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Don't Be Blinded By Common Recruitment Myths

While concerns must be addressed, talent leaders should be careful not to allow recruitment myths to delay business-critical hiring.

August 4, 2011
Related Topics: Talent Acquisition, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition
KEYWORDS hiring / myths / recruitment

As the recovery gains momentum, talent managers are expected to quickly recruit the right people for many new and replacement positions using fewer resources. While all recruitment concerns are legitimate and must be addressed, talent leaders should be careful not to allow recruitment myths to delay taking the most efficient and effective course of action on business-critical hiring.

Myth 1: Filling a high volume of hard-to-fill positions is nearly impossible. A hard-to-fill position requires a unique or specialized skill set that can sometimes be difficult to find either because few people have it or so many companies need it. The competition for people with scarce, in-demand skills is high.

For example, lithium ion battery engineers, who have highly specific knowledge, are in great demand these days. Every automaker, battery manufacturer and alternative energy provider needs to hire them. Another factor contributing to the difficulty of finding the right person for a hard-to-fill position is geographic location. The local labor pool may be too small or the location itself may not be attractive to viable candidates.

Managers who fail in this situation don’t know how to create talent pools and how to source creatively enough to fill the volume. What's needed to fill volume is to understand the parameters of what makes the job hard to fill in the first place, and then to mine underutilized sourcing channels to build specifically skilled candidate pools.

Talent managers can start by digging into their competitors to find candidates with experience, or look at colleges for graduates with relevant degrees. They should think about how to motivate qualified people to move to the geographic location and offer incentives to make the company more attractive than competitors. Talent managers looking for candidates with a specific skill set both immediately and over time can tap into popular social media tools to build communities of people who do that type of work. Moving on from the post-and-pray approach into strategic candidate pooling allows them to fill a high volume of hard-to-fill positions.

Myth 2: Hiring for volume means you need to sacrifice quality. When hiring a lot of people in a short period of time, the speed imperative can make it feel like quality will have to suffer — but the truth is it doesn't have to. To maintain a high level of candidate quality when moving quickly, managers may need to divide the tasks among teams of recruiters. By doing so, managers can drive more of a lean approach to managing the volume. It’s the same principle as Henry Ford’s assembly line: While it takes a long time for one person to build one car and manufacturing that one car is very expensive, it is much faster to have teams of people building specific parts of many cars; and the more cars you build, the less expensive they are. This model can work just as well in recruitment; it’s efficient because the workflow is streamlined. Taking a lean team approach to driving volume hiring can help maximize candidate quality as well as efficiency.

Myth 3: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) takes control away from you. Talent managers who think outsourcing means relegating control of their recruitment efforts to some mysterious place overseas are mistaken. In reality, many RPO providers that avoid the call-center model are in a position to help companies by offering a measurable and scalable solution and building collaborative relationships with their clients. Their reporting provides full transparency and cost-per-hire pricing models for accurate insight into ROI.

Reliable RPOs work with clients to set parameters by which the provider can be measured, monitored, audited and managed to achieve the client’s goals. By specifying expectations and the RPO provider’s deliverables in a clearly defined partnership agreement, managers can have more control over the results of recruitment efforts.

Paul Harty is president of Seven Step Recruiting, prior to which he has built and run recruiting businesses for more than 15 years. He can be reached at

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