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? 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 does leave one with some concern.

1 comment:

kanth said...

...Whilst, for the recruiter its time down the drain and for recruiting company it means redoing the entire process - I would not jump to say "Candidate" is to be blamed entirely as well; I don't think any one party can be blamed! As in the end its more about personal ethics/virtues (virtues tend to be negotiable where money is involved)
Not dwelling specific to the 'instance' mentioned; i would like to share ‘My Perspective’ to drive home the point:
Before the current change (about 6 months back) I was on the ‘look-out’ for long there - after the first round nothing seem to happen and the lull continues (and in here both the recruiting companies HR and Consultants only give you the ‘template answer’ – “It’s in process”) then the pace picks up and have to attend back to back interviews over phone with 4 company decently sized and brands (all started the first interaction at different points in time!) when the marathon is over there was a long pause, before the offers start trickling in (during this time as a candidate(s) we do our own research and referral- to me this is the most ignored/unacknowledged part of process that both recruiters and recruiting companies are 'Blissfully Unaware' of as the process of getting hired is as painful and laborious for the ‘candidate’ as its for the others involved) you would have a mental choice of choice A,B,C etc based on matrix of (Brand/Role/CTC /Project Growth) etc., etc,
Now for the final lap the ‘most preferred’ company offers you a slightly lower compensation and then you make a decision – This is an absolute personal choice and I don’t think as candidates any one can ‘influence’ this decision -finally you make the pick and there ends the drama (if you hold to your self ethics/values).
The twist to the story really is when you share the ‘pay pack’ you joining the X company at - Y company and the recruiter will move heaven and earth not only better it but, throw some perks!!! (who until then would stand and say this is ‘take it or leave it offer’) and most cases this would have happened when the candidate would have accepted the offer of X .
Who would you blame? The truth is, during job search there is no ‘final offer’ and ‘no regard to acceptance’ goal post is changing and during ‘Boom’ even more so …