QUESTION: I am looking for strategies for dealing with the internal recruiting team objection. If the hiring manager is getting poor candidates, it is not too difficult. However, if they are getting okay candidates, I am not sure how to open them up to the notion that they are not effectively tapping into the passive candidates who are not on the market. I know I can send them a most placeable candidate to demonstrate, but if you have not helped them define their ideal candidate, it can be hit or miss.  – Debbie

ANSWER: Everything is hit or miss. If you walk up to somebody and it is 70 degrees out, and they are not that hot, and they have just drunk a gallon of water, well, you might have sparkling water, it might be a little bit better, but they are not thirsty. You cannot convert everybody, but as you said, and for everyone’s benefit, if they are challenged, it is easier.  

I just want to talk about that because when you talk to a hiring manager who says they have a process that requires you to go through internal recruiting, I ask them why and all the usual questions I’ve shared in previous blog posts. But the main thing is, if they are struggling, I am going to ask – Is it possible that this is one of the reasons you are not finding the best available people? I have also found, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, that some of the best available talent, when they said, who will I be talking to first? And I say, human resources or an internal recruiter – by the way, this was true – they check out because they are not actively looking, and they are not looking to be screened out. If they are going to consider your opportunity, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, they need to be sold.  

There is no better salesperson for the position than the person they are going to work for. This is the person that is going to mentor them, that is going to lead them, and again, it is not that going through an internal recruiter we are going to lose all the great talent. I am not saying that at all. I am saying it is cutting down on it. So one, that is kind of a general statement, Debbie, that I would put in any conversation if it is with a hiring manager and internal recruiters.  

Then, one of the questions that you might ask, one of the reasons – because they will not say it to you because most people do not want to confront this, but they are thinking it, “In my experience, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, one of the reasons hiring managers send people to internal recruiters is the recruiters in the past have wasted their time with bad candidates. Is that true for you at any level?” 

See – at any level.  

They might admit, “Well, you know, yea, I have heard it all the time.”  

Then, the followup question is – What would I need to do to earn the right to go with you direct? I can copy an internal recruiter because I do not want to keep them out of the loop. But we want to increase the likelihood that the best available person in the marketplace is attracted to your opportunity, and I do not want them checking out before they ever talk to you. What would I need to do so that you would be 100% confident in my ability to deliver the right type of person, that if you talked to them – of course, you are not going to hire everyone you talk to, but you are never going to say, you know what, Mike, you wasted my time on this one. What has to be true for that to happen?  

That is a really interesting dialogue that you can get into with them. Of course, there are going to be certain people that are quite militant on – this is our process. Take it or leave it. Then you have a business decision to make. Mine was – leave it.  

To the other side of your really good question – What do you do when they are in between?  The conversation would be a version of the same one I just outlined.  

Let me ask you . . . I always found, by the way, I always found the best way was to put the shoe on their feet, meaning, I want you to imagine, Mr. or Ms. Director of Sales, Engineering, Accounting, Finance, whatever, you seem pretty happy right now, just based on our ability – because usually, this conversation, by the way, about internal recruiters takes place at the end of the call – based on what I have heard you talk about you seem pretty happy there.  

Oh, yea.  

What is it about that opportunity that makes it so challenging and exciting?  

They will give me some reasons.  

Now I imagine we do not have to get into it. There are a couple imperfections with your current assignment that if we dug deep on them – because there is no such thing as a perfect job or a perfect opportunity – Would you say that is true?  


Well, when I am trying to recruit somebody, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, that is what I am probing for, because a lot of the people I talk to, especially those that are excelling at what they are doing right now, are relatively happy with what they are doing right now. So they are not open to making a change. Part of my process, which I will not bore you with here on the phone, is finding and discovering those minor imperfections and then seeding them with the great benefits of your opportunity. Now, imagine I did that with you and I had you just say – you know what, I should talk to them.” And we go through the dialogue and I say, well, you are going to talk to Johnny Smith, their 12-year-old internal recruiter.  

I would say that and I would smile, by the way.  

How attractive, based on your current situation, because you are really happy, and how likely would you be to follow through on that conversation? How beneficial would it be to you to be screened?  

I use that word.  

Well, our internal recruiters are . . . 

No. Everyone knows their job is to screen.  

You screen applicants. You sell talent. I have gotten a lot of people to go, you know what, I get your point. And say – I do not want to keep your internal recruiting team out of the loop. They have a job to do as an avenue to provide you talent. I get that.  

I am talking about let us enhance the ability to get the best available person on the market. Sometimes it is going to come internally. At least with me you are going to have a comparison with the best as well as a person. Is the best available candidate available internally or externally? By fostering the lines of communication between the two of us, you are increasing the likelihood that the best of the best will even talk to you.   

Hopefully that helps you, Debbie.  

Photo by Tim Collins on Unsplash