Recruiting Rules to Break:

Outdated Talent Acquisition Strategies to Leave Behind

Orion Talent and talent acquisition experts discuss why breaking old recruiting rules and outdated talent acquisition habits now can help your business find the talent you need today and lead your company tomorrow.

When the old rules of recruiting are not working, it's time to break them. Orion Talent and a panel of talent acquisition industry experts to explore why this challenging talent market is the perfect opportunity to toss out tired recruiting conventions and try innovative new approaches. From using "likeability" and "culture fit" to screen talent to stumping interviewees with unanswerable questions, there are plenty of old hiring practices that need to be thrown out the window to get great talent in the door.

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Recruiting Rules to Break FAQs

Why, in times like these, is it important to break some recruiting rules?

As unemployment continues to remain low, the talent shortage is felt more than ever. Coupled with an increase in job competition, candidates are given plenty of options to consider when searching for a new career. Companies across all industries are seeing an increase in ghosting from potential hires. A lot of the old rules of engagement in hiring, like new hires showing up to work on their first day, cannot be counted on anymore. The rules have changed, and employers and talent acquisition leaders must be ready for the change as well.

What are some recruiting approaches that no longer make sense (and could harm your workforce)?

Many of the recruiting processes of the past, like a multi-step hiring system, do not make sense in today's market. With a fierce job market, having a slower hiring process can cost you a hire. Another common practice for decades in recruiting and hiring has been to "trust your gut," and assess if the candidate is likeable, or seems to be a good fit with the existing team. This approach does not recognize the value of diversity in the workplace and building a more diverse team.

What new and innovative recruiting strategies address the challenging job market and the changing needs and goals of candidates today?

An important and innovative recruiting strategy is to "never say never." Whether it's new grads, retirees, veterans, and more, be open to non-traditional candidates and their transferable skills. Switch culture fit for EVP excellence, and actively work to achieve diversity and inclusion goals within your organization. Consider objectives such as how will a person perform in the role, embrace challenge, put their talents to work, and support the team, rather than, "does this person make me laugh," or "do I like this person." Take the focus off yourself and your potential biases and focus the assessment on the candidate, job, and work.

Read the Full Transcript

Talee Brock:

Thank you everyone for joining us today for what we hope to make a really fun and thought-provoking look at recruiting today. Today's presentation is titled "Recruiting Rules to Break: Outdated Talent Acquisition Strategies to Leave Behind. We are going to start the Webinar shortly as people are still streaming in. Thanks for your patience.

Hello everyone and welcome! My name is Talee Brock. I am Vice President of Business Development, Orion Talent, and your moderator today.

Today we are tackling the daunting challenge no employer, HR leader, talent acquisition pro, hiring manager or recruiter can escape: recruiting. But here's the good news. We are bringing a fresh take. We are going to talk about old rules and new ideas and things we can do differently that can make a big difference in talent acquisition. I am excited and a lot of that has to do with this amazing panel of industry leaders we have pulled together. Today, I am joined by three incredible professionals. Let me introduce you to them.

Mark Baudler is the Corporate Director of HR for Panduit and has recently expanded his role. Mark, I am thrilled you are here to offer your recruiting experience and insights. Can you share a bit about yourself, your role and work, and what it is that first got you interested in working in the talent and HR industry?

Mark Baudler:

Mark to provide a brief bio - 30-60 seconds


Thank you Mark! Our second panelist is Katie Mychalowych who is an Internal Talent Lead for Orion Talent. Welcome Katie to the panel. Can you share your background with us and what brought you to the talent and recruiting field?

Katie Mychalowych:

Katie to provide a brief bio - 30-60 seconds


Thank you Katie. I know we are all going to have a great talk. Our third panelist is Dan Cable who is Talent Acquisition Supervisor for Vitesco Technologies. Dan, it's so good to have you as well. You know the routine. Could bring it home by sharing your bio and what it is that first got you interested in working in the talent and HR industry?

Dan Cable:

Dan to provide a brief bio - 30-60 seconds


Excellent! We have so much to talk about, but before we dive in let me explain how you can participate as part of the audience. First, if you have a question, you do not have to wait for our QA time at the end of the panel discussion. You can add your questions to the chat any time. Our team will monitor and let me know when we have questions from the audience to dig into. If we don't get to it right away, we will add it to our QA section. So ask away when your questions come to mind. In addition, we have added a couple of poll questions for you out there in the audience so you can share your thoughts and insights and this panel can react. Participating in those is simple. You just use the tools right on your Zoom screen when the poll questions pop up. And with that, we are ready to start. I am going to set the stage with a bit of data on recruiting. A lot of this is going to feel very familiar and very real to everyone here.

So how hard is recruiting right now? I think a lot of people across the talent and recruitment industry would say, this is the hardest it has ever been. Here's why:

Unemployment remains incredibly low and has been for years. At just 3.6% unemployment ranks are not offering recruiters a lot of talent to choose from.

While candidates are scarce, one thing that is plentiful is competition. Job competition. In March there were 11.5 million jobs open giving candidates plenty to consider.

And the ghosting continues. Even a company has fun and irreverent as Southwest airlines is struggling. Their leadership has seen turnover and no-shows surge, with no-shows reaching 15-20% of the candidate pool for several jobs.

What we are seeing is that a lot of the old rules of engagement you could count on in hiring, like new hires showing up for jobs, cannot be counted on. The rules have changed and we too as employers and talent acquisition leaders have to be ready to change as well. What rules should we be breaking? What old habits and strategies should we let go in order to be more effective? We're going to dive into that now with our first question.

Mark, I would love to start with you. We just talked about the unemployment and market factors affecting how people recruit and hire. That's the big picture. But I would love to discuss the micro view as well. How do you and your recruiting teams at Panduit recognize that you needed to change your approach or start breaking some rules in order to be more effective in today's employment environment?


I would say for us that when things got really tough and competitive over the last years and we were struggling to find and hire talent, we tried everything. And I mean everything. Bus ads, sign-on bonuses, digital ad spends, referral programs. You name it we tried it We were throwing recruiting money at all the old standard recruiting approaches.

Then, when we go through a lot of the panic and took a look at how effective those rapid-fire investment efforts were, we realized they had not moved the needle. We were looking in the wrong places and investing in the wrong people. One of the most powerful moments of realization to me was when we started to see that a large number of our warehouse hires were not collecting their hiring bonuses. Every once in a while, someone would come and say, "Oh hey, I think I was supposed to get this sign on bonus" and get the paperwork. We looked at the data and saw how few new hires were following through on this big bonus we had offered.

That was really telling. It wasn't a core motivator for new hires. It was one of the moments when I think we started to break the rules of recruitment for ourselves. We realized that outbound engagement was not getting the job done so we needed to focus on internal programs and processes. Where were we missing the mark, the way we had with the hiring bonuses? What data should we be looking at to better understands what's working. It opened our eyes in many ways to some of processes and long-accepted practices (rules if you will) that were holding us back.


That's great and I know we are going to dive deeply into those changes. But, to build up some audience anticipation for those rule-breaking strategies, I am going to ask our Dan and Katie to also weigh in on this question. Katie, let's start with you. What shifting norms grabbed your attention?


For our team at Orion Talent, it has 100% been a question of speed. We have had to push ourselves when it comes to timing.

My team, for example, recruits a lot of sales people, and that, in the past, tended to be a longer hiring cycle. But now, based on talent supply and demand issues, we have rebuilt our process to make it a two-week hiring cycle from start to finish. That means the two-week clock starts with initial recruiting outreach and ends with a verbal offer going out. And, to be honest, a lot of times now we are striving to keep the process under two weeks while maintaining high standards of quality and connection at every step.

Now the widespread acceptance of virtual interviews and engagement has been a huge advantage in the acceleration process. It reduces so many scheduling complications so we are really grateful for that.

Another example of acceleration in our work can be seen in our talent engagement programs and specifically the SkillBridge program, which allows us to place Active Duty military members who are winding down their service into three-month internships with businesses. The internships are upskilling programs that give highly talent candidates who are still serving great on-the-job training and gives businesses access to incredible talent. It's a win win and at the end of it, the business can, if they like, make a job offer to the military veteran who is transition out. I think it's an incredible example of how we have accelerated talent development. We are helping businesses skill great military candidates before they have even left the military. How's that for speed?

Now one more thing I would say about the speed factor is that I will say i that it is capturing the most motivated candidates. With the accelerated recruiting time frame, candidates who are slower or more deliberate in considering the opportunity are more likely to miss out. The market, right now, favors the fast and highly motivated talent because businesses have seen good candidates snatched away again and again. Is that a bad thing? For the positions we are recruiting for, sales and recruiting, that speed matches the work and the roles. Successful sales and recruiting professionals adapt to the pace of business all the time. However, I feel for recruiters and talent acquisition teams with talent pools that might be harder to acclimate to a faster recruiting and hiring cycle. Speed is everything right now.


Great insight Katie and I am certain everyone on this panel and in our audience can relate to the acceleration you spoke to. I am so glad you shared insight into that pre-transition upskilling program. It demonstrates the creative ways businesses are developing and not just recruiting candidates. Dan, can I ask you the same question…did anything force you and your team to rethink your recruiting approach?


Absolutely and couldn't agree more with what the panel is saying. I think for us, time was the big motivator. We love our processes too. We are a process-driven company, and we are proud of the excellence we pour into that. But time in recruiting is such a rare commodity. Our multistep recruiting process, as hard as we clung to it, was holding us back. I would say realizing the time we were putting into the processes was losing us more talent than brining it was the big realization moment for us.


Absolutely Dan, and I know you are not alone in that. While preparing to moderate this talk today, I spoke with several of my colleagues on the front lines of recruitment right now and that speed and efficiency factor came up several times. All the hard work and precision put into hiring processes has the best of intentions but, in this day and age, very poor results. I would love to see what the audience feels has been most pivotal in driving recruiting change in their organizations. Let's put up a poll.

So audience, here is a poll question for you. Simply respond right on the screen:

POLL QUESTION: Which recruitment practices have you changed or thrown out to stay competitive for talent? You can choose all that apply.

  • Application length/ speed
  • Interview number/length
  • Background checks
  • Skill testing
  • Drug testing
  • Other

Thanks to everyone for joining in that first poll. Now let's turn the questions back to the panel.

So Mark, I think we built up the anticipation enough. I think we are all excited to hear about the rules you are breaking in recruitment and what is working.


Great, well when it comes to rules, we have definitely changed our pre-hire testing model.

As I mentioned we do a lot of warehouse hires. Anyone who does that knows there are different kinds of tests. One test we have done for ages is the "Lift Test." It is a huge time drain. The candidate has to take a day off of work and go to a Lift Test center. It's way out in the boonies and super inconvenient. We were losing talent at that point in the process. How important and vital was the test? We took a look. HEre's what we learned, everyone was passing the test. Our data for one period showed that 283 people took the test and no one failed. Not one. We realized the test wasn't vetting anyone but it was losing talent. So, we did away with a long-held practice and we are seeing more candidates get through the full application process because of it.

I think another rule we are breaking right now is the "speed" one. Everyone talks about accelerating the recruitment process to snatch the best candidates before they go elsewhere. But our data, like the hiring bonuses that weren't doing their job, told us we needed to slow down. Somewhere in the recruiting process we were not reaching or identifying the right talent. So, we went against the acceleration trend and slowed things down.

This allowed us to look at our hiring data more carefully and we realized some issues were tripping us up at the very earliest stages and those issues sometimes lived with our hiring managers. Hiring managers were rushing to fill positions but not taking the time to assess what they really needed and if they were filling the right role.

Once we saw this trend, our talent teams were able to implement some really helpful hiring manager training and information sessions to help them learn how to better identify their talent needs. We had to slow down first in order to speed up the success of our recruiting process and it's making a big difference.


That's fantastic and what a win it was to eliminate that "lift test." I am sure that felt pretty bold because those are the accepted practices that often don't get examined in recruitment. Things we have done the same way for decades. We can get trapped by them. Using data the way you did at Panduit has helped you see the test for what it was: a needless hoop. Thanks for sharing that. Katie, let's direct the next question to you.

We are going to dig into recruiting changes. One common practices for decades in recruiting and hiring has been "Trust your gut." Asses if the candidate is "likeable" or seems to be a "good fit" with the existing team. The problem there is that we end up getting more of the same at a time when businesses and society are learning to recognize the value diversity in the workplace and are working to build more diverse teams. How can we break down gut instinct-based decision making in the recruiting process?


This is such a great question and one I think a lot about again because it's a tricky one for me. I recruit sales people and recruiters. They, by the nature of their work, need to engage people, convince people and care for people in the course of their work. It's hard for recruiters to not make "like-ability" part of that equation. So how are we solving for it or breaking the convention. This is what we are doing.

First, we are making sure we look at the big picture hiring goals of our clients who are working to achieve diversity and inclusion goals. We hold ourselves accountable to their objectives and I like to remind our team that "we are helping our clients build the future of their teams and the future leaders of their organization." Are we doing a good job in reflecting their vision of that more diverse organization or are we defaulting to speed and filling the role? Simply keeping those questions and objectives top of mind as we work has helped my team turn off default tendances, like "wow, this person really makes me laugh or gets me or likes what I like" and instead think about how will this person perform in the role, embrace the challenge, put their talents to work, support the team." I really focus on taking myself out of the equation and focusing the assessment on the client, the candidate, the job and the work.

I think as recruiters, even in this high pressure environment, we have to remind ourselves to not take the easy route. Just because one kind of candidate succeeded on a job, does not mean that individual is now the template for every hire. Templates are a trap that can lead us to take the easy path. Instead we have to consider the value-add all kinds of candidates will bring and help our hiring managers do the same. I believe this is a really powerful contribution we can make to changing recruitment for the better and from the ground up. I see it working.


Amazing! I really like how you describe the challenge of not taking the easy path and the important outcome it will deliver. It's an excellent rule-breaking piece of advance. The easy path may be fast but in the long run you gain less for your effort.

Thank you Katie. That was great. Now before I corner Dan with a question just for him, I want to get our audience involved one more time. Audience here's a question for you?

POLL QUESTION: When it comes to the employment process, who are you most struggling to manage? Choose all that apply.

  • Job seekers
  • Hiring managers
  • Senior leadership
  • Recruiters
  • New hires
  • Other

Thank you all for weighing in. Now let's get back to Dan.

Dan, here're your question and this one is aimed and giving some pragmatic advice to our attendees today: What parts of the recruiting process should we let go of to improve hiring outcomes?


Well, first I think every business is unique based on the roles they are hiring for so that needs to be the number one consideration.

I mentioned that the three-step process became a few steps too many for a lot of our hires. And it really did. We were losing talent to competitors amid the long hiring process. So we did break our own rules and shorted the process. And it some cases, we allowed hiring managers to make an offer based on virtual interviews. That was a big shift for us but, combined with our skills assessment work and vetting, it worked for the roles we were filling.

And that's the most important message is to not take "broad recruiting practices" and apply them to your approach unless you have insight into why it will work. Our three-step recruiting process still makes good sense for management and leadership roles, but we had to trim it for others. That embrace of flexibility has been key.

Another one of our rules that we learned to break was "to never hire new grads." For a long time, our commitment was to only hire experienced talent, which meant no one fresh out of college. But that was hurting us. We looked at how we could identify the right new grads for our needs (grads with hands on experience, etc.) and it's worked out. Being open these past two years to change and possible has worked for us.


Thanks Dan and what a good reminder about staying open to possibilities. I know we say that to talent a lot. It's a good reminder for us.

I would also like to add that another great rule I find we have to loosen or let go of is overly rigid skills requirements. While we need guardrails, we can often miss out a incredible hires because we don't understand transferable skills. At Orion Talent, we are often translating how military skills translate into business and workplace skills. Taking time with non-traditional candidates and exploring transferable skills is really valuable. It's worth breaking away from old screening checklists approaches and embracing conversational engagement to really get to know a candidate.

What do you all say to that rule-breaking insight from your moderator panel?


Great. Now, I would like to wrap up the panel portion of this by giving you all one final question to respond to and I want to make it a fun one. So here's the question for you: Is there any recruiting rule you would never break OR you wish you hadn't broken?? I am going to break my rules and reverse the order. Dan let's start with you...


(in your own words. this is a chance to share a fun story, give a cool insight, etc. )


Love it. Thanks Dan. How about you Mark?


(in your own words. this is a chance to share a fun story, give a cool insight, etc. )


That's excellent. Thanks Mark. And finally Katie, you will bring it home?


(in your own words. this is a chance to share a fun story, give a cool insight, etc. )


Fantastic. Panel, you have been so great. Before we jump into question from the audience, I want to summarize a few key points we made today. Here they are:

  • You set the speed. Use the speed that works for your business
  • Switch culture fit for EVP excellence. Make the likeability choice theirs. Do they like your EVP?
  • Never say "never." Whether its new grads, retirees, military, etc., be open to non-traditional candidates and transferable skills

Now it's your turn to pose some questions to the audience. What would you like to know from our panel?

With that done, let's open this up to some questions. Maygan, any questions for us?

Well, that is all the time we have. Thank you to everyone who joined us today and especially this incredible panel Mark, Katie and Dan. We will be sure to keep you informed of the next event in our Orion Talent webinar series. Thanks everyone and have a great afternoon.