Recruiting Is a Full-Time Job. Here’s How to Outsource It Effectively

In 2014, when then-college freshman Jordan DeCicco found only sugar-heavy bottled coffee to sustain him through predawn basketball practice, he got creative. In his dorm room, he concocted a blend of black coffee, protein powder, and MCT oil–a supplement made from medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat–that got his teammates’ attention. Soon he was fortifying lots more brew, which he called super coffee, and selling it at cost to his buddies.

By summer, DeCicco smelled an opportunity to make Super Coffee a business, especially with older brothers Jim and Jake coming on board as co-founders. They launched as Kitu Life in early 2016; two years later, they had 18 employees in their New York City office–all hired through their network and social media.

But their rapid growth–they project revenue of $30 million this year and, with new retail partners, potentially $100 million in 2020–made it crucial to hire 10 West Coast salespeople fast. A trusted business adviser referred them to a head­hunter. “I would have liked to do the hires personally, but we simply didn’t have enough time,” says CEO Jim DeCicco. “We realized recruiting, done right, is a full-time endeavor that can bring value and allow companies to take their brand to the next level.” Are you ready to make that leap?

1. You Still Have Control

It’s not unusual, says Marc Steren, who teaches entrepreneurship at Georgetown University, for business owners to experience a poor hire before they turn to a recruiter. “Entrepreneurs are extremely self-reliant. They may recognize how critical good hiring is, but control is paramount” to them, he says. That may leave you choosing your own candidates from a pool of poor choices, rather than trusting an outside entity.

The changing talent hunt
One in five jobs, in their current form, will disappear within five years, according to a poll by HR consultancy Mercer. But employers will have to compete for “upskilled” workers.
2 in 5
workers plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months.
7 million
Number of job openings at the end of September 2019.
Number of unemployed persons per available job. This figure peaked at 6.4 in 2009, immediately after the recession.
Sources: Mercer, Bureau of Labor Statistics

But there’s an important distinction to be made about what you’re controlling. “I emphasize to first-time users of recruitment agencies that they are paying for recruiting services, not hiring services,” says Lisa Barrow, CEO of Kada Recruiting, in Charleston, South Carolina. “These firms provide you with candidates. But it’s you who, in the end, choose to hire them or not.”

For many business owners, the desire to run the show never truly subsides. “It’s difficult for entrepreneurs to let go of their belief that they know their needs better than an experienced agency,” says Naeem Bawla, CEO of Bawla Consulting, in Valley Stream, New York, which works with financial institutions. Also, it’s important to recognize, he says, that a recruiter’s approach to finding candidates is likely to be different from yours. Focus on results, not the process.

2. Share Information

Be very specific. “It’s not just about providing lists of skills and what you want, but also about who you want,” says Barrow. Adding detail allows a recruiter to offer sample candidate profiles to get your input.

Just ask Emily LaRusch, CEO of Phoenix-based Back Office Betties, which provides virtual receptionists to law firms. “I put zero work into creating a comprehensive candidate profile, thinking a basic description and a fee payment would be enough to ensure a flow of qualified candidates, which didn’t happen,” she says. When she eventually created her own internal recruiting protocol, she realized how complicated the process is.

It’s also important to communicate your culture, notes Steren, the author of The Student’s Guide to Entrepreneurship. “The candidates who are the best hires are those who align with a company’s shared values,” he says. So Garrett Leight, CEO of Garrett Leight California Optical, did just that. “We described our casual, laid-back, California vibe, and the firm visited our stores and offices to get a first-hand, authentic feel for our culture,” says Leight. After several great hires, the company made the recruiter its go-to agency.

3. Outside the Box

You may know your industry well, and the people within it. But your ideal hire may not be working within your network or even in your industry. One value in headhunters is that they have extended connections. Paul Charney, CEO of Funworks, a small advertising and marketing agency in Oakland, California, sees using a recruiter as an investment. “Several years after launching our company, I became acutely aware of the type of intellectually curious person we couldn’t find through our network but that we very much wanted,” says Charney. “My CFO’s reminder–that the best hires help you grow your business–validated the decision to work with a good headhunter, who can push you to describe your values to help realize a good candidate match.”

Demand deep references. Job candidates are, of course, selective when they provide references. Brad Smart, founder of Topgrading, an HR consultancy, in Lake Forest, Illinois, advises demanding that candidates provide references from all the managers they’ve reported to over the past decade–and calling each one. “If agencies are unwilling to honor your request, which is critical to preventing mis-hires, don’t hire them,” he says.

Offer an exclusive. Offering exclusivity to a headhunter can be a very attractive carrot and deliver better results. “Being the only recruiter in the mix often frees it up to be more flexible, which may result in a client’s ability to negotiate a customized and often more stringent candidate-finding protocol, including interviews and reference checks,” says Smart. And get the specifics included in a written contract.

Get recommendations. Your informal network might not generate a new hire, but it could help you find a reliable external hiring agency or professional that has previously provided exceptional headhunting services to someone you trust.

Consider job platforms. Whether it’s ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, or Indeed, the right job board package may fill the bill in providing candidates, at least initially. “Just make sure,” says Smart, “that you’re willing to put in the time to conduct a thorough interview.”

By Coeli CarrJournalist in New York City

Source: Recruiting Is a Full-Time Job. Here’s How to Outsource It Effectively

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WHO IS STEFANIE STANISLAWSKI? She is an advocate for three causes: Millennials, Women at the Workplace and the Future of Work. She has an ongoing project for each topic: she’s the CEO of Predictive People, a software that uses an AI algorithm to identify disengagement patterns in employees; she’s the Head of Innovation at Catenon Worldwide Executive Search; she’s a blogger and an international speaker creator of Proudly, and she’s the German Ambassador of Vital Voices. Throughout her career she has consistently found ways to be a connector: between women and HR, HR and Millennials, and Millennials and the future of the workplace as we know it. WHAT IS HER TEDx TALK ABOUT? Stefanie goes through some of her most recent research on how the workplace is changing, becoming something out of the ordinary, and how the recruitment process will be in the upcoming years. From technology to people, the best companies are starting to embrace the fact that “talent is their most important asset” and they’re just trying to figure out how to access and keep the best individuals by building smarter, unique and closer organizations with the use of analytics, top technology and top performers. For more information about her, just check out her social media accounts. • Twitter: @sstami8 • Linkedin:… • Facebook: • She is an advocate for three causes: Millennials, Women at the Workplace and the Future of Work. She has an ongoing project for each topic: she’s the CEO of Predictive People, a software that uses an AI algorithm to identify disengagement patterns in employees; she’s the Head of Innovation at Catenon Worldwide Executive Search; she’s a blogger and an international speaker creator of Proudly, and she’s the German Ambassador of Vital Voices. Throughout her career she has consistently found ways to be a connector: between women and HR, HR and Millennials, and Millennials and the future of the workplace as we know it. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at



The New Hiring Practices At McKinsey And Goldman Sachs


Have you ever stopped to think how absurd recruiting is? You meet a company for a total of two hours or at most two days and then you—and the company—basically have to decide if you want to enter a long, committed relationship.

The hiring market is so inefficient that when a firm finds a suitable candidate it’s tempting to extend an offer. Likewise, when a candidate finds an fine job, one for which they may still feel overqualified, they are tempted to sign on the dotted line.

But even when both parties choose to swipe right, the stakes for committing are very high.

The Cost Of Recruiting

Accepting a job is like a legal marriage. You can usually leave at any time, but the associated costs can really add up. Job switching costs for an employee, both in time and money, are high. Firing, for a firm, is equally expensive. There’s the severance cost, the training costs, the cost of the burden placed on existing employees who have to temporarily pick up the slack. And in countries with rigid employee protection regulation, firing costs easily skyrocket.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article on recruiting, the Society for Human Resource Management estimated that firms spend “an average of $4,129 per job in the United States…and many times that amount for managerial roles—and the United States fills a staggering 66 million jobs a year.”

I remember reading a statistic a while back that a recruiter is considered to be really good if ~60% of their hires are successful. That means that a really good recruiter makes a hiring mistake 40% of the time. 40%! Imagine if a doctor made a mistake 40% of the time. Or a pilot made an error 40% of the time. You might find that to be overstated, but hiring bad people can be just as fatal for an organization.

When you’re young, there’s often a taboo around getting a job through a connection. But when you’re old(er), you’re foolish if you try to get a job without a connection. Companies don’t want to risk hiring someone bad; they would much rather hire someone who comes with a reference, a known quantity. But this introduces all sorts of unconscious bias into the process and essentially makes an organization a vehicle for sourcing talent from a small pool of networks.

Many companies try to introduce new hiring practices to address the inherent problems in hiring. Young tech startups, probably with the influence of Google, have introduced a variety of new ways to recruit talent. But I was interested to see the change seep into the psyche of two of the most reputable companies in business: the consulting firm McKinsey and the financial services firm Goldman Sachs.

McKinsey’s Problem Solving Video Game

McKinsey recently introduced a digital assessment gaming tool. The tool is a video game of sorts. It’s 60 minutes long and consists of three separate blocks. Each section simulates a bunch of different scenarios that tests candidates on their way of thinking and decision-making. The assessment explicitly doesn’t test business knowledge. The game was designed to identify “how you think and approach problems regardless of your background.”

In its most basic form, management consulting is the business of problem-solving. Developing a tool that tests candidates on the core of the business while trying to remove cognitive bias is, in my opinion, a great idea. Cognitive psychology has proved that left to our own fallible human devices, we choose to hire people who are most like us, which perpetuates a single-minded culture.

But the test serves another, perhaps unintentional, purpose: it attracts candidates who find this type of assessment appealing. I admit as a consutlant, as soon as I heard about this new simulation, I wanted to apply to McKinsey just so I could take the test. Some people hate the unknown and ambiguity of problem-solving. But as a manager, I need to hire people who are easily captivated by the challenge of that ambiguity.

Goldman Sachs’s Virtual Interviewing Process

Goldman Sachs is another establishment that has rejiggered its recruiting process over the last few years with the introduction of video interviewing.

Historically, Goldman used to send recruiters and hiring managers to top “feeder” schools to recruit―the arguable assumption being that they would find the highest concentration of talented, high-caliber candidates at those schools. This approach is naturally constrained by the number of people you can push out to interview. The big advantage of their new virtual approach is they can conduct video interviews with potential hires from a much broader and more diverse range of schools and backgrounds.

Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, Danes Homes, wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article:

In 2015, the year before we rolled out this platform, we interviewed fewer than 20% of all our campus applicants; in 2018 almost 40% of the students who applied to the firm participated in a first-round interview.

Second, we now encounter talent from places we previously didn’t get to. In 2015 we interviewed students from 798 schools around the world, compared with 1,268 for our most recent incoming class. In the United States, where the majority of our student hires historically came from ‘target schools,’ the opposite is now true.”

“Talent Is Everywhere, Opportunity Is Scarce”

I’m not saying that these hiring techniques are necessarily best-in-class, but they are a recognition that more breadth and diversity are needed. It is especially notable that these older, more established companies are adopting hiring changes, usually the last to make changes.

The irony in this shift is that it is also a recognition that intelligence, work ethic, and innovative thinking are not a function of where you went to school or what brand-name firm you work for. But, as the oft-quoted saying goes, while talent is everywhere, opportunity is scarce.

Follow Stephanie Denning on Twitter:   @stephdenningAnd Also Read:

How Basecamp Rejects Workaholism And Still Drives Results

The Netflix Pressure-Cooker: A Culture That Drives Performance

My writing explores the choices firms and leaders make and the impact of those choices. I work as a management consultant specializing in growth strategy.

Source: The New Hiring Practices At McKinsey And Goldman Sachs

9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit – Travis Bradberry


It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door. Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part……..

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