Candidates look to talented leaders to inform, guide, and take an interest in their pursuit of their next career goal. And we, as talent leaders, look to candidates to showcase their value-added skills and notable achievements as related to the job openings.

It’s a straightforward concept, but recruiting top talent can be anything but straightforward. With each new job requisition posted, recruiters instinctively know they’re on a quest to uncover the best talent for the job.

Why the disconnect in a digital world?

As I read posts on social media ranging from frustrated recruiters to disappointed candidates, I can’t help but wonder why we still have a disconnect.

Maybe the problem is there is too much information and everyone is confused. Are we overthinking the candidate search? Are we overthinking the job search? Yes, I believe we are…overthinking.

Take a leaf out of a sport playbook

In every sport, whether team or individual, athletes plan, train, practice, compete, learn, and repeat until the targeted goal is achieved. Once achieved, athletes continue to gear up for their next goal, short-term or long-term. The ongoing formula continues throughout an athlete’s career.

Woman lunging for tennis ball during match
Treat your career with the same determination as you treat your game.

What if candidates and recruiters took the same approach to their searches? What if candidates planned, trained, practiced, competed, learned, and repeated this formula? What if recruiters also continued to execute the formula? Most of all, what if we kept the relationships and communication simple and honest?

I’ve put together a list of simple recommendations for the most prevalent complaints I hear from both recruiters and candidates.

Let's start with the top 3 recruiter complaints

“My hiring leader can’t make a decision.”

Gain a clear understanding of what your hiring leader is seeking. Ask questions and engage in weekly dialogue. Know when to give them space and when to swoop in and have honest dialogue. Bring forward a broad range of talent. Introduce candidates who have skills that may not have been required in the initial strategy meeting. Sometimes, even the best leaders may not know what they are looking for until the right candidate shows up.

“Candidates don’t read the job posting. People are applying who are overqualified or junior!”

Modify the job description. Or, consider tailoring a targeted search by creating a story that coincides with the job description, and run the story for three weeks on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to attach the job link! Story telling is at an all-time prime. If you tell a story once, it may catch the eye of the person you’re trying to attract. But, as with any online story, repetition will covet interest.

Why not run your story over a 3-week period? Elevate new or interesting information surrounding the position every week? Engage your audience and keep them interested. Be specific in the candidate(s) you are trying to attract. People appreciate detailed information and your ideal candidate will surface.

Man working from home and using computer
Maintain a respectful level of communication with your candidates.

“Candidate keeps calling, emailing, or texting me. I feel as though I’m being stalked.”

Communicate, communicate, communicate! And, set expectations. It’s the role of the recruiter to set boundaries and stick to them. It’s also ideal to offer feedback to the candidate. If offering feedback on why they didn’t get the role isn’t part of your company culture, at the very least give the candidate closure by calling or emailing – informing him/her as to ‘why’ the journey has come to an end.

Often, recruiters want to leave the door open for future opportunities. No problem. If the candidate is a fit for other opportunities, set a clear boundary on how you will stay in touch (email, text, phone, social media) and the frequency that you’d like to stay in touch. Set your calendar with a reminder to follow up.

Now for the top 3 candidate complaints.

“I never get a call or email after applying for a job. I know I’m qualified.”

Stop assuming you’re ‘qualified.’ Maybe you’re qualified in your current company in your current role, but maybe you’re not in the coveted position. Maybe your resume is generic and not offering the level of detail required for the recruiter to glean your achievements. And, maybe you posted for a job that you are overqualified to do.

The solution here is: A) Apply for jobs that are aligned with your current experience and make sure your resume reflects achievements. Be specific. B) Stop assuming. C) Network with the recruiter on LinkedIn as you are applying. Building relationships is key to connecting.

Businesswoman using technology in office
Applying for jobs goes far and beyond simply submitting your CV. ©JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images LLC

“The recruiter never called me after I interviewed.”

As you complete your telephone screen or interview, ask the recruiter ‘when can I expect to hear from you?’ Or, ‘Would you prefer if I email or call you to follow up on the status of the interview?’ Assert yourself and ask questions. Your time is valuable and offering to follow up may be ideal for the recruiter.

“I’m on LinkedIn but nobody ever contacts me. I don’t even know why I have this account.”

If you’re on LinkedIn and you’re not showing activity or engaging, you’re not going to solicit as much interest. If you have a profile on LinkedIn and you don’t have a photo or banner, it looks as though you don’t exist.

If you have a profile started, then show up and own who you are. Otherwise, you may consider deleting the account. Showing up half-heartedly online sends a message that you may show up at work with only 50% vested interest.

LinkedIn is your job marketing vehicle. Put it to work for you by engaging with others and getting to know people.

Quick fixes

While these recommendations may seem basic, the good news is they are easy to fix! Changing how we get results starts within each of us and by shifting our mindset.

Businesswoman leading meeting in conference room
Don't forget that recruiters are there to help. ©Nicholas Correia

Like an athlete, drum up mental strength and determine to change your search.

After all, we are employers but we’re still employees. And, as employees, we may be employing others. All this to say: one day we are recruiters, the next we may be candidates.

By keeping things simple and adopting an athlete’s mindset to work through our formula for success, we are one step closer to achieving our desired goals.

Want to explore the career possibilities at adidas?

Check out the adidas career site to view the latest openings.



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by Jenny 02.08.2018
Great article!
by tina nicolai 06.08.2018
thanks for taking the time to read and comment Jenny!
by Jana 11.09.2018
Love this. Very honest + very helpful. Thank you, Tina
by tina nicolai Jana 11.09.2018
You're welcome, Jana! Much appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.