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Recruitment: whose job is it anyway?

Saturday, October 20, 2007   

Part One

Hiring, recruitment, talent management, whatever you're inclined to call it, traditionally falls under the remit of Human Resources.  Fine back in the days when it was a case of eeny, meeny, miny, moe and a few administrative formalities.....

I received a letter from a rather frustrated recruiter a few weeks ago who, despite working on behalf of one of the hottest IT candidate 'properties' in the UK, was unable to arrange an interview with any of the three nearest competitor employers, simply because his firm wasn't part of any of the approved supplier lists.

All three HR departments refused to even discuss the candidate.  When in his frustration he called up one of the senior managers responsible for the appropriate department of the biggest competitor, he received the following response:-

"This sounds like the kind of person we've been crying out for, but managers are only allowed to get involved in recruitment via HR".

When informed that HR had already refused to discuss the candidate, the manager stated that it just "wasn't worth the repercussions" for him to bypass the HR system in any way.

Let's put this into perspective. The candidate in question had, apparently, got an impeccable track record and had decided to consider a career move due to a proverbial glass ceiling with his current employer.  He was one of only a handful of people in UK with this particular skill-set and was directly responsible for delivering over £1.5million pounds worth of income in the previous year for his current employer; an earnings capability that was immediately transportable.

What kind of nonsense is it where:-

  • The very department that is supposed to be resourcing the business, has the authority to turn away a £1.5 million pound opportunity and be answerable to nobody for doing so?
  • A manager directly responsible for performance would rather walk away from that opportunity too, than face whatever wrath HR has prepared for those who dare to stray from such an oh-so wonderful system that allows the above?

It's a rhetorical question, of courseAll of this happens because there is no 'Cost of Poor Recruitment Practice' column in the annual accounts, and the only metrics applied to hiring practice are cost-based, as opposed to profit based.

Management free-for-all

Those experienced on the HR side of the hiring equation, of course, know all too well how the aforementioned scenario took shape.  The free-for-all of managers all doing their own thing - hiring people without sign-off, structure, commonality of fees or process, was, on the face of things, even more damaging to organisational performance than the draconian measures that replaced it.  Getting line managers to work within a compliant framework being akin to herding cats!

The disjointed state of the previous affairs were further compounded by the distraction of a constant bombardment of recruitment consultants, desperately trying to meet their interview or placement quotas, pestering the life of out line managers to the extent that some were only too happy to hand fending off the calls to HR.

The unfortunate side-effect of centralising hiring control is that it's gone too far the other way.  Too many supposed 'best practice' processes have taken away a line-manager's ability to act commercially in the best interests of the performance against objectives, as shown in the IT example; a hiring equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

So what should be happening?

There is a happy medium between line-manager free-for-all and HR Dogma; between the CEO abdicating all responsibility for the only genuine resource an organisation has, and he or she taking over recruitment themselves.

In the second part of this blog post we investigate who should really own hiring practice and give examples of those who are moving in the right direction.

Don't miss part two. Sign-up and share the message (especially with the boss!).


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© Copyright 2007  - please credit where shared or reproduced.



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Conventional hiring practice now out of step with the market

 whose job is it anyway.png

Shift in hiring responsibilities needed?


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Managers doing their own thing creates its own chaos



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