I get contracted to come in and help companies fill open positions. Many times, there are things that could be changed to allow the company's recruiting efforts to have maximum effectiveness. HR has complete control over the Recruiting Process. Much to their disdain. Human Resource professionals enjoy recruiting about as much as shooting themselves in the foot. Before we get too deep in the article, consider breaking these two up. Give your recruiting org the freedom it needs to properly represent you and acquire the best possible talent. Let HR focus on what happens once they enter the company. This will allow both groups to apply appropriate focus where each should focus.
Maintenance versus Acquisition.
Human Resources is a maintenance department. As much as HR executives loath the idea, that's the reality. They keep record of employee information. They maintain employee and manager concerns and benefit information. They advise on Employment Law or the boundaries applied by Employment Law. Finally, they create policy to help alleviate potential interpersonal and legal issues within the corporate environment.
These are all extremely important roles for Human Resource professionals. What they are not, are Acquisition Professionals. They are not marketing, or social engagement professionals. This is where Recruiting separates from HR. It is true, recruiters do have to be aware of the legal implications of their actions. Though not to the extent that HR needs to be concerned with the actions of corporate employees. Recruiters must apply consideration that they are not putting the company in a potential legal issue later on during their acquisition process, which would then fall to HR. Just as your marketing teams get the word out to customers, so do your recruiters get the word out to potential candidates. Some recruiters are more specific and can target that specific individual you require. They are Human Acquisition Professionals. They know how to talk to obtain a quick rapport, advise candidates of the company from an almost third party stance and work to make each side of the equation happy with the outcome. These traits don't work within the confines of HR. Recruiting almost requires working as a third party adviser to both sides. Where HR will always be there to protect the company from itself first and foremost. A great recruiting org will take into consideration both sides and work to achieve a positive end to the acquisition. It is a fine line they walk. One that is not always appreciated from the company side. If done correctly it will always be appreciated by the candidates. Which helps the company in the long term with referrals and positive word of mouth or Human Acquisition Goodwill.
Systems as a road block, not a vehicle.
This is by far the worst issue I've seen. Companies implement a system that is heavily HR focused solving a set of problems HR faces, but does nothing more than apply even more work to an already full plate for its recruiters. Or worse, the systems are so poorly focused for recruiters the recruiting org has degraded back to the late 90's and do everything manually. These areas of work are so different that they each require their own specific systems to be a vehicle, not a road block to productivity.
I have worked with countless HR and ATS systems over the years. These two are very different and should always remain as separate entities to one another. They should interface to allow for exchange of records once a candidate is hired. They should both push data to a central reporting system for Hiring Manager and Executive review. Your Recruiting system should not be just a record repository, but an integrated and aggregated interface to the numerous external systems required by your recruiters. It should allow flexibility to add other external systems or interfaces easily and as required. The areas in which you find great candidates aren't always standard ones. The drawbacks to use by your recruiting org has more to do with efficiency than effectiveness. The more efficient you make your recruiting team the better they can serve you. The easier you make it for them to access areas where they might find your candidates, the easier it will be for them to get you the right candidates. You would apply this logic to your customers and related systems, so why not your recruiting?
Forced to hustle, rather than engage.
As a recruiter, if you've ever worked in an agency setting you know this all too well. Numbers, numbers, numbers is the name of the game and yes, it becomes a game. Tracking and KPIs are an important part of any business, especially when recruiting is involved. Companies in the above "systems situation" have no idea what KPIs they need to track. How could they, they barely know what is happening on a day to day basis. Each weekly report being manually edited and therefore open to both interpretation and fallacy. I'm not saying your recruiters are liars, but let's be real, everyone wants to keep their job. If you're rated by what you put in a weekly report, rather than tracked interactions showing up on a dashboard, you're likely to game the system.
Strict adherence to KPIs can cause an adverse effect as well. When pushed for numbers rather than quality, recruiters become mindless search and spam machines. You know what I mean. I'm sure you've received emails from agencies telling you how great their company is only to have a job description that has nothing to do with your career or aspirations. The corporate environment can also fall to this type of blind recruiting for the sake of numbers. This is the hustle. This is the hill I have to climb every time I work with a new manager or candidate. If you're not careful, this inconsiderate approach also becomes the career PR of your company. It is for this reason I read every resume and NEVER search and spam. If you don't read my resume, send me appropriate correspondence, then you're no better than the sheikh who wants me to give him my bank account information. This can also bleed into your customer base causing lost revenue. Your recruiting efforts are marketing. Employees or candidates may be future or current customers. If your recruiting org presents a "you’re a number" attitude, then that will be the public's response in kind.
Let the recruiters engage. Use surveys to make sure their interactions with the public are quality. Keep an eye on the numbers, but understand the true value of relevant communication and positive candidate experience.
Admins versus Specialists
This is the biggest misconception in the staffing industry. I have seen in small companies, 20 or less employees, where the admin of a manager is charged with both the HR and Recruiting duties. Even in those environments, the hiring manager should be the recruiter, with the admin backing them up on, well, administrative actions.
In horrible fashion, this concept carries over to larger corporations. Recruiting is HR admin and vice versa. Wrong, so wrong that it's no wonder your recruiters poorly represent you to the public of candidates. There is a bit of truth, in that there are business administrative aspects to recruiting, but that's it. Putting admins in charge of your recruiting is similar to putting dog trainers in charge of your children. They may obtain obedience, but they will not get your kids into Harvard. This takes a specialist. This takes a recruiter. One who is versed in the art of acquisition and negotiation. Someone whom understands your needs as a hiring manager. One who listens to the candidate to glean, that their family wellbeing is a greater motivator than personal accomplishment. Then understands how that applies to the company's work-life balance policies. These are not the functions of admins, these are the capabilities of highly skilled, well-disciplined and educated individuals. Their decision making skills and methodology emulates that of your hiring managers to obtain the greatest possible accuracy when presenting candidates for the team. They drive the processes and people involved to make choices based on facts, rather than feelings. They keep the process and people moving along with little to no supervision. These are Recruiters. Should you be lucky enough to have one in your employ, keep them, hold fast to them, because they are the reason you have all those wonderfully intelligent people around you.