This is another "Observations from the Blogosphere" post. Lou Adler has some great posts on ERE (ERE is a great resource in general for those wanting to keep up on what is happening in recruitment). The post from today, called "Boom! Why We Should Blow Up the Recruiting Department and Start From Scratch", was certainly provocative. In many ways, I think he is right, but like many in recruitment, he thinks recruitment is the center of the talent universe. It is important, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Here are Lou's ideas (and he is soliciting more) and my comments:
- Have the recruiting department report to the CEO -- If you have read previous posts, you will know that I disagree with this notion. Recruiting permanent hires is only one part, albeit an important part, of a talent management strategy. Talent management is important enough to report to the CEO, not recruiting alone.
- Make hiring managers responsible for hiring top people, not recruiters -- No argument here. Hiring managers should be accountable.
- Disenfranchise your managers -- Lou makes the point that hiring managers should only get the right to vote on candidate competency when they can prove that they are accurate and unbiased. Again, no argument here. However, I would point out that it does make sense to invest in training and development for managers so that they can be accurate and unbiased.
- Don't post your internal job descriptions -- Yep. No doubt about that one.
- Change the compensation structure for corporate recruiters -- It is not all about compensation, but there should be alignment between compensation and the desired results.
- Don't hire agency recruiters for corporate recruiting positions -- I am not the expert on this one, but Lou's logic makes sense here.
- Throw away your applicant tracking system and start over -- OK. I am doing a lot of work right now evaluating e-recruitment solutions. There is a lot of angst out there in the recruiting community about the state of technology today. I am not saying it is perfect. However, I do not think we need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Lou's advice is sound on re-engineering processes, but that does not mean that the systems are not up to the task of the re-engineered processes. They very well may be. Also, as I have posted previously, all jobs are not created equal. Changing your process based on what the technology can support is not a bad thing for certain jobs. Create differentiating processes for differentiating jobs (key talent). Also, remember for the most part vendors listen to customers. The solutions work the way they to do largely from input from customers. If you want something different, you need to speak up to the vendors.
- Don't listen to anyone who is a PhD unless it's in chemical engineering -- I do not follow this point that well, but I will trust Lou on this.
- Everybody can't hire the top 10%, so stop taking the advice of the so-called experts, especially us ERE columnists -- I have to categorically disagree with this one, of course ;). Seriously, Lou has a point. If everyone does the same thing, there is no differentiation. Dare to be different.
- Stop using behavioral interviewing and competency models -- I would amend this advice a little bit. Make sure you are using behavioral interviewing and competency models where they make sense. For key talent, if applied appropriately, they can be useful tools. However, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
I applaud Lou for trying to get people to think outside the box. Here are some more ideas for blowing up recruitment (and talent management)
- Put a line executive in charge that reports to the CEO -- If you want to get credibility in the business get someone who has credibility in charge.
- Align your strategy and initiatives with the business -- We all talk the talk in HR, but we rarely walk the walk. HR professionals (and recruiting professionals too) are good at sharing best practices and wanting to do what other companies do. Only do it if you can tie it to something that is important to business success. That is the only yardstick that should matter.
- Learn from others in the business -- Talent management has many characteristics in common with customer relationship management and supply chain management. How often have you tapped resources in your own organization to get a different perspective on talent management problems? Maybe you should.