Giving Feedback to Recruiters

Recruiters and hiring managers have long had a history of a relationship in need of improvement. A major area that they can improve on is communication. Communication, just like it does in any other relationship, plays a vital role between the hiring manager and the recruiter. Specifically, a needed aspect of communication between the two is feedback from hiring managers to recruiters. 

Why Feedback Matters

Feedback between hiring managers and recruiters is crucial because it shows that the hiring manager is actually engaged in the hiring process. If they’re not providing feedback, then it brings recruiters to question whether they’re even reviewing the resumes. Is the position a need or a want for the hiring manager? What is their urgency-level on filling it? They may tell recruiters that it’s an urgent need, but if their actions do not back that up and they can’t give them feedback, then it’s probably time for the recruiter to call BS.

Giving feedback also helps the recruiters know if they’re on the right track or not. Sure, job descriptions and intake meetings are a starting point for recruiters to get an idea, but sometimes the important skill sets for a position evolve over time with the issues the manager is facing day-to-day. When this happens, a one-on-one meeting with them is needed to review what recruiters should be sourcing for. It’s okay if requirements have changed, but they then need to be redefined and both parties need to agree that moving forward those are what will be looked for. Hiring managers will also need to give feedback on candidates received to make sure that recruiters are hitting the mark and to find out where they can improve. Until the manager starts giving specific feedback, they are going to see more of the same types of applicants, wasting both parties time.

Some organizations don’t like to give feedback because they’re very sensitive to the legal ramifications if something is communicated poorly. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with giving feedback as long as you’re not breaking an actual law and discriminating against people. The recruiters need those specifics to zero in on what is going to work, so it’s important to be candid with them. They can manage delivering feedback to candidates to avoid any repercussions. Giving objective and specific feedback allows the recruiter to take it and retool their search and screening process. This really pays off in the long run because over time, the recruiter will understand the manager and get really good at knowing what they want. What used to take 20 applicants to hit the mark will take 10 or even 5 in a short amount of time.

How To Ensure Feedback is Given and Received

Weekly Meetings:

Both parties can set aside time a week or two after the intake meeting that both parties commit to. This will be the time when candidates are discussed and feedback is provided. If people are not identified to move forward in the process at that time, then the feedback can be used to source new ones and the follow up meeting the next week will be more productive. These meetings should not take long as long as both parties come prepared.

Listen and Ask Questions

Good recruiters are excellent listeners and ask probing questions. If you are meeting with a manager to go over candidates, then you better be actively listening and not wasting their time. If you need clarification or have an idea, then ask the probing questions. You might find a different set of criteria to search with by asking the right questions since you are not the expert in that field.


Managers need to respect the recruiters and the candidates time and vice versa. We all want to get the position filled quickly, so start with a level of respect between all parties that will allow that to happen.

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Expanding Your Talent Pool

Nearly 700,000 people (1 in 3 adults) are released from prison each year. These are people with criminal records that have served their time and yet as employers, we are often quick re-sentence them by locking them out of the job market even though we are facing a human capitol crisis.

Why is this?

Part of our human flaw is being stubborn, hypocritical, and close minded. We often believe what we want and nobody can change our minds. We think that we (ourselves) can change, but others cannot. Think about it, are you the same person that you were in high school? What about in college or when you first started your career? You probably would answer that you’ve changed over the years. Most of us like to think that we’ve changed for the better.

However, when it comes to those that that we didn’t like in school, we often believe that they are incapable of change. They are the same person now that they were then. The same goes for our beliefs of individuals with criminal records. They did something wrong and therefore they are incapable of change.

But that’s a load of crap.

Yes, these people have made a mistake or two and it’s recorded on paper. But, that shouldn’t stop them from getting a second chance. An important part of life is learning from our mistakes and moving forward. However, it’s hard to move forward when the door to opportunities are constantly being slammed in your face. This is why so many educated and highly-skilled workers with criminal records are ending up in low-skill, underpaying positions. Shutting them out of the job market due to their record is only holding real talent back from the potential value that they could bring to your organization and re-sentencing those that have already served their sentence.

In this tight labor market, we shouldn’t be shutting out perfectly qualified candidates. We should be inviting them in to expand our talent pool. And chances are, this exiled talent pool will be so grateful for opportunities that they will become some of the best, hardest working and most dedicated employees that you have. It’s up to us to provide them with an equal opportunity to flourish. To give second chances that can change lives.

So, what will you do?

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Stop Hiring for a Culture “Fit”

Company culture is all the buzz. We’ve learned that culture weighs heavily on a candidate’s decision to apply to a job and to accept an offer. Companies have worked hard in the past few years to really improve and nurture their culture to be a part of their attractive talent brand.

The problem is that with this new and improved fostered culture, employers now tend to hire employees based on whether or not they feel the candidate is a culture fit. Of course, other factors such as their ability to do the job and learn new things play into their hiring decision as well. However, it’s not rare when making hiring decisions to hear a manager say something like, “Yeah, Susie was qualified for the job and interviewed great, but I think that Kevin is a better culture fit so we are going to extend him an offer”.

Hiring based on culture fit has given employers a new excuse to turn away candidates that would be a great addition to their team just because they are different then their typical hire.

A cultural fit is often seen as someone who thinks the same as everyone else on the team, comes from a similar background, and shares similar experiences. This leads to a major issue: the lack of diversity.

The solution? Hire for a cultural addition, not a “fit”. Look for someone that brings something unique to the team. Someone with different skills and knowledge. Someone with a different mindset. Someone that comes from a different background. Someone with different life experiences.

The more people you hire that make culture additions, the more diverse your organization becomes. As everyone knows by now, diverse companies see an increase in applicants, an improved retention rate, more innovation and creativity, and increased revenue.

So, whats stopping you from adding more diversity through culture additions?

Diversity matters. Diversity is good. Don’t be afraid to shake things up in your organization by embracing new faces that challenge the norm.

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Everyone Wants a Talent Brand That Candidates Love, But…

Everyone wants a talent brand that candidates will love, but almost no Talent Acquisition function is actually willing to love those same candidates back!

You get this, right!?

Do you know why you love certain brands? It’s usually a combination of an experience you had with that brand. You loved their product or service, how they/it made you feel, how you were treated, etc. The brand made you feel like you were apart of it. That it ‘loved’ you, just even a little.

We all want to have these amazing talent brands (employment brands), but part of having that amazing brand is you have to actually truly like the candidates who are reaching out to you. This is the single biggest struggle most organizations have with establishing a real Talent Brand. We want candidates to love us, but we don’t want to love them in return!

In fact, we don’t even really want to be friends with them! Or at least that’s how we act! Most TA shops treat candidates like they’re the enemy. Very similar to how celebrities treat the media. Love us! But, we’re going to act as you annoy us! Um, what!? This is about 90% of TA shops, and they’re completely flabbergasted when the data says candidates think they’re crap!

So, you want a Talent Brand candidates will love? Try doing some of this:

1. Change your internal TA culture to start believing candidates are our friend, not the enemy! Without these wonderful candidates, we don’t have jobs! We need you!

2. Do not allow your recruiters to talk negatively about candidates. This is really hard. It’s the teacher’s lounge mentality. Well, we’re behind locked doors they don’t know what we say. It’s not about what you say, it’s about the mentality of us vs. them you’re allowing in your shop!

3. Treat your candidates like you treat your hiring managers. Unless you also treat your hiring managers like crap, then don’t do that.

4. Invite random candidates in to talk to your team about their experience, especially those who didn’t get hired. This will really open eyes.

5. Don’t allow your team to use the excuse “we don’t have time”. Nothing is more important than communicating with candidates. Nothing. It’s really your only job. Stop doing everything else, except this. Then you’ll have time.

The reality is, it’s much easier to love a brand when you believe they love you back.

This post was written and published by Tim Sackett on October 1, 2018 for The Tim Sackett Project.

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Stop Rejecting the “Overqualified”

Many job seekers over 40 share the same experience of applying for a job and not getting it with the reasoning being that they’re “overqualified”.

What does overqualified actually mean?

Overqualified is just another word for age discrimination. It’s another way to say, “You’re to old to work for me”, or, “You have a lot of experience and we don’t want to pay you your actual worth”.

The problem with age discrimination and using “overqualified” as an excuse to deny a candidate of the job or not even consider them, is that hiring managers are missing out on great talent in a tight labor market — That and much, much more.

Busting Misconceptions of Hiring Overqualified Workers

The person applying is too good for the job therefore they won’t actually want it.

If they applied they have a reason for wanting the job. Maybe the role they are currently in is to stressful and they want to take a step back. Maybe they are unhappy in their current role and need something a different that they will enjoy more.

Before taking them out of the game, give them a fair shot and actually ask them their reasoning for wanting the job. It just might surprise you.

The person has more experience than required so they will want more money than we can offer.

Unless you ask for their previous salary, you have no idea how much they were making before. Maybe they were underpaid and overworked and are looking for something with a better balance. Maybe they will take less money to be in a better workplace or a job that makes them happier. Maybe you have better benefits then their last job. You won’t know their salary expectations unless you ask.

They won’t listen to or respect younger or less qualified management.

In this day and age, it’s more then likely that they’ve worked for younger management before and that that’s not an issue for them.

They will be resistant to learning new things.

You would be surprised with this. Most people are eager to learn new things if given the chance and can catch on quickly at any age. But, they have to be given the chance.

They won’t stay with us long-term. They will move on when a better opportunity presents its self or they will retire soon.

Having an employee stay and grow within a company for 10 years or more is the dream. However, the reality is that the average tenure rate in the U.S is only 4.2 years and has been that way since 2016. So, why not hire someone that will give you a good 4.2 years of work like the rest of your employees before jumping ship?

Thinking that a candidate won’t stay with the company long because they will retire soon is also poor thinking. The reality is is that many Americans don’t have enough money saved up to retire and still need to work an extra 5 to 10 years.

Think Twice Before Labeling Someone “Overqualified”

Before deciding if someone is overqualified for the job, ask yourself if your making any biased assumptions based off their age or experience.

Consider what advantages they could bring to the position. Will it cost less to train them? Will they add diversity to the organization? Will they achieve a faster return to productivity? Will they be on a fast track to future responsibilities?

People all have their own reasons for doing things. Find out why they want the job and where they see themselves in five years. Then decide how their experience can contribute to the organization or if they just aren’t the right fit.

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Attracting Passive Candidates

With job openings reaching an all-time high at the start of the new year and unemployment rates hitting a historic low, it’s no surprise that the current labor market situation has influenced the “job-hopping” trend. A record number of candidates are quitting their jobs for the first time since the numbers have been recorded.

So, what does the current market situation mean for recruiters?

Well, with market conditions leaving talent scarce, everyone is a prospect. Attracting passive candidates is more crucial than ever and the competition is fierce. It’s up to recruiters to spot potential talent and attract them into a new, better role that benefits the candidate and the company that they’re recruiting for.

How do you recruit passive talent?

Get on Their Radar

Your company brand should always be on potential candidates radar. Utilize your social media to stay relevant and post content showcasing how awesome it would be to work for your company. Use your social accounts to build connections with potential candidates and don’t be afraid to reach out by sending them a direct message. Another way to connect with prospective candidates is by posting on your social pages that you’re hiring and ask your network to share your post and drop the name of someone in the job market in the comments.

If you attend any events like trade-shows, career fairs, or conferences make sure that you actively network. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to everyone. Trade contact information, provide them with some sort of branded swag, and then follow up by email or phone telling them how nice it was to meet them. Let them know that they can reach out to you if they ever are looking for a new job or if they know someone who is.

Be Ready to Act

When you know you’re going to be actively seeking passive talent for an open role, make sure to get your hiring manager involved and ready to act. They should be ready to interview candidates quickly after submission and able to immediately answer any candidate questions. They will need to be able to make hiring decisions fast before passive candidate lose interest or get picked up by a competitor.

Provide Meaning

When reaching out to passive candidates, don’t send out your standard recruiting message. The best way to reach out to passive candidates whether it’s through email, social media, or InMail, is to personalize each message and embed it with meaning. Automated, standard messages lack meaning and often come across as spam-like, thus not getting opened. In your message, express to the candidate why they stood out to you, what role you are trying to fill, and why you think that they would be a good fit. Leave the conversation open by asking if they are open to new opportunities and if the role you have sounds like a good fit.

Keep the Door Open

Even if a passive candidate says that they’re not interested, keep open communication with them. Let them know that when they’re considering a new career to keep your company in mind and that you would love to talk to them. Also, ask them about what might make them change careers and what they’ll be looking for in their next career. This way, if a different job pops up that they would be a fit for you can always reach out again.

This is also a great opportunity to ask for a referral. Maybe they’re not looking to change careers or aren’t interested in the position but know someone else that would be a great fit that they could refer to you.

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Developing Employee’s Soft Skills

Companies today are facing hiring challenges as a result of a tight labor market and large skills gap. Not only do employers want to find talent quickly, but they want to find candidates that have future-proof, flexible soft-skills. As LinkedIn reported in January of 2019, the soft skills that are in-demand most right now are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and time management. These are skills that often enable people to thrive in a variety of industries and roles, which is very important in today’s constantly changing world.

In an effort bridge the gap it is vital that employers take initiative to encourage development of their employees soft skills. According to research done by a group of individuals from The University of Michigan Ross, Harvard University, and Boston College, employees that receive skills training are 12% more productive than those without any training. Though that may not seem like a significant number, the studies found that the 12% increased productivity translated into a 256% ROI.

How to Develop Employee’s Soft Skills

There are many ways in which companies can provide and encourage soft skill development. Before choosing what method is most suitable it’s important to understand the organizations needs. Below are three important questions for companies to ask before determining a development method.

  1. What soft skills are the most important for the job?
  2. What soft skills do employees in the organization most commonly lack?
  3. What skills do the employees want to develop that they feel could help improve their work?

Once the organization has a solid understanding of what’s most important it can determine how it will provide development opportunities. Below are some ideas:

  1. Host a skills development workshop that allows employees to lean as a group and get a more hands-on, personal learning experience.
  2. Choose an online learning program that best fits the employee’s needs and that allows them to take courses on their own time.
  3. Give employees projects and assignments that put their soft skill development training into practice and then give them feedback.

Teaching Soft Skills Pays Off

In order to bridge the soft skills gap, it’s time for companies to stop talking about it and start taking initiative. Employers need to determine where the skills gap lies with their employees and come up with a strategy, whether it be online learning, in person workshops, or both, that will develop and improve their soft skills.

By taking initiative to teach these skills, companies will benefit from increased productivity, increased ROI, and a future-ready staff that will be better at overcoming challenges and change; which is vital for success.

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The Shortage of Skilled-Trade Workers

Going to a four-year university to get a bachelor’s degree has become the societal “norm”. The idea that one must go to college and get a four-year degree to be successful in life has been drilled into the heads of high school students for years. Only recently, is it becoming obvious that getting a four-year degree does not always pay off. The financial return from getting a degree is declining. Many college grads are entering careers that have no relation to their degree, that under pay, and that result in students suffering from years of drowning in debt. In the meantime, high-paying, skilled-trade jobs that require shorter, less expensive training remain unfilled.

The shortage of these workers is so severe that 70% of construction companies nationwide are struggling to fill their positions. Experts at the American Welding Association predict a welding shortage of 200,000 jobs by 2020. Research conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute predict that over the next 10 years, manufacturers will need to add 4.6 million manufacturing jobs. Of those jobs, it is predicted that as much as 2.4 million will go unfilled. Already today, The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 500,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S remain vacant. There is simply just not enough talent to fill skilled-trade positions. With the future workforce being directed to higher-education, filling these positions will remain a challenge.

Higher-Education vs Skilled-Trades

Most parents want a better career for their child. Due to their outdated, common misconceptions of skilled-trade careers, they shy their children away from them. However, skilled-trade jobs have come a long ways over the past few decades and there are many high-paying positions that make for good careers and save individuals from college debt.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a welder in 2018 was $40,240. CNC programmers earned an annual median wage of $52,550. Both these jobs are in-demand right now and don’t require your standard bachelor’s degree.

Attracting Talent To Skilled-Trades

Some states have started to launch different initiatives to attract more students to technical and skilled-trade careers. For example, California plans to spend $200 million to improve the delivery of career and technical education. Community colleges and businesses in Iowa are partnering to increase the number of “work-based leaning opportunities”, and Tennessee has made its technical colleges free.

While these initiatives are great, there needs to be more initiatives like them launched around the nation. It is important for businesses and educators to collaborate in spreading awareness of career alternatives that don’t require a bachelors degree. Students need to learn about the opportunity that exists outside of a four-year degree and get real insight to what these jobs in demand look like and what they entail.

You often see colleges coming to schools to recruit students, but you never see businesses that employ skilled-trade workers coming to schools to recruit future workers. Businesses should consider going to schools to recruit potential talent and encourage students to consider skilled-trade careers. Educators also need to be open to inviting businesses into their schools and talking about these career paths. They should be encouraging and supportive to students considering this path. Their involvement, along with state initiatives, could be the key to attracting more people into skilled-trade positions.

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A Solution to Vacant Tech Positions

The amount of tech jobs in the U.S has greatly increased and yet many go unfilled. This is because employers are struggling to fill the skills gap. Having unfilled positions negatively impacts the top and bottom lines of business in ways that hiring managers tend to never even consider. To make matters even more challenging for employers, the market is being driven by candidates and is more competitive than ever. Companies need to act fast to bring in talent that meets their needs. One scalable solution for companies suffering from unfilled tech positions is to outsource their hiring to staffing firms and bring in contractors.

6 Benefits of Using Staffing Companies and Contractors to Fill Tech Roles

  1. The contract workforce in the U.S has grown 36% over the past five years. This workforce is projected to continue growing. Filling positions with contract workers opens up a new talent pool for hiring managers.
  2. Staffing firms have faster time-to-hire, especially if they specialize in tech hiring.
  3. Using contract workers minimizes companies turn over disruption.
  4. Contractors are a great solution when you have an immediate need for special projects or need to fill skill gaps.
  5. Staffing companies provide in-demand talent at more affordable rates.
  6. Makes high volume recruiting easier.

Instead of leaving tech positions unfilled, partnering with staffing agencies might just be the solution that companies in search of tech talent need.

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9 Interview Tips to Land the Job

Have you ever been qualified for a job, selected for an interview, felt that you interviewed well, and then gotten the standard, “Thank you for your interest in XYZ company. We chose to move forward with a different candidate. We will keep your resume on file blah blah blah.”?

If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people that feel qualified for the job they applied to and confident in their interview often end up in this situation.

So what happened? What went wrong?

A resume might be what gets you through the door, but your interview dictates your future with the company. We asked one of our recruiters what he finds commonly hurts candidates the most during interviews and to give advice on how candidates can overcome those things to land the job.

Advice From a Recruiter

1. The “Least Favorite Employer” Question

A lot of times hiring managers will ask about your least favorite employer. The proper way to respond to this question is NOT by saying, “I loved all my previous jobs and bosses”. This is not a valid answer. Instead, focus on a specific thing(s) you did not like about your boss and explain it. Also, remember that this is not an opportunity to go on a tangent about how you hated your boss or rip them apart when answering this question.

2. Understand the Job

Before going into a job interview – or heck even before applying – read and have a solid understanding of the job description. The basics are knowing the company, but a good interviewer will research the company in the news, check out their social media, and dig into the company website beyond the front page to know what they are currently involved within the business and in the community.

Bonus: Research the Interviewer. If you know their name ahead of time, then do a little research on them as it might help with breaking the ice.

3. Avoid Aggressive Name Dropping

If you know people that work at the company you are interviewing with, then that’s great. If you are name dropping the people you know just to do it, and there is no reason to be name dropping at that point during the conversation, then it just comes off as tacky.

Ex.) I sat in for an interview at an auto company’s aftermarket site. The position dealt with credit analysis for auto part stores and maintenance shops. The candidate had previous experience doing credit analysis and had done so for some property acquisitions made by “John”. John was the owner of a very large, successful company. I think the candidate dropped John’s name at least 5-6 times during the interview and nobody interviewing really cared.

4. Don’t Bullshit

If you don’t know the answer to a question, or don’t understand what they are asking, don’t try to make something up that you think sounds okay. It is OKAY to respond by saying, “I’m sorry, I do not know”, or, “Can you please explain the question?”. You being honest or getting clarification gets you farther than a bullshitted answer.

5. Focusing on Advancement

It is great to show interest in advancing through the company. However, don’t focus on advancement opportunities during the interview and don’t ask a lot of questions about them. The hiring manager is interviewing you for a specific job, so focus on that job.

6. No Phones

Turn your cell phone ringer on silent or turn your phone off all together heading into the interview. Hearing your phone going off during an interview is a MAJOR turn off to hiring managers.

7. Ask Questions

Not having questions prepared for the interviewer is not okay. There are nuances to every job, workplace, and team. Not having questions makes you come across like you did not care to prepare and do not care about the job. The interview is a chance for BOTH sides to see if it is a match.

8. Bragging about Yourself

Yes, you have to sell yourself to the interviewer. However, boasting about previous accomplishments is not the best way to do it. It is okay to touch on those, but do not start talking about your trophy case unless they really want you to.

9. Answer the Question and Then Shut-up

It is too often that interviewees get nervous and do not know when to stop talking. They usually continue to babble far beyond the point of when they answered the question. Take a minute before you answer the question, breathe, and once you answered, it stop talking.

Land the Job

Don’t let a bad interview be the reason you don’t get the job. The recruiters at HRU Technical Resources often coach candidates on how to have better interviews to land the job they want, which is part of what makes working with recruiters so great. Following these 9 interview tips/advice will help you to have a knockout interview and increase your chances of getting the job.

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