Learn How To Recruit!


Coat of arms of the Republic of Bosnia and Her...I learned how to recruit the old fashioned way: someone handed me a pile of applications at the candy company and said, “Find someone for third shift.”

That’s how I learned almost everything in my life, by the way. I figured it out.

So back in 1995, I sorted through stacks of paper applications and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I saw applications from doctors, lawyers and engineers who had immigrated from Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to St. Louis. These men and women wanted to work from 11PM — 7AM making Chuckles and Good and Plenty.

I remember asking the translator, “Why are they here?”

The translator explained to me that there was a war going on in Yugoslavia. These immigrants were in the United States on a variety of humanitarian visas. They were never going back and needed to start over. And even though they were professional citizens in their own countries, they didn’t qualify to work as doctors and lawyers in America because they couldn’t speak English and there was no way to verify their skills.

That’s right — doctor to humanitarian immigrant to candy factory worker. Just think about that when you are depressed about your life.

So that’s how I learned how to recruit. I just assumed that everyone could do the job. Then we made our candidates pee in a cup to verify that they were drug-free. If they passed the drug test, the job was theirs.

And that philosophy worked well when I hired throughout the rest of my career.

What’s the point? A reader of mine just asked…

I work for a company that is all about getting additional training to better my skills. They are willing to pay for it if it is something that pertains to my job and will help me become a better HR professional. I’ve been looking at additional training courses but have not really found many related to recruitment and/or HR. Of course there’s the PHR/SPHR certifications; but would you be able to recommend any additional training courses out there? Maybe you open this up to your readers so they can list their suggestions too?

There is no training like experience. SHRM has seminars and certificates available for HR professionals. You could learn to be a better Generalist. Check with your local community college and see what kind of HR classes they offer. And you could always take an AIRS class.

The best way to learn how to be a better HR professional? Be one.

The best way to learn how to recruit? Recruit.

Adults learn by doing. This was made apparent to me, very early on, when I had to gently and kindly offer factory jobs to educated men and women who saw their loved ones killed by snipers on the streets of Sarajevo.

There is no shortcut — and no MBA program — that will help you navigate the complexities of the labor market and the human heart.

You know what I would do? I would use your training dollars and take a class in finance. There you go.

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