All too often, we think of recruiting as “hunting.”
You have to set your sights on your prey, track them, and hunt them down in order to recruit them.
For instance, I once worked with a company that bought a list of the top producers in their industry. They had sent out an email campaign of stock letters saying, basically, “we could pay you more money,” but they couldn’t figure out why this hadn’t gotten any responses or conversions.
It’s true that this is one way to recruit, but in my opinion, it’s the way that takes more energy and less care. You have to expend so much effort on finding names and sending emails, but at the end of the day you’re treating your potential recruits like “prey” rather than people.
A recruiter should act like a farmer instead. That’s someone who grows their team through care and dedication rather than through ruthless pursuit.
Think of it like this. A farmer prepares the land, tilling and sowing it, in the way that we prepare our leadership principles and values to make sure that our team is a place where people can grow.
A farmer cares for their crops through dedicated service. They water and fertilize the seeds. In that way, as recruiters, our goal should always be growth. When you’re reaching out to recruits, you should be offering them something right now to help them grow.
For instance: “I saw your recent post about your daughter starting kindergarten. What an exciting and special time! I thought I’d share over this article about new strategies to manage our work/life balance. I know having a kid start school can throw that balance off sometimes, and I hoped this might bring some value to your day. Have a good one!”
Once you’ve done that, you’ve provided tools to help them grow. More importantly, you’ve shown them that you care about their growth and their life. Beyond numbers, beyond salary, you’re paying attention to their world and how you can provide them with value.
This method takes longer. A farmer can’t just plant seeds and expect them to sprout up overnight. But the spring always reminds us that April showers do, in time, bring May flowers. If you care for your crops, then growth will come.