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Advance Your Recruiting Career With Questions & Data

What’s the meaning of life? Why do fools fall in love? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Some questions may never be answered … while others can launch you into the next phase of your career. At HireCamp in 2014 Dan Portillo from Greylock Partners shared how asking questions and using data shifted his career from “execution-only” to bigger picture strategy, analysis and results:

The Clue

“I knew my job was fundamentally different when in a one-on-one meeting with my boss he brought up all the things that I said the week before. I was now on the hook to do all the things that came out of my mouth.”

Tough Questions

“I coined a term that I lovingly called the ‘John Lilly Fire Drill.’ This was him asking me a question… and then me hunting down the answer,” Over time, this forced Portillo to change how he approached his job: “I started thinking about what are the set of things that I should be asking or that I should be measuring.”

Recruiting Cost

Dan figured out that it’s cost of hire is not just hard cash money – but the cost in man hours was crucial.., and explained how sharing that understanding drove critical thinking and improvements. When you frame things in terms of time and cost, it really changes the dynamic of the conversation with the executive team.”

The 3 a.m. Spreadsheet

“I specifically remember one night waking up at 3 in the morning worrying about people leaving the company.  I got up and put the name of every single employee on a spreadsheet… and ranked them in terms of their impact and risk to leave.” That spreadsheet resulted in Mozilla’s leveling system, which helped them retain employees for 5-8 years in an industry where 2-3 years is the norm.

Quitters can Help

“Voluntary, regrettable attrition is really bad, so if you have a good sense of what that looks like, it helps you have productive, strategic conversations with the executive team” – specifically about what’s going on and what you’ll need to do to attract and retain people.

A Call to Action For Recruiters

“Go home, get out of the regular execution that you’re doing and think about what questions are important? Ask them frequently and figure out the information you need to answer them and drive change in the organization to help everyone get better at recruiting.”

What are your favorite questions? What wakes you up at 3 a.m.? Let us know in the comments!

Click below to see Dan Portillo’s full talk on using data to make recruiting easier.

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Dan Arkind :