What Unsuccessful Recruiters Are Doing Wrong

Aug 12, 2014

 recruitment-sample-mdMost strategic recruiters seek to optimize the three most important factors in talent acquisition — cost, time, and quality. However, that objective is often impossible to accomplish because recruiters continue to use outdated talent processes which were designed back in the 1980s.

Stephen Covey, in his ground-breaking best seller — 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — introduces timeless principles that form the framework of the changes that individuals must adopt to become more effective. But, before one can embrace the seven habits, Covey proposes adopting of a “paradigm shift”– a change in perception and interpretation of how the world really works. Similarly, recruiters must be willing to adopt a paradigm shift in how they view the world of talent acquisition — if they hope to be successful in sourcing, recruiting, and hiring the very best talent in today’s war for talent.

For example, it has been my experience that “average” to “good” recruiters follow similarly dated talent strategies: 

  1. Post generic job descriptions on their employment site and the major job boards … and wait for “active” applicants to find their jobs and apply.
  2. Use boring job descriptions, create a “perfect candidate profile” for the position, and screen out applicants who do not fit this arbitrary standard.
  3. Believe that achieving 100+ applicants for a vacancy is an indicator of a productive recruitment campaign.
  4. Believe “cost per hire” and “time to fill” are relevant metrics to measure the effectiveness of their talent acquisition function.
  5. Present the job postings in terms that are clearly employer-centric.
  6. Consider behavioral (competency) interviewing as the gold standard in assessing applicants.
  7. Presume the most effective method of improving diversity recruiting is to simply increase the number of diversity recruitment sources (i.e. niche websites, universities, ethnic organizations, and associations).

As you can see, the use of job postings that fail to engage the most qualified, passive candidates is the beginning of a downward spiral in the recruiting process. An ineffective job posting that depends on costly advertising yields an applicant pool that is heavy on active applicants, but light on passive candidates who are often more diverse and represent a wider “gene pool” of quality applicants. A selection process that focuses on unproven competencies rather than documented job performance often fails to accurately predict on-the-job success. The ultimate result of this process are dissatisfied hiring managers, candidates who are poorly suited for the positions, and a talent acquisition process that does not meet the strategic needs of the organization.

Tomorrow, I will highlight the seven habits (and the prevailing talent mindset) of recruiters who are effective in hiring the best employees at the lowest cost, in the shortest timeframe, and at the highest quality.

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