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7 Takeaways from Lou Adler and the LAX Tech Recruit Conference

Lou Adler moderating Talent Acquisition Leaders Panel

Lou Adler moderating the Talent Acquisition Leaders Panel with Molly Sigworth of FabFitFun, Lyndal Larkin of NEXT Trucking, Ashley Lundquist of TeleSign, and Greg Toroosian of Sweetgreen.


Being a recruiter has instilled a strong sense of responsibility in me. I have the ability to make a huge (hopefully positive!) impact on candidates’ lives. Lou Adler stated: “As recruiters, we hold the key to someone’s destiny.” I have never taken this aspect of my job lightly. I know that changing jobs can be one of the most stress-inducing experiences in our adult lives. My hope is that I’m always in a position to make the transition as smooth and enjoyable as possible for my candidates. In order to be successful as recruiters, we need to be dialed into the current job market, the newest technologies, and the latest trends.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the LAX Tech Recruit Conference. The day-long event featured industry leaders like Lou Adler, along with talent leaders from top companies like Google and Hulu. I walked away with some great insights to help me become a more successful recruiter. Here are my top takeaways from Lou and others:

1. Sell career growth, not the job

The best candidates are happy in their current roles, so offering to fix something that isn’t broken may not be enticing. But highlighting growth potential makes your opportunity more appealing. Lou emphasized that as recruiters we have to “sell the ride, not the destination”. This means getting the candidate excited about the conversation, not the actual job. Ask candidates what career growth would look like for them: Is it monetary? Long-term growth? High impact job? Focus on those aspects, not skills alone. The market is competitive but to be successful we need to compete on growth and not compensation alone.

2. Keep up with new trends

Recruiting is ever-changing; what’s worked in the past is not always going to work now. You must keep innovating. Lou stated, “You can’t use yesterday’s talent strategies for hiring people for tomorrow.” Take time to reassess your recruiting strategies and research new tools to help you do your job better and faster.

3. Combat bias early on

To eliminate bias, conduct an exploratory phone screen as the first step in the process without even reviewing the candidate’s background. Replace skills-based, jargon-filled job descriptions with a list of 5-6 performance objectives.

4. Focus on prequalified candidates

Lou Adler suggests implementing a 40/20/20 sourcing plan focused on referrals, spending more time with prequalified directly sourced candidates, and compelling advertising. By default, focusing on fewer prequalified candidates gives you more time with them. Don’t underestimate the power of an extraordinary candidate experience. At HackerRank, especially for technical roles, we like to focus on prequalification through technical assessments, but Lou has found this method to be successful.

5. Be data-driven

When using data ask the right questions and come up with action-based timely plans. You’re likely to get buy-in from execs and other stakeholders if your plans are backed by data.

6. Prioritize potential

The best candidates are not always the best hires. As recruiters, our advantage over AI is that we can see beyond data and look for chemistry. It’s important to look beyond the resume and qualifications. Seek candidates with diverse skill sets and the potential to achieve more.

7. Build meaningful connections

Being thoughtful about how you build connections with your candidates will yield the most optimal candidate experience and win over the competition every time. Here are some questions to help with the initial screening call:

  • What motivates you?
  • What are you looking for in an employer?
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • What kind of work/life benefits you?
  • What are your long-term professional growth goals?

Closing thoughts

To be a successful recruiter you have to be closely attuned to your people skills. AI recruiting tools might help us move faster and more efficiently, but they will never replace the human-to-human connection we provide. Invest more in your sourcing efforts–if you can’t find them you can’t hire them. This means being resourceful and finding the right tools that optimize your process and save you time. We have a lot of data at our fingertips–leverage the data for big impact and make it goal-driven and scalable. Use the data to drive stakeholder buy-in and minimize risks. Be an intentional recruiter, stay aligned with your hiring managers, hire on values, and build a process that works for you and your company’s size and hiring needs.

learn about pre-qualifying candidates with technical assessments

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