Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Recruiter As Magician

I have always said that recruiting is like putting together a jig saw puzzle – there are a great many pieces which seem to fit, but only one is perfect.  It takes time and patience as well as a very good eye to find the right match for the company’s culture.

Clients hire us only after they have conducted their own search and networking and are not satisfied with the people they have met.  This process for them can often take weeks or even months.  And then they call us and tell us they need someone within days. We are always getting jobs which have been open for a long time and then we are given impossible deadlines.  Last week, a human resources person asked us to find someone and have him or her report for work in about sixteen days; and they would prefer someone who is currently working.  When we explained that even if we immediately found someone, sixteen days would be unrealistic because the company could not get them in for all their interviews in two days (reference checking alone could take two or three days).  And even if the company made a job offer within a week, it would then be at two to three weeks before someone could start work because they would also have to give notice to their current employer.

Every recruiter, even those on retainer, has received assignments like this (about three months ago, we were paid a retainer to identify candidates to interview within two weeks). 

What every recruiter knows, no matter how big their data base, each assignment is different, and it can take several days just to sort through and evaluate candidates who are already in our files, even before calling them to determine their interest.  Ironically, we can often come up with a candidate’s ideal job, but the timing may be wrong for them.  Perhaps they just started a new job, they may be working on a critical project and be unable to interview or a thousand other reasons.  

And if there is no one in our files, then we have to conduct a search, which may take days or weeks or even months to identify, locate, interview and introduce appropriate people for the job.  A candidate who was unable to talk in January may suddenly be available in March or, if the client was slow to act, the candidate available in January  may no longer be interested or available in March.  Often, because of changes in assignments or new experiences, candidates who might not have been appropriate a year prior may be perfect now.  All this takes time to sort out.

And of course none of this has to do with companies which give us very difficult job specs.

And more often than not, we succeed, especially when our clients partner with us and we work together; clients can be very helpful in the process, especially when they tell us who they have seen and why they were rejected.  This kind of partnership gives us invaluable insights and understanding of their specs. Even the best of us are not magicians unless we have help (ever notice that all magicians have assistants?).
Somehow, good recruiters are often able to pull rabbits out of a hat and find the perfect person for a job. 

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