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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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Tough Job

(November 15, 2004) Recruiting is hard work. Typically, the recruiting professional is given requirements without adequate time or preparation. She is then expected to deliver a seamless and enthusiastic presentation to a series of prospects with the goal that each of them hopes they get the job. The mindset shift from reactive participant in internal goings-on to smooth salesperson is the most obvious emotional challenge of the job.

Working from ill defined job descriptions in areas beyond her expertise, the recruiter is expected to simultaneously wear generalist and specialist hats. Often armed with no more than a set of loosely defined questions and just enough time to get a cup of coffee, she wades through a sea of faces trying to keep notes on the differences between the choices. While the hiring managers who use her services a periodic entrants into the game, she faces an onslaught of identical problems from the managers she serves.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the rest of the company (at least the parts that produce real revenue) went through a massive house cleaning process that redesigned processes and focused on the measurement of quality. The Recruiter, sadly, is usually mired in the business mindset of the 1950s. Firefighting is the norm and the consistent lack of planning creates massive amounts of rework. Maintaining a positive keel in this primitive environment requires a deep personal commitment. Since Recruiting is a dead-end career path, there is no way to tag aspirations to rewards inside the company. This drives the perception that external competitors, who are usually compensated for performance, are somehow a bunch of thieves and bandits.

While the external players work in the same sad pile of reactive pressure, compensation solves some of the embedded morale problem.

We believe that there is hope on the horizon. Increasingly, CEOs are being queried about the management of critical teams, their development and their relationship to the overall performance of the company. We've seen large company executives taken to task in shareholder meetings for the methods they've used to reduce headcount. Most of the current offerings in our industry, however, don't seem to support either team development or the real tasks of the working recruiter.

Recruiters need timely information that helps them make better decisions in situations of high pressure and mission criticality. This doesn't exclude the automation of routine administrative tasks, that's a start. The decision support required to make precious hiring decisions, however, is all but absent from the current playing field.

Who is this person? How well do they get along with others? How do they respond under stress? Are they passion players or just looking for a job? What is the day to day work environment going to be like?

Imagine being put on the spot, over and over again and then ask yourself what information you'd want to have at your hands. Most of the tools in use today don't even have the means to store and present the stuff, let alone gather collect and analyze it. Recruiters, more than most professionals need rapid access to the knowledge of the organization and a means to have it at their fingertips.

Great recruiters know the personalities, needs and desires of their hiring managers. Have you ever seen a recruiting system that provided a framework for managing and understanding this insight? Somehow, hiring managers, from the systems perspective, are not as important as customers are in a CRM system even though they drive the entire process....Lots of tools to manage applicant data and no structure for managing hiring authorities. What aren't there simple assessment tools that a recruiter can use to create the match that matters...between boss and new employee?

Part of the problem is that few of the developers and executives in our industry have any meaningful experience as Recruiters. We'd love to hear stories of CEOs who spend time in Recruiting desks so that they can constantly improve their grasp of the hard work involved in recruiting.

- John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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         Materials written
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         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.