7 min read

7 observations I’ve made during my first 7 months in the recruitment industry

7 observations I’ve made during my first 7 months in the recruitment industry
Photo by Nick Fewings / Unsplash

It's been around 7 months since we launched TalentBee. Before that, I didn't have any experience in the recruitment industry.

I had never worked in a recruitment agency – or bought recruitment services.

However, I decided to launch a recruitment agency myself. Luckily, I have two co-founders that are experts in the industry.

Still, as a newcomer to the industry I have one advantage.

I lack the "it’s always been done like this" mindset. This helps me to develop new ideas for the industry!

Here are seven things I've observed in the industry – let me know if you agree or disagree with these! These might sound like quite strong opinions – sorry about that already.

7 observations from the recruitment industry

#1 Recruiters complain that management teams don't understand recruitment, which is not on their agenda

It's easy to "blame" others, and I feel like this is something that is actually happening quite a lot in this industry.

I’ve heard the lines "management doesn't get recruitment" or "hiring managers don't get recruitment" so many times!

I think there are two ways to go from here:

  1. Continue complaining about this
  2. Change the approach into something that management teams are interested in

What I mean is that recruitment should be starting to understand more business! Recruiters must take ownership of this problem and think: "How can I get to speak to the management team" or  "How can I understand the management team better to speak the same language?"

I think recruiters should be starting to talk about things like:

  • "If we cannot hire the right people, how will it affect the valuation of our next funding round?"
  • "If we cannot hire, we can't reach our product map goals for this year."
  • "It seems that our sales rep ramp-up time is going from 6 months to 8 months - How could we solve this in recruitment to ensure we reach our sales targets this year?"

The ugly truth is that most founders don't care about recruitment processes, employer branding etc, but about finding the right people to work in the company at the right time.

#2 So many companies are still evaluating candidates when they should adopt the sales-mindset

One big thing I've seen is that most companies still focus on evaluating candidates in the recruitment process.

Don't get me wrong, it's super important. What I’m saying is that companies should change their mindset. Instead of evaluating candidates, they should focus on selling the idea of working in your company to the top candidates.

Let me give a few examples of this:

  1. Most job ads are still a list of things companies are demanding from candidates. Instead, you should focus on opening up why a candidate should even be interested in the open position!
  2. Most interviews are just about the company asking questions from the candidate. Instead, you should focus on making it a conversation! Do you have a clear plan for how you are selling your company for the candidate in different stages of interviews?

I believe you will still find talents for your team if you don't do this.

But if you are building a world-class team, you need to start thinking about this!

Identify something your company offers that candidates are craving (that your competitors can't provide.) If you don't identify this, you can only compete with higher salaries. It’s not a very good deal for you.

#3 So many things are still done manually while they could be automated

I have a background in sales & marketing, where many things in workflows are automated.

When I entered the recruitment industry, Calendly was one of the most incredible things for recruiters. (Something cool in sales around 5 years ago… 😆)

Setting up interviews manually, doing a lot of manual communication with candidates, and much more.

This is where there is a lot of potential for the recruitment industry to tap into.

You can start with something super simple like:

  1. Make sure you use Calendly or something similar to schedule interviews.
  2. Make sure you have ready-made templates for all the communication with candidates (yes, you should still tailor those, in my opinion.)

When you have started with simple stuff, it's time to start figuring out some exciting workflows like these:

  1. For EB content production - Interview someone from your company and use a tool like Fireflies or Wudpecker to do a transcript of the call → Push the transcript to Jasper.ai and ask it to write a long-form article with you with a few social media posts to share.
  2. For candidate communication over email, use Flowrite's auto-reply feature and never compose an email again from scratch.

The options are endless. Just write down the things you are doing manually week after week, and you will find many things you can automate quite easily.

#4 Outreach to candidates is done with manual copy-paste messages

It was so surprising to me how many companies are still using copy-paste messages for outreach, typically using only one channel – and doing it all manually.

Time to change that one if you want to be more efficient and achieve better results!

This is a great place to steal something from sales, like a tool called Lemlist (They just launched Lemlist 4.0 & I'm also interviewing their founder to my podcast #TalentBuzz).

Here's how it’s mostly being done in recruitment at the moment: you have collected a list of great potential candidates, and then you send them one copy-pasted outreach message on one channel. There’s a huge risk that they are missing your messages completely!

How about trying multi-channel with some automation (adding hyper-personalazation of course) like this:

Day 1: LinkedIn message

Day 3: Email

Day 5: Comment on LinkedIn-post

Day 7: Shoot a text message

Day 9: Call

Or something similar - automated with hyper-personalization.

#5 Filling the role isn’t a success.

Most recruitment functions, whether agencies or in-house, focus only on the beginning of the talent funnel until the person starts at work in the role. After that, they are not interested in the person & their performance that much any more.

This creates a big problem for business growth!

Let's look at sales hires in SaaS companies, for example.

On average, around 40 % of those fail.

Why does this happen? Mainly because companies have two different options when growing:

  1. Hit their hiring targets, but it means hiring fast & most likely making a few wrong hires.
  2. Be cautious about all the hiring decisions → You find the right persons most of the time → But you are not hiring people fast enough and according to your hiring targets for the year..

Both of these are good, but most companies choose option 1. Please note that in option 2, you will also end up with some wrong hires. It's not even possible to get a 100 % success rate.

You should’t measure the success of hiring by filling the role. E.g. when hiring a sales person it would make sense to measure sales success of the hired person. Will they reach their quota & how long they will be in the company? What’s their ramp-up time? If you are a high-growth company hiring many people, I would use Cohort-analysis for this (like you most likely use for running your business).

And yes, I understand that a sales rep's performance is not only about finding the right person. It’s also about onboarding, sales playbook, coaching, leadership, market situation & much more.

#6 Most companies don't do Employer Branding – This surprises me!

Before entering the industry, I've seen a lot of LinkedIn posts about employer branding & how important that is. I had the image that a lot of companies would be investing in that and are already doing that heavily.

But this is what really surprised me!

I've been talking with around 100 SaaS companies in the past 6 months, and less than 5 % of those have a full-time person doing employer branding.

Here's why I find this interesting: I see the same thing happening here as what happened in sales & marketing years back:

Step 1: First, companies hire a lot of salespeople

Step 2: Then companies started to invest in marketing (lead generation)

Step 3: Marketing teams said that you should invest in branding, but most companies needed to understand the value of that first.

Step 4: Finally, companies understand the value of branding

Step 5: A lot of companies are investing heavily in marketing, and marketing is driving revenue for companies (see PLG as an example)

Recruitment = sales, and employer branding = brand marketing. We notice that we are basically on Step 2 now. (Companies are doing recruitment lead generation, and some companies are building the brand.)

Companies should move towards Step 5 in the upcoming years. In 5 years, I predict TA teams will consist of 30 % EB professionals & 70 % recruiters.

#7 Difficult to move from ad-hoc to strategic

There are only so many companies doing their recruitment at a strategic level. Still, the most common way to do recruitment seems to be this:

  1. We realize we need someone for an open role.
  2. Let's quickly open the job ad & do some outreach.
  3. Hire someone who happens to apply.

I don't blame companies for this → This kind of approach works, and you typically find a person for the role. (A big risk that it’s a person that doesn’t perform.) However, there are a few challenges with this approach:

  1. Typically you always find the person too late → More pressure on the current team, and they generally are unhappy → Bigger employee churn.
  2. When you are in a hurry → A bigger risk of making the wrong hiring decision.

I find myself asking this question: why are not all companies building talent pipelines like they are building sales pipelines?

For example, at TalentBee we already have a talent pipeline of around 30 people who want to join us when the time is right for them & for us. The hiring becomes quite different and a lot easier for both parties with this kind of an approach!

I believe what's causing this problem is that most recruiters don't know or understand enough about the business of the company they are working for.

We have been doing quite an extensive research about SaaS companies and their Talent acquisition functions, and to my surprise, most TA professionals and recruiters:

  1. Don't know their company MRR or goals around that
  2. Their product roadmap or plans for that
  3. Their GTM strategy and plans around that
  4. Their future funding rounds

It would be easier to go into the strategic mode if you had that information. Make sure to demand that kind of information from the business!

Those are my insights & learnings from the industry so far.

Want to make talent acquisition to a strategic level? Check out https://www.talentbee.io/