The Recruiter’s ‘Portfolio’

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been searching for a new project and what I have encountered, rather surprisingly, is a lot of the norms that we as a recruitment industry, still seem to be holding onto dogmatically. The one recurring question is ‘can you send me a copy of your CV?’.

My expectation would have been at least to ask me for a link to my LinkedIn profile; my hope is that I might be asked if I have a website or online portfolio, examples of campaigns I have successfully delivered, a request about blogs or any other information that would, in my opinion, actually present a holistic picture of the me as an individual and talent acquisition an recruitment professional. Across the board, the CV request was predominant.

I appreciate there is a counter-argument here which is ‘why don’t you just add links to your CV?’ – I’ve tested that and the click-through rates are low. From that test sample, my conclusion is that Hiring Managers / Agencies are still looking at the CV and making their decision based on the chronological script of my prior experience.

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This is going to sound like a sales pitch, however…

Whenever I recruit, I aim to build a picture of the individual through a combination of their LinkedIn profile, social media, blog posts and combine those notes and use them in the introductory conversation with them to really get a sense of them as a professional and person. With this knowledge, you can really start to explore their thoughts on culture, environment, working patterns and their mindset in the face of challenges and change. In short, you end up offering the Hiring Manager a ‘portfolio‘ of the person as opposed to a CV and each part of the process acts as an additional level of qualification beyond the standard ‘skills matching’ approach.

Flip the focus to recruiting for talent acquisition and recruitment professionals, would it be more interesting to your client to see examples of the following;

  • job specifications
  • social media content (i.e. posts, adverts)
  • recruitment assets (i.e. candidate, interviewee and on-boarding packs)
  • process workflows
  • interview formats
  • blog posts

How interesting to you and your client would this portfolio of information be at an introductory or pre-screening stage?

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Building your Portfolio

What are the challenges with starting to build your own recruitment portfolio?

The consideration of time is always the obvious starting point; the time to create a website of online host compared to writing your CV using a template is clear. Having said that, do you want to look back at your legacy in recruitment and have only a CV and some anecdotal stories and hiring numbers to refer to? – keep track of your journey and collate the information you have learned. Create your own ‘Recruitment Playbook’ – something you can use as you navigate your way through your career steps.

Another key consideration is, who owns the content you’ve created? – if you are a permanent employee (whether in-house or agency side), you’ll be subject to legal obligations regarding the content you have created. Having said that, referring to this content if it’s already in your, or the clients, social media feed isn’t a crime – blog about it even. Tell the story behind how and why you created it. This can be positive PR for the client’s brand.

What if I don’t have any of this content? – perhaps your in a role that hasn’t required you to write job specifications, create social media posts or implement new workflows. Then my suggestion to you is start!

The role of the Talent Acquisition (TA) and Recruitment (Rec) professional is evolving rapidly and you need to offer more than the ability to search, screen and present an applicant. As tools and products providing greater levels of automation change processes and the way tasks are completed, one of the greatest assets of a TA and Rec consultant is their ability to deliver creative solutions and the knowledge they already retain about the process of where to discover, attract and engage talent.

An invitation to fellow Professionals

If you want any suggestions as to where to start, I’m happy to have a chat. Just ping me a message. We can all benefit from sharing ideas! 


Reject me, just don’t ignore me!

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It’s Not You, It’s Someone Else…

We’ve all been there…we’ve received the generic ‘Sorry, your application didn’t progress’ or ‘We offered the role to a more suitable candidate’; or even, you’ve been one of the many people that takes time and energy out of their day to attend an interview and you’ve received zero feedback! Nothing! – a virtual ‘feedback blackhole’.

So why do the majority of companies, and more specifically, Hiring Managers / Leaders still find it so difficult to provide feedback; extend a simple professional courtesy to another professional? – I mean, there is advice out there if you’re worried about the implications of providing feedback to an individual you don’t intend to offer a role.



…you’re focusing your time and energy on the person you intend to offer and that process is your top priority…you’ll get round to the rejected individuals when you’ve got your ‘chosen one’ secured? – it’ll take 5-10 minutes out of your day to make a call and provide feedback, however, the impact of this action will be positively received by the individual. 

…there is a potential disconnect between you (Hiring Manager/Leader) and the in-house HR/Recruitment team and the feedback hasn’t been passed along or got lost in a whole host of hiring activities the in-house team are managing? – it should be the Hiring Manager/Leader’s responsibility to prioritise the feedback activities with the in-house team and follow-up to ensure is has been actioned. 

…the fear of disappointing another individual and you’re a perpetual ‘pleaser’ and you’d lie awake at night worrying about what that person might be saying about you across social media? – leaving an individual with no feedback leaves the door open to speculation and a greater sense of rejection. In short, inaction has had the complete opposite effect.

…the Recruitment Agency that introduced the individual and the feedback hasn’t been passed back because the Agency lost interest as soon as they knew it wasn’t ‘their candidate’ that was to be offered the role? – again, it should be the Hiring Manager/Leader’s responsibility to prioritise the feedback activities and request confirmation that it has been actioned. 

In all these potential scenarios, the responsibility, or delegation of responsibility, for providing feedback sits with the Hiring Manager / Leader in my opinion. Specifically linked to this are the concepts ‘Candidate Experience‘ and ‘Brand Advocacy‘.


What’s your baseline? 

When any client asks me to assess their ‘Candidate Experience’, I start with the purpose of answering one question – ‘How do they treat the people they don’t hire’? – that’s my baseline. Interestingly, I often find that the data and information available for the individuals that haven’t been offered a role with a company is often sporadic, undocumented and very inconsistent in approach from one Hiring Manager or team to another.

Many have asked, why bother with the people we haven’t hired? 

My counter to that question is, if the experience for the people you haven’t offered is really engaging, the experience for the people you do hire must be amazing!

The net result of an amazing offer and on-boarding experience correlates to a reduction in the loss of individuals to counter offers or other opportunities. 

The obvious result from an engaging experience for individuals you do and don’t hire is brand advocacy and that could lead to referrals and that will lead to a boost to your talent pipeline! Also, you may not have hired the individual today, however, what about in another 6, 12 or 18 months time?

What is your Candidate Experience baseline?

If you’re the hiring manager, team leader, company or HR / Recruitment professional about to embark on a overhaul or improvement programme focused on your Candidate Experience (CX), please let me offer some advice;

  • your current CX is only as good as the last negative feedback you received
  • data is important, however, stories of human experience are more valuable
  • focus on the individual and build the process around them
  • personalisation should underpin your CX journey
  • build your CX vision, don’t replicate
  • be creative and be brave

it's all about you