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I was asked to guest at PunkRockHR this week during the ERE Expo in San Diego. In the interests of repurposing work already produced

[and charging twice]

BadConsultant is pleased to reprint the piece here…


Hello everyone, BadConsultant here. How’s the conference? How’s the weather? How’s the networking?

[how’s the hot tub?]

Enough with the small talk, time for this BadConsultant to get down to undermining the artificiality, resetting the levels and making absolutely sure that s*** hits fans everywhere.

We’ll start with the basics.

There is no more important decision for any organization than who it hires.

[though my grammar-checker wants me to change that to ‘whom it hires’ – curse you Microsoft!]

Every day you help organizations make that decision. You must be very proud to be improving the growth, development and, above all else, performance of the organization.

[cue swollen ego, puffed-up chest, warm smiles and congratulatory mojitos by the pool]


From the manifest recruitment literature, including this conference agenda, BadConsultant isn’t sure if that’s how you see it.

Sure, we see the focus on attractiveness, sourcing, closing and everything else that happens before the decision to hire, but try as we might, BadConsultant couldn’t quite spot anything focusing on recruitment effectiveness, i.e. the difference the hire makes.

[except for one lonely pre-conference workshop focused on culture that… wait… no, that looks like its focused on web-site and corporate brand…]

Here’s our contention: Human Resources

[the last bastion of the abnormality that is the ‘modern’ corporation]

suffers from an inferiority complex to the business, which is why it is still obsessed with the saying “seat at the table”. And because every victim of bullying needs someone else to beat up, HR treats recruiting as its own ugly stepchild

[after all, every recruiter aspires to be a generalist when they grow up, right? Right?]

As it realized that HR was still basically the cost-laden administrative function it had been for the last 30 years, even with multiple sliver-thin veneers of “transformation”

[but I tell you, I’m a strategic business partner now, goddamit!]

the business started demanding savings. It started demanding efficiency. It started demanding metrics. And of course, rather than choosing to truly grasp its own potential, the HR function decided to slap the recruiters around a bit. Under attack, recruiters retreated to where they were unassailable – presenting the company in the market and landing the next generation of talent. Who they handed off to the HR generalist

[/business partner/strategic lead/representative/counsel/insert meaningless term here]

at point of hire to do with whatever they wished.

Battle-scars avoided. Job done. Collect the fee. Move on.

Coupled to the explosion of talent information and channels on the interwebs, recruiting quickly grew to more closely resemble sales and marketing – measured on similar metrics, operating in similar methodologies.

[cue Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenn Ross – have I got your attention now?]

All of which is understandable. But it’s not good enough.

Not anymore.

HR is dying, you see, and what will replace it is a seamless talent continuum from customer to colleague. In the world that’s developing, recruiter performance won’t be judged by simply getting someone through the door, instead you will be judged on the outcomes created by that talent.


Read that again.

[and, for executives who are too important, clever and busy to go back up the page, here it is again]

You will be judged on the outcomes created by the talent that you hire.

Recruitment effectiveness.

While it is hardly a new subject – BadConsultant recalls a long conversation with Dr John in 1999 on the very same subject – it is the next frontier and it’s time for recruiters to stop patting themselves on the back for efficiency and sourcing and attractiveness and all the other stuff that is important but not critical

[wait… you are doing all that, right? You don’t get a pass]

and start measuring what counts.

The outcomes created by the talent that you hire: Recruitment Effectiveness.

[Oh, and before anyone says it, measuring voluntary turnover in the first year doesn’t cut it – do you know how many people are staying employed just to maintain their health coverage?]

It is time to step beyond the sibling rivalry of the broken HR function, to step into the true responsibility of the recruiter to build the business, to step into the potential you have to shape performance, careers, lives and society.

[and you thought you were just trying to close the deal to get your placement bonus – sheesh!]

Which leaves BadConsultant with one question for you: What are you gonna do about it?

A bientot,


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