Real Value In Talent Acquisition

166769502Today’s world of talent acquisition or “recruiting” seems to have some very confusing measurements around what represents value. The market is trending toward more outsourced solutions: RPOs, MSPs, automated résumé parsing and screening, as well as offshoring some or all of the initial contact with potential candidates. This trend seems to represent a quicker delivery (in most cases) of résumés to the hiring managers or client delivery team.

For hiring managers combating a real talent shortage, is the quicker, faster delivery of résumés really the best answer? In my career, the focus has always been on working toward finding the best hire, not on the delivering résumés within a 24 hour period.

The sad reality is that there are HR organizations that seem to drive the same concept of value whether they are recruiting for themselves or outsourcing the work to recruiting organizations. The selection process is essentially driven by a commoditized procurement model rather than a value/success driven talent acquisition model. I am convinced that the commoditized procurement model falls short in helping to support hiring managers. Forcing a usually overworked hiring manager or executive to review numerous résumés (we refer to this as a résumé blizzard) in the hopes of finding that one aligned and ideal candidate is a recipe for failure.

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I discussed this theory with a manager at a major airline a few years back. He had already gone through a hiring process 3 months earlier to hire 2 senior people on his team. Of the initial 2 hires, one eventually didn’t show up and he was getting ready to release the 2nd due to performance issues. The manager reached out for support from the existing HR partner and wouldn’t you know it, he received 60 résumés within 2 days. I asked him about his plan for the 60 résumés and he said; “probably take them home and read them over the weekend.” This gentleman had a wife, a new born, 3 other children and was already working 10 to 12 hours a day. He eventually admitted he would probably only get to look at 10 to 15 of the résumés.

When did quantity of résumés delivered in 15 minutes or less represent success and value to hiring managers over delivering quality and finding the “right” candidate? Managers forced to staff under these circumstances sometimes never get to see the best available candidate. Ultimately, the organization ends up accepting the best of the mediocre submitted candidates. On the other hand, high performing organizations focus on their talent acquisition process.  They insist that their recruiting or HR professionals streamline the acquisition process for the hiring manager. The lesson is this: a monkey can pull scores of résumés off of Monster or CareerBuilder, the real value of a recruiting partner is their ability to evaluate hundreds of résumé submittals and find the two to three most ideal candidates.  In addition, they help managers review résumés and guide candidates through the recruiting and hiring processes. This leads to a better representation of the organization as well as a more informed manager and ultimately congruence when offers are eventually made.

I believe it’s time to put the human element back into the recruiting processes as a matter of practice as opposed to the exception.

I look forward to hearing what other professionals think. Let’s start a dialogue.

 MORE: Problem policies for the HR community

George Albert Opitz
George Albert Opitz is president of Brightwing.

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