Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The world of recruitment is changing ....

You know what? Sometimes I am beginning to think the recession/down turn was better :)!!

On a serious note, contrary to popular expectations, more hiring opportunities doesn't really mean more revenues for recruiters!! Yes, it is more activity, more 'hit and runs', and lot more decisions/administrative issues to be handled.

Personally, I have been wanting to post a blog for a while-on how things are changing for us recruiters-but somehow, I have not been able to get around to posting regularly in the past few months.

Well..just now, I came across yet another masterpiece from the recruiting thought leader Greg Savage in his latest post. Extremely well articulated, I realise I would do my best..if I were only to quote from his post verbatim on some of the trends that he believes will impact the recruiting profession-necessitating a change in our strategies & business planning :

-Expectations of clients are rising and will continue to rise. Clients want insights, not just résumés. They want better service. They want specialist level consulting advice. And they want it faster and globally.

-Clients and talent are savvier, more discerning, and more sensitive to quality. Right now, publicly listed recruiters are reporting rising revenues and profits. But at the same time we see increasing numbers of small recruiters going into liquidation. Clients will not accept the second rate, the cumbersome or the old-fashioned,

-Employers will continue to aggressively build their in-house capacity to recruit staff. Clients will develop corporate in-house recruitment teams, build recruitment technology, enhance employer branding, and use social media. And all of these will be used to cut recruiters out of the process. It’s a major issue for our industry and we have to offer something measurably different to be seen to be providing value.

-An increasing majority of vacant jobs will not be advertised anywhere. Forget web advertising vs. print media. More and more jobs just won’t get announced at all. Networking, social media, and skilled, specialised recruiters will fill most jobs before they ever hit the mainstream media. That has huge implications for us in the way we develop business, access talent and make the match. And also for the skill-set of our recruiting staff.

-Talent will become smarter and wiser to the way our industry works. They will be far more discerning about the recruiter they work with. They will take charge of their job search and of their employee brand. Technology has made things so much more transparent for job seekers and the pathway for them to connect with employers is now wide open, potentially leaving third-party recruiters out in the cold. This raises massive questions around the way we engage with candidates and our entire talent acquisition strategies.

-To sum it all up, yesterday’s “delivery” market will become tomorrow’s relationship market with both clients and talent.

I think we can already see the way most large companies have adopted benchmarks from supply chain management to 'source' candidates. They use various models to employ full time talent, engage temporary staff and hire associates from vendor rolls-depending on the ABC analysis of the degree of difficulty of attracting talent!

We, at Options, have been overwhelmed off late, with the increasing quantity of referrals from our (past /new ) clients-that we have had to choose between those who 'engage' us with a monthly retainer fee, if not with a search fee for specific mandates-and those who do not, as yet, believe that we can provide better service/accountability than that they have been familiar with-in the established practice of contingency placements...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Case Study of a Recruiting "Hit and Run"

One can tell that the 'big time hiring' is back into vogue, when candidates suddenly stop taking calls or responding to messages/mails as soon as they get offers :)!

The longer the silence or the response time, one could even surmise the person may have multiple offers, and sure thing, one can expect a 'drop out' (in the recruiter parlance) or 'offer decline, in the language of a corporate customer.

Years of experience has not helped seasoned recruiters to do much to distinguish or pre-empt such an 'user behaviour'! We advice our rookie pals that relationships & close engagements with the aspirants help us get a feel to identify some set patterns...and so constantly, we follow up- at various stages. A day or two after the offer -to check if the person is accepted it. A couple of days later to check if the person has resigned from the present employer? How is the notice period going? Hmm..is the person looking for other options too? Are their counter offers being made ? Any objections that need to be handled? , any rebuttals to be prepared?..and so on, as we prepare the person for a smooth onboarding.

Well, we also try the next best thing...keep our eyes open for a possible back up -just incase our candidate vanishes.

Well recently, we came across a double whammy!! Lo, the 'candidate' was a senior HR professional -with over a decade and a half of experience. And surprise, who actually joined the new employer a week ahead of the 'due date' expected to! But after a day of working, getting introduced to all n sundry, the person absconded!

The person kept the recruiter informed about some excuse after the other, to absent from work for about a week: a relative's death, followed by a mild illness...and buying time!

Spurred by the events, a quick reference check -showed that the person had actually done this before too!! Worked in another firm for 3 days..before taking off and joining another prospect. In the recent 2 yrs -the person had actually talked thru 4 employer interviews..sampled three companies..and conveniently had acknowledged only one stint in the period! Well, the fudge had actually even enhanced the person's stability, potential & sale-ability ....

Client perspective:

The recruiter ought to have done the reference checks thoroughly. And surely, a professional firm would be expected to have done a better job.

Period. Squarely blame the recruitment firm as responsible for the fiasco.

Perfectly understandable, right?

Recruiter perspective :

"The client is working at a desperate deadline- 'they always want the CV as of yesterday'!! To improve the odds -the client broadcasts the same mandate to multiple recruiters-and so the onus is to clock in as many resumes as possible-else it would be a 'duplicate'!"

"Ofcourse, I met the candidate and spent an hour understanding his trackrecord, and then another hour-explaining about the specific opening, its challenges, and the 'culture fit'. All the names mentioned in the resume were large Indian companies, and going by the dropped names, everything was just right"

"Didnt four of the client's senior management team also spend an equivalent time before shortlisting the person for the role? Were they not responsible too for smelling the rat?"

"It is not possible to do reference checks before recommending the candidate-one doesnt even know if the CV would make it through the different rounds. The client ought to have done a background verification done-before issuing the offer letter"

" One can only cross verify what is mentioned in the CV!! How can one verify if the candidate has conveniently deleted some details? "

My two pence:

Could some one spend time to go beyond the obvious?

Rather than look at the symptom, can one try to unearth the root causes?

Could it have been due to the urgency of the issue? Could the client have planned better, and started the hiring process earlier-and followed a process, instead of attempting it at the eleventh hour? One could have perhaps insisted on reviewing all the documentary evidence, the appointment letters, the relieving letters...before issuing the offer letter?

Would the recruiter have done more due diligence, if there was more skin in the game? Did the recruiter take a short cut-for else, it was just a binary game? Would the effort have been different if there was some due given to the 'manhours spent on the assignment'?

Would love your perspectives!! May I request you to let me know your thoughts on this poll?

PS- By the way, is anyone even finding fault with the behaviour of the "candidate"? Or his motivation? Is it that anyway (almost) everyone exaggerates one's CV? Or is it that no one gets caught and penalised for such an offence!!

And when the candidate is a senior HR professional...it does leave one with some concern.