Recruiting the WHOLE Candidate: Head, Heart, and Skills

Steve Lowisz

In order to run a successful business, having the right people on a team is essential…

Which is why having a proper recruiting process is so important.

But the problem is that many of us are taught a broken process. The process being pushed now is virtually the same one that has been around since the 1940’s. While the rest of the world has completely changed, the only difference in recruitment is that more technology has been thrown into the mix. It hasn’t improved the process, only sped it up.

With the economy in such a fragile state right now, companies can’t afford to make a mis-hire. Now is the time to really scrutinize if you are using an effective recruiting process that allows hiring managers to make the right decisions. 

People Are a Company’s Most Important Asset 

We need to think deeper about the candidates we submit to clients. All too often we end up submitting the “best of the worst.” 

We want our clients to be happy with our work and give them successful long-term hires, which begins by letting go of our ingrained habits and ideas about recruiting. 

We should focus more on the relationship with candidates rather than just aiming to check the required boxes. It can’t be treated as a transaction. We can’t sacrifice quality for speed and convenience. 

As recruiters, it’s our responsibility to tackle and dismantle the myths that hold us hostage in order to improve the industry. 

Look Beyond Skills 

Despite popular belief, skills are NOT the best determining factor of success for a position. Rarely does a candidate fail due to a lack of skill. 

Since we already do a fantastic job of identifying candidates with the right skills, it would make sense to uncover the rest of the candidate too. We’ve got to understand their head and their heart, and if it aligns with the client’s purpose and needs. 

When we recruit for skills, we’re asking “can they do it?” But when we focus on their head, we’re asking “will they do it?” and when we focus on the heart, we’re asking “why will they do it?” 

How Do We Know the Right Head, Heart, and Skills? 

Uncovering the necessary behaviors (head), motivations (heart), and skills begins with the client intake session. 

Before you even get to details about the role, focus on learning more about the company and the department. Start with asking these three questions: Where are you today? Where do you want to go? What’s standing in your way of getting there? The current state of their company can dictate the behaviors needed in a candidate. 

Next, ask them to list measurable objectives that will need to be accomplished in the role. What tangible goals will they need to hit after the first 90 and 180 days? What obstacles will they face to accomplish these goals? This topic can help you further determine the necessary behaviors as well as necessary motivations, AND what skills would be useful. 

Once you’ve discussed these items, you can move on to more standard intake questions about things like company culture, compensation and benefits, or everyday responsibilities. Whatever information you learn will be helpful to reinforce if a candidate has the right head, heart, and skills. 

Remember: People with Different Skills Can Create the Same Result 

Don’t worry so much about if a candidate checks off every box on a long list of perceived requirements. Someone with basic skills, along with the right behaviors and motivations that align with a company’s needs and values could be the best employee they’ll ever have. On the other hand, a candidate could have all the skills in the world, but never achieve the results they’re looking for if the candidate’s head and heart is in the wrong place. 

Focus more on learning about the WHOLE candidate. By doing so, you will begin to form stronger candidate relationships and feel more confident that you are finding the “best of the best” to submit to your clients. 

To learn more about the myths that are holding us back in recruiting and how we should do things differently, don’t forget to check out my book: Recruiting Sucks… But it Doesn’t Have To. Get your copy on Amazon today by clicking right here