Building a Recruiting Culture that Hunts!

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

Building a Recruiting Culture that Hunts!

Welcome to my TA blog series! Over the past several weeks, I've been sharing some of my TA-related best practices and tips. If you missed the earlier posts in my series, you can go back and read them here:

There are two basic talent acquisition styles in the world:

  1. Hunters
  2. Farmers

One isn't necessarily better than the other. The vast majority of corporate recruiting shops farm. When you farm, you basically do a ton of campus recruiting, hire entry-levels and train them up. Your strategy for getting talent into your organization is growing it, not going out and hunting it.

I find most c-suite executives would prefer that their talent acquisition function be hunters.

They want you to go out and hunt for the best talent in your marketplace. They want to be known as the type of organization that will go out and find trophy-level talent, "kill it", and bring it home! "Killing it" basically means you were able to close them and convince them to leave their current organization and come to yours.

Why would your CEO want this?

In some aspects, your CEO sees this as a cultural health check on the organization. If you're able to hunt great talent effectively, your organization must be doing the right things. It's easier to talk an entry-level into coming to your organization because they don't have as many other offers and no one is after them. The thing is, farming is usually a more early-on cost-effective way to get talent.

Many organizations have tried and failed to move from farming talent to hunting talent. Mostly what I find is organizations will say they are hunting, but all of their actions remain the same! Just saying you are something doesn't make it right. If that was the case, I've told my kids for years I'm Batman, but alas, I'm not.

There are a few things talent acquisition must do to become hunters.

1. You must measure where each candidate truly comes from

Tracking Source of Candidate and Source of Hire metrics is essential to becoming hunters because you need to analyze what's truly going on. If you find 50 percent of your candidates are coming from non-competitive sources you really aren't hunting, you're still farming.

2. You must reward your recruiters for hunting

I don't need topflight recruiters to go to campus career fairs and pick out kids to hire. The reality is, we have no idea if one kid will better than another because we have no real work sample on most to know how they'll perform. So, you hire the first one who will take your offer.

Hunters go after their targets based on a set of criteria and, when they land that trophy hire, they should be rewarded for it. I believe the best hunter recruiters in a corporate environment probably are compensated 2/3 with salary and 1/3 with a bonus based on hires.

3. You must measure recruiter activity

Hunters go out and hunt. The more ground you cover, the more attempts you give yourself, the more successful of a hunt you will have. Farmers plant a seed and wait for something to sprout out of the ground. Organizations that have a hunter's mentality around recruiting measure each recruiter's funnel metrics and make adjustments based on failure and success.

One last tip. Most organizations that try to move from farming to hunting will try it using the exact same staff they already have. Doing this almost always fails because those who like to farm rarely like to hunt. Be prepared to add new recruiters to the team if you make this cultural move within talent acquisition.

Saba Resources for Hunting Top Talent

Building a Strong Recruiting Plan for Your Organization

Tim Sackett shares five steps every recruiting plan needs, plus tips for measuring the success of your plan!

Watch Now
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Cover of the book

Building a Strong Recruiting Plan for Your Organization

Tim Sackett shares five steps every recruiting plan needs, plus tips for measuring the success of your plan!

Watch Now

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