This is my first blog. I'd envisaged writing something uplifting, inspiring, humerous or even educational. However, unfortunately, I'm going to have a whinge! But only in the hope that there’s someone out there who can feel my pain and share their experience.
First, a bit of background… I relocated to North America last year from the UK, no regrets – I’m loving it here, both personally and professionally. I am a headhunter, searching for the passive candidate that my clients can’t find by themselves. I manage a small team, all of us run 360 degree desks – sales, delivery and everything else in between. I consider myself a “consultant” and a “business partner” and even an “extension” to HR within my client companies.
However, I have noticed some key differences in recruiting in Europe and recruiting in North America.
I often read blogs on this site promoting the use of the telephone to build relationships, gather information, get referrals, sell in services – I wholeheartedly agree, the telephone is the best way to do this. However, I’m being thwarted!!!
I “get” internal recruitment – I see the value and have some very successful relationships with a lot of my clients through this function. However, I am being told more and more often that I am not allowed to contact business leaders, hiring managers or, in fact, anyone who is not talent acquisition or internal recruitment.
Having recently signed up to a Preferred Supplier Agreement with a leading global consumer products company I was genuinely keen to learn more about the business and specifically within the functions where I specialise. I first asked my Talent Acquisition contact for an introduction to the relevant Internal Recruiters but was told “It is not appropriate for you to call them, you are on the list so they will contact you if/when there is a vacancy.”
I explained that I wanted to inform them of our services, our specialism and approach so that when they did want to engage a TPR, that they could make an informed decision on who they partner with. These people don’t know me, and they don’t know my company. How will they know when to contact me when all they have is a company name on a long list of over 50 recruitment vendors?
My next approach was to reach out to the senior leaders within my functional specialisim. I was certainly not calling to “drum up business” but with a genuine desire to learn more about the business. I had some great conversations with at least 5 of the key Managers and Directors who were very pleased to see the level of interest and knowledge I had. They were very keen to spend time with my talking through the function, the challenges and some of their hiring frustrations – some spent almost an hour with me! With every call I made a point of confirming that there was absolutely no change to current recruitment process and that they should continue to work with their internal Talent Acquisition partners who would then engage us only if appropriate to do so. I was very transparent with everyone I spoke with regarding who I am and my reason for calling.
This, it appears, was also not appropriate! “Please wait for a recruiter to call with a need, which may or may not be immediate. Please do not call the hiring managers directly as it is disruptive.” Apparently, this business does not want me to be prepared, they do not see the value in me understanding how things operate, the culture, the structure, the challenges and opportunities.
Some of you may say “move on”… “find a client who does value your input”… Ordinarily I would agree… however, this is not an isolated incidence… this is happening more and more. Every contract I’m sent these days from HR has a clause forbidding me to contact hiring managers or business leaders.
I would genuinely welcome your input, insight and thoughts. Please and thank you!