Recruiting, Reenvisioned

What is the worst buying experience you’ve ever had?  For most people, it’s buying a car.  New or Used, it doesn’t matter – buying a car, sucks.  It starts with the sales person.  You go onto a lot, you see a car you like and you want to take it for a test drive.  The last thing you want is to have someone you don’t know, ride a long with you and make small talk when you’re trying to decide if the car if right for you.  It starts the entire experience off on the wrong foot.  Then you finally decide and you have to sit through a minimum of an hour while you do this stupid dance between the sales person and their ‘sales manager’ as you negotiate the car.  From top to bottom, most people would rate – buying a car – as the single worst buying experience they’ll ever experience.  The entire process is set up for the car dealers, not for the buyers.

From a recent article in Time on re-envisioning the car buying experience:

…“I wish the Apple store was more like an auto dealership.” Or even something like: “My check engine light comes on and I smile.”…When asked what car shopping should be like, Michael Accavitti, vice president of marketing at American Honda, and one of the judges at the challenge, offered the following description:

“It should be like when you go to an ice cream store. Everybody is happy at the ice cream store. They are laughing, smiling and joking. When you buy a car, it should be the same.”

Recruiting is a little like buying a car for a company/hiring manager/candidates.  It’s uncomfortable. Both sides want to ask things, but they don’t. Both sides want information, but it’s not shared.  In the end, one side usually feels like they’ve won, and one side feels like they ‘left something on the table.’

How do we change that?

That is a really difficult question.  Like the car buying experience, dealers and auto companies would have changed it decades ago if they would have a better answer.  The problem comes down to the company not believing the buyer is smart enough to understand their position and need for a profit.  “Hey, look, the car cost us $15K, we need to make $2K, the taxes will be $1K – it’s going to cost you $18K” Instead they they list it $25K, and let us feel like we are ‘getting a deal’ when they negotiate it down to a purchase prices of $21K – then we find out a neighbor down the street got his for $19K and we lose our minds.  Trust broken – you made one sale, you won’t make another.

I think, like the article explains, recruiting functions need to become more match making services versus we’re going to sell you what we have!  Ultimately, I’m not looking for the best talent. I’m not.  I’m looking for the best talent that matches my culture and can work effectively within our organization and those already in it. Those could be very different people.  Recruiting tends to only look, or mostly only look, for skill match.  Hiring manager needs Java Developer, Recruiting delivers Java Developer, one or both are miserable because they didn’t really match to begin with.  The problem with why we don’t do this now, is that it frankly takes to long and is too subjective.  Subjectivity causes HR heartburn.

I don’t have an exact answer, but I wonder what recruiting would look like if we went more vs.


6 thoughts on “Recruiting, Reenvisioned

  1. Not sure about recruiters matching for culture – especially as culture will mean so many different things to different hiring managers. Plus, often “culture match” is just shorthand for personal prejudice.

    It’s a really tricky area.

  2. We wholeheartedly agree. We provide a matching service that you describe matching applicant values and personality with organizational culture. 100% online with matching reports in seconds. All scientifically validated predicting fit, turnover, job satisfaction, engagement and more. This is not your grandmother’s HR tool!

  3. Agreed! I was recently thinking that recruiters would do well if we were able to function more like–match the job to the person based on compatibility. It’s the “how” part that makes things tricky.

  4. We definitely agree Tim – the recruitment process is fundamentally broken, the resume is dead, and recruiters are making bad hiring decisions everyday. At Kira Talent ( we believe that the infusion of video allows recruiters to see more candidates earlier on in the recruitment process so they can better assess issues like fit, soft-skills, and attitude.

  5. This is such an important topic, Tim. I was in the middle of writing a blog about the candidate experience when I came across your post. Having recently experienced a dehumanizing and misleading process myself, I agree with you that recruiters need to rethink their approach. As a former recruiter I know its a tough job to manage in the digital age, where hundreds apply for a single position, but there has got to be a way to make this a less painful process for both the recruiter and the applicant. Looking forward to seeing the insights from your followers.

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