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7 Years Ago
(August 03, 2005) Seven years ago articles were archived by the week. Amazing to see how far the Industry has come and gone.

More Than Sourcing

(August 03, 1998) Recruiting covers the range of activities from targeting to background checks and interviewing. Increasingly, it includes training and development before, during and after the employment contract. Sourcing is the process of defining specific candidates (long lists and short) to fill an opening. Most of what is called Online Recruiting is really a derivative of "sourcing".

It's not easy to work as a recruiter in today's tight labor markets. To meet requirements in a shortage environment, Recruiters are having to rethink the entire process. New tactics and techniques are proliferating and disappearing before they can even be evaluated. Definitions and responsibilities change daily. The really bad news is that "these are the good old days." The labor supply is looser than it will be for a generation.

There's a famous curse that goes "May you live in times of great change." Today's professional Recruiter must somehow manage to be a researcher, marketer, interviewer, media planner, negotiator, salesperson, vendor manager, Internet expert, politician, telemarketer and still maintain a personal life. It used to be easier. Recruiting is evolving into a discipline that requires a broad range of background and continuous skills development.

Meanwhile, back in Mahogany Row, the company executives are still not persuaded that Recruiting is a strategic issue with more long range impact than any other internal discipline. It is a predictable part of a Recruiter's existence that staffing requirements are defined 60 days after the financial planning process. In times of shortage, the success of the financial plan depends on the work of the Recruiting team. In reality, effective business planning can not be begun without an intelligent assessment of labor market supply conditions.

It may be time to think the unthinkable.

Generally, Recruiting is a part of the Human Resources Organization. It's very important to clearly understand that HR has its roots in the Accounting Department. When a company begins its life, the first HR Manager always works for the Finance Manager. Why? The first and most important HR questions involve payroll, benefits and pension administration. In any company's growth, these problems emerge well before a Recruiting Role can be developed.

Recruiting, the marketing and sales relationship between a company and its potential and current employees, involves a radically different skill set. While administrative excellence is important (and deeply responsible for the success of companies like Resumix and Restrac), the core skills of Recruiting are very different. The question to ask these days is "Does Recruiting really belong in HR?"

There are several precedents for thinking otherwise. Recruiting doesn't begin its life in a company as a part of the Financial world. In the early days of a company's staffing efforts, the hiring manager does the work. Size and convention are the reason the function migrates into HR.

Information Technology is the other organizational function that emerged over the course of the last generation. For decades, it was a part of the Finance Department as well. Why? The earliest investments in IT are always going to be for financial management purposes. But, as the issue gained strategic importance, it was elevated out of the Comptroller's shop and into a strategic role of its own. Today, it is common to find the CIO on the immediate staff of the company president.

Perhaps it is time to start lobbying for a CRO (Chief Recruiting Officer) slot in organizations.

John Sumser

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