I worked for a few clients early in my career who “just wanted a body.” In their minds, anyone was better than no one. Bad breath better than no breath, R. J. Their work program required that someone was sitting in the seat. As a recruiter, it was easy to get people hired—the problem was that you just kept having to do it because turnover was crazy. These assignments ran across a wide variety of industries and roles:
- Pipe carrier—yep, a person who carried pipe around a pipe yard
- Inside salesperson—gotta move those orthotic foot inserts, kid
- Mortgage account rep—refi, refi, refi
- Customer service—a representative will be within you in… 24 minutes
This was high-volume, high-turnover, churn-and-burn recruiting.
I hated it.
Similar stuff in the news today, focused on recruiters at for-profit universities. Check this from Fortune.
Federal and state authorities announced a $95.5-million settlement Monday with the nation’s second-largest chain of for-profit colleges. … former employees alleged the company was illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. By fostering a high-pressure sales operation for its recruiters, Education Management Corp. violated a ban on such compensation and was able to tap into billions of dollars in federal student aid, officials said. The violations in the EDMC case revolve around a federal rule that prohibits educational institutions from giving higher compensation to recruiters who bring in more students. To be eligible for federal student loans and grants, schools must certify that they are not paying recruiters in that way. “EDMC pledged to the United States that it was not paying incentive compensation when, in fact, it fostered a high-pressure, boiler-room sales operation…”
This is what gives recruiters a bad name, both with candidates and with hiring managers. Although this is recruiting for a school, the concepts translate to a traditional talent acquisition group.
Let me break it down for you in simple terms. When it does not matter to you whether candidates will succeed or not—you just want the placement—you’ve moved from a talent acquisition professional to a scumbag. Make the hire, repeat, get a set of steak knives.
As a talent acquisition leader, if you are not looking at the stickiness of your recruiters’ placements, then you’re not doing your job. If you’re running a boiler room recruiting group in a school environment, then you’re breaking the law. Apparently, the nation’s second largest chain of for-profit colleges was doing just that.
The business strategy apparently got distorted to replace volume for talent. It was not important that they recruited the right people or the best people. It mattered that they had a pulse. What a brutal place to work.
NOTE: This post is fueled by the recruiting professionals at Jobvite. Each month, RJ Morris will write a featured post on a topic designed to help recruiters raise their games… stay tuned for the accompanying video series!
I have spent the last 20 years of my professional life advising leaders to make great talent decisions to drive business results. In my current gig, I lead talent acquisition and management for a multi-billion-dollar, 100% employee-owned construction company. I geek out on analytics, succession planning, etc. and love it when we position folks to do their best work. That’s fun stuff. I tease bad HR people, because I think we can all do better, myself included. That’s fun, too.