Seasoned recruiter Anne Drury knows all about the art and science of recruiting. She was a biomedical researcher in her first career. And a coffee shop manager in her second career. Her well-rounded experience informs her recruiting best practices every day. Here’s what Anne says:

  1. Data drives it all–what gets measured is what matters.
    My job in research was very numbers based. The data was how we made critical, life-saving decisions. Now, when I find myself focusing on the top end of the process, or getting too close to a particular stage of the cycle, I always step back to look at the big picture. I figure out my recruiting ratios. When I measure across time, patterns emerge. This informs my self-awareness about habits, while more context helps me focus on what’s important.
  2. Stay nimble enough to switch between left and right brain mode.
    Biomedical research requires an analytical mind. I was working with chemicals and compounds. And I routinely took my thought processes to another level of understanding. With recruiting, my analytical mind serves me as well. But my inventory is a human, who has free will, opinions, experiences and emotions. Unlike a molecule bound to physics and chemistry, humans throw curve balls. The solution? I need to go from numbers and ratios to reactions and backstory efficiently.
  3. Customer service in recruiting is a lost art. Be the change you want to see.
    With face to face interactions decreasing, a preference for texting over talking and the screen as a convenient buffer, we tend to retreat inward. We sometimes avoid conversations all together. But humans are still humans. We are social creatures and connection feeds us. When a good barista (or bartender, for that matter) served a drink, they took pride in providing that proverbial elixir of optimism. I made people laugh. I found common ground. I learned the skill of evoking a meaningful connection in 45 seconds flat. With recruiting, I use that same tool and I go deeper. And it works.
  4. You must start with quality materials.
    As a biomedical researcher, results depended upon precision, process and high quality materials. When you took shortcuts in the beginning, it showed in the end. When hiring and recruiting, it’s easy to get carried away by racking up a bunch of interviews. It looks like opportunity. But that’s confusing quantity with quality. If it’s not a heck yes, it’s usually a no. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast. Don’t forget it.
  5. Think outside the traditional interview process.
    In the coffee industry, I was forced to get creative. When filling daytime shifts was a challenge, we targeted homeschooled teenagers with more flexible schedules. Now, when it comes to interview questions, I also think from multiple perspectives. Some people don’t respond well to typical interview questions, so it’s critical to find work-arounds. One option is to say “Tell me about a time. . .”. Another option is to find what they’re passionate about to get the conversation going. Once comfort increases, answers come more easily.
  6. Culture is often slippery and confusing. Get some clarity.
    As the manager of an “artsy” coffee franchise, I faced two culture challenges. First, I had to find employees who were both bohemian and followed schedules–not always a common combination. Second, I faced the stereotypical artsy coffee shop culture assumptions. (“This will be a breeze,”  “I can be late”). I learned to navigate these waters with nuance. And at a corporate level, candidates often get sold on the “paper” culture–or what’s in the job description. But a company culture is often “in the air” rather than written down in a manual. Furthermore, culture tends to be cultivated at an employee level rather than a management level. The solution is two-fold. If you’re a recruiter, research culture through current employees. How do you treat deadlines? What do people really wear? How frequent is feedback given? Do employees come in on time? If you’re a company, define your culture with specifics.


~Anne Drury has 14 years experience in the recruiting field and joined PeopleSuite in 2018. She makes a killer risotto, read the Game of Thrones books (!) and is passionate about raising her two boys into strong men.

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