Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Image of Rhona Pierce, a Black woman, smiling pointing at the words: Lessons from 800+ Hires

What I’ve learned after 800+ hires

You’ve probably heard the story of how I fell into recruiting.

If not, here’s the TL;DR:

I was one of those annoying hiring managers who thought they could do things better than the recruiting team. I complained so much that the CEO decided the Recruiting Team should move into the department I was leading (Operations). I very QUICKLY learned that Recruiting is not easy!

image of woman applying clown makeup

This week, as I’ve been preparing to train a TA Team on how to attract qualified talent, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned in the 17 years I’ve been hiring in the tech industry. Every role I’ve worked on has taught me something new. Experience really is the best teacher.

Here are the 5 things I wish I had known before I started recruiting:

ONE: No One Likes Cold Calls

I certainly don’t want to make them or receive them. As an industry, we don’t like to talk about this, but candidates don’t trust us. Our reputation isn’t that great. An unsolicited call from a stranger isn’t how you build trust.

Instead, I would have focused on building my brand as a recruiter early on. Creating valuable, engaging content that resonates with your ideal candidate is how you become a magnet for qualified talent.

TWO: Community Matters

Learning how to build relationships is the most important skill to succeed as a recruiter.

If I were to start over today, I would focus on engaging online, networking with industry experts, and participating in relevant conversations.

Recruiting isn’t something you can do alone. If you invest in building authentic relationships, your community will come to your rescue without you needing to ask.

THREE: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Employer Branding

Sure, a strong personal brand attracts candidates, but your employer brand is what seals the deal.

But it’s important to be authentic. Everyone wants to focus on sharing the good things, but you must give candidates a full picture so that they can self-select. Plus, candidates can see right through your sugarcoating.

It’s best to show the reality of what it is like to work at your company; no one wants to feel that their employer catfished them.

FOUR: Learn to Negotiate

We spend our days negotiating with candidates, hiring managers, Finance, and pretty much everyone we encounter.

Negotiation doesn’t come naturally for everyone. So, the earlier you start practicing, the better. Many people think recruiting is about convincing people to do what you want, but it’s not. Recruiting is more about finding opportunities for mutual gain than about anything else.

FIVE: Candidates Remember the Experience

Candidates remember everything from the ease of applying to the interview to if and how you reject them.

A candidate today might be a customer tomorrow or the decision maker the next time you’re looking for a job. No one ever forgets how you treat them.

Invest time and effort in creating a positive candidate experience.

Your Turn 👀

What advice would you give yourself if you were starting your recruiting career today? Hit reply and let me know.

Talk to you next week!

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