Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are you just "filling jobs"?

When I started this blog I said it would address not only issues for candidates but also for companies who are really trying to break traditional recruiting models and really innovate. So, in that spirit....a few quick thoughts if you are running a company or trying to build a team. I am re-reading "Winning the Talent Wars" by Bruce Tulgan ( and one of his points is worth digging a little deeper. The line is "Staff the work, not the job", think about it. Does your company fill jobs or hire people to do work? There is a difference. If you need to hire 5 software engineers, you don't need a full-time recruiter to join your team. You need a contractor or temp to come in, fill the jobs and leave. Most companies, COMPLETELY miss this point and end up having all kinds of people on staff being underutilized or even worse, people who are supremely talented just wasting time looking for candidates that don't exist.

Let me give you an example.

Company A is looking for a "Patent Attorney who understands Computational Biology". They need this person to come in and help the company develop a patent strategy for their new biotech business. So, they spend two years, countless hours interviewing and a retained agency fee of $50K to find the 5 Patent Attorneys in the US who have Biology degrees. Make an offer and by the time this person is up to speed they missed their window and spend years playing catch-up. (Semi-true story,btw.....)

Company B is competing w/ Company A and needs to find the same person. They decide to outsource the work to the best law firm in town. Working closely with their internal engineering team the firm is able to develop and implement a strategy in 6 months. By moving fast Company B not only gets working on this problem first, but they also seize the market and are able to gain the upper hand against Company A.

Company A is thinking about recruiting and hiring as a "job" based problem, Company B recognizes that they need to hire some people but they can also supplement that core team with temps, vendors and contractors to get the work done quickly.

How do you hire for your organization? Are you filling jobs or do you staff the work? If you aren't thinking about this, my guess is that you are filling jobs and not thinking about the strategic implications of talent management. If you are a recruiter you should be working with your clients to make sure they are not only "filling jobs" but managing their talent in the most strategic way possible. Showing your clients how to "Win the Talent Wars" will be a "win-win" and help you build the type of relationships that every recruiter needs to be successful.

Like I said, this idea comes from Bruce Tulgan. Great read and great stuff if you haven't read any of his stuff I'd recommend it!

Until next time!

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