I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (still don’t!), so I took the LSATs, went to law school and became an attorney. I quickly realized I would have been a great lawyer if it wasn’t for all that darned fine print!
There are enough books, articles and seminars on all things business to fill Madison Square Garden several times over. I recently read an article discussing the difference between TIME MANAGEMENT (apparently, after all these years, not the most productive way of going about your day) and ATTENTION MANAGEMENT (the sexy new paradigm that focuses on prioritizing people, not tasks). I won’t go into all the riveting details; let’s just say that after getting about halfway into the article, I started rubbing my forehead and throwing my hands up in the air. WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? I sure didn’t know. The more I read, the less I understood the difference between the two. Maybe I’m thick (my lovely wife seems to think so); the obvious becomes the oblivious. What does this have to do with attracting and hiring top talent? Well, I think the aforementioned concepts can be applied.
I recently took on my first retained search (where a candidate pays me to devote my time, skill and energy exclusively on her behalf). Never having done this before, I initially struggled with how to proceed. This was going to be difficult, more difficult than my contingent work. So, on Day One, I promptly put off the task until Day Two! Not exactly a productive business plan (please read my forthcoming book “Procrastinate Your Way to Success!”). I have always been a creature of habit; at least from Monday to Friday, I have a need to know exactly where I am in relation to the world around me. I know it’s Wednesday because that’s when I have my turkey sandwich.
Deciding to apply this thinking to the task at hand, I chose a time and duration (M-F, 2pm-3:30pm) to work on my search. Problem solved. When the clock strikes two, I put aside whatever I was working on, and devote myself to the retained search. Can this approach help all you hiring managers in your attempts to hire top talent for your teams?
Let’s assume that you have put together a well thought out job description that really sounds appealing. The resumes start rolling in, the vast majority of which have absolutely no relationship to the necessary qualifications. Your mood starts to swing south. (This is one major reason why you should consider using an outside recruiter, but that’s another article). To make matters worse, you have 10 other matters that take priority over reviewing those resumes, so you wait until the end of the day, when you really just want to get out of the office. As a professional recruiter, I can tell you that your mood WILL affect how you read and perceive these documents. A minor spelling error can provoke rage. To the circular file it goes! I am currently working on a Java engineer role (I know, it’s way outside the legal and compliance framework that is my specialty), and many of the candidates are speaking and writing English as a second language. When I try and review these resumes when I’m tired and grumpy, I often end up screaming inside my head and closing out the file, to be read another time.
Finding time to review resumes is important. It may not seem important relative to other tasks, like when your boss suddenly presents you with a project that must be completed yesterday. When you are short-staffed, your team does not function at its optimal level, and neither do you.
I suggest carving out a short period or two (maybe one in the AM and one in the PM) when you are feeling energetic, and maybe even a little bit happy. You can then tackle a few resumes at a time, and give them the thoughtfulness they deserve. (Full disclosure: I carve out some time every Friday morning to write my weekly article, to be posted early the next week).
This little technique will take a lot of the stress out of some of the tasks that need to be taken care of. But if that 3” stack of resumes is just too daunting, why don’t you give an outside recruiter a chance. It won’t cost you a penny (unless you hire our candidate, that is)!
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