Ask the Headhunter: Managers, it's your job to recruit. Don't let HR waste an applicant's time

In his weekly Ask the Headhunter column, headhunter Nick Corcodilos answers your job search questions. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: You suggest that managers should personally screen job applicants from all those thousands of resumes, because HR isn't expert in every job and can't pick the best candidates. With the mountain of phony and invented resumes that inundate every company, an HR department screening is vital. Our managers are supposed to be productive individual contributors as well as handle all the hiring hassles on the side? The more that is outsourced to HR, the less crap we have to wade through and the more productive managers can be.

When HR identifies the one out of 50 applicants who is a potential candidate, I will dedicate some time to them.

Nick Corcodilos: Job applications and resumes are "crap?" Whoa, there. Please remember that as a manager, your first job is to manage your employees, or why are you a manager? And that includes recruiting and hiring them.

Consider where all those resumes that inundate your company come from. Your HR department asked for them. It uses methods that encourage a high noise-to-signal ratio; that is, it solicits tire-kickers. That's not the fault of job applicants. It's your HR's fault.

Please remember that as a manager, your first job is to manage your employees, or why are you a manager? And that includes recruiting and hiring them.

It used to cost quite a lot to run a want ad in a good newspaper or professional publication. Now it's essentially free, so HR posts loads of inaccurate (and even phony) job postings so it can take credit for "keeping the applicant pipeline full." When it used to cost real money to post jobs, HR didn't get inundated with so much drek.

Ever consider taking your HR team to task for soliciting 50 wrong applicants for every good one — and for creating screening work that no one should be doing? What would happen if HR started pursuing only the right kinds of candidates in places where the best candidates hang out — instead of soliciting thoughtlessly on some job board? Then hiring managers like you would be able to do their No. 1 job – recruiting and hiring good people.

Read this article: "HR Technology: Terrorizing the candidates." It might help you reduce your HR budget enough, so your company can offer better salaries to recruit better workers and enable managers to do more of their own recruiting. You will also stop wasting job seekers' time.

Why do you think your 1-to-50 hit rate is so low? It's because of how your company recruits, not because people love to apply to 50 wrong jobs just for the fun of it. You waste applicants' time, because you don't manage your HR department.

Look at your own recruiting system. Then talk to me. In fact, if you're seriously willing to do this, call me, and I'll help talk you through it at no charge. It would make for a good article.

Dear Readers: This manager doesn't want to waste time screening you. How often does HR waste your time in screenings? Would you rather be screened by a real hiring manager or by HR? Has HR ever screened you out incorrectly, because HR doesn't understand the work you do?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth "how to" PDF books are available on his website: "How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you," "Keep Your Salary Under Wraps," "How Can I Change Careers?" and "Fearless Job Hunting."

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