Master Recruiter Series: What Does Recruiting Have to Do with Retention?

Please note:  This is a re-post of an article, “Hiring For Keeps – What Does Recruiting Have to Do With Retention?”, that I originally wrote for the Jobsite.com blog , where I am honored to be a regular contributor!

Recruiting is a Business Function

I don’t think anyone who knows me, sees me speak, or reads anything I write would argue the fact that I love the Recruiting Profession. In business, Recruiting is one of the most important functions that ANY of us do — it is the building of our teams, it is how we achieve our goals, our success.  Unless in your work, you only need to count on yourself, a business cannot be successful without doing Recruiting well.  But what does Recruiting have to do with Retention?  I say it has a lot to do with it.

Why Discuss Retention?

Maybe retention is not one of your MBO’s or tied to your fee, but if you want to be the best, if you want to be different from the rest, if you want to last in this industry as the world changes, you should recruit with retention in mind!

What is On the Line? Having “Skin in the Game”

I remember the first time I introduced retention – keeping employees employed with your company – as a performance goal to one of my recruiting teams and they looked at me like I was crazy. I understood their questions — they had no control, they weren’t making hiring decisions, they weren’t managing them or their environment, etc.  The fact is – no one has total control — or as my friend Ed Newman says, hiring is always a crap shoot. But I wanted them to go beyond what other recruiters did – I wanted them to have skin in the game – and that was exactly my purpose.

Recruiters Need to Own their Work.

I talk a lot about how we elevate the Recruiting Profession to match the importance of the function itself. I believe we do that by truly owning it — and by becoming as much a part of the business as the people we are helping to build their teams.  To do that, we have to know the industry, the business, and even the teams — maybe even better than they know (or want to know) themselves. It is not enough to understand the required and desired skills of the job specs and expect to find the right candidate/fit for the role. You also have to go beyond the resume — get to know your applicants and candidates, beyond the check-boxed skill sets. If you take the time, they will often share more with you, the recruiter, than they will with the hiring manager/team, whom they know are the ultimate decision makers.

So, What Does This Have to Do with Retention?

People don’t leave jobs; they leave bosses or companies that don’t fit. There is so much that has to be uncovered to find a fit. You can take an A-player in one company and put them in a similar position in another company and it could be a disaster. Different environment, culture, players, organizational structure, challenges, objectives, performance measures — shall I go on? As a Recruiter, you should know these things about your organization/teams. Do these things align with what the candidate needs or what motivates him? To know all this, one must take the time, be curious, pay attention, listen, ask questions — as well as having the confidence and credibility to advise and consult those who depend upon your expertise.

What Really Matters -

The simple fact is it does not matter if the company thinks the candidate is a perfect fit for them, if the company is not a fit for the candidate — and vice versa. Unfortunately, neither side (jobseeker nor recruiter) usually takes the time to make sure it is a fit on both sides. The Recruiter can play that devil’s advocate or objective party — that person who is not too emotionally (or conveniently) invested in filling the seat or getting the job. I am by no means saying that this is how it happens — I am simply saying that in order to elevate this profession – that is how it should happen. Where there is fit, there is retention – so I ask, why wouldn’t recruiting be relative to retention?

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Chris Havrilla

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02 2013

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