3 Ways to Be a Recruiting Winner Like Charlie Brown

Posted by Cathy Reilly

kevindooleyFlickrGrowing up watching Peanuts movies has been an essential part of the holiday season for a few generations. From Halloween through Christmas, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the crew taught us about friendship, overcoming disappointment, and what the holidays were truly about.

However, just because you’re an adult now doesn’t mean you still can’t learn a thing or two from the Peanuts gang. Especially when it comes to recruiting and hiring new employees.

Here are three recruitment strategy lessons you can learn from classic Charlie Brown holiday specials:

1. Just hold out for the 'Great Pumpkin'.

“Oh great, job candidate, where are you?” - Recruiter Linus.

Linus and Sally spend all of Halloween night waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. Eventually, Sally becomes upset that she’s missed out on Trick or Treating waiting for something that never came.

Does that scenario sound familiar? You wait and wait for the perfect job candidate to become interested in your company, yet every time you interview someone you’re let down. Perhaps, like Linus, your expectations for a job candidate are too high or unreasonable.

Make sure your criteria for each open job position is clear and prioritized. Waiting for someone who possesses all of the fifty qualities you’ve listed in the posting is a waste of time and resources. Instead, rank the skills required for the job and see how well a candidate matches up against that list.

Don’t just focus on what skills or experience a candidate lacks; it can distract you from everything else they bring to the table. [click to tweet] Take into account the quality of their experience, not just the quantity. For example, you might want your ideal employee to have five years of marketing experience. Don’t dismiss a candidate with only three years of experience, if that time was spent with a top firm or producing high quality work.

2. I'll get it right this time.

“This time my ‘same old’ recruitment strategy will work!” - Recruiter Charlie Brown.

Time and time again, Lucy has convinced Charlie Brown that she’ll let him kick the football. And although he’s never been successful, he keeps trying  it the same way, over and over.

Ask yourself: are my recruiting tactics working out, or do I keep landing flat on my back? Take a look at your recruitment strategy and determine if -- and how well -- you are using new trends and technologies.

As you incorporate new tools into your recruiting process, remember to measure what is working and what isn’t. The 2015 Jobvite Recruiter Nation survey found that recruiters believe social media is the most effective way for companies to build their employer brand, while the company blog is one of the least effective. If the same is true for your company, take that into account and focus more recruiting resources on successful endeavours.

The easiest way to track different strategies’ success rates is to ask job candidates how and why they became interested in your company. After hiring employees, monitor their performance so you can learn not only what is attracting candidates, but also which ones give you top employees. That way you can learn how to improve your recruiting instead of just doing the same thing again and again.

3. This one just needs a chance.

“I’ll hire this candidate and train him. And I’ll show ‘em he really will work out.” - Recruiter Charlie Brown.

After seeing the sparse tree Charlie Brown has gotten for the Christmas pageant, everyone is convinced it will never work out. However, with a little effort and a few decorations, the tree turns out beautifully.

When it comes to looking for employees, it’s just as important to consider their potential and cultural fit as their technical skills. A candidate may not be perfect today, but with some training and encouragement, they can become a rockstar. Pay attention to soft skills that are harder to teach but are still necessary in the workplace.

This is especially important when looking at new graduates. A 2014 survey from NACE revealed that 77.8 percent of employers value leadership skills and the ability to work on a team, and 70.4 percent look for evidence of a strong work ethic. These are traits that are difficult to instill in an employee, but can allow them to thrive if they already have those skills.

Find ways to measure these skills during the interview process, to determine the hidden potential of a candidate. Instead of putting job seekers through hard skills tests, give them more general problem-solving tasks or observe them interacting with current employees.

Also, look at other skills or experiences they have and how those could translate to the workplace. The talents your job candidates may have have outside the exact job description likely required discipline, determination, and creativity. All traits that can make someone a valuable employee.

What other recruitment strategy lessons can be found while watching Charlie Brown holiday specials?

Topics: Recruiting & Hiring

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