A Christmas Thank You for the Under-Appreciated Recruiter

It’s hard to argue against the fact that 2009 has been a rough year for corporate recruiters. Budgets have been slashed, training has been all but eliminated, and even with reduced recruiting activity, requisition loads are still onerous.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but as it falls at the end of the year, it is an opportune time to take a minute and to thank those who have helped you throughout the year. While executive recruiters used to get huge paychecks and bonuses, corporate recruiters in most organizations can only be classified as under-appreciated.

Hiring managers, often busy trying to meet end-of-year deadlines, rarely find the time to send out a well-written thank you or take you to lunch to express their gratitude for all the work that you’ve done on their behalf.

New hires are acclimating to their job, which more often than not isn’t exactly what they thought it would be, so thanks are not on the top of their minds.

Every year come December, I start to envision what it would be like in a perfect world where the efforts of corporate recruiters were recognized with a real thank you. Recruiters may not get as many “thank yous” as they deserve, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that recruiters have a profound impact on people’s work and private lives.

A “thank you note” from a grateful new hire…

I just wanted you to know that you are my hero!

The Christmas season is an ideal time for me as a new employee to say thanks to the people who helped me get this new job in this competitive job market. Specifically, I want to thank you, “my recruiter” for:

  • My self-confidence: the way you treated me during the hiring process built up my confidence. My daily life is better because you helped to remind me of my many strengths and capabilities.
  • My job: I have a great job and a paycheck during a time when many well-qualified individuals don’t. I owe you big time because you recognized my unique talents and guided me through the complicated hiring process. I am no longer under-appreciated by my former firm, or worse, unemployed. Both my family and I are happier and more secure, thanks to your hard work and trust in my ability. Our house will be secure and there will be lots under the Christmas tree because of you.
  • You were the face of the company: applying for a job is a lonely task that is full of uncertainty, but you were my first and primary contact. Rather than being an adversary, you treated me like someone who was “special” (maybe you treat everyone that way, but honestly, I felt like I was the only applicant for the job). You were always there when I had a question, and you skillfully calmed me down so that I could perform at my best during the hiring process.
  • Finding me: thank you for finding my name in the boundless confines that make up the Internet. Your ability to search out details about me and learn about my interests from dozens of sources was exceptional.
  • You built a relationship: I got to know you through Facebook and Twitter, which made it easier for us to share the truth with each other. If it were not for that social network relationship and your strong convincing skills, I’m not sure I would have ever taken the time to apply for a job that seemed so different than what I was used to.
  • Identifying my capabilities: even though you might have been faced with hundreds of resumes of people applying for my job, you kept mine at the top of the pile. I now realize that I should have spent more time improving my resume, so that my skills and experience came through more clearly, but your superior sorting skills found traits, experience, and potential that others might have overlooked.
  • Coaching me: thanks for helping me through the hiring and interview process so that my strongest attributes came through for all to see. Even though my interview skills were a little rusty, you were my champion and coach.
  • The candidate experience: I have certainly been through numerous other interview processes in my career, but none seem to be as closely tailored to my needs. I never felt like I was being grilled, and before every step of the process you explained exactly what I should expect. Even if I wouldn’t have gotten the job, I would’ve remembered the positive way that I was treated and I would’ve become an even more enthusiastic customer of your firm.
  • Answering my concerns: you probably knew that I was nervous and uncertain after the final interview. Your honesty and openness convinced me that you did your best to ensure that the offer I received was highly competitive and fair.
  • Helping me get acclimated: you could easily have moved on after I accepted your firm’s offer, but instead you remained available when I had questions. When you showed up and welcomed me on my first day and made sure that I got up to speed rapidly, you once again proved that you were more interested in my success than in just filling a job.

I also wanted you to know that because of your professionalism and the information you provided me about the firm, I now go out of my way to tell colleagues at other firms that this firm is a great place to work, in no small part because of you and the way you treat applicants and employees. I hope to make several employee referrals during the next year as a result of the information you provided and the way you treated me. Thanks again for all that you’ve done; I’m proud to be your coworker!

* * * * * * * * * *

A “thank you note” from a grateful hiring manager …

I just wanted you to know how much you impacted my business success!

The end of the year is an ideal time for me to say thanks to the people who allowed both my team and I to be among the most productive and innovative within our organization. Specifically, I want to thank you, my recruiter, for all that you do to make me successful as a manager, including …

  • Understanding the processes: in the past, I’ve been guilty of procrastinating when it comes to recruiting, mostly because I found the process to be confusing. However, I want to thank you for taking the time to help me understand the complex requisition, recruiting, and hiring processes. With your coaching and guidance I have successfully avoided hiring delays and legal issues without having to read endless recruiting policies and manuals. You help me understand why some of the steps that I thought were bureaucratic actually helped to contribute to a higher quality hire.
  • Sourcing: thanks for consistently identifying so many top candidates. Without your advice, I would probably still be running newspaper want ads. Thanks for educating me about the new approaches to recruiting, including social networks, blogs, and direct sourcing using Boolean search strings. Without them, I would have missed most of the best and brightest candidates who you sourced. The percentage of qualified candidates that you presented to me was so high that I could have picked up a resume when blindfolded and still ended up with a superstar.
  • Being so responsive: thanks for your responsiveness. Even though you have a huge requisition load and a dozen hiring managers to service, you consistently found a way to respond rapidly to my questions and calls.
  • Tolerance: thanks for your tolerance and understanding during the many times when I let you down. That includes when I wasn’t available for interviews and for the countless times that I took forever to sort through the resumes you sent me. I now know that you can’t do your job effectively unless I as a hiring manager do my part.
  • Position descriptions: thanks for your help in improving the position descriptions that I create. I realize that without your coaching and advice, many of these descriptions would be so dull and off the mark that I would have never attracted a single top candidate.
  • Innovators and game-changers: my team is now one of the most innovative in the industry in no small part as a result of you. Many thanks for demonstrating to me the large business impact that innovators can have over average hires. Without the numerous tips on how to successfully hire these hard-to-understand innovators, I might have settled for average hires.
  • Global capability: even though over 50% of my business came from overseas, I found myself lost when it came to recruiting talent from around the world. I never would have understood the complexities and the keys to success without your guidance and advice. My team now has broad global capabilities as a result of your hiring expertise.
  • Follow-up: thanks for following up after my hires were completed, in order to ensure that the new employee started off at full speed. Your continuous coaching and help also resulted in lower new-hire turnover rates. You could have stopped helping immediately after they said yes to our offer, but fortunately for all, you didn’t.
  • Curbing my enthusiasm: thanks for subtly, but effectively, pointing out the weaknesses in many of the candidates who I was enamored with. Sometimes I got so emotionally involved with a candidate that I couldn’t see their weaknesses without your help.
  • Metrics: you have successfully demonstrated to me the cost of a bad hire and the tremendous value add of a great hire. As a result, I am now no longer willing to settle for the mediocre level of talent that I used to hire before you began helping me.
  • Diversity: without your help, my team could never be as diverse and inclusive as it is today. The high degree of diversity among my team allows it to be more creative and to identify problems and opportunities from multiple perspectives. This diversity also helps my team understand the needs of our diverse customers, which further improves our products and services.
  • Help with the generations: thanks for coaching me about the differences between the many different generations that candidates come from. You helped me understand their different needs and what was necessary in order to land and keep them on my team.
  • Closing: thanks for your help in understanding what it takes to “sell” so many top candidates. Fortunately, with your coaching and guidance, we have been able to land so many exceptional candidates that I could never have sold on my own with my limited sales knowledge and abilities.
  • Employment brand: I now realize that without the strong external image and employment brand that you and your colleagues have helped to build, few top candidates would seek out our firm. I just wanted you to know that I am continually approached at conferences and events by top talent whoare already excited about and sold on our firm. Our firm is a talent magnet as a result of your branding efforts, and as a result of your convincing, I now try to spread the word myself through my blog (which you helped me with) and my Facebook connections.
  • My business results: Thank you for the impact you’ve had on my business results, the recognition, bonuses, and the promotions that I have received as a direct result of your competencies in hiring. Your advice and occasional cajoling have resulted in enough great hires to almost guarantee the success of my team. The people who you have identified and helped me hire have such exceptional capabilities that I routinely exceed my business goals with embarrassingly little effort.

I also wanted to apologize for all the times during the last year that I might not have taken hiring as seriously as I should have. Thanks to your efforts, I now realize that in business, just like in sports, even a mediocre manager can succeed when they are provided with a recruiter and a hiring process that continually provides exceptional talent. I now confidently enter into new business and product areas knowing you will somehow find and land the exceptional talent I require in that field. Thanks again for making me look good.

Final Thoughts

During turbulent economic times, it’s easy to become disillusioned as a recruiter. Even though a few think of recruiters as little more than “requisition jockeys,” you and I know that the work we do makes a huge difference. If we get it right, we change people’s lives and our company’s results for the better.

However, if we get it wrong, we also realize that we can hurt not only candidates but also our organization’s shareholders. So, even if you don’t receive a single thank-you card like the ones illustrated above, take a step back as the year comes to a close and applaud yourself for a job well done.

Happy holidays and once again, thank you for making a difference!

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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