Digging Into RecruitingBlogs.com v1.16

Manners are everything.

Yesterday, I read the most obnoxious piece of Recruiting propaganda that I've ever seen. I've been wading through crap for many years. This particular nugget is in a category of its own.

Here's the offensive nonsense:

What do you do if a candidate starts asking questions?

If you answer politely, you may find that there are follow-up questions and follow-ups to that…and the questions will get increasingly difficult to answer. Before you know it, you are asked a particularly tough question, and there is that sinking feeling once again.

The typical advice is to answer, and take the reins back by asking a question, but that can be problematic. What if the candidate doesn’t give you the chance?

Some won’t. They are professionals and they have questions that they want to have answered, and they’re going to get to all those questions. They also are testing you. They are sparring, but you as a recruiter are at a great disadvantage. They have domain knowledge; you don’t. As soon as you get into that sparring contest, prepare to lose.

Don’t allow the frontal assault. Don’t allow them to take control. Keep them where you need them and keep the focus on them. You are the recruiter and you are the one who asks the questions. They are the one being tested, not you. You already have a job and they are the ones who need to prove themselves to you.(ERE)

Compare that with Wozniak's recounting of the way Steve Jobs persuaded him to come to...:

His life's dream was to work for Hewlett-Packard for life, and he got his start with a job before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. "I got a job a Hewlett-Packard designing handheld calculators. I was very lucky. Because I could design, they interviewed and hired me. But I didn't have a degree," he said.

He offered his computer designs to HP five times, but they never were interested. "I would not sell something for money without my employer getting a cut of it."

"I was never going to leave HP for life. That's where I wanted to be forever," but Apple co-founder Steve Jobs launched a campaign that eventually persuaded Wozniak to strike off on his own. "Steve Jobs got all my friends and relatives to call me."(CNET)

There's a question here.

Is recruiting a manipulative sport where human beings are precisely "Capital"? Is the approach I'm criticizing actually right?


Is Recruiting a graceful endeavor where team building and consequence matter?

I'm eager to get your perspective.

For me, this approach smacks of old school, high leverage used car sales tactics. It's very useful if you've got bad merchandise you are trying to unload. It's disastrous if you are trying to build an employment brand to attract A-list players. Strong arm tactics have no place in our business.

Views: 42

Comment by Joshua Letourneau on August 22, 2008 at 12:56pm
John, my thoughts exactly. Normally, I'll reply to discussions on the web if I think there is potential for an intellectual engaging conversation . . .

But when I read the above, I moved on. In traditional game theory, Nash's equilibrium is only achieved when each 'player' is making the best decision that they can, taking into account the decisions of the other players. There is one major assumption, however: That each player is self-rational. Such is the reason that the Cold War never resulted in Nuclear Armageddon. Each player was rational and understood that a zero-sum game wasn’t feasible.

By suggesting that a candidate asking questions is allowing them to “take control” of an interview, I sensed a lack of rationality. I also sensed an aura of ‘a badge and a gun’. “Listen, Buddy – this is my house and my towns. I run the law in these parts . . . “

If a recruiters operates with that elitist, bourgeoisie-laden mindset, they should be prepared to be crushed by recruiters that don’t seep insecurity and/or are utterly insensitive to human psychology. To that kind of recruiter, I offer the following in my best Doc Holliday impression, “I’m your Huckleberry . . . “ – Yep, give me the same search assignment and come meet me up at the shade tree, Ringo ;)

At the end of the day, an interview is a two-way street, not in any way, shape, or form, resembling a seat in front of the Catholic Inquisition.

The easiest way to achieve control is for nobody to ever know we even have it . . .


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