How To Kick Start Your Recruiting Culture

 spark-750x450In a recent conversation with several talent acquisition leaders, I was surprised to hear the challenges of generating referrals. These companies offer up to $5,000 for a qualified candidate, yet it takes more than a desirable referral bonus to incentivize employees to tap into their networks. You can tell employees that they can submit referrals, but what they need to hear is should. And that’s a message that needs to be coming from above.

More and more, we see companies that have successfully recruited top talent by integrating recruitment into all functions of the organization and operationalizing its practices. This is often largely due to the proactive initiative taken by the executive team to build a recruiting culture where the acquisition of great people is at the core of the organization.

Executives can set the standard that allows recruiting to permeate your entire organization. Doing so not only increases the company’s recruiting power, but also exposure and credibility of the recruiting function.

At Pinterest, a company that has over 400 employees and has doubled in size within the last year, recruiting is everybody’s responsibility. Not only is the referral program communicated during the first days of new hire orientation, but one of the very first hires at Pinterest was a recruiter. Veronica Mapes, a technical sourcer at Pinterest, says that recruiters are perceived as valuable partners as a result. It also shows employees that the founder “really valued what recruiting could do for an organization,” she says. “He really believed and understood that recruiting was a core function of the company and the only way we could make it in the long run.”

At Airbnb, now around 1,200 employees, the C-Suite sits in the recruiting team’s section of office space. This communicates to the entire company that they are invested in the process and the importance of recruiting. Maeve Blessing, Airbnb’s Recruiting Programs Manager, jokes that it can be intimidating to have the CEO listen in on calls, but ultimately shows “that all the way at the top, they’ve caught on to how important it is.”

A possible reason for this paradigm shift – the growing investment of CEOs in company recruitment – is that they’ve been there themselves. Many startup CEOs were once the sole employee of the organization and had to grow the team around him or her. Layer’s Dean Talanehzar notices that executives “who have spend 6 months recruiting get a sense of how important it is as a function and what really goes into it — few people have had that experience. They see the strategy.”

With executive buy-in, the role of today’s recruiter is to facilitate alignment at the organization. Not execute the back-end work or deliver resumes. And to recruit top-performers, this requires an organizational shift that starts with the C-suite.

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