Wednesday 14 November 2012

First Who, then Woo

Hello and Welcome to the fourth chapter of the ebook. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who responded and shared their thoughts with us about the latest publications in our blog. Don't forget you can now find the full version of the ebook here.

“Hiring is easy and fast and is basically a retail operation. Recruiting is artful and slow and is essentially a direct marketing effort…. Recruiting raises the bar because it demands you have a job worth quitting for.”
Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog
“80% of participants believed that advertising vacancies were either not important or completely unimportant in sourcing A players.”

Phil Mochan is everything a serial entrepreneur should be: feisty, fun and, to the casual observer, slightly mad. The Scottish contrarian started his first business at age eleven, breeding mice. Thankfully, a career spent crisscrossing media and telecoms has been far more lucrative. After three successful exits he co-founded Digital Governance and is quite clear that adverts have not been the driver in sourcing quality engineers or commercial staff. “Nepotism is usually better,” he said with a half smile when we met at a bar overlooking London Bridge. As with much of Mochan’s off the cuff commentary its difficult to tell where the humour stops and the truth begins.

Mochan’s view of job advertising as unimportant is shared by 80% of our participants. With such a prevailing mood of dissatisfaction it’s odd that so many seemingly hard-nosed technology companies persist with adverts. The reason is based more on human nature than business objectives.

As we have discussed, technology companies often have unplanned immediate vacancies. Online job boards offer thousands of candidates-now! However, just because the method is easy and immediate does not make it effective. Yet, many recruiters and HR departments persist not because they are impressed with the candidates but because presenting some candidates to senior management is better than presenting none. In an economy that's stagnating, HR and recruiters are fighting for their existence, which engenders timidity rather than risk taking. The belief is that if you interview safe, available candidates you can’t be fired. Yet, innovation has no place for timidity. Technology companies that shy away from mavericks, jagged resumes, overachievers and inexperienced underdogs will lose.

To attract extraordinary talent you must make extraordinary efforts. When Wayne Rooney changes clubs does he post his CV on Monster? Star computer scientists or salespeople don’t either.

Job advertising makes some companies believe they can advertise, assess and still make happy hour. Unfortunately, giving your recruitment team access to multiple job boards is like giving car keys, cocaine and hookers to teenage boys: initially fun, eventually disastrous.

Instead of advertising the mantra must be: First who, then woo. Find your five-to-one candidates and persuade, court or seduce over time that your company should be their soul mate.  Advertising your vacancies is as seductive as a 3am visit to a kebab van and soul mates don’t like kebabs.

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