3 Ways for Recruiters to Take Charge

Nov 15, 2011

Just in Time: “’An inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed…’ –Investopedia

As a recruiter, I tend to be pulled into various recruiting projects based upon client needs. This is fine. What is not fine is when I am called in at the last minute. When I am called in because they need to hire a host of hard-to-find people fast. When their uninspired and clueless leaders failed to start recruiting before it becomes an emergency. This really bothers me and it bothers me even more when I am told to do it fast, because good work is seldom done fast. I am a recruiter, not a magician.

See the quote above? Just In Time deals with the procurement of parts, not people. It deals with inanimate objects that come to the company in boxes, not with employees who come to the company in cars. Waiting to the last minute to hire is a bad idea.

Seeing as we are talking here, do you ever wonder why companies wait too long to begin recruiting? Tough question to answer but I believe it is often out of a sense of entitlement — a type of arrogance among the uninitiated and the slow learners who honestly think that when they need Java developers, they will just interview a bunch and pick the winners. Honestly, this thinking is pitiful and it exists because leadership seldom knows how hard it is to make good hires.

Even worse, if you dig a bit deeper they usually want employees that meet three search criteria:

  1. Hard to find
  2. Need them fast
  3. Not too expensive

Translation: fast, good, and cheap. (In reality, you can usually have two, but you can seldom have all three.) Is there anything that demonstrates failed leadership, anything that screams “I know nothing of hiring” more than this type of thinking?

New employees are your raw material and if you are smart, and your future too. You get great talent by earning great talent — by thinking ahead for a future that is coming at you hard and fast. Why so many leaders believe they are somehow entitled to have great talent simply because they need it escapes me.

Perhaps my patience runs thin but I have lost most of my faith in the belief that I will see intelligent leadership as it relates to talent acquisition. As such, I have three suggestions for recruiters to consider so they can lead the charge as opposed to waiting for direction from the slow and inept:

  • Build candidate pools/communities: Take this point with a grain of salt as the concept of candidate pools/communities are still evolving. On the other hand I urge you to take a stab and at least begin to create movement here. How you do it will probably often be trial and error as your methods evolve but at least you will have begun. My good friend KC Donovan of Upwardly Me says, “The significance of emerging community-based recruiting is breathtaking, and once we figure out how to integrate them into current hiring practices, everyone will be using them to manage talent needs.”
  • Speak with hiring managers ahead of time: Talk with your hiring managers informally at least once a month to determine what is coming down the pike. Even without a clearly approved requisition, this conversation will allow you to begin to engage your community and begin forward movement. Donovan told me “that the best way to break out of tactical ‘just-in-time’ recruiting is to get a jump-start on cultivating future talent projections in a way that allows you to anticipate requirements.” (Special Hint: if you get a key resignation, seek out that person’s hiring manager to initiate conversations about determining what is to be done to fill their shoes. Do this and you will learn a bit about succession planning and OD all at the same time. Fun, huh?)
  • Have a quarterly CIO meeting. Few recruiters ever meet with their companies’ CIO. This is a mistake. This conversation will allow you to get a heads up on the types of technology you will be searching for 12 to 18 months out. It will also increase your value because you will be providing essential information to your CIO on who is out there, and the associated cost of acquisition, because knowing the employment characteristics of employees who will need to be hired is part of an awareness that every good CIO must possess.

I urge you to consider the above-mentioned ideas. This thinking will allow you to demonstrate leadership as opposed to the quiet misery of sitting around and waiting for it from others. Seem reasonable?


This article is for my good friend Samir Amirov


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