Your Thanksgiving Recipe for Great Recruitment

By Jenn Steele - Nov. 25, 2014
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Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, where we all take the day off, eat an egregious amount of turkey and side dishes, and have the yearly family arguments about whether canned or homemade cranberry sauce is better. (How is there even a question about this?)

Another thing that usually happens around this time of year is that people start digging out their family recipes. In that spirit, we dug out our “family recipe” for great recruitment. So let’s sit down at the dining room table, try not to break grandma’s china, and dig right in!


Let’s take a moment to Talk Turkey here – your hiring manager needs to be leading this charge. He or she is the star of the show (until you make a hire, anyhow). Without the hiring manager’s prioritization of whatever tasks he or she needs to do, the process will, frankly, suck.

To make sure that your main dish will be on the table on time, start preparing in advance. Make sure that your hiring manager has whatever tools he or she needs to interview and select the right candidate for the open role. (Hint – we have a few resources here that you can use for proper, er, basting.)


Even if your turkey is prepped and ready, it’s not a real Thanksgiving meal without the stuffing. Stuffing your pipeline with candidates, that is! And just like a good turkey stuffing (or dressing, if your family does it that way), there are a bunch of different ingredients that go into it.

The bread (or cornbread), which is the main part of the stuffing, is really the job description. If the bread isn’t any good or wasn’t made well, you may as well give up on the stuffing. Then you add some onions & celery (market mapping), nuts (performance profiling), sage (job ads), and maybe a little fruit (passive sourcing).

Put the stuffed pipeline together with the turkey hiring manager, and the Thanksgiving magic really starts happening!

Mashed Potatoes

It’s not the superstar of the meal, but Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes is inconceivable for most of us. The same goes for your hiring process. It’s not the star of the show and you might even be able to hire without one, but having a hiring process that covers all of the recruitment steps really completes the “meal”.


The hiring manager, pipeline, and process don’t get very far without something – well, someone – to make it all much more palatable. Having a competent internal or external recruiting business partner you trust can be invaluable to your recruitment Thanksgiving table.

Just like gravy can cover for dry turkey or tasteless potatoes, your recruiting business partner can compensate when the hiring manager gets slammed with a work emergency or there’s a bit of a gap in the process.

Green Bean Casserole

I have a confession to make: I don’t like green bean casserole. I’ll take actual vegetables not drowned in cream of something soup and topped with canned fried onion bits any day over the “special” casserole. And, honestly, that’s how I feel about everyone’ expectations, too.

If everyone’s expectations are like fresh, steamed vegetables, that’s easy. They’re straightforward and easy to address. The team stays healthy, which does a lot for retention, culture, and employer brand.

If everyone’s expectations end up as a globby, slurry mess that may or may not contain green beans, though, that’s another story. They’re unclear and hard to address. Retaining staff and hiring in that environment is a rather unpleasant experience.

Cranberry Sauce

Decisions, decisions. Do you pick candidate A or candidate B? You might find that you’re having fights internally over candidates that almost rival fights over canned or homemade cranberry sauce! If your stuffing and mashed potatoes are in order, you’ll find fewer arguments about finalists, but there are always differences of opinions.

So decide a few things in advance to make this easier (just like deciding to buy cranberries and sugar or canned stuff before the day of the feast): Who makes the final decision? Is it the hiring manager only? Is it hiring manager + blackballs from the team? Is it hiring manager + HR? Knowing where the final decision rests will help settle debate and take a lot of the stress out of it.

Pumpkin Pie

Dessert, of course, is the fun part. You’ve picked a favorite candidate, made him or her an offer that he or she has accepted, and you’re starting to onboard! Getting to know a team member and launching a new relationship is always fun. It may not always be a piece of cake, but it’s certainly as tasty as pumpkin pie!

* * *

Okay, so some of that was a stretch. Nonetheless, making a great hire takes some thought and planning, just like a great Thanksgiving dinner. If you consider all of the components and sprinkle in a little bit of fun, you’ll get to dessert and enjoy yourself along the way!


Jenn Steele

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