Over the past few days I've spoken to several people who tell me that, in spite of the recession and the high unemployment rate, they still have trouble recruiting "good people" so I've decided to post "There's No Whining In Recruiting" which first ran in the "Higginbotham At Large" newspaper column March 22, 2008.
There's No Whining In Recruiting.
Management can’t control the recruitment and selection process then whine about the low quality and poor performance of the people they hire. Everywhere I go, business owners and managers are complaining that today’s job applicants don’t have the right skills, don’t have the right experience, can’t pass a drug test and can’t pass a background check. And don’t get me started on what they say about “Millennials.”
“The right people” are out there. Your competitors are hiring them. If you’re not hiring your share of “the right people,” then stop micro-managing the sales guy and devote some time and thought to figuring out recruiting. Why do you think your company is paying you the big bucks? If you can’t recruit and hire the right people, you can’t manage.
Some common recruiting mistakes:
1. Relying solely on “passive,” advertising-based recruitment. Sometimes the talent you’d like to hire hasn’t written a résumé and isn’t reading job ads. If your so-called “recruiter” simply runs ads then waits for self-selected and unemployed people to send in résumés, you aren’t even getting to talk to people who aren’t looking for a job.
2. Treating recruitment like it’s a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job. You’re the one with the need, so why should job applicants have to take a vacation day, miss an hour and a half of pay, lie about their whereabouts or call in sick to interview with one of your 9-to-5, Monday through Friday recruiters? And do you really want to hire someone who called in sick or lied to her boss to interview with you? If you aren’t willing to come in early, stay late or schedule some interviews on the weekend, then maybe you shouldn’t be in management, because management means working whenever necessary to achieve the desired results. You don’t get to control the recruitment/hiring process, then whine about the results you achieve. There’s no whining in management.
While we’re talking about hours, let’s talk about those job fairs some of you like so much. Like managers, job fairs should work the hours necessary to deliver the desired results. Most job fairs are designed to deliver only those job candidates who can be at a hotel or convention center during normal business hours. Some of the people you’d like to recruit are working during the job fair and can’t take time to come downtown, find a place to park, and wait in line to talk to a “recruiter” because your booth is understaffed. And after all that, too often the person in the booth is grumpy and doesn’t seem to know she’s there to recruit people. Not only are these job fairs always held during normal business hours when much of the potential talent pool is at work, the so-called “recruiters” behave as if they consider job fair duty as some kind of punishment. The next time a radio station or newspaper tries to sell you a booth at a job fair designed to deliver only unemployed people and people who can come downtown between the hours of 10 and 5, act like a manager and tell the job fair seller you need a job fair that is open in the evenings or on weekends. Managers get paid the big bucks to buy what the company needs, not what it’s convenient for somebody to sell you. If management demands recruitment solutions that deliver a previously untapped share of the potential candidate pool, somebody will sell it. Good managers don’t squander company resources on job fairs that don’t deliver the right applicants.
3. Pre-judging what a jobseeker might do or how much she might do it for. I’ve recruited some people who happily took huge pay cuts to work for my client. It’s not always about the money. Here’s some top secret, headhunter stuff: you can’t tell what a candidate might do, where she might do it or how much she’ll do it for by looking at her résumé. I once got an engineer to (happily) take a nearly 20 percent pay cut because the job I was offering him was simply more interesting to him than the job he had. The employer calls him “Superman,” because there’s almost no kind of civil engineering this guy can’t do, unless his employer won’t let him do it — which is why I was able to recruit him. You can’t tell by looking at them. If there’s something wrong with your offer, what’s the worst that can happen? The candidate might say no. But she might say yes.
4. Entrusting recruitment to unqualified people. A recruiter at one of Lexington’s largest employers once admitted to me he felt like a “fraud” because he didn’t even understand most of his company’s job descriptions, never mind what skills and qualifications he should be looking for in candidates.
“The right people” are out there. Your competitors are hiring them. If you’re not getting your share, stop whining. There’s no whining in recruitment when you control the recruitment and selection process. If you can’t recruit and hire “the right people,” you can’t manage.