Why do you often find recruitment technologies primitive?

I had the rare privilege of being part of a meeting between some hiring-managers and recruiters at a company. I have been a hiring manager for most part of my professional career and I was no different from the set of hiring managers in that room. The subject was so pressing that the meeting had no preamble; people cut to the chase: “What’s wrong with our hiring?. My role in that meeting: to be a fly on the wall.

Here’s what followed:

HM1: You folks take too long to get us the resumes.

HM2: And the resumes that you send us are of poor quality.

HM3: Even the candidates are of poor quality.

HM1: We have no inputs from the recruiters about the candidate before the first interview takes place.

HM3: Scheduling is all over the place. Candidates don’t show up.

It went on and on until the head recruiter interrupted.

She had a printout from which she reeled out data:

Head Recruiter: JD1 – 8 resumes in 5 days; JD2 3 resumes in 5 days…

HM2: What does it prove? What about the quality?

Head Recruiter: JD1, R shortlisted 8, HM shortlisted 5; JD2…

HM-head: STOP, STOP.

Then he asked me to document, circulates the discussion paper and suggested another meeting soon.

So I got down to documenting the current state of hiring in that company. The situation is no different in others. Here’s a reality check:

  • Hiring Manager’s goal of hiring for the same job-posting is shifting. It’s no more about what she said (job-description) but about what she wants. And the wants keep shifting based on the people that she meets. “But how is the recruiter supposed to know that?” The hiring manager has sent her the job-description (JD), the same JD which took her 5 days to send but 5 minutes to write, thanks to “Google-inside” and “Google-outside”.

So what, she could say, everyone does that. It has all the information that they need to source good candidates.

  • With access to so many social media channels, sourcing is no more a challenge. All a recruiter needs to do is post the opening in an appropriate group on Facebook. She gets flooded with profiles. The problem is how to search for the right matches from their Applicant Tracking System. Why can’t they make it as simple as LinkedIn?

I have stopped searching our ATS. I source directly from LinkedIn; after all, I am an open networker. My network responds to my request, but these hiring managers don’t know what they are looking for.

  • Sources like LinkedIn provide answers without thinking about if this answer is correct for that person’s current context. Try looking for candidates with two SAP SD implementation experience, or look for a candidate who has worked on Windows Azure design, say between 2005-07
  • The candidate profile has not undergone any significant change in the last 10 years.  Can we learn about this candidate’s ability to learn?

These are all complex goals, but truly worth our while as we crack them with our product, SmartHire.

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