June 26, 2017

How Managing Human Bonds Creates Truth in Recruiting

By Christy Farrell, Partner, Healthcare Technology & Innovation

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines human bonding as “the formation of a close relationship (as between a mother and child or between a person and an animal) especially through frequent or constant association.”

As a recruiter who specializes in healthcare technology and innovation I realize that I am working with clients and candidates who have so many other relationships in their lives: family, friends, community, etc.

I, too, have a lot of other facets to my life: I happen to be a mother of two small boys, and three rescue dogs. And I have a husband. And close friends. I know all about human bonding.

I try, like most people, to maintain a healthy line of separation between my personal and professional life, yet as a recruiter I can’t help but think about human bonding because in many ways it is what I do for a living. Determining the perfect job and corporate culture for a talented job candidate, or the ideal personality and skills sets for a life-changing client is, at its essence, about creating bonds.

It’s Business, Which Can Be Personal

Nobody likes the feeling of being rejected, but it is part of life—especially in recruiting. As a professional recruiter it is my job to minimize the amount of rejection experienced by clients and candidates not only because I’d rather make people happy, but because it is simply good business for all parties involved. This, however, means being direct, which ultimately leads to personal questions.

Is the salary enough? Do the candidate’s skills match the job’s responsibilities? Do the client’s corporate beliefs parallel the candidate’s sense of values?

Human bonding is about alignment. Creating alignment, or the conditions that lead to alignment, takes time, energy, and skill—especially in a digitally driven world where expectations and reality are often bifurcated by misleading narratives and preconceptions reinforced by cognitive dissonance. Recruiters often encounter candidates whose expectations are not aligned with the realities of what the market is offering. Oftentimes, clients are not fully fluent in the job seeker’s language regarding quality of life and fair compensation. These misalignments must be identified early on in the process, because the further along they are allowed to exist in the recruiting (human bonding) process, the more powerful—and personal—they become when things don’t work out.

How Communication Impacts Recruiting Success

Though technology has changed—by both simplifying and complicating—the way people communicate, it has not changed our need to communicate. As a recruiter, my job requires diligent and meaningful dialogues with candidates and clients. Knowing what people and companies want begins with knowing who they are. As with most businesses, the more customized and personalized it is, the more understanding it acquires, which means the more value it can deliver.

Despite the many communicative advantages that technology provides, there is more to a company than a website, there is more to a candidate than a LinkedIn page, and there is more to a job than most job descriptions. These convenient but often superficial ways of learning about an important opportunity often lead to misalignment and huge losses of time, money, and energy for both job candidates and employers. By engaging candidates and clients over long periods of time I truly get to know them, what they want, and how they think.

Why Being Real Is Hard but Necessary

A job is an opportunity. The mere idea of a job fills candidates with thoughts of a better life, and fills clients with satisfaction of investing in a human soul that will blossom in their particular work culture. We rush towards things we love, and who doesn’t love the idea of hope—of building a rewarding career and creating a fulfilled employee. But without alignment, these professional relationships born from the excitement of hope are consumed by the truth of reality. Effective recruiters deliver that reality before it even develops.

Let’s say, for example, a prestigious academic medical center flies a candidate—we’ll call him George—across the country for an interview and falls in love with George’s engaging demeanor, winning sense of humor, and professional acumen and credentials. George, in turn, appears equally smitten. Hope is everywhere. But no one, except his fiancé, asked George what he’d need to be happy as a person in two years. George sheepishly declines the offer, explaining that the salary and increased cost of living are untenable. The prestigious medical center is personally saddened, and will compare all of the ensuing candidates to wonderful George, who has been elevated to an unwarranted level of perfection.

A communicative recruiter knows George. A communicate recruiter knows the prestigious academic medical center. A communicative recruiter works in the reality that exists between their mutual hope, and is either able to negotiate a compromise, or use that blunt reality to prevent levels of human bonding that undermine the goals of each party involved.