Guest blog with Hung Lee graphic
Q&A Series
min read

How to Become Better at Recruitment



We interviewed Hung Lee from Recruiting Brainfood. He shared his insights into how to become better at recruitment. 

Let’s learn from an industry expert.

What is the biggest challenge for recruiters?

I think we are kind of locked into a really persistent way of thinking about recruitment, which is this highly structured, sequential, unidirectional recruiting funnel!

When we think about recruitment, we think about the hiring funnel and candidate pipeline. 

We are chasing these ideological metaphors, about people needing to “flow” through a process. But we are increasingly beginning to understand that this model is designed for committed applicants only. This model is not really applicable to passive candidates.

It's designed for people who have already consented to go through a rigorous assessment process. We're finding when we’re speaking to the highly skilled and in-demand that candidates are quite unwilling to undergo a lengthy process with a battery of assessments, based on a job they’ve never seen.

Candidates want different types of interactions.  Job applicants want more equity in the relationship and they want to find out more about the employer and have a mutual exchange of information. 

Is talent shortage a real problem for recruiters?

Change is coming as employers will realise that the main problem isn't necessarily a talent shortage, it isn't employer branding and it isn't simply how we structure the relationship between employer and employee or future employee. 

We need to change the way we're thinking at a very fundamental level about how to engage these highly skilled people beyond the interview process.

How to create a great recruitment process?

The hiring process really has to be emerging from the company itself. One of the problems we have is the temptation to implement one universal solution. The solution is not a great set of interview questions.

A great recruitment process in the context of one company may be entirely the wrong process for somebody else.

So the first thing companies need to do is to figure out what little things they care about. 

Organisations need to identify what they need in terms of what they want to communicate to the market and what they want to get from the market. Then companies need to assemble their process around that. There's no stock answer to say, this is what “good” looks like. It has to be emergent from knowing the DNA of that company.

What are the changes required in the recruitment journey?

I think it will be a change in what we mean by the employee population. I think companies generally focus on the default setting of permanent, full time and on-site employees. When we recruit, we have those three characteristics in mind for every single recruitment formula.

I think we're beginning to realise that this may not be what people want or what is beneficial for the business.

How to improve the recruitment function?

HR, fundamentally, has a data analytics problem and I will include recruiters in this category as well. We're not typically recruiting people that are very comfortable with some of the presentation of information that is in numerical form.

To solve this we need to simply recruit more “numbers people” at the entry point into HR. We could start recruiting people from outside of typical HR disciplines into these teams to diversify our thinking. We need to see more marketing individuals, we need to see more engineers. We need a diversity of skills as well as a diversity of people.

What are the three top skills that recruiters need to develop?

1. Understanding data insights

Number one is the data point. Even though you may not become a genius, you've got big statistics, good recruiters have to work out how you understand numbers and data.  HR professionals need to help hiring managers benchmark pieces of research. It is necessary to be able to have challenging thinking on data collected.

2. Improve your storytelling skills

The second point is to get better at telling stories about what HR does and what the company does as a whole. We all know that being able to tell a story is a critical way to communicate with people. 

This is why stories have been a persistent way of transmitting information throughout the history of humanity. 

We're not typically recruiting people that are good at this type of storytelling. Marketing people for instance typically don't get into HR, but we need to have that!

3. Networking

And thirdly: networking. I think HR is in a strange position because it’s deeply embedded in the company, with access to confidential information and responsibilities inside organisations. 

Access to this information in the day to day activities of the recruiter might make it seem inherently difficult to be strong at networking. 

The talent community wants to preserve a lot of those types of things and honour company confidentiality. But at the same time, I think this holds the job back for successful recruiters.

Those in people operations departments need to get better at internally networking within a business, as well as externally. Social media offers now the possibility to engage with passive qualified candidates and generate employee referrals.

The technical term is network value - what is the network value you have? Understanding that the wider and deeper your network, the stronger the network value they can add to your jobs.

In summary

Becoming good at recruitment is a combination of multiple things:

  1. Organisations need to define a process that works for them.
  2. Candidate experience has to be prioritised.
  3. Recruitment professionals need to develop the skills and network that job seekers need.

About Hung Lee

Hung is passionate about making recruitment better for people and businesses. He has done it as a broker, coach and now a product maker. As Co-founder & CEO of - a matching service for tech talent - he is removing the rhetoric from recruitment by converging on interest first, before unlocking the conversation second.

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