Recruiting Is Sales. Then What?

Most recruiters agree that recruiting is a form of sales, but with an intangible product.

That’s all fine and good, says Stephen Lowisz, who’s doing a pre-conference workshop this Fall in Florida on a similar topic. 

But, Lowisz says, many recruiters don’t fully understand the sales process, and how to apply it to recruiting job candidates. He explains more in the podcast below, which should run OK on newer browsers.


Adding Value

Like many locals, my interest in reading the LA Times (which one blogger accused of running the “most biased top story ever in any free world newspaper“) has declined over time. But it’s worth noting the recruiting parallels as the LA Times runs what it calls “a series of articles and a database analyzing individual teachers’ effectiveness in the nation’s second-largest school district — the first time, experts say, such information has been made public anywhere in the country.”

The series (which has caused some boycotting) includes articles like this one and a big chart/database to come any day now, showing teacher-by-teacher effectiveness.  

What this is all about is adding value. The Times is trying to show — and certainly is showing, if you believe in the effectiveness of testing — the quality of teachers and schools based on the progress of their students. 

In other words, rather than showing that some schools and teachers had students who tested well, this study shows whether weaker students got better, and better students got even better. Previous studies and sites (like the award-winning non-profit GreatSchools) show which schools have high test scores, but such studies, of course, reflect people’s economic status, parental interest in education, and more.

According to the Times study, in the wealthy Tarzana area of Los Angeles, the prestigious school Wilbur is actually overrated, because the students, arriving with built-in advantages compared to kids in other parts of LA, aren’t really progressing like they should once they arrive.

People have tried this with doctors, too. With doctors, it’s similar in that showing who has the sickest and healthiest patients tells only half a story, because it reflects factors such as people’s genetics. Such a study measures whether a doctor takes sicker or healthier patients, or works in “good” or “bad” areas, rather than their effectiveness as a doctor. But if you can show whether doctors have helped people stay healthy or become healthier over time, based on a baseline from when they began with that doctor, perhaps you can show physician effectiveness.

Anyhow, I’m interested in hearing whether you think there are parallels to the recruiting and human resources field in industries outside of education and medicine. It seems to me that manager and employee effectiveness in other industries could be measured similar to how the Times is doing it. In other words, instead of measuring just the quality of a manager’s hires, you’d measure what those hired accomplished over time, and how they improved, compared to where they began. Value added.

Want to do Something About it?

Earlier tonight, I took the short train trip from North Hollywood to Hollywood for the ERE meetup. 

A few rows’ back from me, a middle-aged Asian woman sat down next to a young man. The train began moving. The young man loudly told her not to touch him, and, still loudly, continued on and on in a sad, horrid, paranoid, anti-immigrant tirade — “you people taking over our country” and that sort of thing. 

I think he told her to find a new seat. She wouldn’t.

Meanwhile, a guy in another row yelled something to him about how half the train car was from other countries, and he better watch it. 

He didn’t watch it. Instead, he went on about something nonsensical to do with the Supreme Court. The rest of us on the train were nervously discussing what was going on, bonding a bit but unclear on just what to do.

Another young man, a small, African-American man with long braided hair, stood up, walked over to the guy’s seat, stood next to him and the woman next to him he was tormenting, looked the guy in the eye, and asked “Want to do something about it?”

And with that — with “want to do something about it?” — the rant ended. The rest of us all seemed to smile almost simultaneously, collectively. I briefly grasped the woman’s hand on my way out of the car, and my guess (she continued on the train) is that others did too at later stops.

Peter Weddle said toward the end of this podcast that whether we’re Chinese-American or whatever American, we’re all American. It sounds cliche, but on a hot train ride tonight, it felt true.


Peter Weddle, on Taking Charge of Your Career

The writer-speaker-recruiter Peter Weddle talks with me in the podcast below about a new kind of activism: career activism.

It’s a new way of thinking about work, different from the famous “free agent” mantra, different from just starting your own business, and different from working ’till you drop.

“Career activists aren’t workaholics,” he says. “They don’t spend 18 hours a day or seven days a week on the job. They enjoy their life outside the workplace as well as within it by being very focused and disciplined in how they work … (yet) are no less hard working than the richest Americans.”

Find out more in the podcast below, and see why Weddle says that our way of thinking about talent is all wrong.

Helping People vs. Hurting Yourself

I’m curious how you handle people asking you to connect them with corporations they want to work at.

Let’s say you meet Tom Thompson at an ERE event, or some local networking event, or just at a non-work-related party — whatever.

Later, Tom Thompson emails or calls you, saying, “I’m interested in a job at Pepsi/Starbucks/Intel/Yadayada, and noticed on LinkedIn that you know Jamie Johnson. Do you mind putting in a good word for me, or passing along my resume to Jamie?”

What do you do, and on what factors does it depend?

Does it depend how well you know Tom, and also how well you know Jamie? Or, just how well you know Tom? 

It’s hard to say “no” to someone who wants help getting a job — or with anything, for that matter.

Then again, it’s hard to say “yes,” knowing that if Tom doesn’t work out, Jamie’s going to think less of you.