How to be a successful recruiter in today’s challenging market

Hiring manager on phone interview

It’s no secret that we are seeing an unprecedented and challenging market to recruit in. Between the pandemic, the great resignation (also known as the great reshuffle) and rising inflation, the strategies that businesses have used to find talent to fill critical roles are changing rapidly. Talent acquisition (TA) leaders are evolving their tactics and successful businesses know that recruiting should be a top business goal.

In the session at Greenhouse Open 2022, Working smarter: What the best recruiters do to win, Hung Lee (Curator at Recruiting Brainfood) interviewed Anessa Fike (Founder and CEO at Fike & Co and Interim Head of Talent Acquisition at NPR), Diane Dagher (Associate Vice President of Talent at Modernizing Medicine), Bryan Sherwood (VP of Talent Acquisition at BlockFi), and Frank Cebek (Director of Recruiting at SeatGeek) to hear about what they are doing to set their recruiting efforts up for success. Hung Lee led with the question “What do top-class recruiting teams do?”

We’ve gathered four main takeaways from the discussion that you can implement to uplevel your recruiting processes starting today.


Tip 1: Move quickly

In this market, TA teams know that every great candidate is likely receiving multiple offers, so speed is key to secure top talent. Anessa Fike started off the session by sharing a real-life example of when she was working with The Motley Fool. They had a pressing need for software developers within a very tight timeline, and she knew that traditional recruiting methods would not work. She worked with the hiring team to trim down the process, make decisions quickly and be transparent with candidates about what they should expect. This process was extremely successful and that team still uses it today.

Anessa stated, “Throw traditional methods out the window. Get creative. Start to figure out what you need, and then backtrack from there to understand how you’re going to get to that.”

Bryan Sherwood echoed this, sharing that the need to make hiring decisions quickly is imperative in order to move forward.


Tip 2: Make data-driven decisions

Another smart tactic in today’s hiring market is to get comfortable with your data and empower your hiring partners to get comfortable with it too. Diane Dagher revealed some of the metrics her team regularly uses to measure “recruitment engagement,” or how engaged employees are in the recruiting process. These include the number of employee referrals, how many scorecards are being completed, candidate survey results and days to hire.

Frank Cebek shared that his organization created TA data dashboards by department so that business leaders could easily see this data and to cut down on the need for meetings. He also advocated for educating hiring managers on how to use this data, and to get them thinking about what it means to them.


Tip 3: Be vulnerable and build relationships

Don’t be afraid to be open with your hiring managers about the challenges your team is facing. When asked what one piece of advice he would share, Frank said “Transparency. I think it goes back to what we were saying: don’t be afraid to expose your failures. If you do, you will build a collaborative environment.”

Diane also explained that being open about opportunities and failures that have happened within TA is key to building trust with hiring teams, while Brian advised having brave conversations with senior leaders and directly challenging them when required – but in a diplomatic way.

In addition to the other panel members who discussed TA/HM relationships, Anessa advised recruiters to focus on their relationships with candidates. She went on to say that these conversations should have more of a 50/50 dynamic (between the recruiter talking and the candidate talking) rather than the more traditional 80/20 model. “Five to ten minutes at the end of a phone screen is not enough.”

Finally, Anessa stressed the importance of taking care of your recruiting team and always having their back no matter what. Talent leaders are the gatekeepers for their team. “Boundaries are never a bad word.”


Tip 4: Be strategic

More than ever, a recruiting team’s efforts are emerging as a strategic business function. Frank shared the new headcount planning process that he recently created in partnership with the Financial Planning and Analysis team at SeatGeek. They compile a list of the needs of business every six months and then compare it to their recruiter capacity model to decide on prioritization. All the business leaders have access to it, so there’s no need to guess whose role is next up on the list.

“This was a game changer for my team… just because we became more efficient,” Frank shared.

These TA leaders had many other important tips to share, but if you are looking for what you should prioritize, focus on speed during the recruiting process, leading with data, building relationships and being a strategic recruiting function. Your team will be set up for success, and ready to win.


If you joined us at Open 2022, and would like more resources, you can access the attendee hub, here.

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Amy Kirsch

Amy Kirsch

has been working in talent acquisition for seven years and is a manager on the Greenhouse TA team, leading the efforts to recruit for their customer-facing organizations. Amy is based in Seattle and, outside of work, loves reading, yoga and traveling. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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