July 22, 2015   view past issues

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Next Practices: Treat Candidates as Proto-Employees

Traditionally, most employers have viewed job seekers as … well, as job seekers. Applicants. That’s not meant to be a pejorative classification, but it inevitably leaves the job seeker feeling underappreciated and even disrespected. Active job seekers have no choice but to tolerate such an approach, but passive, high caliber talent will not. The want – they expect – to be seen and treated as proto-employees.

Despite some recent improvements in the process, recruiting today almost always unfolds as a cold transaction. It’s an experience that feels like this: “Hey there, we have an opening. You have skills. Let’s do a deal.” The deal, however, is not between two equal parties. The job seeker has to ask permission to be involved and submit to an intrusive evaluation before they get an answer. They are an inferior participant in an unpleasant interaction.

Now some will say that’s just the way it works, but here’s the rub: treating people as inferior and subjecting them to a dehumanizing experience isn’t especially good for recruiting. It makes job seekers feel demeaned and manipulated. If they’re in transition and need work, they’ll hold their nose and endure it. If they’re a passive, high caliber performer, however, they’ll thumb their nose at the guilty employers and move on to those that treat them differently.

Test Driving Employers

The best talent are already successful, so they aren’t looking for employment; they’re searching for an opportunity where they can continue to flourish. They don’t want a job – in most cases, they already have one – they want a career advancement opportunity. They’re interested in a work experience that will catapult them to even greater career heights.

How do they determine if an employer is offering such an opportunity? Like all good consumers, they test drive the organization. Since they can’t actually experience the work, they use the employer’s recruiting process as a surrogate. They evaluate what it’s going to be like as an employee of the organization by what happens to them as a candidate.

For that reason, the best way to view a candidate is as a proto-employee. Craft the recruiting process to make them feel as if they are already a valued member of the community. Tell them about the job openings and the culture and benefits of the organization and then invite them into a simulation of the employee experience. Let them feel what it’s like to work for the organization. For example:

  • Offer them a subscription to the organization’s employee newsletter. If one doesn’t exist, create one for candidates. Tell them about the bowling team’s victory at last week’s tournament and the employee who was recently elected president of their professional association’s local chapter.
  • Involve them in select organizational activities. Invite them to join in the weekend project the organization is undertaking at Habitat for Humanity. Or, get them a free pass to attend an employee’s presentation at a local business conference.
  • Connect them with a peer proto-colleague. Afford them the opportunity to get to know one of the people who would be their coworker should they join the organization. Encourage them to ask questions and explore the day-to-day challenges as well as the opportunities at work.

Yes, viewing candidates as proto-employees and treating them that way takes more time and effort. It’s an investment well worth making, however, if an organization wants to differentiate itself with top talent and have a realistic shot at recruiting them.

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Next Practices – The Book

Best Practices are so yesterday! They are sourcing and recruiting techniques designed for a time that has passed.

Next Practices are strategies and tactics for winning the real War for the Best Talent – the one you actually face today and will face tomorrow. They modernize your approach to:

  • Recruitment Advertising
  • Social Recruiting
  • Candidate Engagement
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience
  • Managing Your Own Recruiting Career

so you maximize your success.

The book is composed of short, straight-to-the-point essays that can be read in ten or fifteen minutes and still transport you to a whole new dimension in the state-of-the art for recruiting and sourcing talent. With titles like Become a Talent Whisperer, Post-Social Recruiting, The Inconvenient Truth of Recruiting and Don’t Post a Job, Advertise Respect, they are sure to entertain and enlighten you.

So, don’t recruit with yesterday’s techniques. Get Next Practices and start recruiting right now with the next generation of recruiting mastery.

The book is available on Amazon. Click here to place your order.

What’s Happening In the Job Market?

Despite all the happy talk about the growth in job openings, it’s still incredibly hard to find a GOOD job and one that pays anywhere near what it costs to live in this country. That’s as true for recruiters as it is for everyone else in the workforce.

So, what’s going on?

There are plenty of talking heads opining on cable and more than enough blog posts and magazines offering their take on the situation. But, wouldn’t it be nice to look into this situation and its causes without having to endure a lot of self-appointed punditry?

Well, now you can. Read Peter Weddle’s novel about the 21st Century world of work in America called A Multitude of Hope. It uses the fictional tale of three job seekers to explore what’s happening to individual working men and women in a workplace and job market churning with change.

To read a FREE excerpt of A Multitude of Hope, click here.

The Recruiting Resources You Deserve

The best recruiters use the best resources to get the job done. And, when it comes to reaching top talent online, their choice is clear. It’s WEDDLE’s Books. Get yours today!

WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This is the 11th edition of the Guide the American Staffing Association called the “Zagat” of job boards and social media sites.

The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook. This is Shally Steckerl’s tell-all guide to his sourcing secrets and cybersleuthing for hard-to-find talent.

WEDDLE’s Guide to Association Web Sites. This book details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are available at the Web-sites of over 3,000 professional and technical associations.

Finding Needles in a Haystack. This one-of-a-kind guide lists over 25,000 keywords and keyword phrases, across 5,400 job and position titles in 28 industries and professions.

Make Your Recruiting Headquarters

Modeled after Pinterest, offers four channels of information and resources found nowhere else on the Web. And, one of those channels is specifically tailored for those Employers and Recruiters who are determined to find the best talent for their openings!

What’s in the Employers & Recruiters channel at There are:

  • Books & Tools for recruiting & sourcing excellence
  • An archive of Next Practice Recruiting Tips
  • An Association Directory organized by career field & industry
  • Insights on Career Activists – the passive prospects who are so hard to recruit
  • And much, much more!

So, make the place where you start your business day! And, encourage your colleagues to join you there, as well.