The Art of Recruiting vs. the Science of Recruiting

04 Nov 2015 Bryan Shaw


Anyone that has been in recruiting as long as I have has likely heard about the art and science of recruiting. These aren’t new topics, but in the age of “technology wins,” the art of recruiting often takes a back seat to the science of it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, give me a minute to quickly explain.

The science of recruiting is rooted in metrics. If you make this many calls, you will get “X” number of submittals resulting in “X” number of interviews that will yield “X” amount of hires. And with the advancement of technology, the science of recruiting has gotten even easier. There are countless tools on the market that basically find resumes for you, compare them to the job description and tell you how good of a match you have. It’s pretty amazing, actually.

Many recruiters tend to lean on the science of recruiting more than the art of recruiting because it’s tangible. Tools have found the resume, confirmed it has the right key words, and now you’re able to have a quick conversation with a candidate because they’ve been deemed (on paper anyway) the “perfect” fit. When that happens, you submit the candidate and move onto the next one, right?

Unfortunately, many recruiters fall into this trap and the process stops there. The result is dealing with candidates that don’t call you back, don’t show up to interviews and candidates that either decline your offer or accept a counter offer. You might feel like you did everything right as a recruiter, but in the midst of being so focused on hitting your numbers, you completely failed to understand that you’re dealing with a person. If you didn’t take the time to develop a relationship with your candidate, then you never really understood what your candidate wanted.

The art of recruiting is the ability to develop a relationship with your candidate. It is the ability to ask the right questions, to identify what motivates a candidate and what is driving them to make a move in their career. It is the ability to understand your client on a personal level and know during a conversation with a prospective hire if they are the right fit for the job or not. Technology cannot do this and it will likely never be able to.  I’m not diminishing the importance of technology in recruiting as it is an extremely valuable and necessary tool to our success at STS Technical Services. What I am saying, however, is that when it comes to the science of recruiting vs. the art of recruiting, art wins every time.

At STS, we utilize cutting-edge technology that allows us to be proactive for our clients.  We also spend time with potential candidates building relationships in an effort to ensure that they are not only the right “fit” for our clients but that they’re the perfect cultural fit as well.

If you’re hitting most of your metrics but you’re struggling to achieve what should be your main goal, finding your clients great candidates, then you are likely falling into a trap and only focusing on the science of recruiting.

Great recruiters understand the importance of science but never stop working on perfecting the art.