Is Elmo’s World Just Like Recruiting?
I have a toddler who is a big fan of Sesame Street and all things Elmo. After watching what must be a thousand different episodes of Elmo’s World - each episode multiple times - it hit me, a lot of the elements that Elmo encounters in every formulaic episode reminds me of what recruiters do in a day.
Before we jump into the recruiter tangentials, let’s start with how the show kicks off. Elmo welcomes you to his world and tells you what he wants to learn about that day. He says hello to his goldfish, Dorothy, and gets things started. It reminds me of getting onto LinkedIn or Twitter to see what recruiters are talking about that day. Will it be candidate experience? Perhaps how much candidates hate manually filling out applications after uploading their resume? Maybe it’s how companies need to be transparent with their salary information. Could it be the overall lack of candidates, the intense market competition for quality candidates, or how we are handling DE&I, neuro-different or hard to find candidates? Whatever the topic is that day, you can find a whole crew of recruiters talking (with many opinions) about it on social.
After Elmo [recruiter] reveals the topic for the day he calls on his friend Smartie [it’s a smartphone] and reminds the audience what they can do to learn something new - look it up! How do recruiters find candidates? They source them! I can hear my recruiter friends now, “Ohhhh Smartie!”
Smartie then launches into an educational overview of the topic and helps the audience learn about it. Much like recruiters dive into sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, GitHub, and Dice (the list goes on) to find and learn (might we say educate themselves) about potential candidates.
After talking to Smartie, Elmo usually heads to his window for comic relief from Mister Noodle. After explaining to Mister Noodle what the featured topic is, Mister Noodle proceeds to give his educational explanation (think Charlie Chaplin meets Sesame Street - Mister Noodle doesn’t talk - it’s all vaudeville esque pantomime with props) but he never gets it right the first time.
This could be like the myriad of vendors out to solve the various recruiting problems. Mister Noodle is on the outside looking in - he’s not actually IN Elmo’s world - he’s outside, he plays a pivotal role in keeping the show moving - but he’s not in the house. He knows what the houses all have and what people in houses do, generally, but he’s not in that house, he doesn’t know the specific processes, rituals, and culture that make THAT house run optimally.
But Mr. Noodle isn’t wrong, he’s partially right, and sometimes even partially right is better than nothing at all.
And that is how we find ourselves in an ecosystem chocked full of vendors with pure intentions to solve BIG problems. Big problems companies have, but HOW they solve it often only accounts for a way that that vendor has been introduced to or is familiar with and they nearly never are able to account for the myriad of ways companies have implemented all the other vendors they use.
So you have a new Smartie solution that helps a bit…but it’s the outside vendor looking in, not understanding why your business runs the way it runs, and without a clear sense of how to not just solve the problem they are out to solve, but how to slip that solution into your tech stack in such a way to not add more manual work, CSV downloads, and V-lookups into the process.
Once Mister Noodle has wrapped up his shenanigans, Elmo sometimes plays a corresponding game to help further the educational narrative. Sometimes it’s a matching game or another quick video like the one Smartie showed that reinforces the topic.
This is what we are all missing - the educational narrative that puts all products into perspective. It's the education that vendors don’t ask for and businesses don’t share. The extension of the problem - solution into the most important questions companies never ask vendors: ‘How will this solution work within my existing business process and tech stack?’
If you find that you add solutions that remind you of the late 80’s classic Opposites Attract where Paula reminds us, ‘two steps forward, two steps back’, consider how you can implement technology that keeps you moving in a forward direction only. When that happens, you can jump for joy and join Elmo in the happy dance. Learning new things makes him so happy he can’t help but dance - like finding and implementing the perfect solution to help your recruiters - it’s time to celebrate.
But how?? The reality is that most point solutions CAN’T accommodate your process and scale your business. Recruiting, unlike sales or marketing, isn’t one-size fits all (or even most). Your recruiting process is unique because it is a reflection of your business - which is not like everyone else. The solution for your business may be to lean on a Talent Acquisition Automation Platform (TAAP) that adjusts for your process in the space between the solutions you have in place. For JobSync clients this can mean 25% of recruiters time, every week, is handed back to them. Implementing TAAP means implementing a solution you don’t log into, you don’t press buttons on, but you immediately see increased value in your existing recruiting solutions, with some companies increasing their output of their sourcing solutions for example by 200%+.
How can recruiters ensure they’ll always have a happy dance? They talk to their hiring team about implementing JobSync.