Recruiting must be more than just skills matching... doesn't it?

There was an interesting discussion I was part of the other day, which culminated from a blog post I read over on where Jane was questioning her own ethics and morals when put in a position to make a placement with a candidate she essentially thought was a jerk. (it was weird, refreshingly so, not a mention on Social networking, technology, or the recession anywhere in the post) Interesting view, which made me sit back and think.

In the end it really questioned my thoughts as to what the role of a Recruiter actually is and how it differs depending on your point of view. Should it be different?

My view on the role of a Recruiter, in it simplest form. The Recruiter is the person who finds people, with the right attitude, aptitude, skills to suit a company and a position it is trying to fill.

Maybe this is too simplistic?

This discussion however, refuted this to a point. Questioning if considering someones attitude is part of their responsibility, "I don't think it's my job to try to predict whose personality is going to work and whose won't work." Really? Then what is it?

If Recruiting was just skills matching, why have interviews? Find a cv, which matches your needs, test the person on that skill, (maybe add water) and presto you have a new employee.

I understand the differing viewpoints from Agency to in house, as I have done both. I've been judged by my employer for the number of placements I've made and the money I have made the company and I have been judged on the number of hires I have made and the quality of those hires. The one truth for both roles have been that if people (ie people I've hired) don't work out, I, like Lucy, have some 'splaining to do!

I always felt that when working for an agency, I was representing that company, and thus had to look like their representative, understand the nuances of the role, their salary packaging, the manager and the wider team etc. On the flip side, I had to have enough information on a candidate to thoroughly represent them, a fine line we walked.

I left the Agency world when I felt that this was no longer valued by my organisation. "Why are you wasting time interviewing people face to face?" was a question I faced by new management, which sounded the death knell of my agency career.

Question again who was I representing? Who was my client? The person I who would pay my fee, or the person whom I got a job. To me, it was a no brainer, the person paying me of course. However, when I'd spent time with candidates, formed relationships, invested myself personally, this line got a little blurred.

However, working in house, this line was no longer blurred, when people didn't work out, it wasn't the case of "oops, sorry, but hey you made the decision, I only made the introduction. What? money back? No, sorry, but a credit note I can do!" No, things don't work out working in house, well, it kind of smacks you in the face. Ever had a Managing Director or HR Manager walking through the hallways asking loudly "who hired that guy?" (not fun!) Even if there is more than you in the process, ie hiring managers, tests etc, it does fall on your shoulders, nowhere to hide, no one to blame, it's you.

Now from what I have seen, the reasons people who don't work out, don't work out, is more from an attitude point of view than a skill deficiency. So why then isn't it the job of an Agency to look at these things? Am I missing something?

Views: 146

Comment by Steve Levy on April 5, 2009 at 10:20am
Dan, most agencies exist to fill the job order. Look at the words I just used: Fill, job, order. Pretty bland and mechanical. Therein is the difference between contigency and retained.

Are you following this thread by Sumser?
Comment by Dan Nuroo on April 5, 2009 at 10:48am
Firstly.. oh course following the thread o Sumser! although if it gets over 60 replies again, I may miss the end of it :)

So then, putting my client hat on... where is my value add? The thing that makes me put my hand into my budget and sign the cheques?

Is there no value add in contingency? Or is it just a fact that you get what you pay for?

My role became a national one in the last 12 months, and when looking at some of the relationships we had in other states, was essentially scared to death. We had a relationship with a company, for $4000 a placement. Awesome huh, when our average salary there was $100K. My executive was cock-a-hoop that that State Manger was able to screw the agency down so far, to the point that everything was judged against this mythical 4K.

I rang the place to introduce myself (and to try to find out how they could do the $4K and make money) an surprise surprise all they were doing was flicking cv's over to us. No care, no quality, no guarantee, no agreement at all apart from the fact we'd pay them $4K if we hired someone.

Even though it was cheap, I couldn't keep the relationship going. Why bother? They were using them basically as a job board.

Just like the customary tipping (that I don't understand in restaurants) I pay for value add. Throwing mud up against a wall and seeing what sticks doesn't add value. I'm sure noone markets their services to clients that way.

"Yes, Mr Client, we'll send you cv's or all kinds of crap... somewhere in there will be your perfect candidate.. I can almost promise you that!!!"
Comment by Bill Meirs on April 6, 2009 at 12:03pm
Very interesting and thought provoking post. I have struggled with the issue many times. I would be lying if I say I never submitted a "marginal" candidate, rationalizing "well just because I don't think I could work with this person, they may fit in well in my client's environment and are clearly qualified for the job, so why hold them back?" I think the key is knowing your client's company culture. In some places a big ego is welcomed (it's not always a bad thing if you can back up your words with deeds) and sometimes it is clearly not.
Most can quickly spot the jerk through a brief phone conversation who would be toxic in any workplace and that makes that ethical dilemma a lot easier...Cut and run!!!
Great post.


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