For some reason, there seems to be more volatility in recruiting careers than any other part of the HR function or industry – hell, look at my resume for proof.

Which is too bad, considering recruiting is one of the manifold functions in the HR department that shouldn’t be outsourced or automated. 

While it looks like the job market is back on track, if you need to do some belt tightening around the human capital function, consider putting these worthless jobs on the chopping block, first:

1. Career Coach: I’m talking about the ones who provide things like online career assessments from .edu websites that they found on Google.

The ones who write blog posts like, “Top 5 Keywords Ever Job Seeker Needs On Their Resume” as their primary means for building brand awareness.  The kinds who like Twitter chats, comfort eating and inspirational aphorisms. Not the kind that works directly with or within an organization on employee mobility, transitioning and training.  Those guys are legit.

 No, the ones who actually care about their Klout scores as much as the candidates they purportedly help – who, inevitably, find jobs irrespective of the somewhat suspect career related coaching they actually receive. 

Oh, I know I’m going to hear it for this one, and while there’s certainly psychological benefits of having a partner to walk you through what’s potentially a socially isolating, somewhat traumatizing event like a layoff.  But the per hour rate of most career coaches would easily pay for a real, board certified psychologist who doesn’t need to use Twitter to build a personal brand. And likely accepts COBRA.

Instead, I find career coaches largely fall into the category of people who, through their own long term unemployment, reach the conclusion that their inability to find a position is due to a flaw in the hiring process that they can somehow fix for others; alternatively, they figure that their futility somehow translates into relevant expertise.

Of course, there are all sorts of certifications and programs designed to legitimize career coaches, but this is a lot like saying that having an MBA from a for-profit online university is like going to a real B-School.  You’re not really fooling anyone with those obscure acronyms.  You’re still hustling to make ends meet.  

And in that, perhaps, career coaches can at least be sympathetic to the collateral damage of finding a job, if not actually helpful in finding the jobs that form the primary promise of their often overpriced services.

2. Compensation Specialist: Granted, given my background as a recruiter, I’ve got a natural diversion to comp.  They’re generally the ones, not recruiters, who determine whether or not a search gets closed with top talent (although we often expediently overlook that fact).

But the fact that many corporations actually have entire departments of number crunching, pivot table building glorified data entry clerks is as anachronistic as calling talent acquisition the personnel department.  Things like salary banding, internal equity and compression are pretty easy to figure out once you’ve got a baseline established, and HR Generalists and recruiters alike can easily override these issues simply by following a really basic set of guidelines so easy even a hiring manager could do it.  And likely should, considering they are the ultimate budget and P/L owners responsible for the new hire’s ROI and final arbiters of hiring decisions.

Add to the fact that a litany of programs, from enterprise integrated talent management programs to free databases like and Payscale, make finding pretty robust salary guidance as easy as punching in a few variables.  For some reason, compensation rarely falls into the purview of employee self service initiatives, but frankly, it should be one of the first functions to feel the axe.

3. Social Media Specialists: Yeah, I know, superficially I am one.  But if you don’t get that this is everyone’s job, particularly in talent branding, then you’re already behind.  And if you instead choose to delegate one of the most visible and critical public facing functions to an intern or recent grad with no actual work experience beyond maybe a few months at an agency, then you probably either suck at social.  If you even bother with it at all. 

Although those in the latter camp are likely to have the last laugh once we figure out a way to meaningfully measure any of this stuff.

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