The Real World of Recruiting

Jan 17, 2013
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” –Howard Beale, Network

Hi Folks,

I’m making a late introduction – I started writing last week after not doing so since 2009. Though it’s much easier and more enjoyable to tear apart other peoples articles, I decided to start writing some of my own.

My madness is because much of what I read as “professional wisdom from “recruiting thought leaders” is:

Marketing hype. The latest jargon served up as a juicy meal for potential Global 1000 clients.

Warmed-over, self-evident truisms?.

Impractical, theoretical solutions to specialized problems.

So, I ask these “recruiting thought leaders”: Where do your prescriptions for action come from? Is it from years of current or recent experience working at many levels in many types of recruiting environments, both good and bad? Is it based on extensive interview-based research with hundreds of all types of coordinator/schedulers, sourcers, recruiters, recruiting managers, and hiring managers to develop workplace-tested best practices based on real-life situations?

If they are, it must be a very curious group of companies you experts worked for and a very unusual group you have surveyed, because the prescriptions don’t often seem to be what I believe these people would say.

In the real world of recruiting, we’re often overworked, underpaid, and under-resourced. We use all the tools we have the bandwidth to use to get the people our clients/employers will hire, who aren’t elite superstars because neither the pay, the jobs, nor the companies will be able to get superstars, unless we’re really lucky. We like to think of ourselves as superstar recruiters, but down deep we know most of us aren’t; we’re just hard-working, reliable recruiting stiffs who get up in the morning, go to work everyday, and do the very best we can with what we have, because that’s the kind of people we are.

I said: “Dear experts: please give me something I can use where I am with what I have!” and I continued to get more of the “same-old, same old.”

If someone were to reflect the typical recruiter in “the real world of recruiting” it might have to be me.

I’m no expert. I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve worked for large, medium, and small companies: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve also done a lot of things at these companies, so I’ve learned what often works and what doesn’t, usually the old-fashioned way of making mistakes and learning from them.

Still, I’m just one guy. My reality may not be your reality; you may have had very different experiences from mine.

A lot of the time, I’ll say things like “in my experience,” ISTM, or IMHO.

Another thing: Though I never worked as one, I was trained as a scientist, and some of that training still sticks. I learned to pay attention to the facts and the evidence, and not how smoothly or confidently someone put forth their opinions. Consequently, I typically won’t say something is “so” unless I cite some evidence. My scientific training also extends to the point that if you can show me some convincing, objective evidence that I’m wrong, I’ll publicly admit it. I think that may separate me from some of the pompous windbags who state their opinions as facts and seem to operate under the concept of “Recruiting Thought Leader Infallibility.” (Of course, nobody is like that here on ERE …)

I want you to hold me to my own standards, too. if you see me trying to pull “a fast one” on you, let me (and everybody else) know. It’ll keep me honest.

Speaking of which: I’m no saint, either. I’m admitting from the get-go that I’m using this column to further my own interests in getting as much work, money, paid engagements, SWAG, fame (or infamy), etc. as I can get from this. To do that, I’m going to try and write about things that make you think or feel strongly about recruiting. I will frequently be irreverent, vulgar, silly, intellectually lazy, and sarcastic, but I will work hard to never be dull (If you find me being all “perky,” “rah-rah,” and all positive-thinkingy,” call the ambulance, ’cause Keith has suffered serious head trauma!)

Also, as I said above (about stating opinions as facts): if you catch me doing too openly an infomercial or advertorial, let (our Gentle Readers) and me know about it. Finally, if you have anything that interests you that’s not making  the “news” let  me know — it spares me having to come up with new topics on my own …

Guess that’s about it … You’ve been warned.



This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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