Nudging, Not Attracting

By: Scott Love

I recently read an article by Bill Boorman stating that third party recruiters are on the decline and he touted the merits of social media as being the most effective way for companies to attract talent.

Here is my response:

Several years ago I keynoted at the annual sales meeting of The International Cemetery and Funeral Association conference. Most of them sold pre-need services. Now, this can all be purchased over the web and there can be social media activity promoting the importance of purchasing your funeral lot thirty or forty years before you need it. The problem is that most people don’t want to think about their death and outside of life insurance will make little commitment to preparing for the inevitable. So they avoid it. They avoid it until they are face to face with a sales person who will hold their hand and lead them down the path of facing this biggest fear and will get them to sign the contract and then they are usually grateful for the experience and that it’s out of the way.

Third party recruiters are tapping people on the shoulder and engaging them in a one-to-one dialogue about facing the fear of change and are nudging them to explore other opportunities. That’s what the big value is with third party recruiters. Social Media has evolved into another crowded room with everyone screaming their message at the same time. It’s probably expected that large companies do this because that is just what is customary. It’s an easy way to capture the low hanging fruit and those candidates who are on their way out of their company.

But to attract the truly exceptional and highly coveted executives and achievers, the single conversation from a professional and experienced headhunter with good sales skills and a core value system is much more powerful than the best social media campaign when it comes to attracting the very best talent. And that is what gets superstars who are not even interested in their competitor’s employment brands to consider making a move. Champions are too busy succeeding to consider making a move. Our job isn’t about attracting talent. It’s about gently nudging talent.

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