The one with the quality job

I’m not sure who first said “better, faster, cheaper – pick any two” but it does seem to be enduringly true.

I was recently invited to be part of a judging panel on the “In-House Recruitment Awards” (thanks Mark & Simon) and was assigned a few categories to do the initial judging prior to a bun fight round table with my fellow judges. There was a great deal of enthusiasm evident in most of the submissions but I must confess having read through the 9 or so entries I was disappointed at what seemed to be the focus for those entering as the best…

I first worked in recruitment as a consultant and then in the 2000s moved in-house at a time when recruitment was a burgeoning speciality and the role was still mostly completed by generalists. At the time, from my perspective the focus seemed to be on process (HR professionals to focus on process?! NO!) and not enough on either of the key stakeholders in the relationship – the hiring manager and the candidate.

I was encouraged as my career developed in recruitment to see some of the great facets of agency recruiters – proactivity, service focus, relationship management, were becoming evident in those who were taking in-house roles but for the fight was always about getting the right person in the right role at the right cost/time (in that order). The budget was something to be managed not something that managed me and line manager expectations were to be soothed as me/my team beavered away to try to find the right person.

What made me slightly nervous in reading the award entries that success (and the subsequent definition of best) was largely driven by time and cost – faster and cheaper with little or no attention paid to the quality of the candidate. There didn’t seem to be any mention of any post induction measurement, performance, retention or in its broadest sense talent.

If you ask the board of an organisation what they need from their recruitment function I imagine (and I have asked) their focus will be about increasing the capability of the organisation, about hiring people with potential and about the future prospects of the business. Whilst compliance with budget and efficiency of hire are of course important (especially to the line manager and the finance director) they do not in the true sense add value to the organisation past the day the new employee starts.

I think the recruitment profession as it now seems to want to distinguish itself from the remainder of the HR, needs to take a step back and think about what represents true value to the business, what it really wants to be known for and if in the list of better, faster, cheaper it may be about choosing the first and one other…

Just as a small post script I received an in-mail on Linkedin this afternoon from a recruiter working for one organisation but on site and in the name of another. The ‘host’ organisation is one that likely has a tough retention challenge and who’s wider brand has taken a hammering in the last few years. This was her missive:

Dear Rob,

Hope you are well.

I am currently recruiting for a Senior OE Specialist. I came across your cv. Pleae could you let me know your current situation? Are you available. Alternatively please pass my contact details to anyone you know that may be interested in this role.
Thanks

Better? Faster? Cheaper?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The one with the quality job

  1. Thanks Rob – I really enjoyed reading this, and it echoes a lot of what I felt as an award judge earlier this year too. Entries light on narrative and value, high on process and failed attempts to link causes and effect.

    Due to our long standing agreement never to attend one another’s sessions, I only witnessed you and your CEO via social channels at the CIPD. However – what was clear to me was that you guys found a way to blend the measurable with the unquantifiable in a helpful and enjoyable way. In your post – I think you call that true value. Works for me, would you like an award?

  2. Good one Rob. I’m reminded of the old adage about “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”. It seems to me that value, in all it’s connotations, is just not understood across most organisations.

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