Recruiting will always be a combination of art and science. No matter how much HR technology aids, improves and evolves the recruitment process, there will always be the human element putting it to use and guiding its development. It’s a people business and the people who make it all work are the most important pieces.

Victor Dizon
Victor Dizon, Executive Recruiter at Endeavor Search Partners

So it’s about time we use our beloved Jobjet Blog to focus on the process and efforts of the people (or person in this case) who make recruiting a successful endeavor. Let’s take a look at what works for one recruiter, with the hope that you might benefit from his unique process.

Advice for the real world

In this post, we talk to Victor Dizon, Executive Recruiter at Endeavor Search Partners. Victor has been in the game for nearly 16 years. He focuses on recruiting executives in sales, sales engineering, product and software engineering roles.

Even if those roles are different than the ones you’re looking to fill right now, his process will give you some great ideas that can be easily incorporated into your own recruitment process.

Let’s see how Victor’s approach can help your efforts!


Hi Victor, let’s start by looking at your working model.

We [Endeavor Search Partners] usually work on retainer, which allows us to really understand the business models and cultures of our clients. We’re more of a partner this way.

How does being more of a partner help or challenge your delivering of great results?

We get to know the teams, the business and the gaps we’re working to fill. The better I understand the client, the better I can find candidates. Even in situations where I’m working (or have worked) on contingency, it comes down to doing your research and really getting to know the needs of your client.

When hiring managers or internal HR departments are contacting our firm, they’re at the point where they need the help. They’re overwhelmed and busy. So it helps if we understand what they’re looking for and their culture more than just the company summary and their website.

So a request comes in, what’s next?

Cover the basics up front. What are the specifics? Cover all of the normal job description stuff and fill in any gaps that your client may be missing.

  • What’s the compensation? Is there room to negotiate?
  • How much experience does your new employee need?
  • Is the stated experience absolutely necessary or is there wiggle room for driven, impressive candidates?

For sales, specifically, this can be very important. My client may want to bring on a new sales leader for a large territory. They probably want someone with established connections and the experience to guide them when making fast decisions out in the field.

For other roles, you may be able to match qualified candidates to roles that suit them, even if the experience doesn’t perfectly match up with your client’s expectations.

I had this great case with one really driven but less experienced candidate. Our client was looking for ideally ten years of experience, but the candidate was only a couple years out of school. The candidate came from a great school, achieved a lot very quickly, looked great on paper and it was pretty clear to us that the candidate was incredibly driven. So we persuaded our client to give the candidate a shot.

And they rejected the candidate.

However, our client was incredibly impressed with the candidate’s skills and drive, so we made another effort at matching the candidate with this client. Thankfully, we have great relationship with our client and they trust our opinion when we really push for them. Our client gave this particular candidate another shot.

And they rejected the candidate once more.

But we convinced them again to talk with our candidate, and something clicked. They offered the job. We were thrilled, the candidate was obviously excited after the entire roller coaster, and our client is still very happy with the candidate. It was an awesome experience to have turn out successfully.

That’s a really great example of using your influence and expertise as a recruiter.

Yea. It starts from building the relationship with the client though. If they didn’t trust our opinion, they wouldn’t have given that particular candidate so many chances. You can’t expect that to happen every time, but the right circumstances, clients and candidates can make it work.

So, you get your request and the basics are covered, what next?

I like to ask my client some more questions about their space, competitors and the companies they admire.

  • Are there any companies that you would like to see on your candidate’s resume?
  • Must they come from your industry, if not, are there any other ones we should specifically target?
  • Who are your top competitors? Are you impressed by their employees or do they appear to be a step down from the quality you’re looking to bring on to your team?

Those are good starting questions.

If we’re not sure that we’re the exclusive recruiting resource for a client, we ask if they’re using anyone else alongside us. If they are using multiple recruiting vendors, I try to find out who these other recruiters have contacted already.

This clarity is helpful for a couple reasons. First, we obviously don’t want to waste our time touching uninterested parties who have already been contacted. Secondly, and sometimes less obviously, we try to minimize the redundancies because it can reflect negatively on our firm and our client.

If a talented candidate is approached multiple times, it comes across as sloppy and unprofessional, whether the candidate is interested or not. Even worse, it could lead to miscommunications between recruiters, firms, candidates and the client.

OK, so now you have an understanding of the role and the playing field, what comes next?

I go straight to my network. Now that I’ve been recruiting for so long, my pipelines are my first resources for those early talent searches. It’s an organized way to quickly contact candidates who I know already.

These early messages are the best places to find first round options and referrals. Great people always know other great people. Tapping into your talent network is always a logical first step if you’re recruiting for a role that’s in your usual niche.

How important is having your own niche?

It’s incredibly important if you want to establish expertise in a space. Companies changed after the economy collapsed in 2008. When hiring, they started more frequently looking for less people to do more jobs. Roles and responsibilities that were split between three people, were now supposed to be managed by one person. So understanding the space, industry and specialties became increasingly important as we had to bridge the gap between company and candidate expectations.

Additionally, this industry is hard and it’s competitive. The only way to differentiate yourself and continually prove your value to clients is by establishing your expertise and regularly delivering good results. It’s too hard being everything to everyone.

So when you establish yourself inside a niche and build your networks, how do you maintain those relationships and cultivate new ones?

Starting relationships simply takes time and effort. There’s no way around it. These relationships grow and can pay off over time (as professionals grow, take over teams, recruit for themselves, etc). However, I still spend 75% of my time reaching out to new people. That’s the job a lot of the time.

How do you keep in contact with growing networks over time?

I think the best way to do it is a simple and sincere email blast. It makes sense to send one out every six months or so, but doing it more frequently can get spammy pretty quickly. Keep it simple.

“Hey there, here’s what we’re working on. Here’s what we’ve been up to. Here are the jobs we’re currently looking to fill.”

The cool part about recruiting is that most people are genuinely interested in your general “product.” That product being the career opportunity, job or stepping stone. Even when your open jobs don’t suit the contacts in your network, they may know their friend is looking for a job just like the one you have open. As long as you’re not misleading or spamming people, the semi-annual or occasional check-in email is a good way to remind people you exist.

Once you have your first round of candidates found, where do the challenges start?

Sorting through people is never fun, nor is qualifying people. It takes so much time and it’s just a grind. You try to find the best person from the available information, but it’s still challenging.

The thing that helps me most is really getting to know and deeply understanding the requirements. It takes some extra time up front, but it’s the only way to spot the small nuances between candidates who all share the same keywords on paper.

Preparation is key. It’s so important to the entire process, whether it’s screening applications, phone screening early applicants or helping with any other interviews. Doing my homework and completing enough preparation allows me to ask the right questions to candidates in meaningful ways.

How do you evaluate candidates?

Assuming they match the basic requirements, we qualify candidates with these three questions.

  • Can they do it?
  • Will they do it?
  • Are they good to work with?

The first two questions get answered from the screening process and conversations. The third question really comes down to the hiring manager and/or client. I can still help by getting to know the culture and doing my best to present candidates who I believe will work. With that being said though, I wouldn’t want to narrow my list down too early. Cultural fit ultimately must be determined by the client.

And for the candidates who don’t get selected, how do you manage them?

Honesty is the best policy. Again, a lot of the process isn’t incredibly complicated if you handle it with respect. I usually tell the candidates who aren’t selected something like, “Hey, they [the client] have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time, but I’d still like to keep in touch.”

You really want to communicate the point that they are still very qualified, just not properly fit for this specific opportunity. You never know down the road though. I let the rejected candidates know that I’m going to keep them in my network for future roles. It builds my network and could lead to future jobs for them.

What’s one thing you wished someone told you when you started your recruiting career?

It’s going to be a lot harder than you think. [laughs]


Conclusion

So there you have it! Victor was kind enough to share some of his stories, experiences and insights for everyone to enjoy and incorporate into their own practices. No two recruitment strategies are going to be exactly the same, but it helps to see how other recruiters are finding success in the real world of recruiting. Do any of Victor’s thoughts resonate with you? Let us know!