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  1. How Recruitment Has Changed In The Last 10 Years

    August 26, 2014 by Jenna

    I started my career in recruitment in 2004, in the days when skills shortages and low unemployment dominated the airwaves. SEEK was without question the online job board of choice, although CareerOne was in a desperate re-branding phase to attract us all back to their stable. Newspaper advertising was also still a key attraction tool especially for Senior Executive and regional roles. There was no Facebook, there was no Twitter, and there certainly wasn’t LinkedIn.

    But there were people. The most important thing about recruitment, and the essential key to effective recruitment, is and always will be the people. The ability of a recruiter to identify a strategy to attract potential candidates to a job is the first step, the second step is the ability to quickly identify that candidate’s skills, abilities, and motivations to most effectively match them to the right job and right company, and of course the most important step; effectively manage the negotiations of this match-making process between candidate and company to ensure a long-lasting partnership for all.

    Some of the candidates Challenge Consulting placed in 2004 are still in those roles today. Some have moved up into higher level roles with the same or other organisations. Others have made a complete career change. I can still name most of those people I had the good fortune of meeting 10 years ago, I’m not so good at faces – but for me the names tell a story. A story of change of country, change of state, celebrating 10 year wedding anniversary with a surprise trip to Hawaii, babies, marriages, and fresh starts in a brand new role filled with possibilities. I was so lucky to work with these people when they often were stepping outside of their comfort zone and at their most vulnerable, making a job change.

    All those years ago the thing that surprised me most about recruitment, was not the process itself, it was the reputation of recruiters. To many the profession of the recruitment consultant was closest to a used-car salesman – slimy, arrogant, and only in it for the money (apologies to the used-car salesmen). But the truth is the best recruiters do not fit this stereotype. The best recruiters are not chucking CVs at an inbox hoping one will fit. The best recruiters are not scouring the online job boards and cold calling with offers of the best candidates without any idea what your requirements are. The best recruiters are not cold calling you endlessly full stop. Because the best recruiters are too busy meeting people and developing a talent pipeline for your company. They are networking at industry events so they best understand what is happening in your industry and sector. They are meeting with you, between job hires, to understand the current strategic priorities for your business now and into the years to come.

    An ironic shift in the industry happened in 2008; I was at the time travelling overseas enjoying the best that Europe had to offer, but when I returned it was clear that although Australia was not in recession, the Global Financial Crisis had just hit us hard. It was at this time that many of those bad recruiters went out of business. It would be mistaken to suggest that the GFC did not have an impact on Challenge Consulting, because even for the best recruiters business diminished, but like the other great recruitment organisations we looked at other ways to partner with our clients, who too were struggling with the uncertainty of what next.

    Fast-forward to now and what frustrates me the most is that the bad recruiters are starting to re-dominate the landscape. I know this because I now work in the area of career transition with individuals whose positions have been made redundant and they tell me the incredible horror stories.  Recruiters that advertise jobs that do not exist. Recruiters that do not return their calls after a SECOND INTERVIEW with the client company. Recruiters that chuck their CVs at jobs without their permission. Recruiters that do not return their calls full stop. How is it that in 2014 this is the standard of recruitment practice that we accept? How is it that these companies even exist?

    They exist because someone is paying them to exist. Every time a company says, “I will just throw this job out to a couple of recruiters and see what comes back”. They are rather saying: “it is OK to send CVs without a thorough attraction and screening process. We don’t want the best match for our requirements.” Every time a company says: “I will not pay that rate because this other recruiter will do it for less than that”, they are saying “we don’t want good recruiters; we want bad recruiters that will waste our time and ruin the reputation of our company in the marketplace”. Every time a company lists a job with more than one agency, they are saying “we support bad recruitment practices based on competition rather than collaboration and quality”.

    Of course recruiters can do better. We all can, we are all people. But we need to demand that they do better and not pay for those services that breed a profession that burns people out. We need to empower a profession to be the best that it can be by paying for quality partnerships with the best recruiters. Those great recruiters that will partner with you and help you build that talent pipeline that will lead to your future success, because at the end of the day, that’s what it should be about. Your most important asset = your people.

  2. Is It Fair to Consider a Candidate’s Online Footprint During the Selection Process?

    August 12, 2014 by scrowe

    The debate about whether an organisation should use a candidate’s online profile to assess their suitability to join an organisation has been circulating for a number of years now.  Survey results (mainly from the USA and UK) appear pretty inconclusive as to how many are doing it, with figures ranging from 40% to 90% of respondents admitting to using online information in the selection process.

    The basic issues are:

    • Is it an invasion of privacy?
    • Is it fair on shareholders, existing employees and customers to select a person without using all the publically available information?
    • The level of publically available information a person publishes on their own social media accounts is controlled by that person.
    • Not all information available online about a person was authorised by them or is necessarily accurate.
    • Apart from LinkedIn, online information about a candidate is most often used to rule a person out of a job.

    An early article (2010) about the ethics of the subject describes the employer’s position as follows: “According to an article on Ethica Publishing’s web site, ‘When an employer uses Facebook as a means for employment screening, they are practicing the utilitarian approach of ethics [which states that] ‘the ethical corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected – customers, employees, shareholders, the community and the environment.’… Employers do not care if they invade your privacy during their hiring search as long as it is serving the ‘greater good’ by hiring superior employees.”

    Well, my opinion is that an employer (or agency working for an employer) should use the verifiable information that is appropriate for the stage of the recruitment process, the type of organisation and the position being sought.  That means that early in the process it is very appropriate to use information from, for example, LinkedIn (as it only exists for this purpose and all LinkedIn users are very aware of this) and the results of searches regarding a person’s work history.  I do not think it is appropriate to use Facebook or similar information at this stage as this information is predominantly concerned with a candidate’s life away from work.

    Once the person is in the final stages of consideration, though, (typically after interviews have been conducted and the person assessed for both job and cultural fit by the hiring manager and at the time they are being considered for offer) I think it is an appropriate part of a background check to review other sources of information as long as the person is not ruled out without being given the opportunity to respond or validate any unfavourable findings.

    The other consideration that, to my knowledge, has not been fully tested is the legal position.  There have been a number of high profile cases where an employer or agency has been accused of not using all available avenues to verify a person’s history when the history presented has turned out to be false, but I’m not aware of any cases where an employer is pursued because they ruled out a candidate based on information they found online.

    So, what is my conclusion?  I think it is only appropriate to use a person’s online “personal” i.e. non-work, information to confirm the appropriateness of an appointment once the decision has been made using the “traditional” methods (interview, role play, psychometric testing, etc) and that the candidate should have a ‘right of reply’, if needed,  before a final conclusion is reached.

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