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Recruit or Die: How Any Business Can Beat the Big Guys in the War for YoungTalent Hardcover – August 2, 2007
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About the Author
Ian Ybarra, a recent MIT graduate, now assists bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi with book marketing and writes an early career advice blog.
Ramit Sethi, a recent Stanford graduate, is now VP of marketing for an online start-up and writes a personal finance blog.
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On the positive side, there is still plenty of advice that can be used by smaller recruiters. About 80% of the advice in the book can be described as such. Much of this involves scaling down the advice provided to the elite recruiters or just simple common sense (i.e., having information sessions that actually provide real information, having courteous and enthusiast recruiters, making use of alumni, etc.). Hence although the book is geared to elite recruiters focusing on elite schools, there is still considerable advice that can be useful (with modifications) for smaller recruiters.
The good advice begins in the Introduction, where the authors ask and answer the question: "Why Microsoft, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs?" They point out that all three of these favorite places for graduates to seek employment have a great brand. But other companies do, too.
What sets these three apart from the pack is what they do. The authors identify four things.
They won't settle for anyone other than exactly the recruits they want.
They work harder and smarter than their competitors to know their target audience: the recruits.
They sell themselves better than their competitors do.
They present a united front.
That's strategy. Tactically, the authors tell you that contact is king, that you should sell your people first and your company second and that courtesy and class go a long way.
The authors suggest that if you follow the kind of diligent process that the recruiting stars follow, you'll get great results. I think they're right.
Years ago, when police departments suddenly found themselves facing massive retirements with few recruits showing up at the door, I designed recruiting programs for police departments. Almost everything I learned that's positive is here plus a ton of details that I wish I'd known at the time. You can cut your recruiting learning curve by reading Recruit or Die and applying its lessons.
You'll learn to think, for example, about your company and the jobs you're offering from three perspectives. You'll ask yourself what the differences are between what you have, what recruits think you have, and what recruits want. That set of distinctions, alone, can help you sharpen your offerings and your process.
Again and again you're reminded to build on your strengths. You're reminded to meet the questions and needs of the people you want to recruit. That's all good, but there are some things I wish were different.
There's too much emphasis on "talent" as "people who've done well in school." Sometimes the young person who's dramatically improved performance late in school is a better choice for your company. One Fortune 200 company used that as part of its target recruit profile for years.
There's also way too much emphasis on big schools, big companies and the east and west coasts. Scan the schools whose students are quoted in the book and you're hard pressed to find any schools in the Midwest or in the South below Chapel Hill.
There are virtually no smaller company examples even though the lessons of the book are adaptable to small companies. And there are virtually no small schools represented either.
The fact is that the bulk of college graduates will be something other than first-tier brains and come from something other than first-tier schools. They will go to work at companies of all sizes, all over the country.
I wish the book reflected that reality better. But even if you're a small company recruiting at a small state school in a Midwestern state, there's a lot of good practical nuts-and-bolts advice in this book. You'll find a wealth of information on the operational details of attending job fairs, effective job postings, following up with recruits.
The bottom line is that if you need to recruit, you need to read Recruit or Die.
This is the only book I've read on recruiting that start inside the heads of top recruits (1000 of them interviewed for the book). Only knowing their perspective can you sell top talent on working for you.
The first part of RECRUIT OR DIE does a great job of telling you exactly what you need to know about today's young people to successfully recruit them. And the authors back up their points with stories straight from the mouths of current students and recent grads.
The second part of RECRUIT OR DIE lays out the recruiting process from start to finish--including what to do AFTER THEY ACCEPT YOUR OFFER to make them more productive and happier at work to give you the best chance of keeping them in your company.
The best part is that Resto and his co-authors demonstrate how effective recruiting should be as rigorous as sales. In fact, you could probably just replace "recruit" with "customer" and the book becomes a sales management handbook! And a pretty good one at that.