The Purpose of Recruiting
Avoid Getting Laid off - Become a Talent Analyst & Solution Provider
Why do organizations have a recruiting function? In small businesses, the owners usually take responsibility for recruiting. They advertise in local papers, place signs in their window, and ask other workers to recommend possible candidates. This works well until they grow too large for an owner to deal with advertising, screening, interviewing, and hiring.
So, as organizations grow and need more people or people who are harder to find, they usually switch to an employment agency. These can deal with larger volumes, take over advertising and screening, and bring a few qualified candidates to the hiring manager. Over time volume grows too large for the agency, or the costs rise too high. And this is when they begin to build an internal recruitment function.
Initially, it was adequate for internal functions to find whatever type of person a hiring manager indicated that they needed. Recruiters were order takers and did not typically question the hiring manager or have deep knowledge of the manager’s or the firm’s needs or problems.
This is the traditional transactional type of recruitment function that, unfortunately, still predominates. I don’t mean to preach, but it is frustrating to see recruiters taking and fulfilling orders and acting as an extra pair of hands to a hiring manager without understanding the business or adding any significant value.
The Complex, Modern Organization
The talent needs of organizations are increasing;y complex and variable. Markets are larger, global, and constantly in flux. Recruiters must have market knowledge, anticipate needs, and respond agilely to changing competition. Firms are increasingly aware that to remain competitive, they need recruiters who can communicate with and influence hiring managers, help solve their problems by recommending the right candidates and improve productivity.
If you agree that this is our primary reason to exist, we have a long way to go.
Over the past twenty years or so, corporations worldwide have focused on a variety of initiatives. The bulk of these aimed to improve efficiency, increase profit, and ensure the quality of their products or services. Initiatives have ranged from business process re-engineering to supply chain efficiency and have been responsible for productivity gains, lower prices, and better quality.
But they did more than just that. These initiatives changed our expectations. We expect everything we buy to be delivered almost immediately and work with little to no need for an instruction booklet. Our expectations for instant fulfillment, reasonable and declining prices, and better and better quality are the lasting hallmarks of the 20th century.
These changes have come about because corporations have focused on achieving specific goals using technology, analytics, experimentation, and objective measurement. Manufacturing processes have been deconstructed, analyzed, often simplified, and automated wherever possible.
Recruiting functions lag far behind. We have not increased our productivity levels, nor do most recruiters have enough business knowledge or deep relationship with hiring managers.
We should have already learned from other internal functions that have transformed over the past decades and made significant changes. One of the reasons so many recruiters have been laid off recently is that they are not seen as strategic or bringing value to the organizations. They are still regarded as transactional order takers that are easily replaced.
If we want to change this, here are a few ideas that might be a starting place.
Become a Talent Analyst and Solutions Provider – not a Recruiter
I am not advocating that you just put a new title on your business card. What I am advocating is a shift in your thinking.
Your purpose is not to fill requisitions, source candidates, or screen and assess. These are just the inputs needed to solve talent problems and make it easier for your organization to achieve its business goals.
That may seem like a minor distinction, but it carries a depth of meaning. It says you are strategic and know your organization's business issues and goals. It also says that you know the talent market and can intelligently speak about the availability of certain kinds of talent with numbers and facts. You can push back on hiring managers that seem to be asking for talent that is not right for the direction the organization is headed or will not solve their problem.
Having the right frame of mind is the most critical aspect of change. It will a challenge to be a solutions provider rather than a “slot filler.” But if you make that your goal and periodically assess whether you are moving in the right direction, you will succeed.
Focus on skills that solve problems
For example, by partnering with a hiring manager, you can explore whether the need is to improve quality, complete a software development process quicker, or add capacity. Rather than think about positions, jobs, and titles, think about what problem the hiring manager is trying to overcome. This leads them away from thinking about degrees and experience to focus on what skills or abilities will be more relevant, current, and impactful.
Much of our talent shortage has been created by overly focusing on long lists of expected qualifications that may or may not solve the issue the hiring manager has. Defining a specific need makes finding someone with the right skill easier.
Another way to improve the sophistication and effectiveness of recruitment is to add more thoughtful analysis to the process. Here is what a few organizations are doing.
For example, some organizations are using modeling techniques to determine whether hiring a replacement for a position or training someone internally is more efficient. The decision is made on data, not on the opinions of HR or managers.
Some calculate the impact one person has on profits based on a skills profile versus another person with a different profile. This helps define the hiring priority and where You should spend your time.
Some look at successful performers' attributes and tie their findings to the recruitment assessment process.
Is this a perfect system? Not by a long shot at this point. Many readers have pointed out that these analyses and competencies are often too general or simple. However, it is more important to have an experimental mindset and begin to use and improve them. Waiting for a better system will put you far behind the learning curve.
Adopt and use talent intelligence technology
Artificial intelligence and technology have advanced to truly offer practical and objective help in finding talent and identifying skills.
Many current employees have skills that are unknown to the organization. Talent intelligence software enables you to find the people you already employ with the skills you are looking for. It gives you visibility into the skills and potential in your workforce. Talent intelligence software can also help you quantify the number and location of people with those skills outside the organization.
Many tools help you identify, qualify, and assess talent and their skills with precision. They can aid you in providing objective data to hiring managers and leadership.
Following the guidelines above can change how you are perceived and allow you to act as a true partner in helping a hiring manager and the organization improve productivity. They might also help save your job.
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