Why Do We Recruiters Do It?

As chairman of Talent Board, the organization that facilitates the Candidate Experience Awards each year, I am lucky to have the tools and resources to monitor the program’s success. One of the benefits of my role is the opportunity to review the comments provided by the candidates who responded to company requests to complete their surveys on their candidate experience. Recently I encountered a comment that provided a deep-rooted reminder of exactly why a few of us set out in 2011 to establish the awards in the first place. It is summarized in one candidate’s willingness to provide additional feedback after the candidate completed the survey:

“Give people a chance with getting jobs. I have talked to so many people that say it is impossible to get a job today because of the way it is being done. I have been unemployed over three years with the exception of a temporary job here and there. I have two college degrees and it is impossible to get a job nowadays. I always tell people that I wish these recruiters or hiring managers would lose their job and see how long it takes them to get back to work. This new recruitment process is ridiculous, and nothing like it was years ago when you completed an application at the company and possibly had an interview that same day. Something needs to be done about the hiring process now, and I would suggest going back to the way it was before. That way we could get thousands of people back to work.”

This comment is a jagged pill for me in so many ways. Managing an award process that is focused on drawing attention to companies that actually do care about their candidates implies the reality that there are still companies, individuals and processes that haven’t made it a priority yet. From another angle, as a consultant in this industry for more than 15 years, my only personal value to the industry is to help organizations improve their overall recruiting performance – performance to the business, which means protecting the brand, the experience and improving the quantity and quality of job candidates.

This comment motivated me to take a step back and ask: Why do I do what I do? Why am I in this industry? What is it all for?

The good news is that my resolve and passion for the industry has only increased – if that is even possible. I do what I do because I know we can perform better as an industry. I do the nonprofit work and the consulting work because we have to do what we do as a recruiting industry better. Recruiting professionals are the gatekeepers to organizations. We hold the keys to making or breaking our company’s ability to grow, and we have the opportunity to change lives when the right talent/skill set is hired into the right role and the domino effect that has on the next person getting a job down the line.

Recruiters are in this industry because they do care about matching people to careers, and seeing everyone – job seekers, hiring managers and the organization overall – win. The key to getting there means better understanding what that endgame looks like, gathering feedback from all the stakeholders and examining technology and processes so that they support and evolve goals.