My recruiting duties ebb and flow in my days as an HR generalist, but there always seems to be a new lesson to learn with every candidate I come in contact with. Working in a small HR department means that I get to learn by doing more often than not, so here are four things I wish I had known about recruiting when I started…

  1. It never hurts to ask. There have been times when I’ve been hesitant to make an offer to someone because I feel like they would consider it too low. However, I have to remind myself that we never know just what is going on in someone’s life at any given time. Maybe they are fine with making less in exchange for setting their own work schedule. Maybe getting away from a toxic coworker, manager, or workplace is worth a pay cut. Whatever the case, it never hurts to ask; the worst they can do is turn down the offer, but at least then you won’t continuously wonder if you should have offered or not!
  2. Minor details in your mind are major details for others (and vice versa). I worked with a guy recently and part of his package would include travel expenses. I skipped right over some of the routine boilerplate information in an attempt to cover the travel portion in detail, and the candidate freaked out because he thought I had forgotten a part of his previously negotiated offer. I realized that while organizing all of the travel details was a large issue in my mind, it was just a small portion of the big change that the candidate was facing if he accepted the offer to work with us. Find out what their concerns are and address them early to put them at ease through the rest of the process (do this step in conjunction with number four below and you’ll be on the top of your game!).
  3. Communicate culture every step of the way without fail. I’m a culture nut, but this one has come in handy so many times. I actually wrote a post on how to define corporate culture to make better hires, and I’ll let that speak for itself. Take every opportunity to share how things work within your organization. It will appeal to some people and turn others away, but it will help to ensure that the candidates who finish the process are a good fit for the culture.
  4. Attention and sincerity lead to trust. Last week I had a rush deal that took a lot of effort on the part of our entire leadership team. Because I had approximately 48 hours to make contact, deliver the offer, and process the candidate before he left the country, I made sure to give him my undivided attention every time we talked via phone. And during those conversations, I was open, honest, and sincere with every discussion (I had to answer, “I don’t have that answer, but I can get it for you” more times than I can count). At one point we were laughing about a part of the process, and the candidate mentioned that after dealing with me he trusted me to do the right thing for him. That floored me, because while it was true and I was working to pave the way for his successful start, just hearing him put that faith in me was astounding. Having that trust helped soothe potential frustrations and roadblocks on the high pressure, quick turnaround hire. It also put him at ease, knowing he was in good hands and would be taken care with every resource we could muster.
For those of you who’ve been around the block, these might not be groundbreaking. For those out there just getting their feet wet, I hope these lessons help you to make a positive impact on your organization! Anyone else have a recruiting (or HR) lesson they had to learn the hard way? Feel free to share!

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