by Curtis L. Odom, Ed.D.
Recruiters are on the front lines of the workforce,
trying to bring talent into organizations; there are a lot of qualified
people out there from a credential standpoint. Fit is where the true
challenge lies. Will this person fit our organization?
There are many meanings to that. Does the person look and feel to
others like they belong here?
The answers to those questions play a huge role in the talent
acquisition success. Unfortunately, recruiting and staffing is seen by
the organization as an easy thing, as a lower level skill. On the
contrary, it is probably one of the hardest things under the umbrella
of talent management to find the right match of talent to the
organization and the hiring manager that needs that talent.
Organizations sometimes shy away from being very definitive about the
type of person they want, commonly because they don’t want to be viewed
as being biased in some way. Personally, I think this is erring too far
on the side of political correctness. As a
culture and a society, we’ve carried it way too far.
One of the biggest things that frustrates hiring managers is that
recruiters take too long to get the talent the company needs. In
reality, the business doesn’t understand what the recruiter is doing.
When the hiring manager says,“I need a human factors engineer. I want
them to have 10-12 years worth of experience. I want them to have worked
for one of the big five consulting firms. I want this person to be in
the local area, because I’m not paying for relocation.”
All of these unique factors not only shrink the candidate pool and
restrict the options of what the recruiter has to work with, but also
increases time to hire.
The recruiter takes this information and has to create the
job requirement if it doesn’t exist. That might take two or three days
to write it, review it, post it, and start to field resume submissions
from applicants. It might be three weeks or
a month before the recruiter even starts to get candidates in for
interviews from when the posting went up based on conversations with the
I think we’re coming to a point where things are going to stabilize,
because nothing lasts forever—even the downturns, even the bad times.
We’re going to reach a point of stability. And when that does happen,
you will find a lot of organizations that are going
to start to think differently. They’re not going to ever want to return
to talent firefighting, and they’re going to turn to thinking, “We
never want to go through that again. We want to at least be able to
mitigate our exposure to the whims and vagaries of
the markets and economics.” The only way to do that is to literally
have as lean and as flexible an organization as possible. That means do
more with less. To do more with less, you have to have top talent and
processes to enable that talent to do their jobs
while pioneering a new paradigm.
You can’t do more with less if the people that you’ve got do not have
the capability to pull it off. The best way to find those people is to
grow them. You can’t hire them; because if you hire them that means that
you had to go out and poach them, which costs
money and is not a long-term solution to a recurring problem.
Corporations and organizations over a twenty-year period have had to
resign themselves, to hire and replace, hire and replace. If you don’t
have talent management that gives Gen Xers comfort enough about their
career with your organization, they will go elsewhere,
and you will consistently hire and replace. A
properly structured talent management strategy such as a “talent
farming” strategy can dramatically cut the cost of that impact and can
guarantee you, perhaps, a seven-figure savings over the
long run to the company in recruiting and staffing agency costs.
“Do we want to invest
in ‘talent farming’ now so that we can have the best talent in house to
deal with whatever organizational challenges come next?”
that this would require people that are self-driven,
that have self-confidence, that are willing to get out there and lead.
Talent management is about sourcing candidates for knowledge, skills,
and abilities to accomplish the organization of today’s goals. It
stresses the importance of hiring based on the right fit for the
individual and the organization.
Being stuck in the middle between having employees who are able to do
the job, and in a place where they can do the job well is somewhere many
organizations often find themselves. However, many are learning to
recognize the warning signs, and know now how important
it is to get it right when hiring for the best fit.
Curtis L. Odom is Principal and Managing Partner of
Prescient Training Strategists, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on
integrated talent management. Author of
Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management, Dr. Odom has recently been a featured expert in/on CNNMoney.com’s “Ask Annie” column,
Wall Street Journal’s FINS blog, Ebony.com, Huffington Post and
a number of other regional and national outlets. He has over 15 years
of experience in talent development, performance consulting, training,
and instructional design as a practitioner,
researcher, author and speaker. www.stuckinthemiddle.me.