I saw this image over the weekend and it got me thinking about the shift we are seeing in the landscape of business, specifically recruitment.
My first recruitment gig was with a digital agency in London, UK. My manager took a chance on me, having no recruitment experience or knowledge of how it all really worked she hired me on the Friday and started on the Monday, thrown straight into the quarterly forecasting sales meeting. On my first week I had to declare to the whole team how much billings I would be ‘pulling’ in that quarter, throwing out a number in the thousands I figured I had enough time to get my game plan together before the end of the quarter party. Jumping in with two feet I shadowed one of the more seasoned recruiters and he was a champion of the cold call. Lesson one — how to cold call (shudder) I hated them, so much so I did them in the only place with a closed door in the open office — the toilet. Guess what, clients and candidates hated my cold calls too. What was worst was I discovered that we had an incredible database that could tracked your cold calls, we had a target each week and it was believed the more cold calls, the more sales. I wasn’t sold, and so I set about building trust, establishing need, presenting viable solutions and listening to candidates and clients. I was able to renegotiate my KPI’s and recruit the way that felt good for everyone in the experience. For me that’s the key piece, each conversation and exchange requires both parties to feel win-win. Yes, I still called advertising agencies that had just won a huge client knowing that they would need people to support the upcoming work, the difference being it wasn’t cold. We already had a relationship or a mutual business acquaintance would introduce me to confirm that I wasn’t a shark.
Fast forward, it’s been ten years since my agency days and business has changed across almost all departments. We know that HR is not dead, it’s having a revival in the very best way. There’s been a shift in the tide to empower employees and candidates to take on their experience and companies are adapting their HR principles and practices to meet new expectations. As Jillian Walker — Director of Talent at Relic Entertainment so gracefully wrote in previous blog post, “whether a candidate is hired or not doesn’t matter — what does matter is how you treat them along the way.” I like to think that we are all candidates in the experience, HR is a service that has mulitple guests/customers/candidates.
At Arc’teryx Equipment we’ve worked with a number of recruiters over the years. The most successful are mistaken for employees when on-site. They get it, they invest time in relationships, they wear the product — genuinely not just off the shelf for the first meeting. With our recent growth in the news and an increase in roles on our careers page we have become a magnet for cold calls. From both candidates and recruiters, it’s fascinating to me how many rely on the old model of selling. Immediately I think of their targets, and if I have time dialogue about how we operate I share. Knowing that time is the finite resource nowadays with the rampant virus of ‘I’m so busy’ taking over the flu in victims, I wonder why isn’t the conversation the cold call is dead? Imagine if recruiters were taught to measure their success on their ability to build trust, establish need, the quality of solutions and listening (confirmation) as the new norm. Those are the KPI’s we hold each other accountable here at Arc’teryx on Team Talent — we have another one but it’s not printable (scroll to core value no.2).
We have an opportunity to shift and support each other in this new way of doing business, respecting each other’s time and giving feedback when we are on-track and off-track. There’s plenty of opportunities for companies to partner with recruitment agencies — building trust, establishing need, presenting viable solutions and listening to candidates and clients is the ticket to success.
Laura Appleton — Talent Acquisition & Development Manager at Arc’teryx Equipment. Champion of the people, amateur MC and lip-syncer. You can find her on her bike, on the slopes or online @lauraappleton