You Can’t Build Relationships with Keystrokes

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etc“Hey, look at the email I just received,” one of my recruiters said as she came into my office.  “This is really neat and we should be doing this,” she stated.

It was an email she had received soliciting her to make a career change.  She was excited because the email contained an embedded presentation about the position.

We reviewed the presentation and both agreed that it was, at best, different and it had done a good job describing the type of person needed for the role they were trying to fill.

But then I asked her, “Has the person who sent you this email called you?”

“No,” she stated.  I then stated; “Technology, no matter how cool and/or different, cannot replace a phone call. You can’t build relationships with keystrokes.”  She got my point and went back to get on the phone to call her people.

phone callThe Rest of the Story

I was intrigued by this new approach to sourcing people so I emailed the person who had sent the email and explained we were in the same business, recruiting, and asked how this approach worked.

He emailed back and stated it worked just about as well as everything else he was doing… not well.

I responded and asked him why he had not called my employee given the fact her contact information is clearly available on our website.  No response.  So then, I called and asked him the same thing on his voice mail.  No call back.

Why This Matters

George Lucas understood the need we all have to connect when he made his original Star Wars trilogy of movies. The movies were released just as the world around us was quickly becoming high-tech and low-touch. (Low-touch meaning no human contact through the use of automated phone responses, voice mail, and email.)  His movies appealed to our very human nature of wanting to connect and believe by giving us the Jedi, light sabers, Ewoks and a half-functioning space ship, the Millennium Falcon.

We were cheering for the ones who did not have the Death Star!  While it was a great story and a movie with state-of-the-art visual effects, what George understood is that we all need to connect with something or someone.

The email piece that was soliciting my employee was well written. They were spot on describing the type of person needed for the role.  However, they failed to have a conversation with my employee to explain the story they were selling.  Therefore, the whole effort is meaningless and ineffective at best, just like he had admitted in his email to me.

Most email solicitations attract “tire kickers.”  Most job board solutions attract “industry retreads.”  An industry retread is someone who has worked at every competitor you have, stayed there just long enough to claim they made a difference, and are ready to move on before someone discovers that they are not really performing and are about to be fired.

An old television ad keeps playing in my head as I write this.  “Reach out, reach out and touch someone,” goes the TV ad from AT&T.

Back then, it was used to sell long distance services.  Today, it should be the mantra of all your recruiting efforts and, even your sales efforts.

Give it a try, you’ll be surprised.

Listen to my 5-minute interview on how Cameron Herold, former COO of 1800gotjunk.com finds “A” players.