Reflections on “the recruiter honeypot”


Eddie Awad tweeted about Elaine Wherry‘s experiment with the recruiter honeypot.

The surprising thing about recruitment is the importance of LinkedIn. Wherry gives the following two (2) tips:

TIP #1: If you’re a start-up who always feels like you’re scraping the bottom of the LinkedIn barrel, you’re probably right – LinkedIn is incredibly competitive. Recruit latent talent off the grid.

TIP #2: Recruiters flock to LinkedIn first, if not always. To increase your personal opportunities, join LinkedIn.

All of the recruiters interacted with used LinkedIn, despite some saying that they had moved beyond LinkedIn. This means that one should keep one’s profile up to date and relevant.

The other tips are mainly about selecting internal versus external recruiters for a start-up.

My limited experience with recruitment has been trawling through resumes sent in by external recruiters. I suppose this reactive recruitment strategy was driven by the need to get someone good enough for a government job.

The first problem with this approach to recruitment is that I was propagating the myth that a government job was the bottom of the heap. Instead of being seen as job that was performing an essential community service (in my case, education), I was giving out the impression that the job did not really matter.

This was my problem. Until I was convinced that my job was valid and essential, I could not lead my team. The team looked to me for direction.

Another problem was the management expectations that we could improve the team through recruitment. That is, we continue to hire better people instead of developing the current team. This seems to be the mindset behind the mantra that “we can always buy good people”.

There seems to be three (3) views of how teams evolve:

  1. People, such as Wherry, would argue that …the first people you hire set your engineering and cultural DNA for the lifetime of the organization…
  2. Teams can improve with better recruitment—buying in good people
  3. Teams can devlop into better teams.

The first and second views seem to assume that entropy will degrade the performance of the team over time. The second is the more optimistic of the two in that entropy can be reversed through new people.

I subscribe to the third view. Capt. D. Michael Abrashoff‘s book, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, best describes this approach when he says that:

Benfold was not prepared for the threat of attack as she could have been. The dysfunctional ship had a sullen crew that resented being there and could not wait to get out of the Navy. The achievement in my life of which I am most proud into a tight-knit, smoothly functioning team that boasted—accurately, many felt—that Benfold was the best damn ship in the Navy. (p.2)

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One thought on “Reflections on “the recruiter honeypot”

  1. Comments on “Why Zappos’s New Hiring Techniques Are a Complete Waste of Time” – Yet Another OCM

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