Is someone banking on you being lazy in your job?

I work in an industry where I’ve been told for a decade technology is going to take my job. The staffing industry is half a trillion-dollar industry worldwide. The entire industry is built on us banking on the fact that someone in corporate TA is going to be lazy.

Ouch! That should sting a little!

So, I don’t really bank on you being lazy at my company. We do contract work so we are looking to fill contingent roles, not direct hire staffing, which is an industry almost completely built on laziness! For my staffing brothers and sisters out there, I hear you, I know you’re ‘just’ filling in when ‘capacity’ is an issue. (wink, head nod, wink)

There are other industries that bank you us being lazy. The entire diet industry! You’ve got overpriced awful foods, bars, shakes, workout gyms, at-home gyms, etc. Because we won’t eat less and move more, because we are “lazy”, we pay a lot for that! Believe me, I pay my fair share! Just because I’m too lazy! Ugh, it’s embarrassing!

Direct hire staffing as an industry could be gone tomorrow if corporate TA just did what they were hired to do. You have an opening, you fill the opening. We aren’t trying to put a woman on the moon! This isn’t rocket science!

But, we don’t fill the opening. In fact, we do just about everything except fill the opening. We post the opening. We meet about the opening. We send whoever applies to the manager of the opening. We meet some more about candidate experience. We have another meeting about employment branding. One more meeting with the manager to see if anything has changed.

That doesn’t sound lazy, does it?

But, deflection of more difficult work is just another form of laziness.

My kid doesn’t want to go out in 90-degree heat and mow the lawn. It’s a hard, hot job. So, they come up with ‘alternative’ work that they have to do that just happens to be inside in the air conditioning.

As TA Leaders, we have to understand how are others are banking on us being lazy, and then make adjustments to stop laziness. So, how do you do that?

Well, I wrote an entire book on the subject – The Talent Fix – you can buy it here – but until you can get it, here are some tips:

  1. Have clearly defined measurable activity goals set for each member of your TA team.
  2. Make those measures transparent so everyone can see them every day.
  3. Have performance conversations immediately when measures aren’t met.
  4. Course correct as measures needs to be adjusted to meet the needs of the business.
  5. Rinse, repeat.

1 -5 above is like page 37 of the book. So, you can imagine what the rest of the 200+ pages will be like! 😉

If you follow the five steps above about half of your team will quit in 90 days. That’s a good thing, those idiots didn’t want to recruit, to begin with, they just wanted that fat corporate check and Taco Tuesdays. They were being lazy and it was costing your corporate bottom line.

The talent acquisition function is not a charity case. I think in the history of HR we’ve done some corporate charity where we let people keep collecting money even though they were costing us money. They weren’t giving back the value we needed for what we were paying. Great leaders stop this from happening.

Great leaders understand that there are people in the world that are banking on us being lazy.

3 thoughts on “Is someone banking on you being lazy in your job?

  1. I agree with everything you said, but feel that it is missing a lot of context that Recruiters understand but casual readers would not (granted, not sure how many non-Recruiters are reading this for fun).

    I’ve been on the agency side and the corporate side, and the difference usually comes down to three things:

    1) Time – An agency recruiter typically focuses on fewer roles and has more time for outbound recruiting; I’ve seen Corporate Recruiters doing full-cycle on 30+ salaried roles at a time with no assistance

    2) Tools – Some agencies (but not all) will have a robust CRM and sourcing tools that give them an outbound advantage while many Corporate TA teams are inbound + LinkedIn and call it a day.

    3) Focus – I might recruit on a specialty role once a year while some firms may recruit on that ten of those roles at a time, year-round. This is the only case where I enjoy using a third party, because you’re paying for specialized knowledge.

    • This is where leadership matters. I’ve been on both sides too and agree that the three issues mentioned can cause drag, but I will say that’s not the fault of the recruiter, that’s the fault of the leader.
      1. There is over 20 years of data showing that recruiters working over 15 professional reqs are going to suffer declining results. If a leader can’t find the research, they certainly can and should be able to do the math on a white board for their leaders (45 hours a week, no meetings, no breaks means at 30 reqs is 90 minutes per req per week…ect, ect, ect) and they should know the hours on avg it takes to work a req to completion.
      2. If tools will save the day, then a leader has to get those tools. Show the anticipated ROI. Leaders should be able to articulate that. If they can’t, or if the company won’t invest, then those are fundamental problems that nothing will fix.
      3. Agree, there is no shop that should be doing 100% of their own recruiting. If you use a differentiated model, you know what is in and what is out of scope of an internal team.
      I agree with Tim that you have to set clear goals and manage to those. They have to be realistic, and should be visible and actionable.

      • I guess it depends on what you feel the theme of the article is. If the theme is “accountability,” I wouldn’t have commented, because Tim hit the nail on the head.

        My point is that if the theme of the article is “how in-house can avoid using agency,” well, “accountability” is a piece of the puzzle, but it’s usually the last piece.

        I’m sure some Corporate TA Teams are heavily using agency because their Recruiters are not being held accountable, just posting jobs and whining when “nobody applies.” Totally get it and I have seen it before.

        In my career though, the bigger thing I’ve seen is TA leaders (usually ones that didn’t come up as a Recruiter) skip all other steps and go straight to “accountability” because it’s free. “Let’s avoid anything that costs money (headcount, tech stack, branding) and let’s jam in some metrics and SLA’s and scream when they are not being met and call it a day and then I don’t have to beg for budget.” You can set passive reach-out/hiring goals and fire Recruiters for not making them, but if they have 30+ reqs and primarily inbound tools, well, good luck!

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