Recruiting Belongs Under The CEO

Dec 24, 2013
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

Dear Mr. CEO,

It’s come to my attention that many of you now believe recruiting key talent is the No. 1 priority nowadays.

If you really believe this — and those of you with the sense God gave mules should — then you’re probably wondering how in the world are you going to do that.

Here’s a wonderful article by a colleague of mine in an organization I belong to — ERE — and if you’ve never heard of it it’s because you’re really only just coming lately to this management epiphany we’re about to talk about and you’re to be forgiven because — after all — recruiters?

Nobody really took them too seriously ever before.

All that’s about to change and this is your opportunity to be in the beginning of one of the most revolutionary and powerful movements that will change the competitive landscapes of companies today.

Jacque Vilet offers a solution in her provocative article that suggests moving Recruiting out from under HR and placing it in the Marketing department.

We all (more and less) loved her for her point of view, but some of us came up with an alternative proposition — why not move Recruiting under you?

Yes, you!

I see you lookin’ around for someone to pawn this off on.

No, I’m talkin’ to you — Mr. Chief Executive Officer.

You — the guy who makes the final decisions around there — the guy everyone holds answerable for everything.


Maybe you’re worried your number’s about to come up and you’re going to be the one in four CEOs about to be unable to pursue a market opportunity or cancel/delay a strategic initiative because of talent challenges as reported in that PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO survey Jacque referred to in her article.

You might be in that one third of all CEOs concerned that skills shortages will impact your company’s ability to innovate effectively.

(By the way and for the record, those of us in recruiting believe that one-third number should be a whole lot higher.  That’s one good reason you should join ERE. That, and because it’s FREE!)

This isn’t a solicitation for you to join another delivered-in-your-email-daily hodgepodge of self-important pundits (though we have our fair share and you’re readin’ one!) but an invitation for you to explore how to drive exponential value by aligning yourself with a resource that can offer you guidelines to help you find someone with a comprehensive understanding of talent today and talent tomorrow.

I’m talking about choosing someone — maybe someone in your organization or someone outside — who understands recruiting and understands how recruiting can directly increase revenue in your organization.

No, no, not your HR executive vice president who shows up dutifully with that Hail-Fellow-Well-Met salute at your monthly roundtable and suggests golf dates with you afterwards.

Can’t you see he’s just (mostly silently) marking time ‘til retirement?

Not the HR lady either.

Her mind’s on interview scheduling and background checks and onboarding and benefits and the affair that’s threatening to turn into a sexual discrimination lawsuit over in the R&D building and well — you know — she has her hands full.

I’m talking about someone who understands your employees’ views and needs and can give you an assessment of realistic internal advancement in your workforce; someone who gets labor costs, staff productivity, the costs of employee turnover and a return on investment on human capital.

Someone who can help keep your talent-related expenses in check; prevent your quality standards from falling; help you achieve your growth forecasts where you’re based (or overseas) and enable pursuit of market opportunities and innovation and implementation of key strategic initiatives.

Someone who can do all the above with the right decisions on talent and who can give you comprehensive information on that talent and who is only a phone call away from your office.

Someone who reports directly to you!

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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