Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm just a Recruiter.... and maybe you should be too!

I'm just a recruiter. I wasn't born one, never really wanted be one, but here I am... just a recruiter. Given the choice, I'd probably have become an Astronaut, Firefighter or may be a Hot Dog vendor (you know -the little silver cart with the blue & yellow umbrella - yummy!), but I never dreamed I'd become a recruiter. Why? Because recruiters have the unenviable role of living in a business equivalent of the life of Tantalus - trapped between HR and the business. I'm not really HR; I don't warn, threaten or fire people. I'm not really in the business; I don't have a revenue target, I don't make a product and I have little ability to drive business policy... I'm stuck being just a recruiter.

But, I am a good recruiter (yes, they do exist, and especially in the corporate environment, we really do want to help the business succeed). We try really hard to understand your business and what it takes to find the right kind of people to make your business wildly successful. The challenge is that for you, the business managers, the secret formula that make a candidate great seems a second nature. You shrug off the recruiters when we nag you for more info about what a qualified candidate looks like, then bash us because we don't find you the left-handed, purple astrophysicist you wanted a week after you first raised the need.

I'm not writing this post to invoke a pity-party although it feels that way. I'm trying to set the mood here to lend more relevance and emphasis on this article from Fast Company that calls out how important the business manager's role in recruiting the next great player is. Quotes from the article really sound off clearly that the managers need to get into the recruiting process fast and deep: "make clear that hiring great people is not the responsibility of HR. It's the responsibility of every single manager." , "no one outside your group -- no human-resources specialist -- can understand the kind of superstar who will make a difference in your work. Only you can understand that."

You business managers hold the keys to solve your most critical needs, and you don't even recognize it; you need to be recruiters too!


If you are a business manager (or want to be one), start taking stock of what "A Players" in your field look like. Start this exercise before you need to hire someone rather than when the need arises - that's about as effective as closing the barn door after the animals have fled.

Want an easy way to do this? How about turning it into a team project and get everyone to help create the police-artist style description of the type of person you need for each role on your team? That way you will not only have all the answers to give to your recruiter, you will have a profile against which you can start building your own pipeline of talented folks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watch what you say

Internet job board, The Ladders ran a survey recently to find out what office-etiquette goofs could get you into hot water, and the top vote getter was.... Bad Language! In fact 38.4% of the managers surveyed cited this as a reason for firing someone. Obviously, they have never worked with me! By the time I get done with an average day in my little HR-domain I've cussed enough to make a Sailor blush.

My guess is that if you read this blog, you suffer from the same "potty mouth syndrome".

Since this blog is about managing our careers better, I figure we should explore a way to improve on this. One interesting resource I found is the Cuss Control Academy. In my little web-dive to find more on this topic, I found it really amusing that there are lots of articles out there about profanity in the office that call out the behavior as being a detraction to how the work world views you, with even more articles from the academic world that explain how cussing can get you expelled. Seems to me that maybe the same gravitas should apply in the workplace as in the school, but then I'm in HR and that's just how I am wired.

Take a quick pulse-check of your vocabulary. Are you dropping the F-bomb every time someone hands you a task? Have you cussed out your computer before 10 a.m.? Does your "pet name" for the boss begin with the letter "A" and end in hole?

If so, try the following:
- Replace the "F" word with "Monkey" - it'll still be inappropriate to blurt out, but at least it wont get you canned!