Dana Ladd and Recruiting Relationships

Oct 8, 2008

In part 1 of our series, we chatted with Richard Atkind, an HR Manager, Resource Development at TAC Worldwide and the 90th most-connected person on LinkedIn.

Today in part 2, we chat with Mr. Dana Ladd, an ISM/KM PhD student at Walden University and former job-seeker of the “Boomer” generation.

Do you believe that this “Silver Tsunami” will bring all of the challenges that are predicted?

DL: In some form, yes. Industry perhaps has to step up to the plate and begin thinking more aggressively toward coupling young leaders with seasoned Baby Boomers, hopefully passing some wisdom and experience more directly into our younger work force. The wisdom learned from the experiences in the past 8 years alone may very well prove to outweigh collective experiences of an individual leader’s prior three decades of decision-making.

Leadership experiences and business decisions applicable to the industrial age, even the information age, may not be applicable to an economy built around a convergence of technology, information, and biology. But perhaps the stability brought into the workplace by Baby Boomers will be what is most sorely missed.

Regardless of your current opinion, how do you feel recruiters should respond to this situation if it is actually unavoidable?

DL: Recruiters can be in the best position to bridge this gap. As a Baby Boomer having experienced many transitions, the most successful were those where a recruiter could link me directly to the hiring manager. The Internet has replaced personal interaction in recruiting engagements and has become part of a “work force in transition” mindset where resumes are continuously on the market, even after someone becomes employed.

Ultimately, the recruiter’s response should be one of relationship-building and the organization response to be moving into a model where recruiters are incentivized by the hiring organization to bring quality candidates into the organization for long-term engagements.

What advice would you give to Baby Boomer candidates who have been on the job market for a while now?

DL: Patience—my last transition took seven months, and just 3+ years prior to that, 6 months—and restructuring the resume to create a hybrid functional resume that maximizes contemporary value-add while not diminishing the value of prior decades of experience. I had many resumes reworked successfully by recruiters in the 90s who then leveraged that customized resume into a job opportunity because the recruiter could best marry my skills and experiences in a language set and presentation format most conducive to the hiring manager’s framework of thought.

I used to receive that as part of the recruiter relationship. I didn’t have 20 search engines; I had one recruiter. Our time to market is significantly longer than other generations, nothing new. But most significantly, I would encourage searching for a recruiter that still has contacts into corporate hiring decision-making circles and go after those firms where seasoned experience is considered an asset. But don’t ask me where those are, I only found one in the seven months I was on market.

What role do you think recruiters play in helping their clients make a hiring decision?

DL: In the early and mid-90s, recruiters had significantly more influence. Today, the modus operandi seems to be “to each his own” and everyone doing their own independent thing. I don’t see the relationship side of the equation where trust was built first, and then interviews. Our instant gratification mindset has carried into the workplace and into HR recruiting practices as well. We can’t even sit 10 seconds at a stop sign without thinking we have wasted half the day by not being in continuous motion.

Recruiters used to have clients that were firms, and clients that were job seekers, and brought those two clients together. Today it seems too one-sided. That has to change. But recruiters cannot do this in autonomy. Companies must support this relationship-building and must find creative ways to foster and grow relationships with key recruiting firms and independent recruiters.

What advice do you have for companies that aren’t taking the possibility of this event seriously?

DL: Look more carefully down the tunnel; the light you see at the end of the tunnel is perhaps not your utopian windfall, but the headlight of an oncoming locomotive.

Ignoring the advantages of passing wisdom may force organizations to relearn lessons that might very well cause them to become unviable more quickly than they anticipate. We may very well be creating a framework for momentum toward outsourcing to other country talent that will cause our home-based workforce to become second-class.

Consider finding creative ways to capture and transition tacit Baby Boomer knowledge now to foster our home-based younger talent for 2010 and beyond.