Recruiting is tough and how to make it better

LinkedIn feed showed me an article that had the title “Recruiting is tough” and so that peaked my interest. Being a candidate I have experienced the issues, so what was it like on the other side of the fence?

Apparently not any better. For recruiters and companies the hiring process is painful. The author described how in 30 years of technology things hadn’t got any better. I can see why there are so many problems and I was thinking about the process and how it could be improved.

I think the major problem with hiring is a mismatch of values. I am not talking about the individual values a candidate, recruiter or employer have. I am talking about the desire of every company to pay its employees the least possible, and the desire for most candidates and recruiters to get the most possible.

So this is where I think the friction comes in. The company tries to quantify and measure everything, and to correlate things with things that have been successful in the past. I have seen that every HR department tries to focus on what worked in the past, as though that was a good guide to the future.

In order to do this, they try to measure objective and real things like degrees, references, and so on. While those things can be helpful, for most companies they are the make or break factor in hiring. What is happening now is that companies are learning that these factors are not the most helpful indicators of job performance, so many companies are now reducing them.

The blame isn’t entirely on the companies however. Many times companies will hire people who are not qualified and try to teach them. This is noble and results in a very loyal employee.

The candidate has his own issues to consider. People do lie and get jobs they don’t deserve, and they also tell the truth and don’t get jobs they do deserve. So it’s a mixed bag.

The recruiter is not the villain or hero either. I have worked with a mix of recruiters. Some of them were very dedicated and creative and got me the position that I excelled at. Others have been so far off the mark it was hilarious. I have actually eliminated certain words from my resume because some recruiters only search by key words and don’t consider the totality of my experience or career goals.

So what is my solution? I think that recruiting is more than just a set of check boxes to mark off. The right person brings something indefinable to the job, and no computer can check that. I think that a recruiters bonus should not be based on the salary of the worker. I think they should get a percentage of the money that person saves in their first year on the job. A company should define the cost of not hiring someone and the cost of hiring someone. Lets say that hiring someone will cost $100k. Not hiring someone will cost $200k. So a recruiter should get the difference between what the absence of that person would be.

What this would do is force companies to better define the real cost of an employee. Too often HR has a fuzzy idea of the value of employees. Business often define IT work as an expense, when IT is an investment. You invest in this person, and they find ways to improve process and save money. This is what I have done in my past jobs, and what good any IT person does. They make things cheaper and better.

Every employee brings more to the table than they cost. Far more. In Apples case I think I read a study that showed that each apple employee brought in about $500k in income. This is remarkable. In my opinion that kind of income means that the wages paid to Apple employees is way out of whack. When you have someone who is worth so much, you need to pay them at more appropriate wages.

Wait I can hear HR argue. If there isn’t money for overhead how is the business going to stay alive? Well let’s think about this. If your employees are paid well, and your recruiters are paid well, what kind of talent do you think you will attract? Oh that’s right, the smartest people will want to work for you. What do smart people do? They create things and make things better. This has certainly been the case for both Apple/Google. Those things they created have allowed those companies to thrive.

It is strange that companies have the attitude of trying to chase the lowest amount someone will accept and then complain their workforce is unmotivated. You can’t have it both ways. I am not motivated by money, but I also like to pay my bills and invest in my education. You can’t do that if you work for a company that pays you as little as possible.

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Interested in technology, loves life.