Talent Acquisition, stop acting like a service function!

by | Dec 14, 2021

Be the high-value business function talent acquisition is!

As we close 2021, I have never seen so many in-house recruiters on the verge of burnout. Talent acquisition professionals who are exhausted, overloaded, overwhelmed, and suffering from years of C-suite and management neglect.

Put to one side the idea of Great Resignations or Prioritizations, or whatever else the hype is calling it. Recruiters & Talent Acquisition specialists thinking about 2022 know that, come January, there will be a lot of movement. People regularly use the end of the year to ponder the year ahead and consider a change. The pandemic has simply shown that alternative ways of working exist.

This ‘new year movement’ is not a new phenomenon but when you add in the impact of over-firing in 2020, leading to over-hiring in 2021, and a shortage of available people…. the thought of even more roles to fill, may take your recruiters from stressssssssed to burnt out.

Dear C-suite & managers

This is the most candidate driven market I’ve seen in my 18+ years in the profession.

If over the years you have denied your in-house recruitment or talent acquisition function, funding for headcount, training and/or technology, you have led your company to this hiring crisis. And if you are still being inflexible over your hybrid or flexible working policy or thinking that ‘people are lucky to work for you’, your numbers will show it.

Because those who lead, not manage, have set their hybrid policies and have invested in their recruiters – you know, the people who bring in the people that make your company succeed (or fail), and those companies have the upper hand. A monumental upper hand.

Your recruiters understand the importance of what they do but in a market where candidates are in charge, they cannot do it alone. When they’re treated like administrators, and under supported, funded and staffed, they will fail. It’s time to create true partnerships with your in-house recruiters and help them! It’s time to fund the solutions they know will help.

If not, you’ll lose them (too).

Dear In-house Recruiters

Stop acting like a service and start acting like a business.

Let me explain my point using my recent experience booking a copywriter. This copywriter will write the copy that could make or break my business (sound familiar 🤔) so I am paying for a ‘Louboutin’ copywriter, not for ‘Crocs’.

This copywriter is human and to deliver this exceptional level of service, she can only do so much work at a time. Even as a paying client, I expect to wait for this work to be completed. And while I wait, I know I am losing potential sales. But in the long run, better copy will equal more sales and more recruiters and companies I can help with my services.

In TA terms, to give your hiring manager the best person for the role, you need the skills, tools and time to find, vet, woo, offer and, hopefully, preboard the applicant. An applicant who, in this market, has multiple other interviews and counteroffers in hand.

So set boundaries!

People pleasers, perfectionists, and those who fear being ‘found out’ hate boundaries. But boundaries make you a better recruiter. They create ease and lead to success. [The Collective will show you how!]

I’m still reeling from recently hearing an In-house Recruiter tell me that she’s currently working on 90 open requirements. How can one human possibly work on that many roles effectively? 🤯

My advice was a firm set of boundaries and to say no to the next role, like this.

Recruiter: ‘No, I cannot work on that right now because there are 90 roles ahead in the queue. I have availability on [a date way ahead in the future].’

Hiring manager kicks off: ‘…but my role is the most important, I am the most important, you’ll do what I tell you to do… [insert whatever scenario resonates with you]’

Recruiter: ‘Yes, of course, and I understand the impact it will have. In fact, what is the daily cost to the business of not filling this role?’

Hiring manager splutters: ‘…erm, let me calculate that.’

Recruiter: ‘Thank you! As I’m unable to help until [that date way ahead in the future], could you please escalate this cost to the C-suite and explain that by continuing to underfund the in-house recruitment function, as a company we are bleeding this much per day.’

Hiring manager: 🤞🏻 understands [If not, recruiters are in high demand at the moment 💨  ]

Lead discussions with solutions in mind

If there was ever a time to get support and funding it is now! But it must make business sense, so lead talent acquisition strategies conversations with the business impact of the solutions in mind.

  • Recruiters are hard to hire at the moment, so who could take the weight off? Temp administrators or coordinators? Be ready to state what you need.
  • Go out to your network and find out from your peers what tools and technology they are using and why. What are the business benefits of these tools and how easy did they find them to implement? You’re seeking a combination of quick wins and longer-term projects to future-proof the function. And it is better to hear from your peers, who are using them daily, what works and what does not.
  • Training: in what areas do you or your team need support? Or is it your hiring managers who need the training? What kind and what will it achieve.
  • Time out for yourself. You cannot do your job if you are burnt out. You cannot enthuse about your ‘great place to work’ if it doesn’t ring true. What do you need personally to do this job effectively? Kit, coaching, time-off, whatever it is, ask for it.
  • An outsider: often external eyes uncover more easily what your TA function needs to work effectively. Bring me in to run a workshop. They are designed to uncover your real recruitment issues – human or technical – and they deliver possible solutions, fast.

Don’t act too late

In my entire recruitment career I’ve only met two recruiters who chose the profession. And though the rest of us fell into it, we love it. We love the feeling of changing someone’s life because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t do such a challenging job.

But I am concerned about the high levels of overwhelm, exhaustion or burnout I am seeing in our community, and I have been pondering what more I can do to help recruiters besides writing this newsletter each fortnight.

So early 2022, I am launching a revamped Mastermind; it’s the antidote to unresponsive candidates and hiring managers. Over the last 18 months I have watched recruiters grow through the programme, even the veteran recruiters. So if you want next year to be easier, happier & more successful, check it out.

Until the next edition, wishing those of you who celebrate it, a fabulous festive season. And to those who don’t, I hope you have a fabulous break and come back feeling refreshed. 🤞🏻

Originally posted on LinkedIn as part of the Recruitment Isn’t Broken newsletter.


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