ABOVE : Three Heads of Recruitment pictured on a recent conference call.
*stooge (n) – One who allows oneself to be used for another’s profit or advantage; a puppet.
So far in my recruitment-specific blog series – Headhunters, recruitment agency firms, contingency providers, the world of RPO and MSP, the HR recruitment market, redundant recruitment technology, recruiters…these boys have taken one hell of a beating. Some fair, some not you told me, but throughout the series so far a name kept coming up again and again. How could this reactive, redundant, recruitment ecosystem exist without this flawed character ? How could so many external organisations get rich without this person in existence ? A character so flawed yet so comfortable I can barely say their name without a little bit of sick reaching my mouth.
Readers I give you the Head of Recruitment 1.0, an utter stooge who pimps out his company’s budget annually to perpetuate the world that has provided him with the pipe and slippers lifestyle he has become used to. How do you spot that the stooge still exists in your organisation ?
1. They have had the exact same contractual relationship with their RPO provider for a decade now. A decade that has brought peaks and troughs of economic turbulence but have a KPI deck that has remained unchanged for years and always looks green – and they are content with measuring the square root of sod all, as long as that drunken invite to the ‘RPO of the year’ event keeps coming up.
2. They believe that the major part of their job is hob knobbing with their fat agency PSL and the odd visit to the offices of the search firm with the shag pile carpet they helped fund. In return for the odd snippet of ‘he moved, she moved’ in the industry there is a ‘nod and a wink’ that for as long as this stooge is in charge the billings will look good. Thanks for visiting sucker !
3. Their approach to emerging technology is to treat everyone in the function to a £6,000 LinkedIn licence, even their underworked, job entitled Personal Assistant gets one. Like a corporate sex toy they read in a magazine they should get one but they don’t really know what it’s for. In fact I once worked with an organisation that appointed a head of sourcing who had no presence on LinkedIN. Jesus wept !
4. They are in charge of a recruitment process (and I say that loosely as it was last crafted using a Quill pen in the 20th century) that involves a looser form of assessment the higher the value of the job goes up. All assessment tests for the foot soldiers at the bottom yet happy to accept a ‘cough test’ for Jarlath’s ex-rugby playing buddy from the golf course at £1m of organisational investment.
5. They believe that branding is something cowboys do to their cattle and that a candidate experience is something you get for your birthday along with a red letter.
The reason the stooges exists in large numbers is the symptomatic Matryoshka doll syndrome inside 20th century formed organisation. Layers upon layers of incompetent HR middle managers. Firstly, their boss is usually an imbecile from a ‘generalist’ HR background who doesn’t really get recruitment and leaves the stooge to his own devices. Secondly, nobody focuses on value so as long as you can provide the auditor with your interview paperwork twice a year then all’s cushty. And lastly, the head of recruitment gene pool would put the Amish community to shame. The current recruitment 1.0 leadership, with a few noble exceptions, are born and bred recruiters who’ve emerged through the ages living inside their narrow ecosystem, rubbing shoulders forever with like-minded luddites and keeping their head down as expectations have remained low. Whatever you do never let two heads of recruitment meet and copulate – the outcome is not worth thinking about. 🙂
Now here’s the crux of the matter. If a business had a voice it would be articulating a desperate need for more agile HR organisations where roles were bigger and more demanding at this level. The modern polar opposite of the stooge for an enlightened employer is potentially one of the most exciting and demanding roles on offer. In my opinion it would require a man or woman so talented that they would be in charge of a multifaceted business that :
– Integrates an exciting recruitment technology roadmap of enormous proportions. A real expert, Andy Headworth talks in greater depth about this in this recommended article on the subject.
– Obsesses about talent outcomes rather than pure process.
– Embraces recruitment analytics to truly understand and reiterate what works and what doesn’t.
– Talks in investment and not cost and can redefine the entire talent landscape at a time of major professional disruption.
– Leads an organisation that attracts new skills and capabilities, redefines old ones and provides for exciting career paths that produce properly sized, more demanding roles.
– Develops strategies with a complex set of virtual partners to create true communities of talent that meet quicker and more successfully the skill demands for tomorrow.
– Can truly help a business redefine its vitally important first impressions with the market by dialling up a candidate experience mindset.
Or you could choose to have the Stooge, all fur coat and no knickers, pushing this vital function into the land of HR Service Delivery where counting heads and the ‘cost of everything, value of nothing’ is king.
The other external recruitment protagonists want the stooge to remain. He brings comfort and importantly revenue to an old dying model that forces nobody in the value chain to up their game. His impotence and inaction is their finest business development strategy and will remain so until someone in the HR stratosphere begins to seize the initiative and show this emperors new clothes for what it’s worth.
For all of us passionate about the opportunity that this provides to recruitment and HR in general, I firmly believe that our prize can be the laughter of our job hunting children…
Until next time…kick the bums out and let the whole rotten recruitment 1.0 system fall. Nyuk, nyuk nyuk stooges…