Making Recruiting Decisions

Apr 18, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

In the May issue of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, I discuss the importance and best practices of decision-making processes in the talent acquisition lifecycle. I discuss the two types of decision-making process challenges, and how you can improve your internal decision-making processes in the strategy formulation phase, the sourcing phase, and finally the screening and interviewing phases of the talent acquisition process.

The two types of decision-making process challenges are process decisions and content decisions. Process decisions deal with the efficiency, timeliness, and structure with which decisions are made in any talent acquisition process. Content decisions deal with the quality and effectiveness of the decisions generated by the process itself.

It’s important to break down your internal decision-making for analysis in this way because talent acquisition — that is the strategic function of recruiting — is essentially a decision science. And this subject is very similar to a decision science such as talent management. Of course, it is a superior science to talent mangement because the relative costs of getting your internal talent right the first time around without development, training, succession management etc, or the use of heavy internal resources is a more effective method of delivering the true value of talent to any organization.

In the article I break down several important and visible parts of the three phases that I mentioned above, provide you with analysis, and possible solutions to issues.

Briefly though, I wanted to discuss in a less formal way what I consider to be the most important part of my journal paper. I consider that part to be the strategy formulation process.

In most organizations recruiting is still not talent acquisition. It’s actually interesting that many practitioners will still use the two words interchangeably. The fact is talent acquisition is not recruiting and recruiting is not talent acquisition, but they do cover the same area of expertise and in some cases referred to as the same thing. Talent acquisition professionals will tell you that recruiting on its own is not enough — the key to them is the difference in strategy.

I agree wholeheartedly.

Recruiting is a highly tactical function of the organization that is essentially useless when it comes to meeting strategic goals and objectives. This is because it works in its own silo, its own world! There is nothing to help institutionalize strategic thinking in traditional recruiting. So what you will find is that most recruiters have not had the chance to engage in the organizational strategy formulation process. And even if they wanted to and possessed the core competencies to be effective, senior executives are still not presenting them with the opportunity to be part of the strategy formulation process, and to create alignment between organizational strategies and talent acquisition strategies.

Having said that, there are still ways to influence the strategy formulation process so that the talent acquisition professional can begin to slowly align both strategies.

The value is obvious: aligning talent acquisition with corporate goals and strategies will increase the success rate and create better performance for the recruiting department. More success equals more everything for the internal recruiting team.

Just by not participating in the strategy formulation process the decisions that recruiting will make will not possess the maximum value that is afforded when they do; in other words, when they transition from recruiter to talent acquisition professionals.

I suggest things like scheduling conversations, and not meetings with the stakeholders of the organizational strategy, asking those questions that allow you to create alignment between your strategies in theirs, and acting as a catalyst between all levels of the organization, and passing information up and down the chain of command. There is a lot more detail to this, so read the article.

I also suggest that in these “conversations” you help your company’s stakeholders communicate to you what they will believe success is and failure is (notice the use of a future verb here). After all, strategy, or talent acquisition, is about goals and objectives and not about the tactics that are used to achieve those goals and objectives.

If you do some of these things, then you are likely to create a more efficient process for internal recruiting decision-making that produces high quality results. Think about it: you’re not constantly changing the tactics that you’re using to fill your positions and you’re not wasting valuable resources in going after goals that have nothing to do with the overall goal of your company. This is because you’ve taken the time to reject the future inefficiencies and you’ve already eliminated many bad decisions that will seem good at the time that you’re making them.

There is so much more on this in the Journal, so feel free to pick up a copy and read the lengthy article. It’ll be fun, trust me.

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