Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our Friends, The Hiring Managers

You have probably read Gretchen Ledgard’s Microsoft Tech Recruiting Blog. I mentioned her blog in a post below. Her most recent entry was a rant about working with Microsoft Managers through the recruiting process. Her blog ended up getting picked up by cnet which caused a bit of heartache for Gretchen. The thing is that this is by far not just an issue for Microsoft. This is an issue for our entire industry. The clients/hiring managers that we work with aren’t immersed in the world of recruiting so we can’t expect them to automatically understand why we don’t have three top candidates to give to them immediately after we receive their job specifications.

It’s our job, as trusted advisors, to work with managers to address the labor market challenges, the realistic outlook for finding their talent and what the process is going to feel like. This is not easy. Most managers are very busy and immersed in creating the revenue—that ultimately pays our salaries. They expect us to do our job so they can do theirs. This is a completely realistic expectation. If you went to Burger King to order a hamburger you wouldn’t want them sitting their explaining why it’s taking so long to get your hamburger—you just want the thing. Part of our job though is to help solve our client’s business problem—that’s having the right talent, in the right place at the right time so our organizations can remain competitive in the market place. It’s our job to solve this, but to solve this we need to involve our hiring managers/clients. The big difference between the Burger King example I used and the recruiting model is that we work for the same organization.

I’m writing this because I had a manager come to me the other day and we discussed what we were doing to find candidates for his role. He had some suggestions and we talked through these. He was non confrontational and mainly wanted to understand why we did certain things and offered some suggestions. The next day he read Gretchen’s blog and came to me and asked if I thought he was being difficult. He wasn’t. He came to me and wanted to be involved. What more can you ask for from a client? This opens the door to talk, to debate, to discuss. This is how problems get solved and both parties can understand the world of the other. Just because things aren’t always happy and peachy doesn’t mean they are bad. People get stressed, there is a labor shortage, we all need more top candidates; this will continue to be a challenge and will most likely become more of a challenge. I think organizations will learn from this. They will learn that finding top talent is as important as selling widgets and eventually will put more resources in finding people. Some organizations get this now and others will be forced to get it as the labor market continues to tighten. Keep the dialogue going though—good or bad!

If you are a recruiter and your clients/hiring managers are always happy with you and feel you always have the best talent for them at the right time, can you let the rest of us know where this place is? I have yet to find this utopia in my career.

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