Recruitment: “Sorry HR, we have to break up. It’s not you, it’s us ….!”
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to present at the second DisruptHR event in Calgary, AB. As nerve-wrecking as it was, I enjoyed every minute of it. Mostly because I got to explain that Recruitment as we know it today is no different than 55 BC. Why? Well, during that time Julius Caesar signed a decree promising soldiers 1/3 of their annual salary (as a bonus) if they would bring other soldiers to join the Roman army.
Many centuries later, a lot has changed yet the “bonus / fee structure” still seems to be the same. Shocking right? Anyway, I might touch on that aspect in a next blog so if you are still charging 30% to your clients, relax … (for now).
The focus of this blog is to explain that recruitment as a function has changed as well – and how you can benefit from that.
THE (ANCIENT) HR PROFESSIONAL
Until not so long ago, as an HR Professional, you were expected to recruit. It was part of your general duties and, unfortunately, it still happens in smaller organizations. However, just like Benefits, Compensation and Learning & Development have all splintered into separate professions due to their complexity, Recruitment is slowly being separated from the HR duties and becoming a profession on its own. Finally!
The days of posting a job and praying for talent to apply are gone. A reactive approach in today’s market doesn’t cut it anymore. HR Professionals are good at many things and as Recruitment Professionals we need to work with them to understand the needs of the organization. However I am yet to meet an HR Professional who says that Recruitment is the most exciting part of their job. Just like true Recruiters are not interested in taking on HR responsibilities.
The skill set involved in both roles are so different that it actually is strange to have one person do the same thing. It is like an IT Professional doing budgeting but, because of legacy, the model still persists.
So what is modern recruitment (and the skills involved) most closely aligned to? HR? No. It actually is Marketing & Sales!
Interesting enough, the education system seems to understand this somewhat. The bulk of training and education for HR Professionals is not about how to actually recruit (sourcing strategies, talent mapping, headhunting, calling, conversation, etc.), it is all about the pre- and post recruitment activities (e.g. job posting, application forms, compliance, etc.). Basically it is all about theory and compliance.
From a sales point of view, the modern Recruiter needs to find and pipeline leads, not just using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) but also a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. It is about tracking leads, making cold calls, networking, meeting short term needs and laying the groundwork for future needs.
Metrics reported by Recruitment Professionals look incredibly similar to the traditional sales funnel. How does my sales (talent) funnel look and how am I going to close those deals (fill the jobs)? What does my last month look like and how can I improve my results? How many deals (offers) am I closing monthly, quarterly or annually?
In other words, the metrics are all about how to improve performance / results.
COST VS. PROFIT CENTRE
HR is often referred to as a cost centre for the organization and Recruitment, if done right, is an absolute profit centre just like the sales department. Why?
Think about the fact that Recruiters sign more long term contracts (offer letters) in a year than almost any other person in the company (depending on size and need of the organization of course). Every organization’s goal is a positive bottom line result, however not everyone can be in a sales capacity. That doesn’t change the fact that cost saving ideas, efficient and effective work methods and overall team effort do contribute to the overall success! So by introducing the right individuals, the Recruitment Professional will be a key factor in positive bottom line results.
In today’s competitive market, many organizations target the same employees and only those with a captivating story to tell will attract the highest performers. Just like Sales, telling your story is what sets great Recruitment Professionals apart from the pack. Not only are they proactive in their ways of locating, attracting and connecting with talent, they know how to engage them for you!
So my suggestion to you, as an employer or client of a Recruitment Service Provider, is:
Make sure the Recruitment Professional you work with can clearly define your story!
I see myself as an (ethical) Talent Thief and have worked in the Recruitment Industry for the past 18 years in the Netherlands, Germany and Canada. I am co-founder at 1010 Recruitment.
As a hybrid of the age old contingent and retained search models, it provides an alternative to employers who have limited recruitment resources by giving them access to a (temporary) Recruitment Partner who is 100% dedicated to their company.