Recruit like your job depended on it (part one of two)...

kaizenIn the old days it was simple. We knew how to fix our business problems, only we didn’t realise we had it so good.  When I started work we were obsessed with Japanese working practices adopted from companies like Sony and Honda.  Being seen to be cool and Japanese was cool then, although that went wrong when the Japanese economy got into trouble.  We used the word Kaizen with wild abandon.

We looked at business challenges in a simpler way.  Back then we would define the problem we had,  develop a solution with associated metrics to prove we doing the right things.  Small continuous improvements, some metrics that demonstrated we were making those continuous changes all of which was put up on an overhead projector.  This was pre powerpoint.

There were more of us as well.  More people to do less things, hardly any email, no text, no global conference calls.  Whilst change did occur it was difficult to manage with poor communication and collaboration tools, short of that pre powerpoint presentation.  Back in the day though, if things didn’t change, the management was hard.  People lost their jobs and new people were brought in to make it better.  Whilst I am not suggesting that doesn’t happen today, clearly it does,  I am not sure that talent acquisition has ever really been asked to step up to the plate in this way?  To commit like their job depended on it?

The speed of change has moved on.  If it was a walk then it is a supersonic flight now, with problems appearing as fast as solutions to the previous issues.   But what more and more people are starting to suggest is that actually we haven’t moved on our recruiting approach.  Yes the focus on social media, attraction and engagement is there in new sourcing approaches but even these are just new technology versions of what has gone on before.  There is no revolution in the industry. 

More and more people in my position are starting to question the approach we are taking.  Even in attraction we still post the same ‘me too’ job posts we have always posted.  Yes they are tweeted, displayed on linkedin etc. but the content has not evolved.  If anything since abandoning traditional print media job posts have deteriorated.   Don’t get me wrong there have been some great recruiting marketing campaigns that do engage and inspire.  Sadly many corporate recruitment functions are tied into their old ways.  And before anyone says it, this is not an attack.  Far from it I am as part of the corporate status quo as the next man.

Our recruitment engagement still place more emphasis on presentation rather than overall performance.  Yes, most of us have moved onto more competency based questioning but this is still lagging behind those more radical organisations that look at the total person, what makes them tick, what motivates them and then looks at what they could do for the organisation.  For organisations looking to grow or develop a new culture or engage with their employees in a different way a more radical approach is probably the only way they will achieve it.

We all know we need more depth and yet it is so tough to bring new ideas and methods to a community of managers that believe they know what they want from their recruitment function and if they don’t they will happily use the guy who is in recruitment they met in a bar.   Yes the role the manager plays in recruitment should be equally under scrutiny.  Let’s end the chumminess that sales managers have with potential future hires, that a decent suit and a nice presentation will win the day.  Let’s end those awkward conversations with managers zooming in on the detail of a technical role so that the candidate walks away with no more vision about the organisation, how they can succeed and why they should join.

Collectively we need to end the use of gut feel or the 7 second rule and proceed to a full assessment, wrapped around a value proposition that appeals to candidates.  Let us think like a consumer based organisation, with an experience, with feedback loops and as sense of urgency and fun.  A sense of what the company is really like to work for.  Transparent.

Our challenge as recruitment professionals is how to start again.  Yes, I know I wrote about that before and reached a few conclusions but nothing definite and the reason is that I don’t know where to start.

In my defence, neither did you.

Part two to come.