Monday, May 02, 2005

Recruiters...or Investment Bankers?

I received a call recently from a company that was interested in my recruiting skills. They wanted to talk to me about joining their team – they wanted me to pack up my recruiting toolkit and change company logos, promising a strong compensation package and long-term advancement.

Being a strong believer that one can never have enough “interview practice,” I decided to give it a spin. Four interviews later a job offer was on the table. The problem? I had never been asked a single question about my recruiting experience. That’s right – not one single question. Strange as it sounds, I was disappointed. My guns were loaded and I was prepared to answer Adler’s infamous, “What is your single greatest accomplishment?” question, but was never given the opportunity. I was all dressed up with no place to go.

Granted, I was flattered, but knew that one of two mistakes had just occurred. They either thought I was such an expert that they didn’t need to interview me (hmmm, most likely not). Or, they didn’t have an organized (structured) plan for interviewing and evaluating talent. On either account they would have been weighed and found wanting, but why?

Because companies that have superior human capital practices create superior returns for their shareholders! That’s why I refer to recruiters as “Investment Bankers.” We have the opportunity, every day, to improve our companies’ market value. Don’t take my word for it. That’s the conclusion of a landmark study of North American companies released by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The study’s data show that a significant improvement in “recruiting excellence” is linked to a 10% increase in market value. 10%....increase…market value. That’s the kind of data my CFO loves to hear.

The data also showed that of the six critical recruiting practices with a positive correlation to market value, the two most important ones are “hiring professionals who are well equipped to perform their duties,” and “specifically designing recruiting efforts to support a company’s business plan.”

Again, I was flattered to get an offer based on a quick overview of my recruiting philosophy (which is easily found on my blog). But it begs the question: is the organization hiring professionals who are well equipped to perform their duties? If so, what are the criteria used to make this determination? And, are they specifically designing recruiting efforts to support their company’s business plan?

Sure, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about recruiting over the years and that my skills are attractive to any company desiring to be a recruiting “center of excellence.”

But I’d like to see our companies practice what they preach.

Here’s to the investment bankers.


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MK said...

Good posting. Maybe you can expand on “specifically designing recruiting efforts to support a company’s business plan.”

Does that mean you don't hire plumbers when you are going to be building a lot of tree-houses? Hire carpenters instead?

Dennis Smith said...

Speaking of carpenters, I think you hit the nail on the head. Is the company growing this year? Are you involved with your hiring managers in the headcount/manpower planning process? Do you know the expected turn-over rate (voluntary and involuntary)? What does this translate to in terms of the kinds of employees you'll need in the coming months?

If we are asking these kinds of questions and becoming true business partners with our hiring managers, we can develop a recruiting strategy that proactively supports the company's business plan.

We have a reputation for being reactive - our customers (hiring managers) are not going to change their perception without reason. Give them a reason -