What's Wrong With Recruiting?
Before starting The Newman Group I held four previous jobs. I only had to go through a traditional hiring process for one of them. I responded to an ad, had a phone call with a recruiter, two rounds of interviews, and I got the offer. I have not been on that side of the fence for nearly twenty years. Until now.
I recently started evaluating job opportunities, and the experience has been eye opening. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way companies recruit talent. Think about the basic steps in the traditional process:
- Requirements: A hiring need is identified and a requisition is opened.
- Sourcing: The job is posted, candidates are sourced.
- Screening & Selection: There is a phone screen and a coupe of in person interviews (maybe 1-2 by video)
- Offer/Hire: And then we push to make a decision and extend an offer because the clock is ticking and we don't want to mess up our time to fill metric.
Most companies are trying to keep their time to fill below 50 days. So we are essentially making hiring decisions based on our experience from about 3-5 interactions over the course of 2-3 months. It's like we are trying to know the least amount of information about a person as possible, just enough to make a decision as quickly as possible. We all know what it costs to make a bad hire but its a double edge sword. We know so little about the candidate we may pass on someone who might actually be great.
So why do we do it this way?
It's because traditional recruiting is inherently Reactive. Organizations go about their business until there is a specific need to hire new employees. Sometimes there is advance notice, like when opening a new plant. But when it is due to turnover, it is likely that the requisition is not even approved by the time the position is vacant.
It's not like we havent' heard the R word before. We have been trying to get proactive for as long as I can remember. The answer has been to get better at forecasting. If we can predict when we will have a need, or when a position will go vacant, then we can start recruiting for it well in advance. But in most cases this just leads us to the same process only there is a gap after the prescreening and we wait until there is a requisition to schedule hiring manager interviews. While this might help our time to fill, we still don't know that much about the people we seek to hire, let alone have a relationship.
Requisitions? We don't need no stinking requisition!
In the last 5-6 years we have seen the explosion of the "social recruiting" craze. But while the tools and technology have changed and offer the opportunity to develop relationships, most companies are using social media to do the same thing they have always done. Fill requisitions.
I understand the need for requisitions. Checks and balances, corporate governance, maybe even Sarbanes Oxley. But recruiting should be completely disconnected from requisitions. Organizations should take the mindset that hiring new employees is inevitable, because it really is inevitable. Recruiting should also be the responsibility of many employees, not just the recruiting department or HR. At a minimum every single hiring manager should have specific goals for identifying future talent, and to engage in specific activities to get to know them. And get to know them well.
It should not be about trying to fill a requisition, it should be about building a network of known quantities, so that when the need arises, we don't have to go hire a complete stranger.