January 19, 2012

Recruitomatic & The Social Jerk (Or: Why you hate recruiters)

Filed under: Hiring, Recruiting, Stuff I worry about, Stupid HR Tricks

This week we started a “pound Nick with questions” thread — and you’ve been pounding! Great questions and topics — and pointed insights. A recurring theme on that thread is recruiters — the inept, the inane, the ones who waste your time, and the ones who leave you frustrated and angry. (There are good recruiters out there, but that’s another topic.)

Reader Dave started to boil it down in his 1/18 comment on the previous posting:

One other thing…

Just recieved the occasioal newsletter from a so called “head hunter/recruiter.”  He said he has developed a relationship with an offshore vendor in order to provide services/people to do work.  One of the reasons he gave for doing this is because companies “can’t find the right people.”

Quite frankly, this made my blood boil for all of the reasons Nick states in his blog post.  You can’t tell me that with all the unemployment, underemployment, people who gave up looking for now, people looking for a change and all the people graduating from college, that you cannot find anyone to fill your positions? 

This is a prime example why I dislike most “search staff.”

Dave draws a whole new thread from the strands that come together in that discussion. I was going to respond to him briefly, but then I realized Dave has generated a whole new topic. He deserves to know…

Why You Hate Recruiters

It’s no accident. It’s a well-orchestrated con game run by experts. HR departments pay expensive consultants to define the “best practices” ($$$) and to promote the “best technologies” ($$$$$$$) that enable HR to maintain the 4:1 ratio of unemployed people to unfilled jobs in America. (That’s 14.2 million unemployed, and 3.2 million vacant jobs.)

Translation: Corporate America pays a lotta money to act dumb when it recruits and hires.

Thanks, Dave, for sharing that newsletter you received from the recruiter who’s going offshore to fill American jobs. But the problem is higher up the food chain. Employers are the ones spending the money here. Recruiters like this one just chase the low-hanging fruit. I’d love to see Congress haul these people in front of a committee and ask them:

“So, when you interview talented job applicants, then what do you do to cultivate them into productive employees?”

The answer is splattered all over the popular media:

“We hire only perfect fits! With these intelligent databases, we don’t have to take chances on training anyone who can’t already do the job with their eyes closed!”

People and companies want to believe that technology can meet the hiring challenge. Savvy, insightful managers who know how to judge talent are no longer required. Give HR a database of jobs and resumes, and they’ll throw money at it forever, waiting for a payout. The job boards are like slot machines for HR wonks: An addiction. The only beneficiary is “the house” — in this case, HR consultants and database vendors who cater to employers who want to believe.

Selling The Mess to HR: A full-time gig ($$$$)

Example: Check out RecruitingBlogs, where “internet recruiting gurus” tout the databases and the social thingies that they get paid to explain to their clients:

“…we’re going to release a ranked list of the Top 25 Online Influencers in HR. This list is completely generated by algorithm (think Google). The list ranks the Top 25 voices in HR based on their online footprint…”

Gimme a break. Online footprints? That’s how we judge value? That’s what consultants teach HR — and HR pays big bucks. That’s why job hunters like Dave are left swinging in the breeze. The recruiters are part of a big social jerk, fantasizing about social media. The blogging consultant goes on to describe his brethren:

“So, I was at this party a couple of weeks ago. All sorts of twitterati were there…”

Then it gets down to brass tacks: Making money by “explaining” the databases to HR rubes with deep pockets:

“There is money to be made in the field today because the techniques required to find people are arcane and confusing. Additionally, with the strong exception of Avature and Broadlook’s products, there are no useful tools for the automation of the process.”

What’s he touting with those two products? Expensive databases that employers use to intoxicate their personnel jockeys. Note the implicit focus on automation of recruiting. The more automated HR becomes, there’s more “money to be made” because nobody can understand this crap. (Try to scrape this one up off the ground in one piece, from the HR Examiner Blog: “Meaning and data in the social web.”)

One of the “strong exceptions” blogger John Sumser refers to, Avature, has a tagline:

“Bring Social Media and Web 2.0 tools together and create unique and innovative solutions to your recruiting challenges.”

How about getting the consultants out of the bars (where they’re being wined and dined by the “arcane and confusing” online recruiting tools vendors), and the recruiters off their asses, and bringing together a few brains to meet some of the 3.2 million “talents” that the software can’t quite figure out? HR is bogged down, and employers are dying for good workers, because HR doesn’t recruit — it pays consultants to distract it with non-stop workshops, white papers, and “best practices” designed to facilitate deep contemplation of the HR navel. ($$$$$)

(By the way, John Sumser is not the only consultant driving HR down into the whirling blade that’s waiting to process you. There’s the aforementioned RecruitingBlogs.com, which delivers non-stop juice to keep the blender going; ERE.net, where recruiters go to talk it all through; and a host of sycophants that have figured out “there is money to be made in the field today…” so let’s get together for another mind-expanding party and to count our money.)

Recruitomatic: It’s all in there

Then RecruitingBlogs.com refers to “Mr. Recruitomatic.” That’s where I rest my case. This is a cluster duck.

Mr. Recruitomatic could be the title of a book about the state of unemployment in America, or it could be an inside joke about how HR rotates on its consulting budgets. It’s all one big database blender, grinding up people into keywords with no decision-making or intelligence beyond the algorithms. Mr. Recruitomatic is churning out swill that nobody wants — or there wouldn’t be 14.2 million unemployed, and 3.2 million vacant jobs, would there?

Or maybe it’s just your fault, Dave. You ignorant, behind-the-times, unemployed slob — you’re just not prepared to be “the perfect fit.” Get some new keywords. Find some meaning and data in the social web. Reduce yourself to what HR is willing to hire.

Welcome to The Social Jerk

“We have a shortage of talent!” Yah — in HR. No shortage of consulting fees, though. ($$$$) No shortage of jargon to mix up with algorithms and some social sauce. But the farther HR sticks its head into the blender, the more it’s clear the talent shortage is in the corner office where the consulting bucks are spent.

Dave, this is what drives HR departments stupid. This is why you hate recruiters. There is an entire industry that earns big bucks mixing up the HR mess that you describe. It’s the motor driving the HR Recruitomatic. Why do I rag on it so? Because the consulting crowd doesn’t have any idea what’s going on outside the blender — they don’t see you getting splattered with muck. There are no fees to be had from you.

While these twitterati advise their eager HR clients about what’s “completely generated by algorithm,” ($$$Cool) they have no idea what is the impact of their only-half-clever, inbred “initiatives.” They’re not out on the street, where guys like you don’t see what’s “social” about software deciding whether you can ride a fast learning curve so you can do a job.

The Recruitomatic and HR’s database-itis — this is why there’s a 4:1 ratio of unemployed Americans to vacant jobs. It’s why you get splattered with HR’s mixed-up rationalizations while you’re trying to earn an honest dollar for doing honest work with an employer that knows how to run a business. And that knows how to hire.

Anyone’s odds — if they’re unemployed — are about 4:1. But what are the odds the board of directors at any company has a clue what’s going on? They don’t get why you hate recruiters. They don’t get why so many jobs at their companies are vacant and work is left undon. They don’t get that the “talent shortage” is largely manufactured by consultants who make out only when HR is playing with Mr. Recruitomatic — not when HR actually hires anybody.

The social jerk is a profitable $$$$$proposition, Dave. Except for you and your 4.2 million buddies.

: :

 

30 Comments on “Recruitomatic & The Social Jerk (Or: Why you hate recruiters)”
By John Demma
January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Nick et al,

Here’s a lengthy blog I wrote several years ago. Though dated, it has pertinence to the current discussion.

John Demma

Do you agree with Drucker’s observation that 2 out of 3 times job #1 (picking the right talent) is hosed up? Savvy HR execs say Drucker understates the problem. Why does an irrelevant but broadly “impressive” candidate (but the wrong hire, in the wrong business moment, for the wrong business challenge), often trump one of substance, performance and relevancy (right pick, right moment, right business challenge)?

…[clipped]…

[Note from Nick: What John Demma re-posted here is a 1500-word article that he wrote for another publication. Because it is a separate article, and not a comment, I’ve suggested that he publish it in full on his website and provide a link here. I hope he does.]

By L.T.
January 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Mr. Chairman, a point of information? You mention “good recruiters”, but none are in evidence. Were there once “good recruiters” or are we merely assuming “good recruiters” for the sake of today’s discussion?

By Nick Corcodilos
January 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

@L.T.: There are some very good recruiters out there. But the world is overwhelmed with lots of lousy ones, so the good ones seem to get lost in the shuffle. You usually meet them when they find you… not the other way around :-)

By Lynda
January 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Oh my! It makes me “fit to be tied” as the old saying goes. Just today I was called to task by HR for sending a candidate( a week ago) who could not possibly be the right fit because he “hopped” around. Never mind he had 17 years senior level experience at the same type of position they needed to fill. ” He has hopped around to much and I can not begin to believe he could have accomplished as much as he says he has at the last three positions in such a short time” What? Gee, his company (for 17 years) moved and let EVERYONE go. He had to work some where.( not collecting state sanctioned welfare:unemployment for 99 weeks)He took 3 positions that were similiar in Logistics and all 3 companies moved, went overseas or went under. (have you not heard about the effects the recession has caused?)Blatant arrogence on the HR persons part. I replied as politely as I could. Once again, touting ,as evidenced by his resume, his positive attributes, personality match and his DESIRE TO WORK! What not even a chance phone interview? Well,you know what? If you do not trust my judgement then so be it but that is not the “game I play”.You do not really want to fill this position with real talent, you want a cardboard cut-out to match your “feel good,I am perfect” attitude. Sorry I wasted my time and my candidates. Call a so called “staffing/temp service”. They will send you 20 resumes a day of people they never even interviewed: maybe one will stick! But please, do not call me again! Ugg!

By E Miller
January 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Just discovered this site-I really appreciate your take on the whole mess. Recruiters drive me crazy! Thanks for the insight.

By marybeth
January 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Oh, this is sooo familiar!

What puzzles me is how HR or anyone can think that there is something wrong with the applicant if s/he has “hopped around” or has been unemployed or underemployed or was desperately employed (i.e., took any old job just to pay the bills, even one well outside of her/his profession). HR employees must live in caves and under rocks. Everyday I turn on the news, pick up a newspaper, and there are stories and articles about the economy, jobs (lack of), the still huge numbers of unemployed, the number of jobs and industries that have gone under, been outsourced overseas, people who have been on unemployment, how even the numbers of the unemployed are inaccurate because they don’t include people who are underemployed, people who have given up looking for a job.

HR should get out of the “recruiting” business and go back to doing payroll and benefits. Then maybe the process won’t be so screwed up.

Nick, your article is dead-on. I’m in several groups on linkedin, and in one of them, a recent graduate of one of my alma maters asked a question: should she contact HR to confirm that they received her application and to confirm the interview? Several other alumnae wrote back to say no–two told her to only contact HR to find out who the hiring manager is (get his name, phone number, email address) and contact him, and one wrote that she should never contact HR because it only annoys them and gets you put in the circular file. She works in HR, said that due to budget cuts they’re understaffed, that they get hundreds and hundreds of applications for every job, and if they had to answer the phone and confirm receipt of applications, they’d never get anything else done. They run the applications through a computer program that looks for keywords, and only the applications that meet the required minimum number of keyword matches get pulled and sent to the hiring manager. She also said to never send resumes to the hiring manager–it annoys him and everything gets re-directed to HR, and these folks start out with black marks next to their names and often deleted immediately for not following directions.

I thought about commenting, but decided that I was too angry to post anything. If no human being is looking at applications, if a computer is picking the applications that match the minimum number of keywords (set by HR), and if HR and the hiring manager get annoyed when applicants contact them or try to avoid the HR black hole, then that isn’t the kind of place I would want to work. And then how is anyone supposed to get through? Maybe that’s the game–no one is supposed to get through, the position remains unfilled, and that looks good for the bottom line.

I don’t know, I’m being cynical, but then again, I’m discouraged and depressed, and angry at the stupidity and waste of time, energy, and talent.

By Dave
January 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

Many thanks for the answer, Nick!

I think you raise several interesting and good points – that “consultants” put too much faith in “databases” that are limited – we haven’t invented flawless AI yet ;-)

I was giving a technical presentation last night to a local computer club and this topic came up… The basic concepts of computers/programming/etc. haven’t really changed and that anyone with half a brain can jump from system to system. However, HR and other “search professionals” insist on having specific keywords, even though the underlying concepts are the same.

I think you hit on an important issue of $$$. Companies spend $$$ in the wrong places – i.e. mindless software used by people who are clueless on how to use it properly. They also spend it on 3rd party recruiters/consultants who charge big fees. Of course, the end client with the job to fill doesn’t want to train someone when they’re spending big money on “consultants” and “software” to do their job for them.

By Stephanie
January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Hi Nick,

I am a physician who counsels people of all ages and would like to know if you would come to a Greek-American Community event to speak about your area of expertise for a highly educated and highly skilled audience?

Are you at all available for such a thing? I have been so impressed with your work for years. I am thinking also about a family member who needs to learn to repackage himself and learn the ropes but seems frozen in time.

Please answer privately or publicly if possible and thanks in advance!

By S Kendall
January 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

True dat, Nick!

By Corey
January 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Hi Nick,

I’ve been seeking a more promising career path than my current employment for several months now. I’ve been getting frustrated with the process and was so glad to find your articles describing (in much better words) everything I’ve been experiencing as a largely broken process.

Recently I was Googling various job-seeking subjects when I came across this article regarding resume or application follow up calls (yeah, yeah, it’s 4 years old, I don’t care!):

http://www.helium.com/items/180853-should-you-follow-up-a-resume-submission-with-a-phone-call

I couldn’t believe what I had read. I had to read it again! “What?! A recruiter (who has a job) doesn’t like receiving follow up calls (from people seeking a job – whom it is his job to review and hire) because it makes more work for him??”

I can’t tell you how angry this made me. Are these the HR people companies are hiring to decide the fate of my career?? At least I’m currently employed – how many fully qualified unemployed seekers have been shot down by this loser because they were proactive in their job search and wanted to make an impression with a polite and professional follow up call? I need to go dig out a thesaurus; I don’t think I even have the right words in my vocabulary to describe the unbelievable level of selfishness and unprofessionalism exhibited here – in a HUMAN RESOURCES position.

Between this and your “Get Hired: No resume, no interview, no joke” article, I am changing my hunting strategy entirely. Here on out, I’m not wasting another minute dealing with HR!

By Som
January 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

After reading “Ask the headhunter” I become my own recruiter, and that seemed to work for me. Here’s the strategy that got me my last job:

1) I researched companies that might need skills I have and I’d be interested in providing.

2) I only looked at jobs on linkedin posted by the person I expect to be my actual boss (not someone with an HR title, a temp agency, or hiring agency or whatever)

3) I researched as many documents as I can about the company that i can find and are relevant. If I spot a problem I can solve, or identify one they haven’t seen probably, I work on coming up with a solution.

4) I search for the manager’s email, or piece it together. Most companies have generic email address, like first initial then last name @ company.com , so it’s usually pretty easy.

5) I apply for the job on linkedin, only because it “satisfies” their hiring process.

5) I email the manager. subject line almost always starts with something like “I found an issue with the company’s….”

6) In that email, I bring up the problem I found, present my solution and briefly explain why it works, then say “the reason why I’m telling you this is because I applied for your job posting, and want to show you what I can do instead of expecting you to figure that out” and close with “if you’d like to reach me to talk some more, here’s my number, and here’s my website and links to stuff I’ve done in the past that you might be interested in looking at”

7) Get a phone call, and talk about the work he wants done for the job. If he thinks I can do it, we meet. If not, I might get a call a month later again with something like “Hey are you still available, because we just opened a position that might better fit your skills”. Yes that actually happened a couple times.

8) When we meet, and after figuring exactly what problem he wants solved, I present a full solution, with ROI and all the important details available.

9) If he has any objections about my solution or abilities, we discuss them and iron them out. I almost always get introduced to other senior managers and even the CEO. I ask them a bunch of questions, like I’m already doing the project they want me to do.

10) I say thanks for your time and go home. Usually get called within a week for an offer or rejection. Sometimes I email a thank you note right after interview with some useful article or blog to show off what little knowledge I have.

And that’s it. This got me my last job, and I have no college degree related to my new career. Surely others can pull this off easier than I can.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

@Corey: That posting you refer to on Helium is attributed to “Anony Mili,” a recruiter who doesn’t have the integrity to use his or her real name.

Helium says it is “in the business of providing a platform where high-quality writers are able to share their wide-ranging knowledge.”

Any writers who hide behind a name like Anony Mili and write for a site that publishes anonymous crap doesn’t “create great content that rises to the top.”

This stuff sinks like a rock.

I recruit staff for my organisation and if I got phone calls for every resume/CV that was submitted, I would be tearing my hair out by now! On average, we get over 50 submissions per job we recruit for (often many more than that) – I don’t have the time or inclination to take calls from every person who submitted a resume.

Anony’s problem is obvious, but Anony is too stupid to see it: Anony gets deluged with submission from people who aren’t worth talking to – because Anony is “recruiting” too many of the wrong people. If his efforts were effective, every single one of them would be worth talking to. More isn’t better, is it?

(In a bio, Anony Mili says, “I write because I enjoy it. I also talk because I enjoy it – but writing gives me a captive audience, people can’t interrupt your words when they’re reading them?” Anony doesn’t want to deal with anyone, or with their reactions, to what Anony says or does. That’s a recruiter?? Anonymous doesn’t cut it.)

By Dave
January 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

@Nick

Re: Your response to Corey…

I think your spot on.

I think there’s an important point that gets missed in here – There may be a ton of submissions of people who may not be qualified on paper. But some of these people may be highly motivated and smart individuals. For example, someone who worked at an IT help desk to put themselves through college to get a degree in Comp Sci or a related degree (and had a good GPA, did study outside of class, etc.). However, since the employer may get a ton of applications like this, they don’t have the time to talk to everyone to figure out who is good and who is not.

By Dave
January 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

@marybeth, @Lynda

Yeah. I agree, it makes me just angry when I hear/read stuff like you mention. There is only a “talent shortage” when you narrowly define things and then have a “dumb” computer do things.

By Thomas
January 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

@ Som – brilliant!

By Michael Enquist
January 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

Som,

Excellent work! You just summed up Nick’s entire philosophy into 10 concise points.

I’m going to post your steps on my mirror, my fridge, my steering wheel and as a background on my desktop.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

@Som: I love it when someone just does it. And I really love your two counterpoint #5’s – which can be done together.

This is a great way to make managers make decisions based on what you can do. HR makes them make decisions based on keywords.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

@Stephanie: I’ve replied to you via e-mail.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

@Lynda: No, no, no. You didn’t do it right. You must scrub them and wash them first, then HR will talk to them.

By Mike R.
January 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Hi Nick,

I’m the HR manager (one-person HR dept.) for a small manufacturing company. We’re a small company, so I don’t have to deal with 1000s of resumes, but even we get a hundred resumes for one opening.

As someone who does review every resume that is submitted(no keyword screens for us), one problem that I often see is that many people do not take your advice and explain how they will do the job profitably. In my job postings and contacts with candidates, I spell out what the person will have to do and achieve in the position to be successful. However, many people simply send me a standard resume, which gives me little clue to whether they can do the job. It’s almost as if their attitude is, I can’t be bothered to customize my resume to demonstrate that I can do the job, so YOU figure out whether I can do the job or not.

I do my best to go beyond their lists of experiences and try to figure out whether the person has the skills/abilities to do the job, but I have no doubt that I’m missing good candidates. Obviously this doesn’t benefit me, my company, or the candidate.

My rule of thumb is to assume that the person reading your resume is a complete moron (and judging by many of these posts, it appears that many folks would agree that most HR folks ARE morons!). If you’re going to take the time to submit a resume, make sure that you do everything YOU can to explain how you can do the job. Don’t rely on someone else to interpret what you have to offer to an employer.

By Volkswagen
January 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

Nick,

Thank you for taking the time to articulate very well your thoughts relating to the current trend of social media recruiting. I could clearly identify with just about everything you wrote in that piece. Very well said!

But, I do have one sincere question for you, and please don’t perceive this to be a challenge to anything you wrote, it is not meant that way.

Along with your excellent advice for a job seeker to do his/her homework on a potential employer, then demonstrate problem solving skills in the communication process, wouldn’t it also be a good idea for a jobseeker to make himself/herself aware of the buzz words for the company/industry they want to pursue, and then include those words in their resume vocabulary so their resume would be one that would be selected by this crazy electronic media process. Perhaps getting their resume on the desk of the HR or Hiring Manager for a possible interview?

Would also like to add that I, too, have experienced the intense frustration with much of the social media recruiting processes going on today. Would like to hear what you think about using even this process to achieve anything that could be productive for the sincere jobseeker.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

@Mike R: Paise be! An HR guy who tells applicants what they have to accomplish to be successful! Would you do us a favor? Post a couple of samples of how you spell this out in actual recruiting solicitations. Or feel free to send them to me at nick@asktheheadhunter.com

Regarding applicants who don’t submit what you ask for (they just send you a standard resume), you should see the stuff I get in response to my little offer at the bottom of this article:
http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/haresumeblasphemy.htm

It’s perfectly clear what I’m asking people to send me — I just gave them instructions. What do I get? Standard resumes. Job hunters are so brainwashed to “press the lever” like pigeons in a Skinner Box that they don’t stop to think.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

@Volkswagen: Sure, if you’re going to send a resume, you should include all the keywords. In fact, just reprint the entire job posting in your resume. Give them everything.

But my advice is: Don’t bother sending a resume at all. Why play the game?

By Nick Corcodilos
January 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm

The Wall Street Journal chimes in:
http://corcodilos.com/blog/4692/resumes-job-hunting-suicide

I had to chime back.

(I added an update when I realized it was Mike R.’s comments — above on this thread — that triggered that posting. Thanks again, Mike.)

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Resumes: Job hunting suicide
January 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

[…] Marc Cenedella: A dirtbag with money running for officePlaying With HeadhuntersRecruitomatic & The Social Jerk (Or: Why you hate recruiters)Open Mic: What’s your problem?Get Hired: No resume, no interview, no jokeAsk The Headhunter in […]

By Peter Miller
February 7, 2012 at 10:08 am

Two points:
One, If job postings/requirements were accurate and free of HR jargon and actually described what needed to be done in concrete terms then applicants would actually know if their skill/experience/knowledge were a potential fit.
Two,If hiring executives/managers were really involved in the process, with clerical/administrative help from HR then,then someone who actually had a clue to what is needed in operations/IT/Marketing/Engineering or whatever discipline would be able to make informed decisions both quicker and more accurately – certainly better than an HR rookie or a key word search.
The internal recruiter or independent recruiter who works from a generic Job Requisition (fancied up with HR jargon) without bothering to find out what the job really does and what the candidate needs to be able to do, deserves the mess they are in.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 7, 2012 at 10:25 am

@Peter Miller: Thanks. You just made my point. HR should get out of the recruiting and interviewing business, and managers should get to work doing their own recruiting and hiring BECAUSE HR CAN’T.

I’d love to be able to count the number of outstanding candidates (that a manager would really like) that HR has “screened out” before they even got to the manager. All because HR doesn’t know the business. That’s no disrespect to HR — HR may be trying really hard. So would the carpenter who’s handed a laser knife and told to go excise a lesion from someone’s lung.

You said it well.

By Som
February 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Sorry for the late reply, but

@ Thomas: Thanks!

@ Micheal: Thanks! I hope it helps you out even more than it did me (keep me posted!)

@ Nick: Hmm that was a typo, so I guess it should have been 11 steps lol. But yes, they do work well together, since all you’re doing when submitting your resume with this strategy is just showing you’re willing to go through their goofy rituals, and relieving the manager of dealing with any bureaucratic B.S.

By Flo
February 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Nick,

Sorry, it’s a long one but really… I’m concerned by what you’re saying. Not the idea, not the tone, not because I’m HR myself (and indeed I am and the first one to say HR is useless, this bunch of originally accountants turned rogue that only exists because managers don’t want to do the job), but because there is an implicit idea in your paper: that recruiters “go offshore to fill American jobs” and thus “maintain the 4:1 ratio of unemployed people” in America”, or in other words that unemployment is because foreigners take the job of locals.

I’m quite sure this is not what you wanted to say, but an alarming inference can be done, probably without you knowing so, and such a reasoning had terrible consequences in Old Europe. Besides this is making little case of geographical imbalances, comp&ben bad positioning, unattractive companies (or applicants) etc. One can’t generalize so easily, that’d be wrong.

So please let’s restate:

– Recruiters are an industry. Just like many competitive industries, especially in commodities (ie: only differentiation is through pricing – here, the commodity is the service, not the resumes) they’re after the quick buck, the low-hanging fruit. Nothing wrong with that.

– Now we can choose to use their service, or not. Anyone who went to countries where recruiters are massively used (think Russia, more than North Am or Europe) sees how bad it eventually drifts away: one day vacuum cleaner salesperson, the next encyclopedia salesguy, the next headhunter. Same process: find customer, find product, make them meet as fast as possible, bill, move on. Repeat sales? What for! I’m selling kitchen appliances now!

– What does it all aim at? Education. Not recruiters’, ours. We know this. Now that we are wiser and smarter, we’ll find a job using the only right way: network. Direct contact. Trust me, that works: three offers in one month, in a country that’s not mine, in an industry that’s not mine, and 1’500 miles away from the hiring managers. Yep. From remote. Just flying in for a set of interviews. And that was more pleasant than filling forms, and much, much faster!!

– Then when we’ll have a job, let’s see if we don’t feed applicants the dishes we were served. Many of us will. I just know it, I’ve seen it happen. We’ll leave it to HR… that is, to me (thanks by the way!)

HR exists because many of us don’t want to do the job, and thus force HR to step out of their only real roles: legal/admin experts and tools & methodology providers to the business (i include challenging managers in the latter). In other words, recruiters exist because we let them. The intolerable exists because it’s tolerated.

But it’s high time we realize we have two sorts of capital out there: $$ and human. There’s one we can grow much better than the other, that’s the human one. It takes to be a good manager: rare item indeed! But funny: we’re all the good guys, the bad guys are the other ones. So let’s see where we all stand in that respect, and that’ll make the world a better place on top of it.

By Omar Schmidlap
February 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Lynda and marybeth,

You’re feeling my pain! If you can’t stand reading anything that sounds like whining, you should stop reading now.

Lynda, your candidate is doing much better than I am. My problem started 21 years ago when my employer of just over one year came off its hiring binge and started on its firing binge. Anecdotally, the reduction in force was in the neighborhood of 50 percent! Somehow, this was my fault.

I eventually returned to school and earned a degree (3.6/4.0 GPA) in a field that is still allegedly in high demand, but received no job offers — not even one. (If one is to believe this well-known school’s propaganda, I would have to be the first graduate to have this distinction.) Since then, I’ve taken several temp and direct-hire jobs. Regarding the temp jobs, I took them because that was what was available to me. So in addition to increasing my employer count due to the short-term nature of temp jobs, I now have the de-facto stigma of working as a temp on multiple occasions. Somehow, this was my fault.

I lost my direct-hire job of just over one year shortly after September 11, 2001. (Several years later, my former boss actually seemed astonished that I was still unemployed.) In the time since I earned the aforementioned degree, I’ve also been adversely affected by two facility closings. Somehow, all this was my fault.

And now I (and many others, I know) have to deal with the fallout from the greatest financial fraud of my lifetime. We engineering types (sic) are generally known to be less than stellar shovelers of BS. I don’t know when, or exactly how, I’m going to emerge from this.

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