Culture: The Special Sauce for Making Great Hires

Sometimes I wonder how I ever got into the recruiting business. I was a businessman long before I ever became a recruiter. And even as a recruiter I never worked for a national or regional recruiting or staffing firm of any kind. The contingency recruiting world was never really a fit for me. Perhaps that’s why nothing my company does looks in any way like a traditional recruiter. You may think I am engaging in some well-meaning puffery, but truly my only experience in recruiting was 11 years of hiring staff for my own teams in a very fast paced high growth environment. My bias has always been to reach for the best human resources available. Because more than any other factor the quality of the talent on my team acted as a limiting or accelerating factor for growth. Here are just a few things that my firm NEWSCHOOL Recruiting does that is different than all of the other recruiting firms.

We behave like consultants not like recruiters

Recruiters get a job requisition and then email the client 20-30 resumes that fit the job requirements. The client then reviews the resumes and tells the recruiter who they want to meet. The recruiter will then arrange the interviews.

I have never understood this process. Why should the client pick out the good resumes from the bad ones? Shouldn’t that task fall on the recruiter? The recruiters are paid a fee to be the selection experts, right? At NEWSCHOOL we do it differently. We don’t send resumes. We send candidates.

How do we do this? Before we launch our search we conduct what we call “cultural interviews” with 3-5 employees within the client’s company that will interface with this new position on a regular basis. By meeting these folks face to face and learning how they see this position we are then able to discern what kind of person will “fit” this team; not just who has the skills and experience to do the job. We also require some time with the potential new hire’s boss to assess his or her management style. Often we may identify 5 to 10 potential candidates that can do the job, but these cultural interviews allow us to discern two critical components for productivity and retention. These components are “the cultural fit with the team” and “the match with the leadership style of the boss”. If you get these right you will have good people who fit the team, boss, and job extremely well.

We act like partners not vendors

Our fees are flat. Why? Because we want to be able to have clean hands when we negotiate or provide any service on behalf of our clients. Contingency recruiters have a built in bias toward paying the candidate a higher salary. More simply, pay the candidate more and the recruiter makes more. Why should the wage paid to the candidate affect my fee? The answer is it shouldn’t! One client told me a story about working with a contingency recruiter on an assignment. The recruiter had identified a qualified, solid candidate. Anxious to interview the candidate, the client asked the recruiter a few basic questions before conducting the phone interview with the candidate.

Client – “Does he have his P.E.?”

Recruiter – “Yes.”

Client – “When can he be available to start?”

Recruiter – “2-4 weeks.”

Client – “Great! And how much does he want?”

Recruiter – “Well, he is the perfect candidate! He is worth $120-125K.”

My client didn’t think much about it at the time. However, salary came up during the interview. The candidate volunteered, “I’m making $85K now. I’d be happy if I could make that!” The obfuscation on the part of the recruiter was revealed. An extra $40K salary meant an extra $10K for the recruiter. This is exactly why our fees are flat. We are always working on the behalf of our client to secure a win/win with the candidate. Our fee structure allows us work as a partner and also keeps us tightly aligned with our client’s budgets and preferences.

We focus more on value than on fees

One of the offerings we are most proud of and committed to is our 6 month guarantee. All our candidates make it to 6 months or the replacement is free of charge. I am also proud of the fact that 80% of our candidates make it to 6 months. The contingency world offers a 60-90 day guarantee. Their motto is “It’s our job to find them and your job to retain them.” Finding the right candidate that fits the culture and the leadership style of the boss will go a long way to achieving high levels of retention and productivity.

The value of a recruiter is earned when the employees they recruit stay and are productive. We don’t want just the occasional hard to find employee. We want to bring so much value that we become viewed as a part of the company. When you know the company culture. When your value proposition is easy to understand and affordable you begin to be treated like a key member of the leadership team. You are brought into meetings to discuss projects that will require additional talent.

So what’s the secret sauce? A third part “culture,” a third part “leadership style fit,” and another third “job skills.” Mix them all together and the results can be delicious!

We are NEWSCHOOL! We do everything different! If our recipe appeals to you give us a call!