Human Touch: The Recruiting Edition – 2021

Does anyone remember the song “Human Touch”, a now kind of old Bruce Springsteen tune? I loved that song, and though Bruce was talking about a slightly different kind of touch:), the title made me think of how important the human or “personal” touch is in recruiting at this moment in time. Our clients who have realized this concept in the post-lockdown world are winning – or at least avoiding common pitfalls that are befalling some of their competitors. These wins are coming in the interview process, at the counter-offer stage, and in the early and vulnerable integration days.

Meet in Person in the Interview Process!

We are all well aware at this point that Zoom is a useful tool. It is, without question, efficient and time saving in the early stages of an interview process, but it simply can’t replace the connection of a face-to-face meeting. On the employer side, hiring is a huge investment and finding the right person is crucial. On the candidate side, the fit, energy, and connection can make a huge difference in inspiring a lateral move. Most of us are moving about in restaurants and offices again, but even for the most reticent, there are creative solutions – meet in a large conference room with lots of space, meet outside in a park (we had a client plan a picnic with a candidate), meet in an open air restaurant, but at some point in the process, MEET! Just. Do. It.

Counter-Offers are the Norm Now – Help Candidates Manage Them!

It is hard to compete with an established personal relationship, and candidates are facing a great deal of pressure from these existing relationships when giving notice. Yes, this is a much larger topic, and I will need to find another song and write a blog about breaking up to touch on all of those issues. That said, the best and easiest piece of advice I can give right now is that once an offer is extended and accepted, do not stop meeting and recruiting a candidate. One of our clients recently had a small cocktail party with a candidate the day before he was giving his notice. They introduced him to some new people, told funny stories about notice and transitions, and when he walked in to resign the next day, the candidate felt like he had the support of his entire new team behind him. It made all the difference.

Integration (Avoid a Quick Resignation!)

Something that was once very rare in our business is happening with some frequency – candidates are starting a position and within weeks or months, are leaving for something new or (often) to return to their prior firm. There are certainly success stories of completely remote integration, but there are also some epic failures. The recruiting process really is not over when you think it is. If offices are not yet fully open or if your “new normal” is a hybrid approach, make sure to schedule a day or two a week to bring the team together. We have all read the emails from Managing Partners about the importance of being together for client service, mentoring, teaching, and collaboration, but simple human connection – the “human touch” – should not be an afterthought. Even for those employees who want to work remotely as often as possible, it is hard to become a part of a team without some personal interaction with others on the team.

Bottom line? Come together, Right now…… but this is about Bruce, not the Beatles, so I won’t let them steal his Thunder. Everyone needs the “Human Touch”.

Amy McCormack
Founder and Co-President