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

Top Five “Meme” Strategies for Recruiting

Don’t believe the hype!

I’ve seen a lot of different ‘gurus’ on LinkedIn and Facebook pushing random strategies that don’t really seem to move the needle. Given that I need to continue to communicate and share content, I thought I would share a couple of strategies I see over and over that don’t get it done….

1) Write great job descriptions!

 In modern times, reading a job description is like reading IRS paperwork. Many believe if you change the layout, change the verbeage, change the focus – you will have a pretty nice job description that everyones interested in.
The only issue is you don’t want everyone to be interested in it, you only want qualified candidates interested. In our process, we ditch the job description (for the most part) and create a job invitation that doesn’t look anything like a description to filter and entice the right kind of people to opt-in for a conversation.

Wow, look at this inviting and interesting piece of paper!

2) Buy a job posting on LinkedIn/Google/Indeed!

This is a fair strategy if the role itself isn’t of a critical focus. Typically, paying for job postings does not get a good return if you’re looking for someone at the top of their game. Reason being, typically the best candidates aren’t surfing the web for job ads, they’re too busy knocking the cover off of the ball every single day. They may not even be answering emails or calls from recruiters… You won’t typically find your best candidate on a job board.

“You’ll have qualified candidates in 24 hours!”

3)Post status updates on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter that you have an available job!

Now, this is a great action to take, but not what we would call a full strategy. Many gurus are espousing that if you just update your status every day eventually the right person will show up on your doorstep. Wrong. It does move the needle a teeny bit, but a social update action should really be one step in a huge outbound process you’re creating.


4) Host a Periscope/Facebook Live to Recruit Candidates!

This one is actually kind of funny because I can only imagine how a hiring manager would feel after attempting this one if they aren’t from a Fortune 500 (or more likely, 100) company. For those that don’t know, Periscope is a live streaming platform. You can get on and stream a video of yourself and interact with commenters.

This would be great if you are Coca Cola, Gucci, Apple, or gigantic names that would end up driving a lot of traffic by name alone. If you are a local or regional distributor, you will likely spent 15-30 minutes sitting in a room of 5-10 people that have nothing to do with what you’re looking for.

5) Make a Recruiting Video and Post it to LinkedIn/Facebook/Youtube!

 From this list of five, this suggestion is actually very good if you make a high quality video. I have seen companies phone it in with their recruiting video where its either a person talking into a camera for 2-5 minutes, or its a Windows Movie Maker edited introduction of the office that just looks terribly low effort.
If you’re interested in employing this tactic, it’s really all about showing who your company is and why someone would want to work there. This is effective because it gives a direct look at your firm internally and could possibly end up going semi-viral depending on the quality. The issue is, most people phone it in.

If you’re interested in getting some strong recruiting process that will work time and time again on a long-term recruiting horizon. Check out our Recruiting Blueprint located at
Human Resources

Candidate Selection: Strategies to Consider


Create the draft, then sign the first pick.

The beautiful part about this stage is that if you have effectively implemented the previous stages, this one will be an absolute breeze. What we’re doing here is tying up some loose ends, finalizing our decision, then making the offer to the candidate of our choice.


In the final stages, it is always smart to get a reference from someone who /has not/ been directly identified by the candidate.

This is to take the conflict of interest out of the process when it comes to getting a reference on a candidates background. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a previous manager as they may be limited, but someone that worked alongside them at bare minimum.



The action that hiring managers fear most is a counter offer from the current employer. This wastes so much time, and if you don’t have a backup candidate – can force you to start all over! Old school recruiting gurus like Bill Radin suggest you should warn the candidate about the possibility of counteroffer, but also figure out at what scenario they would accept a counter offer from their current employer.

Bill says to start high such as “Would you accept a counter offer if they doubled your salary?” He mentions that this also will make the counteroffer seem underwhelming if something does come through.



This is the simplest, yet most delicate stage. When we are working with our clients, we prefer to make the offer and set the start date. However, when it comes to making internal offers, the best idea is to sit down face to face and make the offer. This way, you can get any questions answered, and make sure to have the entire process wrapped up the same day as the offer.

Typically, candidates should almost know the offer is coming and should already be in the ‘yes’ mindset. One of the biggest mistakes that hiring managers can make is making the offer too early. Do not make the offer the same day, or the next day as the first face to face interview. Some hiring managers get over-eager to hire, but this does nothing but scare the candidate. The offer should go out a few days to a week after the final interview. I also suggest not making the offer time sensitive. The candidate should accept in less than a week – but if you give them a time limit, it creates more questions and more uncertainty as they feel like they are being unfairly influenced to make a quick decision.


Didn’t get the opportunity to read about all of the steps before you get into the offer presentation stage? No problem, check out Elite LBM Talent: The Blueprint (link)

Human Resources

Build a Dream Team like its 1992


Michael Jordan. . .

Larry Bird. . .

David Robinson. . .

Magic Johnson.. . 

The 1992 Dream Team was without a doubt the highest “Topgraded” group of basketball players ever put together. A big difference from the restrictions that the NBA Commissioner puts on Olympic Athletes nowadays, the 1992 Dream Team was an absolute steamroller.

But what exactly is topgrading?


According to Bradford Smart in his famous book, Topgrading, there are three levels of contributors within an organization, ranked A (the top 10%), B, and C…

“Simply put, topgrading is the practice of packing the team with A players and clearing out the C players. With this radical definition, you are not a topgrader until your team consists of all A players. Period.”

This isn’t always easy, as some managers may not have a single associate they consider a true A-Player, as it’s especially difficult for organizations competing in the candidate-driven building materials market.

How do I know? Well, it’s what I do for a living…

In my years as a headhunter, I’ve personally interviewed thousands of candidates for all levels from a sales rep up through the C-Suite.

Believe me when I tell you, I know what a elite talent looks like.

They work hard, volunteer for additional projects, consistently go over and above what’s expected, and typically rise through the ranks quickly.

Bottom line, they make your leaders look good, but more importantly…

They make YOU look good.

The B Players? They’re the 9 to 5’ers, who do well within the confines of their jobs, but are averse to taking on new challenges and rise through the ranks slowly.


Consider this (from Bradford Smart):
– 50% of hires end up being a mis-hire.
– Even of the ones not considered mis-hires, 75% turn out just average

What’s even more shocking is the cost…
– 4 times the annual salary for supervisors
– 6 times the annual salary for sales representatives
– 8 times the annual salary for mid-level managers
– 15 times the annual salary for vice presidents

Want to figure out how to focus on ONLY recruiting the A-Players?

You need a system in place.

Your candidate selection will make more impact on retention than any other decision.


Learn more about how to attract higher-quality candidates to your firm and the entire recruiting process by downloading our free guide. . .

Follow this link to request a copy of Elite LBM Talent: The Blueprint (link) – – I think you’ll really enjoy some of the tips and processes that you can implement immediately to drastically change your approach to recruiting.

Human Resources

Filtering Candidates: Strategies to Consider


Separating the Cans from the Wills and the Wants.

Once you have your initial slate of interested candidates and have driven a fair amount of activity, its time to look at ranking and comparing the different interested candidates. Here, we are looking back to some other resources we created in the first step of the recruiting process to perfectly gauge how each candidate will best fit the firm.

Inspecting for Functional Capability


Using the functional assessment created in the first step (positioning), you should look to have the same questions and topics of conversation covered with each candidate. This helps set a level playing field for comparing profiles.

When you’re asking the same functional and DNA-focused questions to each candidate, you will be able to look back later on (if you recorded your answers) and be able to compare more objectively by their metrics and measurements versus how they made you feel during the interview


It’s just like NFL, except you’ll make money


Using the candidate scorecard created in the first step, we are ranking each candidate in the initial screening process (phone screen) in order to better select for the face to face interviews. This is only the perspective of the person screening the candidates, which can change as candidate moves through the pipeline and receives scoring from other internal associates.



“This next candidate needs no introduction. . .”


The best way to provide a high-value candidate presentation is to include not only the resume, but the completed functional assessment, candidate scorecard, personality assessment, cover sheet, and professional reference. The reference should be an associate the candidate has presented as a previous manager or leader. We will take their recommendation with a grain of salt, but it is a good starting point. Great candidates always have great references ready to go.



If you’d like to get more into the nitty-gritty of things, check out our guide Elite LBM Talent: The Blueprint (link). This guide will show you exactly how to implement a fool-proof process for recruiting the top candidates in your market.

Human Resources

Attracting Candidates: Strategies to Consider


Turning the apathetic into driven crusaders.

Once you have your ammo and your sights set on your candidate map, its time to generate interest. In this case, we can’t use old style tricks. If we are going to be reaching out in great numbers, we can’t allow ourselves to become impersonal and robotic. The best candidates aren’t going to respond to bland spam sent to their inbox.


Scaling Outreach Without Becoming a Robot

A very powerful method of passive interest generation is to take the audience you previously defined, and target them directly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn with content that sells your company and generates interest in the role you are promoting.

This should be content that candidates can consume on their own without pressure. We can also segment candidates based on their interactions with the media – leading to a clearer picture on the candidates who are most interested.


Like we said before, job descriptions are just press releases. Its time to make job invitations that are specific to some of your top candidates. A strong conversation converter is an exclusive job invite.

This is a 100% personalized job invitation to an extremely select group of candidates (20-40) that makes absolutely clear that you are targeting that specific candidate for a specific reason.

This should prove to the candidate they are not receiving a blanket mass-invite, but are being hand-selected by the firm. I personally use short videos recorded by yours truly, mentioning the candidates name, resume/background, and reasons for interest in their specific background.

Attract For Conversations


In order to have the best results (ie interest) in initial contact, it is recommended to have a multi-angled contact campaign in line.

This means setting up not only a passive autoresponder, but active email campaigns, LinkedIn message campaigns, and direct contact campaigns on select associates targeted. The more “angles” and “touches”, the more conversions from content consumption into contact.


In order to best inform and attract candidates that fit your profile – one of the strongest new tools we’ve developed is the Career Lander. Essentially, this is a page we’re sending hyper-specific traffic to in order to excite candidates about an opportunity and company.

You can get a good idea on how this looks on our example job lander for a fantasy company called Peekadern Windows (link). Just click the link or the image and you’ll get a better idea on what we’re talking about.

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

Spraying, Praying, and Delaying

Recruiters are Spraying, Praying, and Delaying

Written By: James Aiken


The Spray

Joe the Human Resources Manager received an email from the General Manager. The GM was asking once again how their recruiting pipeline for a sales representative for an under-performing region was going. With the current union negotiations, safety ceremonies, scheduling, strategic planning, and middle-manning negotiations, let’s be frank – he didn’t exactly have the free time to source and recruit, let alone interview endless candidates. In this case, Joe decided to throw some meat to the wolves. Joe emailed four of his favorite contingency recruiters and gave them a shot.

Within a few days he heard the comforting ding, ding, ding from emails of candidates from his external recruiters. As he opened each email, he began noticing these candidates hardly had anything to do with the sales vacancy. They distributed hardwood flooring and most of his candidates didn’t have anything to do with flooring or distribution sales, let alone the construction industry.

The Pray

On the other side of the computer, Joe’s recruiters were praying…

They were praying that Joe wouldn’t have any other options. They were hoping that one of the stretch candidates would work. They were crossing their fingers that they could get a quick and easy placement, just this time…

While reading a hard sell from one of his recruiters on the ‘high potential’ of a candidate who only had experience selling telephone packages to local businesses, Joe started to wonder how is this possible. Joe gave the recruiters a specific outline, yet all none of the candidates so far are even considered eligible for interview! He rejects the candidates and waits it out hoping that they will bring some better candidates to the table. A few days pass, no emails. Another week passes, and he has no new candidates. “What the hell happened? Where are my recruiters?”

The Delay

Joe emails out to his recruiters asking where all of the candidates are and is lucky enough to get a response from about half of them:

“It looks like the market is pretty tight…” 
“We just aren’t seeing any applicable candidates”
“We have a couple in process… We should see a good candidate by next week!”

“Here’s a candidate, he’s a little on the green side, but he may work for this…”

Joe’s recruiters are already giving up on the role and he’s being put back into square one.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Opening Up Pandora’s Box of Candidates

The reason is: your external recruiters are “spraying and praying”! Many contingency recruiters are focused on making a ‘quick fill’ due to competition, leading to heavy selling and pressure on action. This isn’t necessarily their fault, after all, they know they’re up against other contingency recruiters so there is much more of a focus on speed versus quality. Some external recruiters keep throwing in candidates until something sticks, and quick! They aren’t as concerned with recruiting as much as they are aggregating.

Many are using less efficient tactics such as posting the job description anywhere and everywhere, then screen all of the people that apply and forward the ‘top’ candidates. This is much more popular in larger agencies where they are getting big discounts on posting jobs on LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster and ZipRecruiter. Heck, some of them even post professional roles on Craigslist.

Utilizing Your Town Crier and a “Help Wanted” Sign

Would you try to hire the top talent in your market by putting an ad in the local newspaper? How about staple it up on a board in city square? Would you put a sign in your window or hire the town crier to scream it at everyone downtown? You would get some type of response, but is the elite salesperson going to see it? If elite talent sees it, are they going to make the effort to make a contact when they’re already successful and satisfied in their current role?

\Although the internet has made connecting to more candidates through job portals and job boards, this still isn’t much more than putting a “Help Wanted” sign on your virtual workplace. This system worked great when it was a company-driven employee market, but nowadays it is absolutely outdated. Many, many more people were looking for work in 2008 so firms really were able to easily snatch up some of the pick of the litter through job postings that everyone was looking at.

Look at where we are today. Its 2018 and unemployment is lower than ever (especially in the construction products industry). Firms are fighting harder than ever to retain their top talent. The best players in your market aren’t applying to job ads on CareerBuilder and Monster. Top candidates aren’t posting their resume on Indeed. Heck, they may not even be on LinkedIn! If you’re outsourcing a search, you need to make sure you’re tapping into hyper-specific markets.

Don’t Run an Ad, Make a Friend

Associates in your industry and region need to be contacted directly. Yes, this does take much more time – but if it leads to a better hire, who looks like a hero? Due to the nature of a contingency search, external recruiters are much less apt to dedicate ten to twenty hours per week. They can’t isolate time on planning, searching, sourcing, interviewing and presenting when there is no commitment from the client. Think about it, would you send your taxes out to five different accountants working on a contingency basis, then use whichever one’s work looks the best?

Recruiting to Complete Your Firm’s Justice League

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 spraying your job descriptions everywhere and praying that a decent candidate applies. You need a partner who is going to be meticulous and dedicated, not under competitive pressure and rushed. If you’re focused on being seen as the talent mastermind at work – you need the strong recruiters of Legacy Search.