One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The goal of recruiting is clear and easy to articulate: hire the best candidate for the job (and of course, accomplish that for the lowest cost possible). After all, at the end of the day ? every day ? all companies need skilled employees to do the work, fulfill the corporate mission, produce the goods and services and, ultimately, be productive and profitable. It sounds simple and direct, but we know that, although the goal is evident, the route to reaching it can be circuitous. Implicit in that goal are the steps that make up the numerous stages of the hiring cycle, each with its own sub stages and issues. There are entrenched corporate recruiting business processes, demands from internal and external vendors and clients, time-consuming legal statutes and procedures, fluid staffing requirements, frequent budgetary adjustments, and more and more. Choices must be made at every point, often based on a variety of inputs and/or in collaboration with many others. Small, Medium and Large It is no secret that the activities that comprise the hiring cycle are fraught with details and decisions. And this is the same for companies of any and all sizes, right? The identical goal translates into the same processes and issues for small, mid-size and large corporations, yes? Then the difference is merely that of scale, correct? WRONG! Recruiting at its core has a consistent purpose. But the structure and process of human capital acquisition at large companies, especially those with a global presence and strong branding, has different dynamics compared to small businesses. Let’s look at just one aspect to see where the issues, process and appropriate tools for the job diverge. Candidate Flow In the past two to three years, tremendous emphasis has been placed on candidate sourcing. The emergence of the job boards, with their high profile consumer presence in combination with the demographic and economic pressures on the supply of talent, have created a disproportionate weighting on this one phase of the overall recruiting process. Companies have been encouraged to aggressively “beat the bushes” to find and encourage candidates to apply for their jobs. Endless discussion has centered on the merits of posting on specific online classified ad sites. All manner of niche job board sites have arisen with their own value propositions to be assessed. The Internet’s characteristics have also spawned “active sourcing” as a methodology to be competitive in the identification of candidates. For small and midsize companies, especially those with minimal public image, this has been a critical component of their recruiting success. But large, well-branded companies have not lacked the candidate flow. In fact, just by virtue of their size and reach, their problem has been the opposite. For large companies, the challenge has been finding the right candidate out of the tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands who interact with their company on the Internet, on the phone, through referrals, via fax and postal mail. Here is one significant area in which the recruiting process for a large company does not mirror that of a smaller enterprise. The Need For Integrated Systems Prescreening, sorting, managing and communicating with a large candidate pool requires sophisticated enterprise-wide systems. Add in multiple locations, the need to share candidate information among and across hundreds of recruiters, hiring managers, even divisions and multiple languages, and it is obvious that the hiring management systems put in place must support complex relationships and an effective digital process. Rolodexes, desktop contact managers, front-end only career websites, and stand-alone applicant tracking systems cannot provide the level of integrated information exchange required for large company recruiting success. The elements of the recruiting supply chain ? from those in workforce planning through requisition creation, sourcing, response management, screening, assessment and verification, all the way to offers, closing and new hire orientation and retention policies ? need to work in concert to achieve efficiency. Data exchange should be seamless internally and expedited to the external vendors that play a role in the recruiting supply chain. Smaller companies can certainly benefit from many of the features and functions inherent in robust hiring management systems designed specifically for large company needs. But the inverse does not hold true. Large companies cannot and should not use inadequate “one size fits all” systems to accommodate their specific human capital management requirements. Yes, the goal is consistent ? hire the best, quickly and economically ? but in practice the difference in activities is much more profound than just that of size. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Alice Snell is vice president of Taleo Research. The specialty research practice analyzes the best practices and economics of talent management. Taleo Research focuses on critical issues and key trends in talent management that impact organizational performance. Taleo Research is the strategic research division of Taleo, which provides on demand talent management solutions for organizations of all sizes, worldwide.

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