What Shark Tank Teaches HR Leadership

…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – SourceMob – CEO


Shark Tank, the critically acclaimed reality show that has reinvigorated entrepreneurship in America, has also become a culturally defining series. The show was the recipient of the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program. So I thought I would have some fun and apply some of the lessons of the show to the HR/Talent Acquisition industry.

Your Presentation: During Shark Tank, notice that the table set-up is the first thing the Sharks get to look at. This perhaps influences them when deciding the worthiness of the entrepreneur or product. Bringing this to your Talent Acquisition world, what do your career and social pages look like? Can they be easily toured on desktop, laptop and mobile devices? Are your career pages being monitored and fresh posts being made on a frequent basis? Candidates use these pages to decide on many things, such as: your company career brand, your company culture, what is in it for the candidate and why should they work at your company?

Your Pitch: Make sure you have your candidate recruiting pitch down cold. Practice and practice it again. Sorry, the recruiting game in the last couple of years has changed and now you are competing heavily to recruit for the best and brightest in your tough-to-fill niche positions. Now your candidates hold the recruiting cards. Also, make your recruiting fun since you do it multiple times a day. Why not add humor? The best pitch is one that isn’t robotic and flows naturally. Warm up quickly to your candidate and see if they do the same with you. This is the ultimate test to see if they can easily and quickly fit in with your company culture.

Your Valuation:  In the Talent Acquisition space, unlike Shark Tank, valuation is about making sure you have aligned expectations between what you are recruiting for and what the candidate is seeking. Too many quick quits are caused by candidates undershooting for a job only to later find one that better matches their requirements. In fact, salary is way down the employee need curve. You must know how to fit the candidate to the job specifications and vise versa.

In or Out: As Kevin O’Leary, “Mr. Wonderful”, often says … an entrepreneur must prove his stuff to me right from the start. In HR it’s also all about getting to the proper “valuation.” Don’t be shy, as O’Leary isn’t, to dismiss someone quickly if they do not have the “right stuff” for your organization. A good, experienced recruiter knows how to do this delicately, but if the person isn’t right, end it quickly like a surgeon.

The Negotiation: Like on the show, the negotiations are also the fun part. Don’t be afraid to go head to head with the candidate and negotiate terms. Many offers are unfortunately stuck in the mentality that the position is this or that, or that the job specs say this, and it is all firm. This is very much “old school” thinking and will result in you losing competitive talent. Candidates today want to feel appreciated right out of the recruiting gate and the negotiation is part of the process that makes this all work for a candidate and the company. Obviously there must be room for negotiations and at SourceMob we look for candidates that stretch us by negotiating, regardless of the recruiting specifications they came to us with.

Closing The Deal: I especially like when Mark Cuban puts people on the speed clock for decision making. He is watching if entrepreneurs can be decisive in decision making. This is an essential part of running a business and if any one knows this, it’s Mark. So how does the same apply to recruiting? At Zappos they make a 30-day trial employment offer with a bonus to leave. The point of all of this is: don’t leave the employment deal hanging. Urgency and “call to action” in any selling activity is key, and you should bring the technique into your recruiting as well. Make a candidate decide on your offer. Give them a short period of time to do so or withdraw the offer.

Onboarding: There isn’t anything worse than having your new candidate arrive on day one to a disorganized onboarding experience. I know this from personal experience, as it happened to me in a high-tech company I starting working for. What was the result? A bad taste in my mouth right from the get-go, and I jumped ship after only eight months. Why? Because the disorganized onboarding process was symptomatic of all kinds of company issues hidden from candidates, but all rumbling under the surface. So at least focus on your candidate when they come in the door for the first workday, and of course, all of their workdays.


ABOUT SOURCEMOB: SourceMob links Internet, social, talent community and mobile recruiting solutions to help talent acquisition professionals recruit the very best candidates for tough-to-fill positions. SourceMob software distributes job content and conversations providing a job posting springboard to over 3.5 million candidate profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and all of the major search engines. Our solutions also enable Mobile Quick Apply and candidate application management services to create efficiencies and lower recruiting costs.