Career consultant Laurent Brouat wrote that recruiters mostly copy and paste. They recruit (copy) a candidate from one company and place (paste) them into another company in the same industry. “Yup, got one – same title, same industry, we have a match.” He argues that recruiters often don’t think broadly about what “out of the box” candidates might be interesting for the job; they just find the right buzzwords and make the switch. While the best executive search consultants do not do this, I know many contingency fee based recruiters who do exactly this, and have no problem with it. Hey, since hiring managers are likely reject any resume that does not “fit the profile” why bother doing anything else?

“Oh, you need a CFO for your trade association? Sure I’ll find you a CFO from another trade association. They’ll know the ropes, they’ll be easy to train, they should hit the ground running.”

Cut and paste is idiotic. When a recruiter lets a manager get away with that, it’s just wrong. Recruiters should know better. Managers should expect more. What people really want from their hiring is results – business results.

So if you are a hiring manager and you find that your external or internal recruiters can’t have a conversation with you about business results – it’s time to seriously rethink how you do your hiring.  An effective search process is much more than cut and paste.

Finding the right person for a job is a management consulting function.  Whoever is helping you recruit needs to delve into ALL of the following:

  • What business results are you trying to achieve?
  • What is standing in your way? What obstacles must the new hire overcome along the way to getting those results you outlined? How should we share the bad news about the position?
  • What skills does someone need to have to drive results? Do we have the budget to afford this person? If we can afford someone with all those capabilities, why would they want to come work for you?
  • Who is a cultural fit? Conversely, who might have the qualifications, but would not be a good cultural fit?

A recruiting consultant should ask probing questions and challenge the hiring manager to see beyond the resumes and into how someone would really fit in the job. A great recruiting consultant judges their own performance on the business results their new hires achieved a year later.