Recruitment is in urgent need of a makeover

Line managers and other business leaders are best placed to maximise recruitment efficiencies.

Imagine a day when someone asks “should I contact the recruitment department to place my application”, and you reply “I don’t have one”. Imagine the confusion. Imagine your explanation that teams of recruiters make no sense and add no value.  Entrepreneurship is fostered by having senior teams, placed all over the world, handling their own talent needs. Why inflate the organisation structure by adding a layer just to manage recruitment? 

By now, business leaders should be understanding that their team teams want immediate access to talent. They are also best placed to advise against a full-time hire when a part-time hire will do. Lastly, senior leaders don’t want to limit themselves to what recruiters put in front of them. They know what they need better than anyone else and are fully capable of hiring the full timer when needed, and the independent contractor when needed. 

Too many of us have teams of recruiters trying to fill roles they have no clue about. Even when they do, the slightest glitch or problem during the process often results in unnecessarily extended delays. I would suggest that not having a dedicated recruitment department can have a positive cost impact as teams assume the responsibility finding the best-fit in terms of bringing in the right people with the most efficient working arrangement.

Why aren't more organisations having conversations about ditching the old ways of hiring? Using same old methods of hiring and hoping to get the best people doesn’t work. It never has. With advances in technology leading a remarkable transformation in how companies organize work and define what a “worker” is, reinventing the way we reach out to this talent is essential.

The rise of the platform economy, along with generational shifts across the world, have created a massive opportunity to disrupt the recruitment space. Adopting a business-as-usual approach is a recipe for getting left behind by competitors as current recruitment models and methods, quite simply, are too costly.

Line managers have to lead recruitment

A talent strategy is ideally built on the ability to access the right people, the right skills, whether from inside or outside the company, at the right time. This shouldn’t be too difficult since, without the constraints of job descriptions, bureaucratic recruitment departments, office walls or geographic boundaries recruitment should become as complicated as choosing a new car.

I would add, this talent strategy is most efficient when it’s the line manager who is doing the search and hiring. Those are the leaders in the organisation whose focus is less on talent acquisition and more on talent access. They think more about how to “borrow” the right skill at the right time rather than “own” the skill. They understand that, with this model, they can afford a higher calibre skill when “borrowed” than when “owned”. 

Only the line manager has the ability to take a chance on a light bulb moment when the right skill is suddenly within reach to reorganise the project around the talent mix within the team and get a new specialist add value based on their specific area of expertise. 

Only the line manager sees the open roles as a loss of productivity and unnecessary cost.

The recruitment function is one of the leading differences between companies thriving in fast paced future that requires agility and speed; and those that will fail and fall behind. Put simply, those that embrace an on-demand mindset in managing their workforce innovate faster, compete better, and adapt more quickly. I would want to place the power to drive the ship forward in the hand of the experts leading the organisation and not slot in another layer of complexity called the recruitment department. 

We should all want the same people who need new talents and skills, and who own projects, to have the ability to fully select their talent, in order to totally own project delivery and implementation. 

Experience tells us that the more urgently we need talent, the more challenging, slow and costly it is to hire. I am sure you have been through the experience of your recruitment head coming into the room saying that they can’t find the right person with their allocated budget. 

This usually results in companies outsourcing the talent need to large consulting companies because of the urgency of a project - and they're not cheap.  Now imagine if you had the ability to reach out, on demand, to talent and plug them in immediately as needed.  With the right platforms, AI solutions, mindsets, structures, digital tools and partnerships — as well as constantly learning and refining as you move forward – organisational agility and efficiency can be enabled by eliminating layers of process that dilute accountability and discourage the sense of ownership and entrepreneurship.

The fact is, in this new democratised world of work, top talent is in huge demand and it does not want to be owned.  People want larger canvases to be able to work on their own terms, and require flexibility in order to do so.