SeekOut's Talent Visionaries series features innovative leaders and their extraordinary work in creating and scaling high-performing teams. The personal philosophies and invaluable insights of these workplace champions offer new perspectives in an ever-evolving talent landscape.
Chris Murdock is the Founder of IQTalent, a recruiting firm that specializes in supporting in-house recruiting teams. Chris is passionate about exploring technology to improve recruiting processes and encourages his team to do the same. With more than two decades of experience in executive recruiting, Chris is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events.
On being an early innovator of sourcing technology
I got my first job in recruiting after college in 1999 as a research associate at an executive search firm. It was in this role that I understood the promise of how technology could help recruiters move away from the manual processes that had been used for so long. I actually used a ruler and a directory and went line by line looking for buyers for big box and specialty retailers. It would take me days to identify the right people, let alone engage them and contact them—email wasn't as prevalent then. I began experimenting with early online search engines, AltaVista and Dogpile, as a way to find candidates more efficiently. I made it my mission to lift ourselves out of the tediousness of manual search.
On the most effective recruiting strategy
Within the first two weeks of working with a client at IQTalent, we incorporate our Diamond Recruiting approach. It’s a precision-based method that creates a highly targeted pipeline before building a candidate list. With the help of specialized sourcing tools, you start by using as many keywords and criteria as possible to curate a list of about 20 potential hires. This is the top of your diamond.
You then start outreach and engaging with these candidates, who we call the Diamond Candidates. These people are the most qualified for the role, and because they have about 90 to 95% of what you’re looking for, you can spend more time getting to know them and selling your client or organization. This is the wide part of your diamond.
You then narrow your diamond through the evaluation phase until you find the right candidate. You want the shortest, thinnest diamond possible. Often, it’s the Diamond Candidates who ultimately get hired.
On never getting comfortable
"There are always new ways to innovate and solve problems, but you won’t know about them unless you set out to find them."
Over time, we tend to find what works for us and fall into the motion of getting things done. I’m a big believer in breaking out of those habits and searching for ways to do things differently and improve upon them, no matter how great things are going. There are always new ways to innovate and solve problems, but you won’t know about them unless you set out to find them.
For example, you can use ChatGPT to complement your existing processes and save time. Instead of manually compiling a target list of companies and writing out lengthy Boolean search strings for each, ChatGPT can do this for you in minutes.
On the value of knowledge sharing with your team
The knowledge sharing here at IQTalent is what really pushes us forward, and we have a few ways to encourage this practice that's built into our culture. We have what we call Nerducations, which is our version of a lunch and learn that we do a few times a month. If someone learns something novel on a Discord server, Facebook Groups, or LinkedIn, they can schedule a Nerducation to share with the rest of the organization.
If someone wants to share something less complex, such as an in-depth article, they can post that internally to our community using Microsoft Teams or LiveTiles. These tools ensure that we can share information quickly, and it’s always accessible for reference.
On recruiters and AI working together
Technology is brilliant at condensing into only a few minutes what used to take days to accomplish. It’s now easier to identify candidates, get their contact information, and connect with them. Because technology has accelerated our path to identifying candidates, we now have the time to become better communicators. We can go back to relationship building and engaging with people on a personal level rather than relying on stale, non-customized messaging that doesn’t inspire responses.
"Because technology has accelerated our path to identifying candidates, we now have the time to become better communicators."
AI-enabled tools can help us find candidates, but the engagement component is where recruiters can really shine. This is how we effectively pair humans with technology. Use the time that AI saves you to focus on your communication and outreach skills, create thoughtful email campaigns, and build solid relationships with talent pools and with your hiring managers.
On recognizing the limitations of AI
My team uses AI across nearly every process of the recruiting lifecycle. However, we are keen to recognize that AI isn’t perfect and that we shouldn’t rely on it blindly. False positives can sneak in, so it’s our responsibility to verify our results to ensure that we’re not reaching out to candidates who aren’t right for the role. If you’re contacting people about a role that’s irrelevant to them, your organization can lose credibility with that candidate forever.
On how to grow your knowledge of the talent acquisition space
One of the most impactful books I’ve read on talent acquisition is "Talent Force" by Hank Stringer and Rusty Rueff—it’s greatly impacted my career. They came up with the whole concept of making sure that candidates are both interested and qualified, and that’s what IQTalent stands for: Interested, Qualified Talent. I have three copies of the book here in the office.
Talent acquisition is so varied and broad, and many of us do things differently across industries, so I suggest exploring as many communities or groups on social media as possible. Start by seeking out the people you want to learn from and follow them on sites like LinkedIn. (I like Brian Fink of McAfee and Dan Lockhart.) Pay attention to what they post and join the groups they follow to expand your community.
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