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January 29, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Do People Still Buy People First??

“People buy People first and everything else after…”

That was the very first piece of advice given to me on my first day in recruiting, also my first day in professional sales. The role was in a candidate driven sector, a niche market with about 100 potential major clients and a lot of potential candidates. Oh, and a lot of competitors too! Developing relationships with candidates, from the time they first make contact with you, through their first meeting with you and the process of arranging interviews, briefings and feedback, to the eventual decision, meant taking time to build up the relationship and trust. I quickly realised that in a specialist sector your candidates become clients and your clients become candidates.

Last week I interviewed 2 very strong, senior candidates, both had contacted me speculatively with their CVs, and at the end of each meeting they both thanked me for having called them and arranged to meet them. I found it strange, as I would have assumed that candidates of their calibre would be on the radar of most HR recruiters, but both told me that they had difficulty even getting their CVs acknowledged, let alone getting phone time with a recruiter. To get a face to face interview, without a specific role to discuss, was impossible… except for me. Now both these candidates have had recruitment as one of their functions, and both have hired many HR staff in the past, yet even recruiters who they have briefed before don’t seem to want to talk to them.

One of them then said….

“I’m not sure if recruiters realise that candidates want to interact with a person, not a website”

Which kind of takes me back to my starting point…people buy people first…and I’m wondering if, in this social media driven, job board oriented, brave new recruiting word of communities and networks, this is still true.

Maybe we need to personalise our processes more…our Candidate Care Team recently sent an e-mail to a candidate whom they couldn’t reach by phone to let him know why he wasn’t suitable for a role he had applied for…he replied…

Thank you for taking time to write to me, honestly this is the first time a recruitment company has spared time to personalize an e-mail, especially when this person will have no value for them.”

So what do you think??

Do we still buy people first?

Do we still trust the judgement and advice of people that we know well? Those we have a relationship with?

And if so how do we now establish that personal relationship?

If we swap messages on Linked In, or tweets (which we can now show on Linked In too), or comments on blog postings, are we establishing a relationship that will encourage dialogue and trust?

What will it take to get recruiters to interact face to face with candidates?

I’ll be co-hosting the ‘Who Cares What the Candidates Think?’ track at TruLondon and would love to be able to share your thoughts…..

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One Comment

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  1. @HRMargo / Jan 30 2010 6:14 AM

    People buy from people they trust. True. People buy the genuine article, the real deal, and they want to be recruited by people they trust. Who wants a smarmy recruiter who’s just trying to tag, bag and toss someone into a slot to fill a job order and snag a commission? Nobody! That’s what I want my American colleagues to bear in mind. The unemployed today, are among the most vulnerable beings we know. The recession as beat them bloody, and it’s been a brutal year for so many hard-pressed individuals. What people need now are people like you, Bill Boorman, Wendy Jacob and Alan Whitman. Real people with good souls. I’m so fortunate to have found a social media gig that I just adore. I wish millions of Americans could be so lucky. The recession is lifting, but not fast enough. The mid-western United States, where I live is still quite sluggish. Many of my colleagues in area code #513 are still looking for work, and I’m talking about good people; people with degrees, certifications and skills.

    I think employed recruiters underestimate the positive impact they have on a candidates life. I think it is compassionate to state that the positive impact could turn negative in a heart beat if that candidate isn’t treated with respect, integrity, and care.

    I won’t be seeing you in #TruLondon because thank goodness, I have to work. I wish you all the trucurry goodness and fun in the whole wide world, dear Mervyn. You are one of my dearest Twitter Pals.

    @HRMargo

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