recruiting is a lonely game, not a team sport.

Does it take a village? Or is it more of a fellowship of sorts?

I tried to get a team together for the DARPA Balloon Challenge. I posted everywhere, there were a few patient onlookers who mostly were curious how we would collaborate on googlewave to accomplish this crazy task. Find 10 red balloons hidden on street corners throughout the US in 1 day.

2 people were able to do so much. I have never been more proud to have a sourcer like Lisa Offutt working with me & for me on this challenge. We had another 2 or 3 willing participants help us run down certain tasks as well. MIT won the contest. The Geocaching club had 1.5 million members and they came up with 8 of the balloons.

At first, I was disappointed that more recruiters did not participate in the challenge, not to mention sourcers. How could so many spend a week trying to solve a SourceCon challenge, but a day to win 40,000 dollars was not that enticing?!?

I gave it some thought, and I decided that our industry is really a merry band of individuals don't you think? We distrust others n our industry site unseen. Recruiters are like tigers, polar bears, or great white sharks. We are not animals that hunt in packs most of the time. It is a lonely game, with our "prey" being the ones we talk with most of the time.

The truth is we don't like working with other recruiters. This is a universal truth, one we don't like to admit. Oh, I think we like working close to other recruiters, the camaraderie of the bull pen, the ringing of the bell, the high five, the "drinks on me" since I just made the last placement, etc. But not the actual work, that we like doing all by ourselves. We tend to have a bent toward being control freaks if the truth be told. Most would rather give a req to someone else than share it.

Am I wrong?

Views: 201

Comment by Amybeth Hale on December 8, 2009 at 4:39pm
I can argue both sides of this viewpoint. For one - you have to consider the timing of this contest as well as the schedule of the people who were invited to participate. There didn't seem to be much notice given for this contest by the group that put it out, and people are more likely to have lots of pre-planned activities this time of the year. I for one was swamped this weekend - visiting my boyfriend whom I don't get to see often, a Christmas party on Saturday night, and big college football games all day on Saturday, one of which being my alma mater (yeah - reveals my priorities right!) So I think it's unfair to assume that the lack of participation was solely due to recruiting and sourcing types wanting to work alone.

On the other hand however, as a researcher I have worked with lots of different kinds of recruiters. There were several in the past who refused to accept my help sourcing on their projects because they didn't want to share any accolades when they made placements. So there's the proof of what you've laid out here.

When it's all said and done, we're all humans and different things motivate us :) this weekend, I was more motivated to spend time with my boyfriend watching my beloved Gators lose than I was to hunt down red balloons. Had the contest been another weekend, I might have been more motivated to participate. Thank you for posting this Julia; regardless of the outcome it certainly was a good lesson learned.
Comment by Dan Nuroo on December 8, 2009 at 4:40pm
Hi Julia, interesting post. (I like animal, missed all your efforts) I'd like to think you're wrong, but I'm not sure you are. You will get involvement if there is a clear value proposition to the person. As mentioned time is precious at the moment, getting off my behind, away from my core business (and what I get paid for) is hard to justify. However the working together, collaborating with other Recruiters is a lot of fun, and a great learning opportunity. If people can't see the Value proposition in that then...... just saying :)
Comment by Julia Stone on December 8, 2009 at 4:42pm
Time is always our greatest asset, not just at the end of the year. But you are talking about different jobs communicating and working together, not the same thing. When a recruiter is working on a job, they don't want a second recruiter working on the same job unless it is absolutely necessary. Of course biz dev (or sales oriented recruiters) people want recruiters to fill their jobs, and recruiters want sourcers to fill their pipelines.
Comment by Marie Journey on December 8, 2009 at 4:45pm
Julia ~ Understand your perspective, but have different experiences. Time & timing is everything in the business and conflicting schedules are the root cause of many failed collaborations. I have had the great fortune of working with a team of highly experienced recruiters and sourcers that had a single goal in mind and the results far surpassed what the collective individual could have accomplished. Are there shops were you can only count on yourself? Yes! Do we spend a lot of time by ourselves? Yes! Do I enjoy the hunt? Yes! Though, I found being like the wolf and hunting in a pack can bring in the big game. I was overjoyed to be invited to balloon hunt & would have much rather done that than the floor in my Creativity Lab!
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on December 8, 2009 at 4:58pm
Hi Julia, from a corporate HR perspective I have found that having a group of recruiters on a panel can be very interesting. A number of years ago at one of my previous companies we decided to invite all recruiters to the same induction session - talk about checking out the competition! This was a big company with plenty of work for everyone. The company culture was more collaborative but we couldn't really get them to work together. Perhaps you have just given us the answer? Though to be honest, unless you have had people working together on other projects, any new project is a challenge.
Comment by pam claughton on December 8, 2009 at 8:07pm
I'm with Craig on this one. I've been so busy the past few weeks I don't have a spare minute for something like a balloon challenge. I don't see the connection with this and with working with other recruiters as this is a non-work activity.

I'm constantly working with other recruiters and have a strong network of people I do splits with and we met up usually at least once a week at an office we share in Boston to interview and meet each others candidates. Almost all of my activity is splits, it's kind of like having an agency as we all work on each others jobs and although I share an office with a colleague, all the others we work with have separate offices. But, we do conference calls, and the minute we get a new search, everyone pitches in to get the word out and recruit.

We're having a blast! Our network has grown in the past few months, so we have a nice groove going. I think the key to our success is we are all senior level recruiters and most of us all worked together at a large agency before going our separate ways, so there's a nice level of trust and consistency...we all work similarly.

However, some of the group came to us brand new and that's worked out fine too. Maybe you might want to expand your network of people you work with? It really does make things more fun and profitable.

Comment by Julia Stone on December 8, 2009 at 8:30pm
Pam, you make an excellent point. I should have broken this out into two separate posts. It is just how I think & one led to the other to me. I am glad to hear you have had such awesome experiences, it seems rare to me and I would love to learn more from you about it.

All in all, everyone has very thoughtful comments and responses.


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