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Movieclips Monday: The importance of doing your research

There have been many noticeable changes in recruiting over the past decade thanks to the Internet. While many of these newer methods and tools represent improvements over the way things used to be done, the old-school way of doing things often still has a place.

Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher, the investigative journalist played by Chevy Chase in the 1985 classic “Fletch,” could have saved himself a lot of time and trouble had Google existed back then. (He also could have checked the latest Los Angeles Lakers statistics, but that’s another story.) The below clip gives you an idea how Fletch gathered background information without the help of the Internet.


While the abundance of information on the Internet is convenient, it also means that recruiters have much more to sort through. And social media only adds to the complexity. There are services that do background checks; however, most recruiters prefer to do the important homework themselves because they have the added value of experience and a recruiter’s sixth sense.

In addition, good recruiters understand the importance of a strong team. Through my work in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), I know the value of having help with research, screening, and interviewing, as well as second opinions. A good back-scratching from someone is always nice, too, but I don’t recommend asking a colleague unless you want HR stopping by for an unwanted visit.

The Internet is usually the first and last stop in a recruiter’s research process. And many people would ask, “Why go anywhere else? What else could tip the scale in a direction you’re not already leaning?”

Try throwing in a little old-school research. You might not learn anything new, but then again, I’ve met some great recruiters and hiring managers who’ve learned quite a bit. They call on their network, pick up the phone to chat with a few references, and carefully listen to the answers. The best recruiters hear the things that aren’t said as clearly as those that are.

I’m not saying recruiters or hiring managers should be paranoid or look for conspiracies around every corner. Rather, great recruiters and hiring managers are like investigative reporters -- inquisitive, a little suspicious and skeptical perhaps, but always with a healthy dose of optimism and the desire to get it right. After all, getting an honest impression of a candidate will help lead to a successful and long-term hire.

This post was written by Doug Lubin, a successful Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Practice Leader and Consultant, who brings over a decade of expertise building sustainable solutions for clients and partners.  Doug helps firms develop high performing talent acquisition and management strategies locally and globally.  Learn more about Doug.

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