Category Archives: recruiting
Recruitment agencies tend to be getting a bum rap at the moment, with what seems an endless amount of people getting on the “Whack the Recruitment Agency” bandwagon.
Whilst I cannot disagree that some agencies and some Recruiters can be dodgy and misrepresent the industry as a whole, it isn’t all bad. I’ve wrote about this before here.
However, I have noticed a distinct lack of posts from agencies or anyone really talking about dodgy clients, dodgy candidates and the like. This post aims to balance the scorecard to a point and share some war stories from the Recruiting trenches that I have seen or heard.
So dear readers, hold onto your seats and let me tell you some stories of dodgyness, dishonestly and downright crappyness perpetrated by “clients” and “Candidates” from the eyes of a Recruiter. I know, shocking right? It’s not just the Recruiters that are bad to deal with all the time.
Have you heard about the client who after going through a whole drawn out process of 2 interviews, psychometric tests, 3 references, turned down the candidate? That’s not the bad bit, that happens a lot. (but it really sucks to be a contingency recruiter when this happens) Skip forward 3 months, person who won job, leaves. Agency candidate is hired (great to be a recruiter when this happens), all behind the back of Agency Recruiter (again, not so good). This could all be an innocent mistake right? In fact as much was said when the Agency Recruiter called the company, first to find out what had happened, and if, in fact the person had started. (notwithstanding all candidates documentation from resume to reference checks were heavily branded in the agency logo etc) Once confirmation was given, agency person informed said client that an invoice would be coming. NEXT was the call from the CEO informing of the mistake and that he had never OK’d the expenditure, so there was a problem. There were threats of firing the person so as to not pay the bill etc, they said the person applied directly to them from when they had advertised (on inspection there was no ad). After lots of negotiation, it worked out for the agent, once lawyers entered the discussion.
How about the candidate who upon signing up for a role and joining a company, just doesn’t turn up on day one? No word, no nothing? Days of frantic searching later, emails, phone calls to mobile at all hours, even checking with emergency services to see if there were any accidents nearby etc, the Recruiter finally found a correct home phone number. Spoke to the candidates wife, hoping all was ok (I had called a candidate on a database and sadly I made the call in the middle of the person’s wake). Wife informs me that the candidate is fine and is at work “sorry what is this call in regards to?” hmmmmm accepted job, signed job, went through induction etc, just didn’t get around to leaving old job. What the?
How about the person who rocks up to an interview with IBM and proceeds to tell the hiring managers there that “IBM stands for Idiots Become Managers” that’s not embarrassing feedback to get is it?
Or the hiring manager who says “You’re 32, how many years would I really get out of you working here before you go off and start having babies?”
OR the hiring manager who actually compliments an interviewee on her ummmm appearance
OR asks out for drinks immediately after ascertaining said candidate doesn’t have a boyfriend?
OR the candidates who say they’ll do “ANYTHING” for a job, whilst shifting in what she believed was a direct take off of Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct”
OR clients who specifically ask for “Australians” (I cannot dignify this by expanding further)
OR clients who make offers to people after 6 interviews only to shut down that division making the person redundant after 4 weeks of work?
OR the candidate who takes another job after 2 days on new job with client because he was actually waiting for that job.
OR The clients of a start up, who scared the new hire on day 2 by sharing a joint in the office
OR Those candidates who just don’t turn up for interviews AT ALL.
OR The candidates who bring their entire family, wife, child etc to the interview and let them wait in reception during an interview?
OR The clients who just don’t pay?
OK sorry, the rant took over. Feel free to share some more with me
The point of this post? Let’s see the world for what it is? There are good and bad everywhere. To just get stuck into one area, one industry because it is an easy target is stupid and lazy. Sure things can be improved in the Recruitment industry, tell me an industry that cannot improve somewhere. I bet you can’t. (I’ve deliberately not linked to any of these Recruitment bagging “blogs” as I don’t want to give them any more “air” time than they have already stolen)
So, stop trying to get cheap plugs and visits to your websites by highlighting these things and generally talking rubbish, there is enough stuff to sort through on the internet without sensationalist hyperbole bagging an easy target! Hmmmm what ever happened to lawyer jokes?
It took me a while, but I figured out why I love this show.
I thought it was the fact that people we getting their dreams coming true? Maybe it was the extracting the water of the people who’s friends weren’t nice enough to tell them they have no talent? Maybe it is the extraordinary talent that turns up year on year?
But you know what… it’s sad, I figured it out, it’s because it’s a whole nation wide Recruitment campaign! Awesome right? Well for a tragic like me it is..
Come on, we all dream of this kind of application rate, and seriously how hard was it to attract all these people? What? You’re up against Idol, whoever’s got talent, etc… ? So what? The challenge of course is sorting through all the chaff to get to the wheat, and from the limited amount I’m allowed to see, there is a hell of a lot of that.
Interviews are brief, to the point and targeted. “Sing for us”, BANG done Yes/No … NEXT! repeat.
As a Recruiter, damn that’s tedious, but hey, we’ve all been there! Quick decisions are made, people are cut. Then the challenges come. Show me how much you want it! Let us put you under some pressure and see how you handle it. Sick? too bad, suck it up, don’t get along with your team mates? suck it up, DELIVER! Again…. who doesn’t like a good targeted role play?
Each point being a veto point, and each veto gets harder and harder as it gets more and more personal to the person delivering the news. Luckily, the other side is shown too, making the reality of how it feels to not success in something you really want, well real. I hope you have all been there! Sat there dumb founded when you didn’t get what you really wanted when you wanted it! If not, well you have to put yourself out there more! It’ll make you a better Recruiter! Trust me, it’s personal to the person you’re turning down.
As with all Recruiting, not everyone will agree with the final decision, there will be pros and cons for everyone. (It seems I have no idea, tonights results on the X-Factor were almost polar opposite from what I would have done, well with one of the judges at least. Seems I wasn’t alone)
All the way through to the one winner, the successful applicant, the person hired for the job! I want streamers, a single released, huge media coverage and an Australian wide audience next time I hire someone!!!!
I can dream! It’s not about being a X-Factor champion, Australian Idol, or whatever else, as I know that won’t happen. But a Recruitment process like that, well, yeah.. sign me up!
I am the JITH Lord! OK, maybe a little over stated, but an interesting start to a blog right? I’m pretty sure that the JITH’s are related to the Sith’s depicted in the Star Wars movies (and the cool picture above), taking the Recruiting ninja idea to a whole new level! The Force v Ninja’s, I should call James Cameron now to secure the film rights.
OK, Sorry not really what I wanted to write about today.
I have been reading Glen Cathey‘s “Just in time Recruiting” series a lot after his inspirational talk an Australasian Talent Conference event last year (click on the link guys, there is another one coming up.. these are the events which changed my Recruiting life)… It would be quite safe to state that Glen’s talk at this event instilled a “man crush” from my then boss. I saw it change his whole philosophy on Recruitment.
Flash forward half a year or so, and wow, it’s been an interesting few months. Going back to an inhouse role. With Peerlo we looked at numerous Recruiting philosophies, I’ve tended to morph a few of these into my role now.
In my current position, the majority of the roles we Recruit for fall into one of maybe 2-3 categories. So, we aren’t an agency, and the variety of our roles won’t expand apart from the odd “Hail Mary” to help a client out. So I’m thinking I can do a bit of this “Lean Recruiting” stuff and morph it into my “Just in Time Hiring” (JITH) ideal.
The idea of “If it doesn’t add value… it’s waste” resonates with me a lot. This, I think is the backbone of any Consulting business in my eyes. Glen speaks about the 5 of the 7 wastes that “Lean” aims to eliminate. Not all of these are “wastes” to me or my company or areas I need to or want to eliminate. There is probably one section which I would change to have input to JITH
Let’s look at them:
Glen mentions: “In recruiting, your candidate pipeline is your inventory. More specifically, your work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” further refined as “A group of candidates that a recruiter stays in routine contact to maintain a relationship with, without a specific and current hiring need is essentially a work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” ie they are “paused” somewhere in the process. Glenn argues that the amount of time and effort that goes into the relationship building. I tend to agree with this. “In or out” I think. I understand timing is not always right, however constant “catch ups”, coffees etc without the ability to hire in the forseeable future, is a problem that has to be monitored.
Glenn states. “According to Lean, a “defect” is something that does not conform to specifications or expectations. When it comes to recruiting, I’m not suggesting that the people themselves are defects. However, candidates that are sourced, contacted, screened, and with whom a relationship is maintained that do not ultimately match the actual hiring need are defects of the recruiting process.”
Hard to argue with really. We had a great example of this recently in a meeting I attended. We were talking about a potential hire, the plusses and minuses of said candidate. People were on the fence. He had been in the “process” for a little while and some people were very Bullish about his potential for the company. Bottom line, question was asked “Would you hire this person with no reservation to work with you in this company?” We couldn’t get an unreserved “Yes” so therefore the person ended up being a firm “No!” Cut lose from the hiring process, not taking up anymore time.
Glenn states “Over-processing occurs any time more work is done than what is required by the customer. Engaging, screening and building and maintaining relationships with candidates that will never ultimately be submitted to a client/manager in consideration for an interview can be seen as performing more work than necessary and be classified as over-processing.” Agreed! Why bother? What stats/KPIs are you trying to maintain? Why would you invest heavily in people you would not ever realistically think of starting with your company? Not wanting to offend someone? Get a new career!
Glenn states: “Lean defines the waste of waiting as any time that something is held in wait of the next production step. In recruiting, waiting occurs whenever candidates are not being advanced through the recruiting and hiring process.”
Dead on! The efficiency of one’s process will make or break a hire. Take too long, those hires will disappear, someone else will hire them, or they will grow disinterested in you and your process. You really need to drive the process.
Overproduction: (this is the one I disagree with)
“Production ahead of and in excess of demand.” This is deemed wasteful for a Recruiter. Too many job applications, of which no-one gets a real personal response. Glen states “Traditional proactive candidate pipelining ahead of actual hiring need almost always leads to overproduction.” From my point of view, having too many qualified candidates, all the way through our Recruitment process ready to hire, is a great thing, not a waste. I like to have candidates ready, willing and able to go, as proper timely workforce planning is not always do-able in our business. We need to be ready, and try to eliminate the lag in hiring, which would ultimately be there if not prepared. Our process takes a while, and has a high exclusion rate, getting someone through, with all our ticks means I need this person fully engaged and bought into our brand and message. I will put work into these people, they deserve it, my company needs it, it’s value adding!
To move onto the “Just in time” Recruiting part. Glenn states that by eliminating these wasteful parts of a normal Recruiting workflow that ” Just-In-Time recruiting is a pull-based strategy of providing hiring managers/clients with candidates that exactly match their needs, when they want them, in the amount they want.”
What a great idea, concept. A bit utopian I think. To start from a zero base, find, attract, process and hire someone in a time efficient manner (and lets face it, most companies need them YESTERDAY!) . I am unsure this is really possible, but then again, I know I don’t have the skills of Glenn. Maybe I see things differently as part of an inhouse team now? But whilst I agree with a fair percentage of this model, I feel the need to change it just a smidge.
I firmly believe that Recruiting is the act of attracting people to your company, your roles, your ideals. Finding people who will come along for the ride and sharing with them the reasons why they should. Talking to people about your company, exploring talent channels. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, making the hard calls on those who would fit and those who wouldn’t. I have probably repeated this ideal ad infinitum of late around my office (driving those around me mental may I add) , “Companies should ALWAYS be Recruiting” (identifying, targeting, vetting, having conversations and coffee with people) “Just not always Hiring” (Hiring is the result of good Recruiting! I’ll hire these Recruits as required, knowing that those people identified will not always be available when we need them. If there is enough of them, I’ll live with that)
This is where I corrupted Glenn’s “Just in time Recruiting” ideal and (well, you can see what I did with this right?) and started going down the path of Just In Time Hiring.
Still sticking to the ideals of mostly eliminating waste, I agree with this philosophy mostly. However, in what we as Recruiting professionals do, the “Recruiting” isn’t the important thing in what we do. Sounds weird when you write it down doesn’t it. It’s really only the Hiring (and subsequent STARTING) that counts. Our value add, our purpose for being employed or engaged is to hire! How many of our stakeholders will care if we have a carefully maintained Talent Pool, great Social Media platforms, 100,000 “Likers on Facebook”. If we don’t put the right bums on the right seats at the right times our value diminishes!
Hiring is the all important thing here, not the Recruiting, my job doesn’t end if/when a Hiring Manager decides to interview a Candidate. An interview isn’t a win! The success of my role is based wholly and solely on the Hiring of great talent WHEN the company needs them. I’ll live with the Over Production, I’m actually hoping for Over Production, the more the merrier (of successfully Recruiter, qualified and processed people).
I always need to be Recruiting to achieve this. If I am ALWAYS Recruiting, I can be a JITH (Just In Time Hiring – incase you missed it) Lord, and that sounds pretty cool to me 🙂
Bill Boorman (@Billboorman) brings his #TRU movement to Australia. Following an after party from Eminem Melbourne Show. #TRUAus looks at the current, future and game changing technologies in the Recruitment space. Futurist Kevin Wheeler (@KWheeler) was involved for great perspective.. Comments here from Ross Clennett (@rossclennett) David Als (@davidAls), Justin Hillier (@Justin_hillier) Martin Warren (@MartinWarren) Discussions included, “Future of work” “Facebook v LinkedIn v Google+) Video’s place in recruitment, Analytics and Referral programmes.
I must be having a dumb moment. I just don’t understand. Why is it that people do Recruitment Advertising and do not put their name or phone number or email address on it?
With the low odds of quality candidates actually reading your ad and wanting to reply, why would you not want to talk to them? What you are essentially saying to potential applicants is “Please talk to my ATS, they’ll look after you until I deem you worthy enough of my time.” I mean come on?
What is the rationale behind this? Recruiters are too busy to talk to people? Is it different for in-house Recruiters and their Agency counter parts? Having been on both sides I don’t see why? Sure you get some time wasters, some angry people at times and some people who you think this would be the first English conversation they’ve ever had. But what does having these conversations actually cost you? 1-2 minutes?
When talking to job seekers I recommend contacting the company before putting in an application. Think up some smart (not smart ass!) questions, build a rapport, get them to look out for your resume before you apply (and then ask if you can follow up!). You cannot find out everything about a person from their resume, and you cannot tell everyone everything about yourself in a resume.
Just a tip from the battle hardened. I made one of my larger placements at Peerlo, from a guy who’s resume would not have got him a second look in. It was nowhere near the mark. But this guy called me. We spoke, he sent me his details (to see if he was serious or just kicking tyres), we spoke again. And whilst his resume wasn’t a match, he had created such interest that we had to meet. After meeting him, I knew he was right for my client. I’d been doing business with that company for near on 10 years, his attitude, skill and demeanour would get him the job. Bottom line: his first phone call, our first discussion was THE catalyst for him getting the job, and being one of the higher achieving people in that team. His resume didn’t get him the job, he did.