I have blogged before about Nick Corcodilos and his book Ask the Headhunter – I can’t recommend this book enough to job hunters and am most thankful to my friend David White who first directed me to it. Nick’s new book will help you work effectively with headhunters, too.
Nick doesn’t mince words when it comes to HR recruiters: you should avoid them, to the extent possible. Instead, connect directly with the hiring manager and “do the job in the interview.” Ask the Headhunter tells you how. Do that and you’re home free…right?
I hope Nick doesn’t stroke out from this recent question posed on the Job Doc section of the Boston Globe website (also appeared in the August 9 Boston Sunday Globe). In a nutshell, the fellow of a think tank organization has an opening for an assistant. He knows who he wants to hire. He has worked with the candidate before. The candidate has a strong work and academic record. Not so fast…
None of this, however, negates their HR department’s top-ranked snobbishness. They would rather hire an Ivy Leaguer with a degree in something completely different. They do not even entertain applications from lower-ranked schools. This fellow has gone through four assistants in three years because his HR people keep giving him Ivy League grads who are experts in other fields. The position involves actual skills (lots of math) that a philosophy major from Harvard can’t learn on his/her own.
I am not the entitled type, but this is bordering on ridiculous…We both anticipate this being a problem but don’t know how to approach it.
Boston Globe Job Doc Pattie Hunt Sinacole did not comment on the issue of a recruiting department declaring veto power over a hiring manager. She did recommend a written plan spelling out in polished detail, everything from the candidate’s competence and work samples to a plan of the first 90 days on the job. I think Pattie’s recommendation is a very good one. However, if all else fails, the hiring manager must be willing and able to take that written plan and, if need be, walk it over to the VP of Human Resources and get that employment offer letter signed. It’s up to this think tank fellow, the hiring manager, to go to the mat to get a competent assistant, not a fifth unqualified Ivy Leaguer.
While this example likely runs contrary to the conduct and ethics of most HR professionals, it raises the question as to the role recruiters should play in the hiring process. I have been fortunate to work with several highly qualified and professional HR leaders over the years and they too cringe when their field of expertise is tarnished with such elitist behavior.
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