I am a seeker and finder of people. Call me a Head Hunter or even fancier, a Talent Acquisition Specialist, but I call myself a Recruiter. I have been in this profession for over two decades in various industries. I’ve worked for agencies, I’ve been my own agency and I’ve worked for giant corporations. I’ve been on both sides of the desk, recruiting and selling recruiting services. I didn’t grow up thinking, “I’m going to be a recruiter”. It just happened, and I went with it. It turned out to be the best career possible for me. I’m an extrovert. I love people. I need to be socializing constantly. And I absolutely LOVE a challenge. The position that is impossible to fill drives me to succeed.
My role as a recruiter has changed dramatically over the years. I started off before anyone really knew how to use the internet. We would post jobs in newspapers and hope for the best. Today, I am a networking machine. When I meet someone, usually within the first few minutes I know their name, what they do, where they work, and I am getting their contact information and starting to build a professional relationship.
I use social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect and build my network. LinkedIn is my number one source for information. I am constantly on LinkedIn researching names and titles. In essence, I feel I am a name collector. I have names written everywhere- in my phone, on sticky notes in my office, in countless notebooks. Everyone’s name sounds familiar to me at this point. LinkedIn is a way for me to organize all of these names and use them to my advantage. I connect with everyone and anyone I find who has an interesting title or background no matter the industry. At the risk of sounding selfish, I connect with people because somewhere down the road, I may be able to use them or someone they know to fill one of my open positions.
Twitter is a social media tool I am relatively new to. I am just getting my feet wet trying to figure out the best way to use it. At one point, I had three Twitter handles, one for personal, one for my actual job and one for this blog. I’ve since shut down the personal one because I wasn’t giving it any attention. I am just learning how to utilize Twitter to really engage with the audience I am trying to reach. I am learning about Twitter lists and how to use them to my advantage as a way of organizing people. My goal for the next few months will be to really try and build a solid follower base and start adding relevant, interesting content to help build up my passive candidate database.
All of these efforts, collecting names, networking, connecting and engaging with people, are for one particular purpose- to find that perfect candidate- the “Purple Squirrel”. For those that are not familiar with the term, the Purple Squirrel is a term used by recruiters to describe that absolute perfect candidate that checks off ALL of the boxes on that hiring manager’s wish list- i.e. the technical product developer with vulcanized, performance, waterproofing, cement lasted, hand-sewn in their skill set and 5 years of factory experience in Asia, who is also diverse and has salary requirements within the incredibly, ridiculous low budget who is willing to relocate on their own dime to live and work in the boonies. They all want that, right? Well, do you spend month after month searching, going without that support you need, spending unnecessary, unbudgeted funds to find this needle in the haystack or do you take your chances and hire that “not so perfect” candidate, the one that doesn’t check off every single box on the list, the “Purplish Squirrel” as I call them, and develop and groom that person into that perfect employee? I try and convince my managers to take this leap of faith all the time. Of course, occasionally, you get lucky and that Purple Squirrel does surface but for the most part, you end up chasing your tail when you could have already changed that req status to “Filled” months ago with the Purplish Squirrel.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please tell me what you think. Thanks for reading!