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Hire purpose



I realise that I’ve been going off on a tangent over the last week or so and not been posting so regularly.  The election has occupied a lot of my time and energy.  It’s over now, I’m not going to mention it for a while… least I hope not, because I really don’t want to talk about it….Anyway, on the positive side, it meant that I had some time to think about more traditional topics for posts….I feel I need to do some hard HR yards to make up for my lack of focus…..I consider it my punishment….

I know that a lot of you people out there, who I interact with online are in the recruitment business.  I’m also aware that there has been ongoing debate about the relationship between HR and recruiters.  To be honest, I struggle with this one……it seems a somewhat fatuous argument and driven by the typical kind of yawny bollocks that is all-pervading in our world.

I’m a generalist by inclination, but I’ve also run an in-house resourcing team.  I’ve worked on employer branding projects, I’ve executed mass recruitment campaigns and I’ve run niche recruitment campaigns.  I’ve dealt with many many people from the recruitment world and many from the generalist world.  To be honest there are total twats in both camps…….and very few geniuses.

I think recruiters are sometimes guilty of taking themselves too seriously.  I have another post coming later this week about that, but lets face it…the hiring process has been around for time immemorial.  Sure you can tweak it a bit, a little nip and tuck here….a little suction there….but at the end of the day the base process is what it is.  HR generalists on the other hand can go around looking down on recruiters with a sense of snobbery which is ill thought through and based in prejudice and ignorance (although I would say, NOT helped by some firms recruiting Consultants who shall we say are a little….ummm…..bubbly?).

I don’t like recruiting, it really isn’t my cup of tea.  If you take a ridiculously short attention span and cross it with a prevalence to not suffer fools gladly….well you don’t have your ideal recruiter, but I understand the role that they do and the need they fulfill.  There are certain things in life that just need to happen. I don’t like cleaning toilets either……which is why I have a cleaner, simply because shit jobs need to be done.  But I’m sure recruiters feel that way about disciplinaries or organisational design.

Once again I think we are straying into the territory of boring self-centred arguments that mean nothing to the outside world and just help to demonstrate our neuroses for all and sundry.  The voice of reason….moi?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/10/2010 11:19

    The recruitment agency world, like most intermediaries, relies hugely on the quality of the input they receive. They’re easily criticised by both sides as adding little value to the recruitment process other than doing the leg and spade work (I’ve avoided your “toilet cleaning” analogy); for diluting the employer brand; by recruiting people in line with the past/current culture rater than what’s around the corner (and which only leaders within the business can truly appreciate) etc. The criticism isn’t always warranted but……….

    I’ve had a fair amount of involvement with the industry myself and while the jury’s out about whether quality in general is improving, the quantity certainly is, largely driven by the proliferation of jobsites; virtual working “one man” bands etc and agencies with what select agencies themselves consider to be a USP, from the “bubbly” through to the “stuffy”.

    What does surprise me is the apparent lack of attention to detail in pitches and briefs. Take a quick trawl through a sample of daily advertisements on a site of note like Totaljobs or Changeboard and you’ll see basic spelling and grammar issues, errors in salaries; off brand nonsense guaranteed to wind up even the most flambouyant of “creatives” etc etc.

    However you look at it this does impact the employer brand of the client company either by association or by restricting candidate quality. And it undermines client and candidate confidence.

    Given this is steadfastly an employer’s market and has been for some time, I would have expected standards to rise and there to have been a flight to quality. But the reverse seems to be happening!


  2. 05/10/2010 13:11

    Is “twat” another one of those words that means different things in Britain and the US?

    • 05/10/2010 14:47

      What’s the immortal line from Taxi Driver “you talkin to me”? Gold Digger or was that a critical comment about the latest blog post? Either way…I imagine the sentiment implied by the word has trans Atlantic application if the substance may differ a little LOL!

  3. 05/10/2010 21:44

    ‘I don’t like cleaning toilets either……which is why I have a cleaner’

    One of the questions I was going to ask you was this: have you ever cleaned the toilets in McDonalds for money? It is a humbling experience, and one that I suffered to pay off my student debts when I was at university. I was the only student in my year at high school to go to either Oxford or Cambridge, and to fund such an education, McDonalds was there for me, at around £2.30 per hour.

    Dependent on the client, I can command 100 times that amount these days. Sometimes more. I don’t like cleaning toilets, but I do not employ a cleaner.

    What is my point? Well, I have often thought that, while it is not necessary in the strictest sense, it is better to live it and then comment on it than merely to comment on it.

  4. Corporate Daycare permalink
    05/11/2010 02:23

    You know my stance on recruiting. I think it sucks.

    And as you pointed out, so does cleaning toilets, but quite frankly I just can’t justify having someone else do that for me when I am perfectly capable of doing it. And then knowing me, I’m just going to come along after and clean it again myself.

    The bonus of being a generalist is that you have the luxury of saying things like – I don’t enjoy recruiting. As a recruiter, that same stance really isn’t going to help your business.

  5. 05/11/2010 06:12

    How much self-control does it take to describe recruitment consultants as ‘bubbly’? What made you reject ‘cut-throat’, ‘money-grabbing’ or ‘aggressive’?

    A recruitment consultant debating at the (excellent) Executive Grapevine conference once told an audience of senior HR leaders that they wouldn’t need his services if they could just keep hold of their existing talent. He was goading them like some aggressive Alan Patridge-esque parody. Still makes me laugh … hey hum.

  6. Mark Muscroft permalink
    05/11/2010 07:00

    Interesting debate. Taking aside the truism that most people in recruitment are twentysomething sales people with little interest in or knowledge of candidate/client psychology & market dynamics, and accepting that most people in HR look down on the recruitment world seeing recruiters rather as the untouchables in Hindu culture… yes, taking all this aside, the fact remains that a good recruiter is a specialist, and specialists are invariably better at what they do than the generalists who commission them.

    The ‘toilets’ analogy above had a ring to it, but I prefer the car mechanic one… HR tend to use recruiters not because they don’t like recruitment but because they don’t know how to do it properly themselves.

    Interesting too to note just how often HR people come to recruiters to help them find them a new job…

  7. 05/11/2010 07:55

    @The Engaging Engager – Welcome and thanks for the comment. I agree that there seems to be a rapid increase in the quantity and no discernable improvement in quality.

    @The gold digger – Umm….it has a literal sense which is the same but also a colloquial sense…which means a stupid person……and isn’t as offensive as it sounds…..!

    @fernandomando – Believe me, I have done my fair share of unpalatable jobs in the past.

    @Corporate Daycare – Interesting, so do you take the same stance on recruitment? You’d rather do it yourself and do it properly? How is the new job going by the way?

    @Dom Wake – Thanks for commenting. That of course doesn’t account for the recruiters who make a living out of just placing the same collective of people time and time again…..

    @Mark Muscroft – Hi and thanks for taking the time to share your views. I toyed with the mechanic analogy but settled on the toilet cleaning because I’m just a little bit cruder…. Your point is a good one, there are some very good specialists out there who add value, it’s just a case of finding them. And as for HR people using recruiters…..well hell do as we say, not as we do!

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