Dear Workforce Management Pushes Us to Rush the Hiring Process. How Should We Respond

By Staff Report

Jan. 28, 2005

Dear Hurried:

Both chefs and short-order cooks are in the same business. Yet few would disagree that they have different perspectives about their jobs and their customers. Chefs prepare meals, whereas short-order cooks cook food. The recruiting experience all too often resembles that of a short-order cook, and the only way to break out of that role is to insist on being given credit for your culinary skills. The secret to the whole process is to be elevated by your customer, namely the hiring manager.

People who insist on unrealistic deadlines either don’t understand the staffing process or care little about quality. Instead, they believe that you can buy gold for zinc prices, or that zinc will somehow manage to equal the worth of gold. Just as software companies can’t rush out a new application suite, neither can human resources be expected to find the perfect candidate in a hurry.

If your client insists on unreasonably short deadlines, find out why. Present the issue to them in their own terms. If it’s a sales organization, ask if it can guarantee that it will take a cold-call candidate to a top revenue-producing client in two weeks. If the answer is no–as it surely will be–ask why (but don’t be snide about it). Or put it this way: is it possible to upgrade the e-mail system within 24 hours? The answer, of course, is no.

A job done badly in two weeks is worse than a job done well in four weeks. Your job is to make that case. Remind management that hiring should be neither an inconvenient activity nor one carried out with unnecessary haste. Point out that hiring is part of the ongoing growth and development of the business.

Turnover results when a hiring program aims either too high or too low. Overqualified candidates who realize they won’t achieve their career goals fail to stick around. Conversely, “bargain hires” who lack experience, maturity or talent are no surer bets to address your organization’s need for highly skilled individuals. They may fill the job, but if the person hired fails to measure up, brace yourself to begin the process anew.

Demonstrate how haphazard hiring and failing to stick to the script–the position description–negatively affect your company’s business. Focus on the “lost costs” that result from hiring and training the wrong person for the job (not to mention repeating this process several times before you find the right person). Put the recruiting and hiring challenges in dollars-and-cents terms to help your top management take notice. The hiring process has many partners and players, so failure–as well as success–is a group effort.

Try to elevate your management’s expectations, much as a chef does when preparing a gourmet meal. Otherwise, you’ll face a human resources career that’s the equivalent of slinging hash.

SOURCE: Ken Gaffey, principal, Kenneth T. Gaffey Consulting, Melrose, Massachusetts, March 19, 2004.

LEARN MORE:Curing the Turnover Disease.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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