Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why Managers Don't Respect Recruiters...

A few months ago, our good Dr. Sullivan wrote an article on titled: "Why Managers Don't Respect Recruiters." I've got a few thoughts regarding the article but since I'm not as widely sought after for advice : ) I'll just blog 'em here in no-man's land. When I joined my current organization, the Controller had a very strong relationship with a staffing agency and he liked using their services exclusively for his hiring purposes. A couple of reasons: 1) The same agency placed him in his current role (he felt a degree of kinship/loyalty to the agency; 2) He believed that they knew his business better than the recruiter did (and, surprise, surprise - it was true).

His dedication to this agency was not based on a compulsion to spend the company $$ so he would have a basis for evaluating the value of the newly hired employee. He's the Controller for goodness sakes! He doesn't want to spend a penny more than he absolutely has to spend. Here's reality - getting past his loyalty to the agency, he is confident in their ability to provide the best talent that is currently available on the market.

Having never demonstrated this ability, the recruiter was reduced to the role of paper-pusher & highly paid interview-scheduler. If we are to gain the respect of our customers, we have the obligation to change their mind regarding our role in the organization - it will never be accomplished until we become their "consultative business partners."

It has taken several months, but our Controller is now persuaded of that value. I challenged him to give our team the opportunity, and to hold us accountable for the results. When the dust settled and we were able to provide the facts with regard to our efforts he became our advocate within the accounting organization. Realizing his hesitancy to become our corporate champion after only a few months of metrics, the fact is this: we are still light-years ahead of where we were when we stood in the shoes of the so-called 'paper-pusher.' We are no longer paper-pushers; rather, we are partners who proudly tout an understanding of our customer's business objectives and the strategic direction of the company.

Recruiters who are perceptive enough to settle for nothing less than strategic relationships with their customers become 'INVESTMENT BANKERS' who daily add value to their organization's bottom-line.

Another rambling regarding the point about "managers screening resumes:"

If we are passing on the task of resume screening to the managers, it's only because they've convinced us that we don't know what we are doing and do not have the skills to assess candidate fit. Remember, perception is everything. If that is their perception, well, if the shoe fits...(rewind to my Controller). Suddenly, we're no longer in the role of partner / investment banker - we're back to being pushers.

Here's a quick refresher in customer-service: it is our privilege to provide our customers a level of service that will boggle their minds. How about sending your customer a 'candidate profile' that summarizes their experiences/skills? A truly professional-looking document (much like those used in the agencies/search firms) that answers the questions regarding skill-set match and explains the value the candidate will bring to the organization and how it will negatively affect our direct competitor. The absence of resumes will be confusing at first...but the proof will be in the pudding.

Not much else I could fault (given my infinite wisdom) in the Dr.'s article - it is a given that we must demonstrate a positive ROI; provide exceptional customer service; work hard to raise the standard of professionalism within recruiting, and proudly display our improved productivity for all to see (esp. our CEO). I just think there's one more thing we need to do.

When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. Hmmm...

I've got a proposal for you, fellow recruiters. Let's just pretend we've reached our New World. In this New World of recruiting, we're "consultative investment-bankers" (CIB's). Now, you know what that means, right? As CIB's in the New World, we're adding value to the customer because we understand the customer's business and the strategic business objectives of the company; we're demonstrating a positive ROI and providing 1st-class customer service (just a few things among many). That said, there's just one thing left to do...start a fire.

Once the fire is as blistering as a Texas Aggie Bonfire on a sultry Friday evening, we carefully toss our membership cards, one-by-one, on the fire. Yep, those cards we carried for all those years granting us exclusive membership privileges to the association of paper-pushing-recruiting-warrior-wannabes.

Ah, the fire smells good, eh? That's the smell of success, fellow warriors.


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