Matt Abbott’s Recruiting Secrets

During the pandemic, the job market became more competitive and harder to navigate for both recruiters and candidates. With some industries shut down and others on the rise, the tables turned when it came to searching for the right position. Other factors changed the job market such as remote work options and the rise of freelancers.

Matt Abbott, a 20-year veteran of the recruiting field, has worked in sales and recruiting at the corporate and startup level. At The Sourcery, he consults his startup clients and candidates and often finds common mistakes and mishaps within the recruiting field. 


As we start to hopefully exit the pandemic after the full implementation of vaccines, some companies are starting to hire again. This means that candidates are starting to get more interviews and recruiters are on the hunt once again.


Matt Abbott talks to startups, recruiters, and candidates on a daily basis. Here are his top-three tips for navigating the new world of work.

1.  Be nimble

“You have to be nimble enough to change,” Abbott says. “We’re going through a huge transition right now. Obviously, we’ve distributed work, remote work being the most prominent way. The model has changed and shifted dramatically. The way we communicate is changing because we truly are a people business.”

Factors such as the popularity of remote work has played a huge role in the changing of how recruiters seek candidates. They are no longer recruiting for an on-site job all the time, so this new element can be challenging and require a more thorough look at candidate requirements.


Another factor that recruiters need to be nimble and adapt to is the use of technology. The recruiting model used to be solely focused on phones. It was all about calling people to see if they would be interested in interviewing with a position. Now, with automated outreach platforms recruiters need to balance their use of technology and personable connections. Developing outreach campaigns tailored specifically to your company or your recruiting field is key.


“If you want to scale and globalize, you have to use technology for more speed and efficiency, but the more I see these technologies try to remove the human capital of it, meaning the relationships building the ability to work with the candidates and the clients, I find that it creates greater inefficiencies,” Abbott says. 


Rolling with the punches and adapting to the ever-changing world of recruiting, especially during this time, is something all recruiters should be practicing.


2.   Be Communicative

Communication is crucial for both recruiters and candidates. “For candidates, it’s easy to go on a job site and apply. Often, this is how many job seekers think they must follow the process. At the same time, a lot of people don’t have an advisor. Whether it’s someone in their home or a recruiter that’s helping them and that’s where the human capitalist is,” says Abbott. “I always advise candidates or family members to write a list on what you absolutely have to have, what you don’t want and what you can live without, but it would be nice to have. That way, as a candidate, they can communicate that to the recruiter.”


This can be helpful for candidates because a lot of them held on to jobs during the pandemic and are ready to start something new. Job fatigue is very real and many employees that were forced into shelter-in-place across the globe, are just starting to feel like they can start a job search again.


On the other hand, now that the job market is ramping back up, it’s critical that recruiters are communicating with candidates, and even encouraging them to communicate with their current employers, to really understand why they want a new position.


“As we talk to candidates right now, the key questions should be about why they are leaving their job and what they hope to get out of their new job,” Abbott says. “Things like: Are they facing fatigue? What might be causing their fatigue? Do they feel stuck? Do they feel behind on salary? Some of these things can be solved by a new position, but if you are not running away from your current employer, you are best served communicating your desires where you currently reside.”


By asking these questions, recruiters can help get to the source of why candidates are applying for new jobs, especially if they were able to hold on to their job during the pandemic. It’s critical to nail down why they want to leave and if a new job will really help them. If you determine that it may be better for a candidate to stay in their current position don’t be afraid to push them to talk to their employer.


“If it’s something like money, we really do encourage candidates to go talk to their employer,” Abbott says. If you really like your job, you’re better off talking to your company In any situation, if they like you then they’ll tell you and work with you. If they are not willing to work with your request, then you’ll know, which is important.”


At the end of the day, the two parties need to work together to achieve a common goal. Open lines of communication will build trust and honesty with each other in order to get the goal achieved.

3.  Be a specialist


Right now, this is a critical characteristic to stake hold of. Many recruiters are opening up their services to include more industries because of remote work. Some recruiters are thinking that because there are more remote work opportunities, that they can go after low-hanging fruit opportunities and recruit anywhere now. While technically this is true, it’s not a good tactic to follow.

“I advise recruiting firms to not try to be everything to all companies.  Focus on specific verticals and be really great within that discipline. Generalist firms are seeing less and less demand because companies need a recruiter that understands their specific roles and how to competently recruit for those positions,” Abbott says. “Specialist recruiters have more understanding and experience within the field they are recruiting and can help candidates more effectively during the interview process.”


Maintaining this specialization and now widening your scope can become key for recruiting firms to continue to build these strong relationships with both clients and candidates. Maintaining this specialization needs to come from leadership within the recruiting and sales departments.


“Leadership needs to ask: what is the company’s direction? What is the philosophy that you want to go after?” Abbott says. “All too often, these questions are geared towards the clients and that’s great because they pay the bills, but companies that failed during the pandemic were usually focused on sales and not candidates.” Strong leadership doesn’t sway with the wind, it sets a strong course, validates it’s direction and pushes ahead.


Professionals newer in their recruiting career need to find leadership that they can trust and will mentor. “This is a learned industry,” Abbott says. “There is no way to learn this other than working with a team that helps guide you through it. Recruiters need to identify those leaders and really gauge your ability to learn from them. This will set the groundwork for recruiters and make them understand how they work with people because at the end of the day, this industry is all about being able to relate to people.”


Navigating the recruiting field and job market is more difficult than ever due to the pandemic. The speed in which companies are growing and candidates are moving is electric. As this industry changes, it’s important to adapt while staying true to the industries that you know well while communicating with all parties during the recruitment process. 



For more information about Matt Abbott and The Sourcery, please visit their website.


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