By Lee Vikre | @LeeVikre
Would you rather have a root canal than recruit for an open position? Recruiting is one of the most high-impact items on a manager’s task list, but many hiring managers find it more painful than a trip to the dentist. Why is recruiting so painful? Here’s what we’ve heard.
- Hiring managers aren’t trained to interview. Good interviewers are part journalist and part therapist; they know how to build relationships and get meaningful information in an hour’s time. Without training, hiring managers talk too much and ask weak questions. Uncertainty about who the strongest candidate is leads to procrastination, or make decisions based on gut instinct or level of industry experience, which often produces mis-hires.
- Contingency recruiting is broken. The model no longer works. People now change jobs every year or two, so the fees go through the roof. The competition among contingency recruiters is cutthroat, and hiring managers often pit them against each other. The executives and hiring managers we know are generally unhappy with the quality of hires they get from the contingency model.
- The candidate experience is generally awful. The ATS is a punch line. Hiring managers know the candidate experience stinks; but it’s not as simple as just deciding to treat candidates more respectfully. Most organizations have not allocated the resources necessary to improve the candidate experience. Corporate recruiters are overwhelmed with the volume and unprepared to improve the level of service. Hiring managers have to fit recruiting into their normal work, often while taking on the additional work generated by an open position. The norm is for the candidate experience to be poor.
- A constant search for purple squirrels. Hiring managers often become extreme in their requirements, creating nearly insurmountable barriers to timely recruiting as they search for the elusive candidate who has precisely the skills they want – along with 3-5 years of experience. This leads to frustration and never offering the job to the “ideal candidate”.
- The “hit the ground running” syndrome. Hiring managers sometimes refuse to hire anyone they have to train, and are still searching months after a green recruit would have been trained and up to speed.
- A genuine skills shortage. There just aren’t enough software developers, project managers, or nurses to fill all the openings. It’s like a game of musical chairs in reverse.
Six ways to ease the pain (that don’t involve whiskey, wine or drugs)
- Train hiring managers in effective interviewing techniques. Make it an essential competency for management.
- Explore different models of recruiting, including third-party recruiters paid by the hour rather than on contingency.
- Re-design the hiring process from the candidate point of view. Pay attention to your employer brand, and start thinking of candidates as customers. Allocate the resources to do this. How about a Candidate Success Team? Re-design all your job postings to attract candidates.
- Develop strong job descriptions based on specifically what the successful candidate will have accomplished in 6 months or a year, and hire for those skills instead of a laundry list of “must-have” qualifications.
- Educate hiring managers on the value of employees with “skinny resumes” and those who are “overqualified”. Incent training.
- Build your employer brand and company culture so that you stand out among the competition. Having a strong employer brand used to be a “nice to have”; now it’s a business necessity. There is a strong opportunity for employers to stand out, since many organizations are playing catch-up in this area.
Managers succeed because they hire great people. Businesses fail because they fail with people. Companies have been pushed into bankruptcy because they didn’t have adequate staff to operate. More people are now leaving the workforce than coming in, so the pain of recruiting must be addressed. Otherwise, that pain might be the symptom of an illness that could kill a company.
About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures and strong employer brands, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies, and applauding her clients as they accept workplace awards she’s coached them to win. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.