THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

December 16, 2010   view past issues

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Ranger Recruiting IV: Passage of the Forward Unit

This column is the latest in an ongoing series called Ranger Recruiting. An archive of previous columns can be found here.

Rangers are the elite of America’s fighting forces. Their motto says it all: Rangers lead the way. What does that have to do with recruiting? The tactics and strategies that Rangers use to accomplish their missions on the battlefield can be equally as effective in helping recruiters win the War for the Best Talent. This column explains how.

One of the most critical points in any Ranger mission is the passage of the forward unit though friendly lines into enemy territory. The forward edge of the battle area is fraught with danger and with opportunity. It is the point of initial contact, the moment at which the unit either gets off to an effective start or sets itself up for trouble and even failure.

For that reason, Ranger units carefully prepare for their passage. They attend to numerous details including what kinds of signals they will use to communicate, who will be in charge of ensuring the safe and rapid passage of each individual, and what happens after the passage has been effected and the mission is underway. Nothing is assumed or considered so minor it can be ignored. In short, Rangers know that a good start is the best guarantee of a good finish.

The same is true for recruiters. Their passage is obviously different as are the details they must consider. Getting that first phase right, however, is just as important to their ultimate success as it is to Rangers.

Preparing for the Passage

Recruiting teams often spend considerable time and effort getting their strategy and tactics right. They think through how best to communicate the employment brand of their organization, they institute best practices for the use of social media and recruitment advertising, and they operate employee referral and campus recruiting programs. All of that is important, to be sure, but what differentiates an employer in the minds of top talent is often – maybe always – something else. It’s the small stuff. The minute and often subtle details that communicate an organization’s values and culture.

Focusing on the passage of the forward unit of an organization is the way a recruiting team takes care of the small stuff. That stuff covers all of the initial points of contact the organization has with candidates. It includes but is not limited to:

  • the first communication, either in response to an application or as the result of a networking referral;
  • the telephone pre-screen;
  • the invitation to interview;
  • all communications regarding the logistics of the interview (e.g., scheduling, travel, parking arrangements); and
  • every interaction that occurs in the reception area.
  • A misstep in any of this stuff can and likely will significantly influence a recruiter’s success in winning the battle for top talent.

    How should you prepare for the passage created by such stuff? Carefully review who will be doing what and establish clear expectations and standards for every interaction and all participants. Each activity must be examined to ensure it has a meaningful outcome that not only benefits the organization but also limits any perceived or real disadvantage or discomfort to the candidate. And, each employee who will be involved in the passage must be trained to represent the values and culture of the organization in the most accurate way possible.

    In the greater scheme of things, the first passage of a candidate through a recruiting team’s forward area can seem innocuous and relatively unimportant. Given the intense competition for top talent, however, that initial contact may well determine the team’s success or failure. So, pay attention to the small stuff that happens up front in your process. Its impact is too great to let it slip beneath the radar.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    Visit me at Weddles.com

    P.S. Do a good deed. Tell your coworkers and friends about WEDDLE’s Newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.


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    A Speaker Worth Considering

    If your organization is looking for a speaker this year, consider WEDDLE’s CEO and Publisher, Peter Weddle.

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    Peter is now booking presentations for 2011. For information on available dates and fees, please contact him at 203.964.1888.