White Paper: I am a Recruiters Worst Nightmare

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The hazard of too narrow focus on hiring new talent

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White Paper: I am a Recruiters Worst Nightmare

  1. 1. I am a Recruiter’s Worst Nightmare DBAI White Paper Series Number Twelve DANIEL BLOOM & ASSOCIATES, INC. HR STRATEGISTS Guiding Individuals and Organizations on a Journey towards greater productivity June 2013 Authored by: Daniel T. Bloom SPHR, SSBB, SCRP
  2. 2. Page1 About Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. Daniel Bloom and Associates, Inc. (DBAI) began operations in December of 1980 as an independent consulting firm following the reduction in force from the human resource function of the ECI Division of E- Systems where the Chief Executive Officer of DBAI was part of the recruitment function. At the time of the reduction in force, the management of the company referred us to a local corporation who was scheduled for a visit from the OFCCP to investigate their equal employment efforts as a government contractor. Over the following six months we created their entire Affirmative Action Plan. At the completion we were referred to an additional local corporation who was need of an update of their current plan. In February of 1988, Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. became a registered Florida corporation continuing our assistance to local corporations with a concentration in the corporate mobility arena. This was done working on our own and through several local real estate firms. As the economic times turned down in late 2008, DBAI began to expand its services to include further offerings within the human capital arena. The goal was to provide organizations with the requisite strategic outlook to improve their management of human capital assets. In 2013, the organization to better serve our client base, concentrated our service levels around the areas of HR strategic initiatives; Retained HR; HR process Improvement; Training and Coaching. In the course of delivering services to our target market segment we have affiliated the organization with the • Society for Human Resource Management • Worldwide ERC • HR Tampa For further information on these service areas contact us at: Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. PO Box 1233 Largo, F 33779 Ph: (727) 581-6216 Fax: (727) 216-8532 E-Mail: dan@dbaiconsulting.com Follow us on
  3. 3. Page1 I am a Recruiter’s Worst Nightmare What do you mean you are a recruiter’s worst nightmare? Depending on your point of view this could be a rhetorical question or a sincere inquiry. The problem is that in the current global workplace the average recruiter would not give the question a second thought. They have to some degree forgotten what their responsibilities are in the recruitment system. This could be an interesting pronouncement, and could raise eyebrows from certain segments of the readership. However, I assure you that it did not come from my mouth to heaven's ears. Several years ago I thought about returning to the full time corporate side of HR, only to be told by a seasoned recruiter after reviewing my resume that I was his worst nightmare. But why would he make such a declaration? His observations were based on his review of the skills demonstrated in my resume which showed a wide range of skills developed. In addition his response is even more an indication of the status of the recruiting industry. The recruitment industry at its roots has not changed in over 60 years of its existence. It is also an industry which has not learned to apply the lessons learned by corporations in the global workplace. The purpose of this White Paper is to look at the state of the recruiting industry today and the changes that must be made to make the recruiting industry a viable partner in your talent management efforts. Without fail, almost every day I can go into the social media space and find examples of recruiters who openly indicate they have lost the vision of what the recruiter’s role is in the talent management system within their clients. Consider these real time remarks overheard from recruiters in the field today: “If I discovered my candidate had grey hair, I would never refer them to my clients.” “I have an excellent candidate, but his degree is from a less than stellar college” “I have an excellent candidate but he worked for a non-profit for the past several years” Each and every one of these statements reflects a basic defect within the recruitment industry. The typical recruiter operates from the view that they are required to find that perfect candidate. The perfect candidate, whose credentials are from the same industry, the right schools and the right appearance, I even saw a post on LinkedIn where the question was posed about how do we make the candidate presentable? It tries to get a rounded candidate into a square hole. The recruiter who pigeon holed me as his worst nightmare was telling me that he could not take the rounded candidate, me, and fit me into that square hole. The result, as we will show, is placing our organizations at risk of becoming a non-contributor to the health of the business community. What is Keeping HR Executives up at Night? Do you have some time on your hands and not sure what to do with the time productively? Pick some companies and call their Chief Human Resource Officer. Ask them what is keeping them up at night? What problems do they see in the coming decades for HR? I would hazard a guess that many of them will tell you that they are deeply concerned about the future of their organizational succession plan. In many organizations there is no plan in place to ensure that the organization is sustainable with sufficient talent to move up within the organization. I would suggest that they, if pressed, would say they are concerned with the fact that their organization could experience substantial knowledge drain if a majority of their employees are beginning to get ready to leave their organizations as reported in the press. They firmly believe that they will have a moderate to severe
  4. 4. Page1 problem with finding the right person, at the right time, in the right place for the right job. Manpower Group’s 8th Annual Talent Shortage Survey seems to confirm this belief as employers stated that they were having difficulties in finding candidates for openings in the skilled trades, sales reps, drivers, IT, accounting and financial, engineers, technicians, management, mechanics and teachers. In some of these instances there may be some real difficulties in finding candidates. In others, the problem is of their own design and making. The organization begins the process by dictating the requirements they need to locate the talent to meet their needs. It is these beliefs which are transformed into directions to recruiters that cause the shortages to exist. As we will see in the next section, these instructions may have a real negative effect on resolving the unemployment numbers that exist coming out of the 2008 economic downturn. New World, Same old Rules Think for a moment back to your childhood and the birthday parties you attended for your friends or that your parents put on for your birthday. What was one of the almost common games you played? If your parties were anything like mine, we almost always played pin the tail on the donkey and/or musical chairs. For those who might just have forgotten how the game was played, the parents would put on a record and after a few seconds they would stop the music. The goal was to try and get a seat before your other friends did. The child left without a seat was out of the game. Before beginning the process again, the adult would remove one of the chairs, creating smaller and smaller choice options as the game went on. The ultimate goal was to get down to two players and one chair. Fast forward to the current marketplace and we find that corporations today play an adult version of the musical chair game. This is represented by narrowing your recruiting efforts to those who are considered passive candidates. When I entered the executive recruiting field in the early 70’s, the instructions I received from the owner of the firm was that there was a simple well tried system for doing my job. It is essentially the same system practiced by the industry today albeit with some new tools. Before continuing consider the following scenario and see how familiar it sounds? I would call a company HR department or one of the hiring managers and ask if they were seeking candidates for an opening at the current time. If I was fortunate to secure a recruiting assignment, I went to the Dun & Bradstreet Directory (before we had computers) and looked up who the client’s competitors were and identified the hiring manager comparable to my client. Next we would call that hiring manager and ask them who they knew who might fit the position. Typically we would end up with the name of some candidate who was rising up within the ranks and was ready for the next great opportunity. Sometimes the hiring manager indicted that for the right package they would consider moving to the client for the opening. Here is the course of the treacherous road if that is the way you still operate. Remember the expected outcome of the musical chair game. Your parent began playing a record to begin the game. Periodically they stopped the music and you rushed to get a seat on one of the chairs. At the end of the round, your parents removed a chair and began the process again. Again they stopped the music and you rushed to find a seat and again a chair was removed. This continued until there were two players left and only one chair. The loser was the one who was left standing in the final round. Today’s recruiting process for the most part is the adult version of the musical chair game. The players are the passive candidates within the marketplace. The chairs become the available positions within the marketplace. Finally, the music becomes the demands of the corporate client. The difficulty we will see a
  5. 5. Page1 little later is the emphasis on the “passive candidate.” The typical recruiter today works with blinders on when looking at the candidates available in the workplace. Granted many of these situations are client based, but it still limits the recruiter in performing their tasks. If they are not currently in a position (i.e. passive candidate), they discard them. If they don't have the skills from a particular industry they are out. If they don't meet this preconceived notion of what the ideal candidate looks like you are out. If you have been out of work for more than a month you are discarded. Under the belief that it was what the client asked for, the modus operandi becomes let’s see how we can rule out a candidate. We want to make our jobs easier by only referring those that can fit within that square peg easily. In other words we want that square peg to fit the square hole. Passive Candidate Game – Treacherous Road Ahead Take a moment and play a round of musical chairs. You are sitting at your desk and the phone rings and on the other end is a corporate client who needs a seasoned accountant with healthcare experience. The client tells you that they need an individual with an MBA degree from a major business school, 3 to 5 years’ experience and has worked in a major hospital. Do you see the problem with our scenario? Here is the problem with our scenario. The client has provided you with a finite set of requirements. There are only a handful of top business schools (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, Sloan School at MIT, Kellogg at Northwestern, Booth at University of Chicago, Haas at the University of California at Berkley, Columbia, Tuck at Dartmouth, or Stern at New York University) and there is likewise a few major hospitals nationwide (Mass General, John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, New York Presbyterian, Duke Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). As a recruiter you have done a fabulous job producing the candidates for your client. One of your candidates is chosen to fulfill the opening. The candidate’s former employer reaches out to a recruiter to fill the created vacancy requesting the same criteria. Thus one position filled, one position created. The cycle continues to the point where there is only one hospital left to fulfill the candidate proposal and more than one candidate available. We have completed the adult musical chairs but have left the organizations with a dangerous deficit from a talent perspective. This same scenario can be found in an industry where we have restricted the requirements to this super candidate view. Hiring based on skills or key performance indicators It is the goal of most corporations to continue in existence for perpetuity. They can only succeed in this goal by working continually to be innovative within their unique niche market. However this journey towards corporate excellence and innovation is grounded in diversity of ideas, skills and actions. When we concentrate on trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, it does not work. When we play our adult musical chairs it does not work in the long run. As the economy begins its turnaround and a majority of our human capital assets are beginning to consider jumping ship, it is critical that both internal and external recruiters change their focus. They need to begin to look at the greater picture of what value the candidates can bring to the organization in the coming years. Stop for a moment. Take out any one of your current job descriptions and place it on the desk in front of you. Next take a red pen and cross out any references to industry specific requirements. What are you left with? I suspect it is a much smaller list of key performance indicators then you are currently using. It is these reduced parameters that will enhance your recruiting efforts. The Toyota Corporation has taught us that when you hire for skills rather than industry match you find a larger audience for your talent needs. As described in Jeffrey Liker's book Toyota Talent, when they opened
  6. 6. Page1 their plant in Kentucky they looked for people who had the required Key Performing Indicators - not necessarily industry experience - and the results were as good if not better than they expected. What they found was that when you search for transferable skills rather than the nirvana of the talent market. Consider something as simple as creating an excel spreadsheet for recording data. The steps are the same as if you were creating one for a manufacturing environment or a healthcare environment. The skill is the same no matter where you work. The same can be said for management skills. As we stated earlier your goal is to support your organization for perpetuity. To achieve this goal we have to introduce new ideas, new approaches to solving organizational issues through collaboration. This comes from introducing diverse thinking skills. It comes from learning how to think out of the box. You need skills or key performance indicators that are position specific rather than industry specific. You need to introduce a wide variety of cross cultural features to the organization (See White Paper #14 – Because this is the way we do it here). The opportunity to look at the environment called your organization minus these rose colored glasses you wear when you restrict yourself to industry specific experience is a way to achieve that goal. Strive for innovation by thinking on a system wide basis. Conclusion So when the professional recruiter said to me on that day back in time that I was his worst nightmare, he was short-changing both the economy and his client. I am fully cognizant of the fact that every industry believes that there are certain skills that apply only to their industry, but in fact it has been proven over and over again that our human capital assets through their career obtain portfolios have gained skills and abilities that are transferable across industry lines. The next time you decide to try and fit that square peg into a round hole, stop for a moment and think about whether you are truly giving your organization a chance to grow or are you content to keep them in the same pigeonhole you have always worked in. I get it that there are some position skills that do require specific skills (i.e. an auto mechanic or a surgeon). We are very cognizant that there are definitely some situations where industry appropriate experience is a must. I would be the last person who would want the manager from Wal Mart to be delivering medicine in the doctor’s office or the hospital without medical training. I would not want a financial manager to be performing open heart surgery without medical training. Further I would not want a non-trained pilot flying the airplane I was taking to get to the west coast. However these are the exceptions to the rule not the basis for all of our hiring decisions. The Beatles had a song in which one of the lines was "Give Peace a Chance". Turn it around and ask yourself whether you can give a prospective talent a chance to thrive in your organization.
  7. 7. Page1 their plant in Kentucky they looked for people who had the required Key Performing Indicators - not necessarily industry experience - and the results were as good if not better than they expected. What they found was that when you search for transferable skills rather than the nirvana of the talent market. Consider something as simple as creating an excel spreadsheet for recording data. The steps are the same as if you were creating one for a manufacturing environment or a healthcare environment. The skill is the same no matter where you work. The same can be said for management skills. As we stated earlier your goal is to support your organization for perpetuity. To achieve this goal we have to introduce new ideas, new approaches to solving organizational issues through collaboration. This comes from introducing diverse thinking skills. It comes from learning how to think out of the box. You need skills or key performance indicators that are position specific rather than industry specific. You need to introduce a wide variety of cross cultural features to the organization (See White Paper #14 – Because this is the way we do it here). The opportunity to look at the environment called your organization minus these rose colored glasses you wear when you restrict yourself to industry specific experience is a way to achieve that goal. Strive for innovation by thinking on a system wide basis. Conclusion So when the professional recruiter said to me on that day back in time that I was his worst nightmare, he was short-changing both the economy and his client. I am fully cognizant of the fact that every industry believes that there are certain skills that apply only to their industry, but in fact it has been proven over and over again that our human capital assets through their career obtain portfolios have gained skills and abilities that are transferable across industry lines. The next time you decide to try and fit that square peg into a round hole, stop for a moment and think about whether you are truly giving your organization a chance to grow or are you content to keep them in the same pigeonhole you have always worked in. I get it that there are some position skills that do require specific skills (i.e. an auto mechanic or a surgeon). We are very cognizant that there are definitely some situations where industry appropriate experience is a must. I would be the last person who would want the manager from Wal Mart to be delivering medicine in the doctor’s office or the hospital without medical training. I would not want a financial manager to be performing open heart surgery without medical training. Further I would not want a non-trained pilot flying the airplane I was taking to get to the west coast. However these are the exceptions to the rule not the basis for all of our hiring decisions. The Beatles had a song in which one of the lines was "Give Peace a Chance". Turn it around and ask yourself whether you can give a prospective talent a chance to thrive in your organization.

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