Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hey, Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists do you "get it?"

What does it take for Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists to "get it?"

There are Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists, and there appears to be many, that have poor skills in contacting talent and sharing feedback with talent as they do with business partners and clients. It is not because they are bogged down or are too busy. The Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists don't know what to do when faced with talent, business partners and clients that are initiating contact and asking for feedback.They lack the skills. For the most part, there is lip service paid to providing a "positive candidate experience" in the corporate, and third party Recruiting and Talent Acquisition space. Please, from the third party space, do not tell me the client is who you are working for, you are working for the talent also. Believe it!

These same Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists are not sharing information in a timely manner with there internal business partners or clients either. How do I know this? I ask the people I have relationships with questions to gather the data. I have many examples that support my assertions stated here gathered from my own experience in securing engagements, hearing such from internal business partners and from talent I am acquiring for clients.

My thought is "best practices" that are initiated to manage the communication of information that begins with the Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists is a solution. Everyone will be surprised how the quality of the activity/productivity arc will increase if the quality of timely communication is increased. Yes, this will result in a shorter time to fill and higher retention rates (the two staples of best practices). Having said that, I would also dare to say that metrics are misinterpreted to mean "best practices."

That is it, as simply as I could state it. If you want to discuss this please accept my invitation to. Too bad only the Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists that "get it" from organizations that "get it" will want to discuss.


  1. David I couldn't agree more. I hear stories like this every day and it drives me insane. My rule is very simple, my customers are my clients and my candidates (talent) without one there is no business, end of story. If you can not be bothered to spend at least one minute to talk to your customers and give some sort of feedback / advice then you are in the wrong business. Unfortunately there seems to be a growing number of recruiters who just "don't get it" and never will.

  2. To a degree you have to admit they are working to market forces. Many are young and have not been around long enough to see the long term consequences. And the older more senior folk know the most profitable business model is grow fast, sell, repeat.

    The end clients reward this with their procurement panels and policies.

  3. Thanks for your comment Chris. I respectively disagree with your "market forces" assertion. There is a recruiting culture that is rapidly becoming prevalent that appears to sanction the "unresponsive behavior" of recruiters. I pose the following question: How many organizations have a best practice that reflects a response time to candidate's application? Automated ATS emails that inform the candidate "Thank you for your interest, we are reviewing your qualifications and if you are a match we will be in contact" or something similar do NOT apply.

    I do agree with the rest of your comment.

  4. David, I agree the culture of unresponsive behaviour is prevalent and not just for recruitment. Party invitations go unacknowledged unless people are attending and many other examples. Poor recruiters use a broad brush approach and get bogged down in response. When you are considered and targeted in sourcing talent, there is always time to treat people as individuals.

  5. First, my apology to Craig Brown for calling him Chris!

    Sue, interesting insight. I had not thought of a broader implication. The unresponsive recruiter lacks the skills to manage the information and communication...so they don't. They are "too busy with so many qualified candidates."

  6. David,
    Coming from the 'talent' side of this discussion your write up makes me feel better. Well sorda. Now I know it wasn't just me but now I am more mad at the opportunities I lost. It is such a disappointment to need to depend on recruiters that you wouldn't hire yourself. Thank you for being one of the good ones and calling out the bad ones!

  7. With thanks to Don Draper :-)

    Why I’m Quitting Recruitment.

    Recently I decided to end a long relationship with the Recruitment Department, and I’m relieved.

    During the past year, I’ve devoted myself to peddling my worth to a department for which good work is irrelevant, because it is a department not designed for the modern needs of a company. A department based on the recruitment of personnel by a set of past criteria, rather than anticipated challenges. A department that lingers in the background, erasing potential by allowing innovative candidates to walk away because they can’t be pigeonholed into a 10-point requirement ad.
    For most practical purposes, recruiter’s overall inefficiency makes personnel unhappy and most of those who work in recruitment are neither strategic nor leaders. But there is power in it. A lot of power. Careers and companies depend on this department. The truth? Most recruiters aren’t particularly interested in, or equipped for, doing business. And in a business, that’s a problem.

    So as of today, I will no longer seek work through them. I know it’s going to be hard. If you’re interested in careers where the corporate ladder begins and ends through this department, I have a long list of companies that only recruit through talent acquisition specialists, padding and protecting their leadership.

    As for me, I’ll welcome the chance to approach, engage and defend my worth to those strategists and leaders forward enough to sidestep this autocracy. Those front line innovators driving the company, certain in the knowledge that our best work is still ahead of us.


    Job Applicant

  8. Kevin and Don this is exactly what I am discussing and find unacceptable. Thank you for sharing here. I would be very interested in talking with you. I may be reached at 1 401 294-1079.


  9. This is an exceptional post, David... thank you for sharing.

    In talent acquisition we've long struggled with failing to identify and support two very different user groups: 1) the hiring manager/client and 2) the talent. And while it appears this problem may apply most to third party recruiters, we are -- far too often -- hearing about poor customer service by corporate recruiters, also.

    Perhaps it is time to realize that "too busy" is not an excuse that would be accepted in any other industry or sector. "Sorry I never brought the salad you ordered, I was too busy", says the food server. "Wish I could cut the hair on both sides of your head, but, well, there's a line", says the barber. "Were we supposed to look at BOTH kidneys? Sorry, moved on to the next patient." the doctor says weakly.

    Does providing exceptional customer service mean we have to get sucked into the desperation and drama of some job seekers? Not at all. The sense of urgency felt by the job seeker, however, dictates that effective communication and feedback is needed now more than ever.

    The talent acquisition process is a way to extend your brand. Or ruin it. Personally, I'd like more companies put much more emphasis on treating a potential employee as a valued customer of that process -- and a much more "human" approach to "Human Resources".

    Thanks again, David.

  10. Great conversation from all sides here. I'd like to know what, if anything can be done to fix the mechanics of the workflow.

    Acknowledgement: even an auto reply email that submission was received works. Better would be a system like UPS where I can track the lifecycle in a simple summary (apologies for comparing people to parcel).

    Feedback is always a key complaint. More difficult without offending or legal issues, but anything is better than something.

    Transparency: This will never happen so I won't bother.

    Don't expect the industry to change for the better without real solutions. We should look to make the experience better through sheer will. Stand out from the looser recruiters and businesses that trained them to be focused on volume instead of quality. Focus on Quality.

  11. From a guy who went from executive recruiting in Tokyo to small town Canada perm placemen, finally ending up on the corporate side in an exploding market: Time with talent? I know it is the best way..when I joined my company, I had 21 searches on the go. In one month I saw my open positions jump to 82 and I am the only recruiter at this location. After 2 months I have brought it down to 53 with a lot of blood, sweat and even a few tears. Maybe this kind of explosive growth is not usual for most, but truthfully I don't have the time to provide solid feedback even though I know I should be.

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