The Future Can Wait………….. Get Recruitment Basics Right Now


I’ve not blogged much over the last few months and not put down anything of substance since before Christmas. Some of this as a lack of inspiration, but the majority of it was to do with the fact that I was consumed by job-hunting activities before Christmas and then focused on the start of a new job in January and since then. Stressed yes!

I know in 2010 when I was job hunting I was able to find inspiration to blog pretty much each day. So why the difference? Well to be honest it was the lack of difference that was the cause.

In 2010 I wrote about my adventures and frustrations as a job hunter, outlining many of the failings and inadequacies I was encountering from agencies, so called exec search firms and in-house recruiters as well as outlining my own successes, shortcomings and failures, offering titbits of advice to others in the same situation. So the difference this time around was the lack of difference, i.e. nothing had really changed and if I was to repeat the same process I could have just reposted many of the posts from 2010. This year however I was exposed and engaged far more by search firms than contingent agencies. My thoughts on these types of organisations and their over inflated sense of worth may well be a post in a few weeks.

One thing that was clear to me, as those who will have read the few posts I wrote in the last 3 months of 2011 will have seen was my frustration over the lack of attention to the basics and the poor execution of what should be a relatively straight forward and simple process.

In November I was asked if I would like to contribute to a Christmas Blog Calendar by Ed Scrivener, owner of Scrivener Recruitment. Ed is someone I have never met, other than on Twitter, nor is his company one that I have done business with. But we had “spoken” on Twitter about various subjects non-work related so didn’t hesitate to agree. Obviously as a job hunter any exposure to a wider audience is a good thing.

What follows is the post that Ed ran on his blog on 5th December – thanks Ed.

Not a week goes by when I don’t read something about the Future of Recruiting. I admit I do read much of it because Recruiting or Resourcing is what I do and what I have a passion for. I am also hungry to learn. Some of what is written, such as Recruitment 3.0 & Recruitment 4.0 by Matt Jeffrey is clever thinking and some of it may even become reality, however there is much written elsewhere that is poorly thought out and fails or will fail on many levels.

Whatever the quality of the thinking or the writing they are all overlooking one thing: the Now of Recruiting.

It is all well and good to speculate on the future however I believe our time will be best spent making sure that we all address the fundamentals today. In the vast majority of companies the basic processes, capabilities or attitudes for successful Rescouring just don’t exist, and this is the same whether you are a large or small organisation; whether you have in-house Resourcing teams or not. Very few organisations have the sophistication to apply the proper respect.

Yet when it comes down to it the way we will recruit in 20 or 200 years is unlikely to be any different to how it’s been done for the last 5000 years.

Let me explain

For centuries recruitment was typically done by the fighting forces; they found out about or impressed (attract) a warrior, courted him (engage) and bought his services (hire). Then in the world of commerce of the last 300 years the same principals have applied, but instead of armies and warriors the world has had commercial organisations and workers, but the same simple steps apply.

Absolutely nothing has changed, nor do I suspect will it. What has changed are the means by which we can attract and the facilities that allow us to engage on a one-to-many basis; today we use a vast variety of other communication channels, many of them are so new that they appear to be different, but strip away all of the hype and the technology and we are back to the basics. Today we have all of these wonderful new platforms and channels that give us a wider audience to broadcast to yet Rescouring remains a high-touch activity, where all of the principals of the past remain constant. We have to speak with people and do so with respect.

Today people expect a certain degree of sophistication during their quest for work. They have far more choices than any other time in history; choice of employer, location and job type. They also have a choice of platforms through which to seek out suitable jobs; old and new. Information about employers is available from so many different sources and the new facilities available to Resourcers allow a greater flow or information, targeted and general.

We still have to review a person’s background one way or another. It doesn’t matter if the CV is dead or not – what a stupid conversation that is, what matters is that the Resourcers have the information to review. What matters is how an interview is conducted, what is said and what happens in them. They are what matter. What matters is how you treat the applicants during the courtship (engagement) and acquisition (hiring) phases. What matters is the impression a new employee has on his or her first day and in the first 3 months – it has a significant impact on their performance for the rest of their time with your company. What matters is how capable the Resourcers are and how much they respect and understand the value they bring to the business. What matters is how you and your company are perceived by the world’s employable. What matters is what they say about you when you are not listening.

Yet few leaders of companies, HR departments, Resourcing departments (if they exist at all), and hiring managers take it seriously enough to invest the necessary time, money and above all the commitment to the task; to doing it right. That is what matters

Yes we have all of these new and wonderful shiny platforms that allow us to reach and engage with more people, but without the basics they are useless.

These are the basics. These are what you need to get better at today. Get the basics right and you will then be able to start thinking about the future of recruitment.

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  1. It’s great that you contextualize the recruitment process from your experience on “the other side”. It’s refreshing.

  2. Agree with John here – great to see a different perspective on recruitment and you’re entirely right. All this talk of social, mobile, new tech and new avenues to persue – it’s easy to forget about getting the basics right. Get that right and we’re doing our job.

  3. Good post Gary…As I keep telling my 3yr old son “Manners maketh man” and straightforward courtesy and treating others how you expect to be treated goes a long way. Also worth noting the irony that the growth of the Social Media phenomenon means that those who don’t deliver the basics well risk being named and shamed in the most public manner!

  4. Nice post Gary. The basics are fundamental and I think that the word “basics” itself can damage the sentiment. With all the futurology and and crystal ball gazing there is still a job to be done today. The tools may change but the process remains exactly as you have described.

    That first impression and candidate experience is an important part of the process. If I could add a fourth blue oval to your diagram here I would up load a revised image with “retain”. Those first 3 months (and beyond) are an expensive part of the process to get wrong yet once someone transitions from applicant to staff there is a shift in emphasis and ownership of the “experience”. The hand over from recruiter (internal or external) to line manager and HR Business Partner is a slippery baton.

    • Mike Prenton
    • February 20th, 2012

    Dose of common sense always appreciated
    Cheers

  5. I completely agree with Jeremy that retention has to be a key component in the process. Finding great people is a large part of the struggle but the productivity benefits of keeping them onboard and engaged are immense and this starts with the very first contact.

  6. All these new platforms that we speak of i.e LinkedIn and Twitter can serve a great purpose of narrowing down your targets. However, you cannot fully get to know people using solely these methods. Good effective interviews and actually meeting someone with good manners can make all the difference. As you said – get the basics right!

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