Today's guest writer is Jim Lyons, JD, CPC

As you know, the internet and social media make it fairly easy to find candidates today. It is not like years ago in recruitment when you had to call into a company and use a suitable pretext to try to find out who was doing a certain job. Yes, that type of recruitment theatre is gone. Let’s face it, today it is easy to find the right person. The problem is: it is easy for everyone to find that same right person.

As a result, social media has become not only a research tool but also the first choice point of engagement with the candidate. Instead of picking up the phone and having a direct engagement or at least leaving an intriguing voicemail, many in our industry are emailing, inmailing and/or texting as a first point of candidate contact. In fact, one might consider this activity proactive v. the systemic industry dependency on posting and praying.

I think all readers will agree that companies will continue to expand their internal recruitment departments. Emerging technologies will likely make it more challenging to compete in certain markets for certain candidates. However, what cannot be replaced is the human touch. The human voice on the phone, setting the stage by delivering a compelling message. In essence, being a tactical extension of our client’s value proposition in the marketplace. By being intrusive and disruptive, we become the tip of the spear for our client’s talent acquisition initiatives. Our goal of course is to investigate and extract top direct-competitor talent on a clear career path and not in the market. This activity is unique to our industry and is our last stronghold. More importantly, it is an activity that the internal recruiter will for the most part not do. Why? Because their internal lawyers or outside counsel will not let them engage direct-competitor candidates, and second, they just don’t have the skill set or time. Frankly, they just do not have the guts to pick up the phone. If they did, they would be on our side of the business…

Of course commercially there is a place for posting, inmails, emails, texts and questionnaires. Within NPA, there is a place for everyone who works hard. This writer also recognizes that there are members of NPA who do very well as exporters and never speak to their candidates. To those who are practicing along these lines, I applaud your results and respect your process - because it works for you. It just does not work for me. In fact, if I were still running an office with recruiters (as I did a few years back), as a training exercise, I would shut down my new recruiters’ email and internet for a few hours a day to force them to get on the phone and develop a direct telephonic engagement skill set.

My friends, whatever process is working for you, stay the course. All I am suggesting is don’t forget the telephone. It is still the best sales tool ever created. Remember that social media and the internet are great time-saving research tools. Thus, use them as a means to draw the candidate to the phone or better yet into a Zoom or Skype interview.

In summary, I do not mean to marginalize the importance of contacts, networks, technology or any other process that is working for you. I simply believe that for us to have sustained success in the marketplace we must embrace our past. To me, true headhunters get on the phone and go after top direct-competitor talent. This is a premium service and skill set. I consider it (and clients should also consider it) a branch of strategic management consulting v. transactional recruiting. So Pick Up the Phone my friends. All the best and happy hunting.