Why Self-Proclaimed "Recruiting Thought Leaders" are Full of ****


There are a number of recruiters and former recruiters out there who can properly be called "Recruiting Subject Matter Experts". However, when someone calls her/himself a "Recruiting Thought Leader" (DEFINITION: “Someone who neither recruits, thinks, nor leads”) and

1) Isn't a recruiter/hasn't been one for a very long time, if ever.

2) Doesn't routinely talk/interact with ordinary, day-to-day recruiters who know far more about how to improve their own jobs than s/he EVER will, and in fact DISCOUNTS and disparages ordinary recruiters, preferring the company and opinions of those high-level staffing heads s/he panders to, creating and overseeing the problems WE have to deal with.

3) Often cites her/his opinions as facts, very rarely cites sources for facts, doesn't respond to questions, and usually has extremely unrealistic and impractical proposals that the vast majority of companies couldn't and shouldn't do.

4) Has been frequently very wrong (praising obviously dysfunctional hiring procedures), and hasn't admitted her/his fallibility, so

ISTM that we should probably discount the great majority of what s/he has to say, and feel very sorry for the pathetic"suckers" who actually pay this person for her/his advice, consultation, etc. and those other misguided folks who cite her/his as a reliable source of valuable recruiting knowledge. (It's good we don't have people remotely like this on RBC or other recruiting forums, just within the foul abysses of the Deep Internet, or so I'm told....)


I think that instead of seeking out and listening to the arrogant and ignorant, WE SHOULD RELY MORE ON EACH OTHER/THE WISDOM OF CROWDS, like you, and you, and well: maybe not YOU. As mentioned: we know a lot more how to solve our own problems than these high-level pontificaters ever will.


Keith "Low-Level Pontificater" Halperin

Views: 1694

Comment by Paul DeBettignies on May 16, 2014 at 2:14pm

Keith, applauding you. I took my shot last fall but was too nice about it. I like yours more.


Comment by Keith Halperin on May 16, 2014 at 2:21pm

@ Will. Crossed- signals. It's HARD for me to write uill articles, so I talked to Matt about doing some mini-ones. Also, it's more fun to criticize than to create!

Here's a a mugshot of me when I was younger and had more hair:

Comment by Martin H.Snyder on May 16, 2014 at 2:54pm

Animal is very firm about Amy's cocksureness and Jerry's social media antipathy....

Keith I rather enjoy SOME recruiting thought leaders AKA attention whores; you don't have to be right but just don't bore me to death..... 

Comment by Carmen Hudson on May 16, 2014 at 6:49pm


I agree that there are some fakers out there, who haven't been close to a real recruiting process in years, and who are peddling bad advice.  In fact, I live in fear that I will become one (y'all would tell me, wouldn't you?).  

The fakers exist because, as an industry, we do need thought leaders.  The folks in the trenches, even the VPs of Talent Acquisition, are too busy getting it done to speak, write and advise very much.  This leaves a gap in real, fact-based, research and counsel.  Queue the road-worn PowerPoint, full of opinions and conjecture and not one quote or citation from a practitioner.

We need thought leaders.  People who can, think, write and speak about our industry with authority. People who write books and academic papers and train other recruiters and leaders.  Progress in our industry suffers because we don't have many thought leaders who can push recruiting beyond execution to business influence and innovation.

Comment by Maureen Sharib on May 16, 2014 at 9:03pm

Whew!  You had me sweatin' bullets!  I feel redeemed somehow.


Comment by Nicholas Meyler on May 16, 2014 at 10:35pm

@Keith:  Thank you.  I've actually placed at least 3 Quantum Physicists, but I never succeeded in getting any business from D Wave, the Canadian company that sells the "Quantum Computer".  Darn!  I took a year of German and am somewhat obsessed by Gedanken experiments. One of my favorite songs is Gedanke Scho:n, as sung by Wayne Newton, Isaac Newton's successor in Physics.

Comment by Rob McIntosh on May 16, 2014 at 11:13pm
BS and truth in the same article...I love generalizations like this as it fills up the space of boring rhetoric. Where can I buy the annual subscription?
Comment by Rob McIntosh on May 16, 2014 at 11:24pm
And before you respond Keith, no I don't consider myself a thought leader but I am the walrus ;-)
Comment by Steve Levy on May 18, 2014 at 1:11pm

Hasn't EVERYONE here gone through the Thought Leader phase of their careers? If ANYONE thinks otherwise, I'm calling NY BULLSHIT on you.

[are we not continuously surprised at the sheer volume of folks with 14 months or less experience in recruiting who tell others they can sense a great talent from simply reading their resume?]

There's not a single poster on this thread whom I wouldn't ask for their thoughts, uh, um, advice on a recruiting topic.

@Glen TL or SME? Freakin' semantics. You're both.

@Carmen You're Carmen "Freakin" Hudson for Heaven's Sake. You peddle nothing but Goodness.

@Rob Are you freakin' kidding me? Have you forgotten your "Page Source" to find a damn phone number?

@Paul - Surprised you didn't ping me after my #Tchat Hates Recruiting post...

Comment by Steve Levy on May 18, 2014 at 1:11pm

One more...

@Keith #FreakinEmeritusOldRecrutingThoughtLeaderFart


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