Human Resources

Old School Recruiting Won’t Move the Needle

Hard Knocks in the Recruiting Universe

It was about seven years ago when I started my career in recruiting. . .

It was a land of smiling and dialing, posting job ads, and filtering (ahem, reviewing) infinite resumes. I managed a large local automotive manufacturing client at the time, staffing its machining and assembly lines. Very high volume.

Look at this recruiter, bright and full of life!


A Tale as Old as Time

If you’ve been in HR or been the primary recruiter on roles like this, tell me if this sounds familiar. . .

  • You post the job on CareerBuilder and LinkedIn. . .
  • Hundreds of resumes come in over a week or two
  • A small group are worth calling, and only a handful will answer.

With the role being public and the client being high-profile, my phone was ringing off the hook non-stop from all types of candidates beating down the door for an interview. . .

“Did you get my resume?”

“What’s the status of my application?”

“Why doesn’t your client want to interview me?”

I was drained from bottle-necked activity, upset, and thinking “this can’t be the smartest way to do this

Years later, I was recruited for a higher-responsibility position with a more traditional headhunting firm.

“If we do twice as much of what we used to – we will have twice as many results!”


Same Tactics, Same Results

Sadly, as time passed, I found out they generally had the same process, just for higher level roles…

“Email the job description to all of the sales reps in Atlanta and then screen the people that respond!”

This agency would use huge purchased B2B lists to mass email out on their job searches. . . Thousands and thousands of emails at a time… With all of those emails likely being the first time they had ever seen our name. The problem remained – tons of people who weren’t fits from the get-go, demanding a slice of time…

And that’s not their fault – we contacted them!

Not to mention the consequences of the flip-side – we had no way of focusing more energy on recruiting people showing interest and had no way of demonstrating value to harder-to-recruit (and typically more successful) associates in the market. I won’t repeat the Einstein quote on insanity, because we’ve all heard it a million times. . .

But I did feel like Macho Man Randy Savage:

Even World Champion Wrestlers have Doubts. . .


The Catalyst’s Aftermath

…and it was time to take things into my own hands

With my experience running e-commerce businesses in college and high school, I knew there was a better way to target candidates, the best candidates, and perpetually build interest in firms and opportunities.

The mass-blast job description email just wasn’t going to cut it for companies that needed specific high-grade talent.

It wasn’t going to cut it for the candidates that are having their doors beaten down every day by recruiters and firms alike.

After working with the digital marketing wizards and warlocks of the internet – my firm Legacy Search has put together a complete recruiting strategy for all organizations in the building materials industry.

We designed a process for the Digital Age 2.0…

SmarterChild is here to help


Scale With the Human Touch

Not the pre-historic digital age of mass-email blasts, job postings, pay per clicks ads, and pointless (and non-converting) social media updates.

The second generation of the internet – This generation we are adding the human touch to the scaling power of the internet.

  • We’re forgetting about passive job posting (fishing) and focusing on active candidate hunting
  • We’re spending time sourcing precise audiences instead of mass markets
  • We’re skipping the mindless email blasts for personalized job invitations
  • We’re making job descriptions secondary in place of employer value propositions
  • We’re abolishing (most) cold calling for long-term relationship building

By getting laser-focused on who (and how) we contact FIRST, we can cut down immensely on the time we are spending with candidates who aren’t a fit to begin with.

More importantly, we can spend more time converting the best candidates in the market, teaching them more intimately about the value of the opportunity you propose and the firm you’re representing.

What should you do for the top 10% of your identified audience?

Follow this link to request a copy of Elite LBM Talent: The Blueprint (link) and learn the secrets of attracting the candidates that won’t answer calls or emails from recruiters…

Human Resources

Candidate Onboarding: Strategies to Consider

Flex Those Retention Muscles!


Ever have new-hires turn over quickly, or feel a bit frazzled or frantic during their first 90-180 days?

No problem, just set up a standard onboarding procedure and guidelines in order to keep your new hire on the rails.

Secure your talent and retain them with power. . .



It’s a vanishing act!


According to SHRM, companies lose 17% of their new hires in the first three months. 4% of hires don’t even return for a second day of work!

The most shocking statistic of all, though… is that 50% of new hires will not be considered a success within the first 18 months of their new role. . .




Be Transparent and Educational


So what needs to be covered during onboarding? Well, it’s a fairly long list, but you should make the following concepts 100% clear to all new hires:

>> The role itself
>> Constraints
>> Priorities
>> Communication Style
>> Business Health
>> Team Chemistry
>> Company Culture
>> Top Competitors
>> Sales and Marketing Strategies
>> Top Products
>> Career Aspirations
>> Delivery Style
>> Cadence of Career

Build Your Employees to Keep Your Employees!


Create an environment where elite talent can flourish. Culture needs to be consistent across the board. Elite talent needs to know parameters, and then the flexibility to maneuver to deliver results within those parameters. They like to understand the end goal, the time frame, the budget, and the boundaries and then be given some degree of freedom to design their own path to get there.




Did you miss a couple of the steps earlier on in the recruiting process? Don’t worry about it, I’ve got the entire recruiting process detailed out here in the Elite LBM Talent: The Blueprint guide (link)

Human Resources

Recruiting Failures: Pick-Up Artists

Recruiters Want a One Night Stand

Written By: James Aiken


Kim from Human Resources needed to outsource her recruiting process for an urgent role. She had been contacted by dozens of different recruiters promising to deliver the best talent in the market. They all operated in her niche, they all had a guarantee and they all had the best network (what a surprise). Kim handed the role off to a few different contingency recruiters she felt she could trust with the vacancy.

After receiving an initial wave of candidates, most of which were inapplicable, she requested more candidates from her recruiters. Then she waited, and she waited… She emailed, she called, she even thought about sending a carrier pigeon, but no matter how much she reached out – she began to hear less and less back!

“There aren’t any superstar candidates in this tight market”

“Are you open to paying for candidate relocation?”

“This person seems relatively qualified…”

“The qualifications are too specific!”

“Lets have another call to revisit this…”

Kim wanted an ideal recruiting partner, but nobody sticks around past the initial candidate presentation! She had all kinds of recruiting resources, why can’t they pull anything off? Before they got the search, they were knocking down her door, now all she hears are crickets!

Recruiting Failures: Hitting it and Quitting It

I’ll share a secret about many recruiting firms that are famous for “playing the numbers”. They want the quick placement. They accept jobs and sign agreements in order to boost their numbers. They partner in hopes that something will set off quick and easy without having to really target down and run a true search. Large recruiting firms justify this by arguing “well, the client has no engagement with me – what do they expect?”

Many times, recruiting teams focus on getting an initial candidate or two in to test the waters. They only plan on sticking around if someone happens to get some type of interest. When that candidate gets an interview, they polish, promote and push the candidate as hard as they can in order to make a quick placement. Not to mention, they might be sharing those same candidates with your local competitors.

If You Liked It, Then You Should’ve Put a Ring on It

Imagine if the search was run with a trusted recruiting partner. Hiring managers aren’t being left in the dark as to how the recruiting process is going. Sub-par candidates aren’t being aggressively sold to your company. You have multiple candidates to interview and choose from. You understand why certain candidates are turning down the opportunity. You see that your recruiters are targeting local competitors, where, and what the results are. You have a strong, lengthy guarantee with your candidate.

Contingency recruiters don’t have as strong of a structured process. Their entire incentive is only on making a hire, not on making the right hire. The way to avoid this is to avoid the structure altogether and partner with a true professional search firm. Partner with a firm capable of giving you the guidance and quantifiable data of what exactly is going on in the process.

Setting Objective Recruiting Standards

When working with an external recruiting firm, there should be a focus on setting objective standards within the process. Hiring managers should establish an acceptable amount of applicable candidates presented (our process guarantees at least three). They should also have a good line of communication on candidates contacted and screened, as well as data from those conversations. Time until presentation is an important metric to watch as well.

Realistic timetables should be set by your recruiter on when they will present initial candidates, as well as secondary or ancillary candidates. They should also be setting objective experiences within the candidate profile to completely avoid any inapplicable candidates. Candidates who do not make sense for the search should never be presented by any retained recruiting firm.

Strategies: Tinder versus E-Harmony

When firms are looking for a long-term recruiting partner, they need specificity. Are recruiters quickly swiping left and right on candidate profiles from job boards and internal systems? Or are they surveying you, your firm and your hiring managers to best understand your situation? Firms need a partner that will properly diagnose vacancies and related operational pains. In order to have a long lasting relationships, both parties need to commit. Hiring managers are committed to filling their vacancy, they need a committed recruiter.

Building materials firms should partner with a recruiting firm that gets their vacancy down to a science. In a sales aspect, is the search for a consultative manufacturer’s rep dealing with architects and designers, or for a distribution rep who can better communicate with general contractors and developers? Recruiting firms need to best understand every intricacy of the role, or else they will end up with a sub-par placement, and run high risks of retention problems early in candidate tenure.

Recruiting a Team with True Chemistry

Do you want to look like a team-building aficionado or is it okay for you to hire average employees? Get away from the recruiters who are treating your job orders like a one night stand. You need a partner who is going to be meticulous and dedicated, not loosely tied and uncommitted. You need someone that offers structured updates and complete transparency through the process. If you’re focused on being seen as the talent mastermind at work – you need the strong recruiters of Legacy Search.


Human Resources

Secrets of Retaining Top-Performing Millennials

Retaining the Millennials

Written By: James Aiken


Common “Solutions” to Retaining Millennials:
– Increase compensation
– Give them newer tech (cell, laptop, etc.)
– Let them work remotely
– Tuition reimbursement & training opportunities
– Increase company social events
– Avoid requiring overtime

Retaining your employees is one of the most crucial aspects of leadership. There’s a lot of different options on how to address chronic millennial turnover in a certain position. We have come to realize that all of the above solutions are actually just added bonuses. They’re often like a band-aid over the issue. A manager shouldn’t focus on implementing one of these as a solution until making some other changes first. Often times, turnover isn’t an operations problem, it’s a recruiting problem. In the building materials industry, there has never been as much need for focus on retention.

Creating Workforce Inertia – Pairing Common Goals

A manager can lower their turnover by understanding who they are recruiting past their objective skills. Dive into the DNA. Often times managers will get caught up in technicalities, which is so easy to do. The technical aspects of a candidate are certainly important. However, an employee shouldn’t just be viewed as “can this candidate do the job?” Managers should consider “how can I create workforce inertia to keep this candidate performing at their best?” There should be a focus on helping them advance their own personal career goals.

Understanding the Future to Motivate the Present

Some managers will complain that they can’t retain someone in a certain position past a year, but they never ask the candidate/employee where they want to be in a year. When a manager recruits for a position, they need to use candor – plain and simple. They need to understand a prospect’s aspirations. Hiring managers need to understand what makes the candidate tick. There’s a need to understand the candidate’s vision for their future.

Our interactions with millennial candidates has concluded that for millennials – its often a matter of them wanting to do more. They want to increase their scope – they want to develop their career. They want to build a legacy. Keep them happy up front by understanding where they want to be. Help carve the path in front of them. If managers want to retain, they need to understand their yearly outlooks (1, 2, 5). These should be kept up with as much as quarterly. Don’t have them answer by a form, ask them face-to-face. Having a candidate or employee answer on a form doesn’t help them feel like you actually care about their future. This will make candidates more apt to stretch the truth on their answers for short term solutions.

Be Frank like Sinatra

On the other hand, managers/interviewers need to be frank with the candidate on what the position entails. If the position is one of those positions where there’s no vertical opportunities, managers/interviewers need to disclose it. Is the person going to be traveling three weeks out of the month? Disclose it! Even if the company vehicle is a PT Cruiser, disclose it. Disclose to the candidate the most difficult parts about the responsibilities and environment. Disclose it up front and save Human Resources the tears, time, and money.

It’s tough to retain millennials. However, with the right level of communication, forecasting, and planning, you’ll be able to cut down on your aspirin bill.


Human Resources

Interview to Understand Aspirations

Peer into the Future to Retain Employees Better

Written By: James Aiken

Depending on the hiring manager, recruiter or human resources department – interviewers may not necessarily have as much time to interview as they wish. I’ve seen interviews that last from thirty minutes to a chain of interviews lasting eight hours. Regardless, interviewers need to make sure to take advantage of the time spent interviewing. More often than not, they ask questions that don’t necessarily give a real understanding of the candidate.

Reading the Future: Crystal Ball Questions

In a previous article, the importance of understanding a candidate’s foreground, or what they understand as their near future (aspirations etc) was put into consideration. Technical questions are absolutely critical in the process. However, time needs to be taken to interview for personality and aspirations. When a hiring manager doesn’t understand a candidate’s aspirations, it makes it much harder on the firm to retain an employee since they don’t know what would actually make them happy!

Interviewing on Past Behavior

Some do not necessarily put a huge deal of weight on the new fad of “behavioral questions” in human resources, although some firms do put a lot of confidence behind these questions. These are often more reactive questions and certainly help hiring managers understand a candidates reactions and past actions. They are also likely to hear the highlights of that candidate’s career versus everyday interactions. In this case, it may not necessarily be the most accurate representation of the candidate. If someone is interviewing to be a fisherman, they’re more likely to tell you about the time that they saved a coworker from going overboard than the time they tossed another fisherman overboard. These are good questions to ask, but the answers should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.

“I’m Best When I’m at My Weakest”

An interviewer could technically flip the questions to make them a negative as in “What are your weaknesses?” but you’re likely to get a less extreme version of Michael Scott’s answer when he said:
“…my greatest weaknesses? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.”
 All the more reason to focus on the candidate’s aspirations and what they see as their future to see if it matches up with the future an interviewer sees in the possible associate.  More importantly, down to the questions:

1. What do you see as the next big step in your career?

This is nearly always the first question a good recruiting firm will ask a prospective candidate. Before speaking about the job opening, the company or details on what the candidate does – a candidate’s aspirations must be addressed. If the opportunity doesn’t match up with what they realistically see as their future, it probably isn’t the best fit. Not to say this is a disqualifier, but you can be assured that the candidate will not be as enthusiastic about the opportunity than someone else who really matches up as far as aspirations go.
In addition, this gives the interviewer or company as a whole a clearer image of the candidate in order to emphasize the parts of the job that do line up with their aspirations

2. If you could change one thing about your current employer, what would it be?

 Associates always have some type of idea or suggestion to make their workplace better. They may be in an environment where there are already so many processes they don’t have an opportunity to implement anything. This question gives an interviewer an inside look at a candidates analytical thinking as well as how well they can put up with not being able to implement/influence a change.

3. Being from a (small/large) company, do you prefer an environment with established processes or an environment with more opportunity to implement processes?

This is an important question to ask due to polarization. Associates from small companies gripe that there aren’t processes in place, that software isn’t sophisticated or that things are inefficient. Associates from large companies gripe that they are being drowned by processes. They mention that there are many things they would like to change, but can’t. On occasion associates believe their employers strategies “can’t see the forest for the trees”.
This gives a hiring manager another opportunity to sell to strengths. Many times, an associate from a large process-oriented firm will be very excited to join a smaller firm if they have the opportunity to implement processes of their own. On the other side of the coin, associates from a smaller more liberally run firm may be excited to join a large firm where they can learn processes, techniques and strategies that they didn’t previously have the opportunity to be a part of.

4. What accomplishment in your current role makes you most proud? 

This may seem like a background-searching question as the setting is in the past, but its actually forward-looking as the interviewer is figuring out what drives pride behind an associates work. An interviewer is greatly benefited by understanding what makes an associate happy with their work, go figure!
The interviewer may also be surprised, as the answers aren’t always profit or process-driven. Occasionally there are answers focusing on healing fragmented teams, improving employee pride or team engagement.

5. If you had to train someone in one of your current work-related skills, which would you be most enthusiastic about?

Teaching is a key factor behind leadership. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” According to my application to Harvard’s Law Department, you can’t teach something you don’t know! In addition, this again explains the passions behind an interviewee’s background in order to more accurately predict their future.

Understand Employees to Better Motivate Them

Some of the most important information to understand about a candidate is what drives them. An interviewer should understand what their passions are, as well as where their pride and enthusiasm lies. When a company can line up the succession plan of their open role with the future aspirations of a current candidate – they will greatly increase their average employee tenure.

Human Resources

Interviewing for Red Flag Identification

Getting the Right Candidate Means Identifying the Wrong Candidate Early

Written By: James Aiken


You have a vacant position. You need to fill it. Yet, you need to fill it with the right candidate. The interviewing process, notwithstanding whether you love it or hate it, is costing you both time and lost productivity due to this gap. However, hiring can go wrong. This article will help you avoid “toxic” candidates and help you source the right talent for your business.

This article will give you a new approach. Don’t waste time on the wrong candidate. Learn to quickly recognize signs of a mismatch so you can focus on the right candidate for your urgent vacancy. The latest academic research along with industry best practice all point towards the centrality of nurturing good talent. However, the converse of this outcome is to quickly move on from talent that doesn’t align with your candidate profile.


It is all about knowing what you want. You should know what the position entails, what the duties are and the responsibilities therein. You need to understand how that role interplays with the wider business. This way you can take small steps towards getting the right candidate first, without being bogged down with candidates that do not match what you’re seeking.

According to Harvard Business Review, in a paper entitled Toxic Workers, the cost associated with hiring the wrong person can exceed $12,489 – excluding litigation and regulatory costs. Furthermore, some academics believe hiring the wrong person can also decrease organisational productivity by creating a negative influencer within the organisation who will counter the wider business goals and objectives through their negative psychology.

There is a dilemma and a conundrum here. Getting the wrong staff member can cost a business a lot of money. However, the metrics and benchmarks used to target the right member of staff can sometimes be gamed by the right ‘negative’ influencer. The research above highlight this reality and as such it is crucial that businesses plan their recruitment processes on the assumption of such negative counter-experiences.


It is crucial that your job advertisement is curated to define the full range of employment and role experiences. This way, the candidate, can be sure the role suits their skills sets and experiences. However, as a business leader, your role is to focus, with laser pointed clarity, at the wider issues.

As a business leader, when looking at candidates, you need to focus on a nuanced reality. All the candidates can do the role – they’ve curated their own resumes in order to highlight this certainty. Therefore, you need to ask yourself whether the candidate should do the role. This is not about employment history or qualifications but about a wider array of intersectional experiences from emotional intelligence markers to outside workplace interests. These diverse metrics can help identify crucial markers. As a leader, you need to be able to understand the team you lead.