WARM or COLD? How the warm approach is best for hiring talent in your SME business.
After speaking to a great Finance Director I’m representing and have known for a while and on talking to attendees at a CIMA event I was a speaking at on interview techniques, a common theme emerged which I think would be a great topic for discussion on LinkedIn – Warm vs Cold approaches to the hiring process.
Professional job seekers whether experienced in accountancy, law or other disciplines have two separate types of relationship with recruitment businesses and their consultants.
Some agencies have what I’ll describe as the ‘cold’ approach. This is where most communication is via email and there is very, very little in the way of a relationship where a sense of trust and openness can develop. Any correspondence is on a very formal basis, often the candidate is made to feel one of many and any sense of their own individuality and uniqueness is pretty much lost!
The other approach is the “warm” approach. This is one I personally have always believed in. Where a consultant meets the candidate face to face and thereafter a truly professional relationship begins to develop through positive interaction over time. A sense of trust, empathy and honesty is forged where the consultant and candidate relationship morphs into an understanding on a personal, platonic as well as professional basis.
There seem to be a lot of recruitment professionals who purely look for ‘the quick win’ the ‘fast placement’ and the ‘easy fee’. What they fail to realise and easily lose sight of is that the ‘win’ as they see it is a unique and individual person with their own career aspirations, commitments and priorities entrusting their professional dreams in the hands of that recruitment professional. The ‘win’ is the SME business owner who genuinely needs a business partner to work with them, be passionate and care about their particular company – not just someone looking for any role that will do!
Instead, there is a better way and that is to emotionally engage with your candidates and clients.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment.
The Finance Director I mentioned at the beginning – let’s call him Andrew– is facing redundancy and for the last few months he has been looking for a new opportunity. He has family commitments and is ideally needing a role that will not involve quite so many 70 hour working weeks! He told me he’d applied through one of the online agency recruiters for a great sounding opportunity with a manufacturer in his sector for a full time position which was offering flexible working hours. Andrew said that his frustration was that every time he tried to actually speak to someone at the ‘agency’ he was fobbed off, given excuses and never, ever had the courtesy of an email or phone call acknowledging his application – let alone arranging to meet him and explore his details further.
On chatting I asked him “Agency wise, what do you as a candidate feel is the most effective approach – the personal, ‘warm’ touch like me and my team, or the email based ‘cold’ approach used by other recruitment businesses where you can’t really speak to the recruiter or have the opportunity to build a really good relationship?” I said I’ll draft something and email it to him for his thoughts and then I’ll post on LinkedIn.. he thought that would be a great idea and I thanked him for his inspiration. In life the best ideas often come from listening to others I find.
So – what do you feel?
I’d welcome comments from hiring managers, recruitment professionals as well as those of you looking for a job or who have experienced the recruitment process as such through using a recruitment consultancy. Personally ‘warm’ wins it every time for me!
I hope this provokes some good discussion and thoughts and thanks again to ‘Andrew’ – you know who you are!!