get so adamant that the puzzle pieces were all from that one puzzle. And he is like his dad, so when he fixes his mind on something, neither hell nor high water is going to stop him. He would just force the pieces together, which would often bend and even ruin the pieces. Many times, we would end up just having to throw those puzzles away. Here’s the thing though. It was neither pieces fault that they wouldn’t fit together. They were not meant to go together. They were pieces from different puzzles.
Seeing this reminded me an awful lot of recruiting. Being a great recruiter, is being able to take a job description, analyze it and find the perfect match to fit in that position. That’s one of the skills that makes us money and builds companies. Interestingly though, when I started hiring employees for my first agency recruiting firm. I found it really hard to find a good match. At first, I thought, I’m going to hire someone young and fresh out of college. You know, someone who’s gung-ho and has not been exposed to the other agencies out there that I compete with. He had lots of cool, creative ideas that led to some good placements for our entry to mid-level positions. Ultimately though, he didn’t have the experience to engage in conversations with the high-end developers, managers, and executives we needed to attract at the time. So, we had to let him go.
Then I decided to hire experienced recruiters. “This time it’s going to be different,” I said. “We’re going to hire someone who knows how to have conversations with executives, and we’re going to solve the problem.” I would hire these guys and get them going. But when I tried to teach them our process, without fail they always nodded their heads, said “ok,” and then they would proceed not to do it. They were so stuck in their ways that they wanted to say yes, but they had their habits. And habits are hard to break. I realized, it really can be true that you can’t teach [some] old dogs new tricks. We ended up parting ways with several like that.
At this point, I was frustrated. Mostly at myself for not being able to figure it out. I thought, “come on man. You’re a recruiter, and you can’t figure out how to recruit for your own company.” Then I remembered the Spider-Man puzzles. It came to me that while I’m good at matching people with job descriptions, sometimes just like the Spider-Man puzzles, it’s easy to get similar puzzle pieces mixed. When that happens, it is neither pieces fault that they wouldn’t fit together. They were not meant to go together. They were pieces from different puzzles.
My problem was that I was not clear about what my puzzle looked like. Of course! How could I find a missing puzzle piece if I don’t have a clear picture of my puzzle? I had never taken the time to create my own puzzle properly. Had I done so, I wouldn’t have gotten the results I had. What I needed to do was first create my puzzle. Then and only then, could I find the matching puzzle pieces.
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To do this, I reached out to Steve Finkel and he sent me his amazing DVD series called High Profit Management. In addition, I joined a webinar by Shally Steckerl. At the end of the webinar he gave an outline of what he advises companies to look for in sourcers and recruiters. Through this process I was able to get an entirely clear picture of my puzzle. I needed someone that matched my style of recruiting. I was a phone recruiter and most of these guys were internet recruiters. We were both recruiter puzzle pieces but from different recruiter puzzles. They were used to spending all day posting jobs and reaching out to people on social media sites. I was used to getting on the phone. That was it. I needed someone who had been on the phone a lot and loved it. Someone who could manage a process and was coachable. Once that was in place it was easy.
If you’re having trouble finding the right sourcers or recruiters for your organization, it’s time to get a clear picture of your puzzle. I mean crystal clear. You get that figured out, and the rest is cake – recruiting cake if you will. Get clear and enjoy some cake.