This is not a “how to” article. It won’t show you five ways to do this or ten ways to do that. You might learn very little about recruiting itself in this commentary ó but if you read on, you might learn something even more important. The choice is yours. Yesterday’s visit to a potential client had me shaking my head and wondering, who reads the articles we write here? The ER Daily has been published five days a week, every week, since 1998. That’s a lot of great articles from some very bright people hitting your inbox each weekday morning. These articles allow all of us to learn something new every day and hopefully become better at what we do than we were the day before. Sounds good in theory, doesn’t it? So riddle me this: Why are some companies I have encountered still living in the dark ages when it comes to the recruiting function? Do they not see value in the well-planned and intelligent acquisition of human capital? Are those words too fancy? How about this: Do they care about hiring the right people? What makes some companies the standard bearers in defining the importance of what we do, as they reinvent recruiting on an almost daily basis, while others are totally unable to follow and adopt even the most rudimentary standards of intelligent recruiting? I spent almost three hours with this potential client, who asked me to “stop in” to see why recruiting was “not working.” Not working? Not working would be a compliment. I was surprised that their recruiting has not simply exploded out of a side wall of the building by now. Keep in mind that this unnamed organization is not from Mars. They are Northeast based and have the same availability to all of the information that you and I have access to. They have not just an opportunity, but an obligation to become better at what they do. Mediocrity is not an option; the goal now should be growth and organizational greatness. Our companies must grow and prosper if for no other reason than to pay for the mortgages, car payments, and college educations of those in their employ. Organizationally speaking, to limp along year after year making a few bucks here and a few bucks there is a miserable existence and a terrible way to live. So I wonder, do companies like this read about recruiting? Do they attend seminars and conferences? Do they work at getting better? I suspect not, but they are not alone. I see this in many places. Let’s take a quick look at what was wrong with this client’s recruiting:
- No employee referral program
- No real position profiles
- No recruiting strategy (See John Sullivan’s great stuff on recruiting strategy)
- No real effective communication with hiring managers
- No one driving recruiting
- No process
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How mature is your hiring process? Answer these 5 questions and find out.
Honestly, it gave me the willies; another trip out there and I might just have to take up drinking. As I drove home, I began to write this article in my head and really did wonder who actually reads the stuff we write. Even more, I wondered if the general readership is enlightened any more than if they had never read it in the first place. And if people do read it, what do they do with the information they absorb and how do they put relevant ideas into process? As recruiters, we are the builders of business. We support senior management to make weaker organizations stronger and smaller organizations larger. Sometimes we do both. In order to do this well, we must continuously strive to acquire learning that sharpens our skills, increases our purview, and helps us hire better candidates. The knowledge pyramid progresses from data to information to knowledge to wisdom. Sadly, knowledge is in short supply in most of today’s companies. I believe that what we present on ERE here is information that, on its best day, blends nicely with a healthy dose of knowledge. The question I have is what do people who read this stuff do with it? Is it for entertainment, something to read in the morning before getting on with the rest of the day? Is it food for thought, something to reflect upon when you have a moment between business as usual? Or is the information and ideas dispensed here something that all of us need to inculcate into our daily practice of doing business so that we can drive this economy and support the need to compete globally? I certainly hope that you choose this last option, because the others are totally unacceptable. Information read and lessons learned are of zero value if they are not applied daily to the organization’s way of doing business. All of us have the ability to get smarter, and we can all affect positive change within our own organizations. We can look to benchmark, not just in our own industries, but in the industries that set the standards that make them world class. We can also tighten up our processes, enhance our understanding of what is important, build stronger and more agile organizations, make better hires, create organizations that have less turnover, increase productivity, and amplify our ability to compete more effectively on a global level. In the week after 9/11, President Bush said that the best thing Americans can do to help their country is to get back to work. He was right, but there is more to it than that. We not only have to get back to work, but we also have to get back to working better, to recommit to doing our job more judiciously than ever before. There is no room for business as usual because business as usual is yesterday’s news. Taken globally, President Bush’s remark is a call not just to Americans but to people of all nations who care about the work they do and want make a difference. Tired of recruiting and believe that nothing new matters? Then you should step aside and make room for those who are less jaded. Looking for a way to make a difference? Then read, think, act, lead the effort within your organization ó and see just how intrinsically rewarding being the difference maker can be to your corner of the world. Now is the time to learn new things, to buckle down and be productive, to lead in best practices, and to set the standards for tomorrow. It is a return to our work ethic that is long overdue. I urge you to worry less about politics and more about results, to fret less about your career and more about speaking your mind. (By the way, if you worry more about politics than what is right you will never achieve your full potential.) It is a return to taking pride in doing well by doing right. When you read this we will be well into the holiday season and hopefully struck by the feelings of good cheer and new possibilities. I suggest that all of us use this time to read a bit more, reevaluate how we work, take another look at our goals, reengineer better working relationships, and make a renewed commitment to hitting the new year with a ferocity and commitment that will really make a difference. The year 2005 could well be the year of the recruiter, but it can only happen if you muster the drive and commitment to make it to happen. Once again, the choice is yours.