Lazy Recruitment – Part 2

Neil ButlerUntypical Thoughts

Last week, I posted about lazy recruiters and given the response I have received, I felt that a follow-up post was warranted.

I have noticed that many organisations have started using an even more automated process for their acceptance of resumes and cover letters using application systems (e.g. Taleo) . Typically, these are used by the big corporates in the market who have seemingly ditched the recruitment companies and started advertising directly through job boards and other networks like LinkedIn.

In most cases, when applying for a role through a recruiter or directly via a jobs web site, a candidate can be reasonably expected to present a cover letter and a resume, ideally tailored specifically to the role that is being offered.

The disturbing trend that I have noticed in recent weeks is that some of these bigger organisations are asking the candidate to present those documents and then – on top of the work they’ve already done – to enter all of that information into their recruitment data base.

And I mean ALL of that information – role by role.

On one such site the other day, an associate of mine, after attaching their cover letter and resume for a short-term contract role, was asked to enter the following information for each and every role they have had – company, title, duration, key tasks, role type (i.e. professional, administrative, etc), occupation and sub-category, achievements, and reasons for leaving. That’s right, basically enter, role by role, field by field, all of the data that is pretty much already presented in their resume and then some.

My observations for what they are worth:

  • The amount of work involved in doing this task is significant, particularly for someone with many years of worthwhile and relevant experience. For many candidates, this is only one of many roles they are applying for – they don’t really need to be wasting time acting as some kind of admin assistant for each one the organisations they are applying to.
  • This process suggests an air of arrogance to me and reflects badly on the organisation involved – “if you want a job with us, here are some hoops that we’d love you to jump through for us”. Is this administrative work created to make it difficult for potential candidates to apply, ensuring that only the “serious” ones get through?
  • If it is so terribly important to have this information translated from a resume to a database, employ someone to do it for you – don’t assume that the candidate is so keen to work for your organisation that they will donate at least half an hour of their own time to enter the details for you.
  • Call me a cynic if you like, but I think that the primary reason that recruiters are keen to have the data in a data base in this format and not in a resume is that it makes it so much easier to do key word searches – for this role and for future roles.
  • If they are using the data base to compare candidates, I believe that the recruiter is throwing away one of the most important elements of candidate assessment – the presentation of their background. There is so much to be learned by reading the resume as it is presented – not by comparing values in some sterile recruitment data base.

I have just completed a recruitment activity for a client – 108 applicants for a bookkeeping and administration role. Each application was read individually and an assessment was performed against the key criteria that we had agreed with our client. Each applicant received an email response – not just an automated one to say that their application had been received – according to whether we were going to proceed with their application or not.

They were also told that if unsuccessful, we wouldn’t be keeping their resumes on file – that’s right, we start with a clean sheet every time. I was once proudly told by a recruiter, trying to sell me their services, that they had over 1 million resumes in their data base. One million.

What proportion of those would be current? By definition, when someone is sending through their resume, they are on the hunt for a job. That means that their resume won’t be all that useful to you as soon as they are successful. If candidates are encouraged to develop their resumes and cover letters to meet the criteria of a specific role, by definition, their resume will be useless unless the exact same role is offered by the exact same organisation.

I seriously just don’t get it. Automating the process may introduce all sorts of efficiencies for the recruiters – key word searches, comparing skills and experience using words entered into fields instead of having to actually read the individual resumes, etc, etc.

But I cannot be convinced that this process produces the best results for clients. And I am absolutely certain that this is not meeting the individual needs of each candidate.

So what we have a process that makes it easy for the recruiter, that probably produces sub-optimal outcomes for their clients and annoys their candidates.

What a winning solution that is.

I might just leave this here => Untypical People.

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