How Companies Identify Talent with Barbara Bruno of High-Tech High-Touch Recruiting & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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High-Tech High-Touch Recruiting Human Resources Hiring Strategies

Each time someone told me what I could not do, it motivated me to prove them wrong. I have always judged others by what they do, not by what they say. I also want to be judged by what I do vs. what I say. I want people to be better off for having met me.

Asa part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Barbara Bruno.

Barbara Bruno is the author of High-Tech High-Touch Recruiting. She has trained over 25,000 recruiters in 13 countries and is based in Crown Point, IN. She also consults for many recruiting companies, including Management Recruiters International, Robert Half, Pride Staff, Express Employment Professionals, Fortune Personnel, and DAV in South Africa. She has received the highest national award from the Staffing and Recruiting Profession, The Harold B. Nelson Award, and was inducted into the National Association of Personnel Services Hall of Fame.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

It was never my intention to enter the recruiting profession. I went to several employment agencies looking for a sales job. The minute they found out I typed over 90 wpm, they all presented administrative assistant positions. I was becoming a single mom and knew I could not support my children unless I found a sales job. It was my frustration about how I was treated that motivated me to open my own employment agency: Sunshine Employment. My goal was to treat people the way I wanted to be treated, and I have been able to do that my entire career.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

I set up an interview with one of my best clients for a young candidate who had just moved to Chicago. The morning of the interview, my client called to tell me my candidate had brought her friend to the interview. She told him that her friend was also looking for a job. I apologized to my client but assured him she was one of the most qualified candidates I had interviewed.

He then asked me, “What am I supposed to do with her friend?” I suggested he have her fill out their application form, to keep her busy. When he saw her friends’ credentials, he ended up referring her to another manager in their company and they both ended up getting hired.

Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time-consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

The job requisition is our roadmap for the recruiting and hiring process. Identifying the talent that would be best suited for the job, it’s much more than finding the skills and experience. It’s also important to find someone who will fit in with the company culture, core values of the company and the existing team.

To help identify the best talent I would suggest the following 5 techniques:

  1. Once you obtain a job requisition, share a copy with everyone involved in the hiring process, to make sure they all agree on the specs. Over 50% of the time, the final person in the interview process makes major changes, because the job description was not updated.
  2. Request Performance Objectives. Ask how the person they hire will be evaluated after 6 months or a year. Often there is a tremendous disconnect between what they provided on the job requisition and how they will evaluate the person hired. This has resulted in some of the requirements being eliminated from the job requisition, while other skills are added.
  3. Ask what has been missing in the candidates they have an interview to date and what are the common denominators of their best hires. You now recruit candidates with the missing skills and common denominators of past successful hires.
  4. Learn about the culture and core values of the specific department. So often, the culture described by a company can vary greatly from department to department. If your candidate does not fit in with the culture, they will end up being a costly turnover statistic.
  5. Ask for the names of companies or competitors that the hiring manager respects and if there are others that they want you to avoid. If you present candidates who have worked at the companies your hiring authority respects, you’ve improved your chances of identifying talent that will be best suited for the opportunity.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

The best talent are not conducting an active search; they are not reading the employing pages of websites or responding to job board ads. They are passive candidates who are working for someone else but would be open to interviewing if the opportunity represented career advancement.

First, you must know WHY someone should send you their resumé or CV and not your competitors. Share your personal brand, which is your track record of success in helping other candidates with similar experience, advance their careers.

Second, make networking calls daily to pipeline top talent in advance of need. Do not PITCH a job when networking. Tell candidates you would like to discuss what they see as their next career move. Now they understand the What’s In It for Me angle to talk to you, not that you are just trying to fill one specific job.

Third, nurture the candidates you interview who have the credentials you know you can hire or place in the future. Also, be honest with candidates you cannot hire or place, and give them advice on what they need to do. You must ensure a positive candidate experience for every candidate who reaches out to you.

What are the most effective strategies you use to retain employees?

Retention starts with the recruiting, interviewing and hiring process, which is the first impression that the candidate has of the potential employer.

  1. Share the career goals of each candidate with their direct supervisor, so they know what it will take to retain each new hire.
  2. Assign a mentor to every new hire. This is not someone who is in supervision, but rather a peer that can help them align with the company faster.
  3. Schedule STAY interviews, to determine what they LIKE about their job and if there are any issues or problems. Too often there are only two interviews with most candidates: the job interview and the exit interview. Stay interviews will improve engagement and retention.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I worry about all the women I have seen leave the workforce in the past year. Four times as many women have left the workforce than their male counterparts. The job market can’t afford to lose this talent, and I would love to see a movement that helps solve the issues women face that cause them to leave their careers.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today!

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