Fatal Recruiting Ostrich Disorder and the Miracle Cure

Sep 23, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Recruiting Ostrich Disorder (“ROD”) is an illness characterized by the head of a recruiting leader, or recruiter, being buried in the sand while the exposed rear end is left making blind decisions.

Recruiting Ostrich Disorder is an often-fatal disease for recruiting directors, recruiters, and even VPs of HR. Symptoms include IBS (“Irritable Budget Syndrome”) which restricts the flow of required budgetary resource and RDS (Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome”) which prevents recruiting leaders and recruiters from getting the respect needed to be considered an essential strategic business resource — and the corresponding budget to cure IBS.

All hope is not lost. Inexpensive, disruptive, highly advanced and way-cool cures exist — many of these being self-administered solutions — which restore health, budget, respect, and often result in a comfortable Seat at The Table — or in the world of third-party recruiters, highly increased commissions!

What is Recruiting Ostrich Disorder (“ROD”)?

ROD is an unhealthy state of recruiting that is:

  • Almost always based on hunch instead of data.
  • Performed in a purely reactionary manner.
  • Considered an administrative cost-center.
  • Removed from the strategic planning process — even though every C-Suite officer says weekly that employees are their greatest asset.
  • Exemplified by exhausted, over-worked recruiters who are near or beyond burnout from handling unrelenting, massive workloads, year-in and year-out.
  • Rarely appreciated by hiring managers who usually complain about recruiting services being too slow, too costly, and too low quality.

What Causes Irritable Budget Syndrome (“IBS”) and Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome (“RDS”)?

According to recent studies conducted by the McKinsey Group, it is easy to extrapolate that both IBS and RDS are caused by business leaders lack of confidence in HR’s ability to understand the needs and requirements of the business. Unfortunately, Recruiting Ostrich Disorder (“ROD”) makes it nearly impossible for recruiters to actually see the issues facing the business and to also see successful talent acquisition solutions. Besides an occasional sand crab, it’s nearly impossible to see anything else when the head is buried in sand.

How are IBS and RDS Diagnosed?

If you possess one or more of the following symptoms, seek immediate treatment:

  1. If your company is growing and your recruiting budget is flat or shrinking.
  2. Your request for new recruiting technology is placed behind the request for balloons at the next company picnic.
  3. All of your top external headhunters contact you on the same day with possible opportunities elsewhere.
  4. If the compensation analysts start becoming nice to you and sympathetic to your salary recommendations.
  5. Your boss is in charge of company policy, dress code, and company picnics.
  6. HR generalists will not look you in the eyes when you ask for counseling. Since ROD means your head is buried in the sand anyway, this symptom will be very hard to change.
  7. You are not invited to the annual event for pledging contributions to the company-sponsored charity of choice.

What are the Illnesses and Pains Associated with IBS and RDS?

  • Being told to recruit for a major project when you know in your gut the talent doesn’t exist in the targeted business markets — but you don’t have the data to prove it.
  • Or the compensation is not enough to attract the required talent — but you don’t have the data to prove that either.
  • Or the talent is outside of the targeted business markets — but you don’t have the data to discover where it exists or how to reach it.
  • Or to attract top talent you need to run precise advertising and networking campaigns — but you don’t have the demographic data of the targeted talent pools in the targeted cities and regions.
  • Or you have an Affirmative Action or OFCCP mandate — but don’t have the data to actually know which cities with have the largest talent pools of diversity candidates inside budgeted compensation ranges.

Living with Recruiting Ostrich Disorder in the Real World

Being a dedicated recruiting leader or recruiter, you know the pain when a business leader calls with an order for 120 experienced professionals for seven position groups in nine cities with the invariable delivery date of “yesterday.” You don’t have talent-supply data; the business leaders do not consult with you regarding talent supply availability, recruiter resource availability, recruiting costs, or timeframes. The order is in. There are no excuses. Your edict is to deliver.

Conversely, in the world of business, major capital expansion projects are postponed or canceled due to increased costs of materials. Expansion of retail outlets are delayed or canceled due to the rising cost of capital. Healthcare system growth is shelved due to increased costs of land. In the world of business, data analytic systems actually do exist that examine and proactively predict trends of the required resources for major business projects.

In the world of recruiting, until recently, those systems have not existed. Consequently, it often seemed best for recruiters, and especially recruiting leaders, to simply keep their heads buried in the sand, making blind decisions, rear first — ROD!

ROD Recovery, Wellness, and Success Begins with Visualization

  1. Imagine a world where the recruiting leader, senior recruiters, and even third-party recruiters are invited to the annual strategic business planning meetings with the C-Suite.
  2. Imagine a world where retail expansion plans are halted in 12 of the 50 planned cities, and expansion is now targeted for four new cities not on the original expansion list, based solely on the input of the recruiting leader, and yes, even third-party headhunters.
  3. Imagine a world where the COO requires a three-year talent availability resource forecast from recruiting leadership to protect lost opportunity costs associated with planned multi-billion dollar capital expansion projects.
  4. Imagine a world where the chief marketing officer requires input from the director of recruiting regarding the demographics of targeted customers for new products.
  5. Imagine a comprehensive, proactive, strategic recruiting plan, approved annually by the board of directors, funded annually by the board of directors and aligned to the most valuable components of the strategic business plan.
  6. Imagine a world where the legal department has no fears about liabilities from discrimination in recruiting and where diversity recruiting becomes a scientifically based strategic advantage.
  7. Imagine a world where third-party recruiters can focus recruiting efforts on the exact markets with the highest available talent pools, with high probabilities of fitting the culture of your client — inside compensation guidelines.

Quit Imagining: Pull the Head Out of the Sand and Begin Living the Career of Your Dreams

This is not snake oil. It’s as real as supply chain management. The amount of valuable, relevant and available recruiting data is mind-boggling. Some of it costs a bit; much of it is free. Anybody can get it. Recruiting leaders, HR leaders, and recruiters can be armed with precise talent resource availability, cost and trend data to have C-level strategic planning conversations with data-backed forecasts on par with the forecasts brought to the table by the COO, CFO, VP of Sales, and CIO! Valuable data sources include:

  1. Insurance data aggregators
  2. Credit card and banking information
  3. County records (the amount of valuable recruiting data that can be gathered from counties for a $5 processing fee is stunning)
  4. Government databases
  5. Business databases
  6. Education databases

Seemingly unimaginable types of disruptively advantageous recruiting information can be found:

  1. The precise size of available labor pools for talent required to fill the demands of the business for 425+ unique position groups in 475+ cities.
  2. The costs of the required talent in each of the 475+ cities for each of the 425+ position groups.
  3. The availability of diversity pools by ethnic race in each city for each position group.
  4. The number of surgeons, dentists, lawyers, or executives in a specific city block, or zip code, or city; their average income and the number bedrooms in their houses!
  5. Specific buying patterns by position, by income group and location.
  6. The employment trends in each city.
  7. The cities with the largest number of veterans looking for jobs.
  8. Commute times and means of commute to work.
  9. And much, much more…………………..

Action Plan for Ending ROD, IBS, and RDS

  1. Decide whether this data will be best used as a strategic business weapon and C-level relationship building tool, or a recruiting effectiveness tool, or a means to protect your position from what can now be statistically proven to be totally unrealistic recruiting demands. If the supply does not actually exist within allowed compensation parameters, CFOs and COOs can now adjust business plans accordingly, raise compensation allotments if affordable, and increase recruiting budgets.
  2. Begin exploration of the various data sources. Call the credit card, banking, and insurance data aggregators to assess costs and understand the various product offerings — there are many.
  3. Explore which resources the IT department can and will provide to this effort. A limited initiative is usually too large for Microsoft Access or Excel. SQL Server, MySQL, or other enterprise class database management system will be required.
  4. Understand mathematical variances and standard deviations. Apply these formulas to your system. This gains huge credibility of all reports and forecasts from the executive leadership team, especially the CFO and COO.
  5. Pull your head out of the sand, dust the sand from your eyelids, let the blood now flow out of your head, sit in your chair, smile, and get ready for the recruiting career of your dreams whether that includes rising through the ranks of corporate enterprises, public organizations, third-party recruiting firms, or RPOs. No more IBS, RDS, or ROD!

The winner of the 2008 ERE Excellence Award for the Most Strategic Recruiting Technology, TruGreen, was built on similar technology. This type of work just takes pulling the head out of the sand, and seeing what data and technologies are available to reposition your services as bottom-line strategic to the business plan or mission statement.

Recruiting is not rocket science. To be a world-class recruiting organization or recruiter, only requires a handful of fairly simple, low-cost or no costs processes. Combine sound processes with a bit of technology and a handful of data-driven systems, like the cure for ROD, and the sky is the limit.

Being a great recruiter actually follows basic Cajun recipes requiring a couple pinches of digging, the hallmark of great recruiters, a dash of technology, a wee bit of sound data, and a surprisingly few number of processes. World-class is not that far away. And some is way-cool and on exhibit annually at the ERE Excellence Awards banquet.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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