Many people think the reason to engage a search firm is to get help with recruiting. Well, maybe that approach works in big companies, but in small firms great recruiting is nearly useless by itself.
Hiring smart internal recruiters, engaging search firms, and even turning the recruiting process over to a Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm is usually a really bad idea for small organizations. Recruiting support is absolutely useless to you … if it is not integrated within a cohesive hiring and performance management process. (NOTE: By cohesive, I do not mean expensive).
Do you ever wonder why so many companies are frustrated and disappointed by contingency search firms? It’s because most contingency search firms do not see it as their “place” to suggest how organizations should run their internal hiring process. So contingent search firms focus their efforts on recruiting. But great hiring involves a lot more than recruiting. And you can’t improve the whole until all the parts work together:
- Simply writing up a typical job description is useless … unless you first understand what performance is expected from the new hire and what competencies are necessary to drive that performance.
- Developing an interesting and complete job description and ideal candidate profile is useless … unless you reconcile your target hiring profile with market realities. (You might find you have champagne tastes on a beer budget and may need to revise your performance expectations to fit the budget).
- Simply posting a job description on job boards is useless … unless you employ additional strategies to recruit less active job seekers. You can’t make an intelligent hiring decision selecting from only those people who happened to see your ad. Conversely, you should not avoid ads, they can be a good way to diversify and expand your candidate pool. If you want great hires, it’s important not to limit your candidate pool to people found using any single recruiting method (including employee referrals).
- Simply recruiting more candidates (or paying an agency to recruit) is useless … unless your hiring managers know how to interview and how to distinguish top performers from other candidates. Research shows that most hiring managers do not use the best strategies to select top candidates.
- Simply doing a better job of selecting resumes and interviewing candidates is useless … unless you structure your interview sequence to provide a great experience for the candidates. You can do more harm than good when your disorganized interview sequence reveals internal organizational conflict and indecision.
- Simply making the occasional good hire is nearly useless … unless your managers have confidence that your hiring process can reliably produce great people “on demand.” Until the hiring process is considered reliable, managers will always be reluctant to manage poor performers. (When managers are confident they can “trade up” then performance management becomes much more effective.)
- Improving your hiring process is a fine start, but you will not be able to keep improving your process … until you follow-up on every hire to ensure that they achieved the business results you expected. After all, getting business results is the whole point of hiring isn’t it?
A great hiring process is a “force multiplier” for a great performance management process, and vice versa – both processes support and multiply the effectiveness of the other.
But recruiting? Don’t even think about spending money on recruiting until the rest of your hiring process warrants the investment – you will just be pouring fine champagne in a dirty, leaky, plastic cup.