Don't Insult Your Audience

Dunce hat in a chairTwo reasons that market and business acumen are so important to executive recruiters are so that they 1. avoid insulting their talent pools, and 2. avoid looking like fools.

Here’s what I mean:

I recently received an in-mail from the practice director of the Human Resources division of a large recruiting agency who was seeking to fill “a Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition role for a global client in Baltimore.” It was a job that required:

  • 10 years of full life cycle recruitment experience, and
  • 2-5 years of recruiting management experience.

The recruiter concluded her email with, “If you are interested, please advise and we can set up a time to discuss!”

Seriously? It’s very easy to see from my LinkedIn profile that I have over 18 years experience in recruiting and that I ran the function for Lockheed Martin–as a director–for over 8 years.

The point of this is not to laud my credentials or vindicate a bruised ego; the point is that the recruiter – especially one at the level of "practice director"– should have known to approach me differently.

First and most obvious, are the years of experience. A glance at my LinkedIn profile would have shown that her job was where I was eleven years ago. Second, she should know that Lockheed Martin is a F100 company. She should also know the Fortune rank of her client company, if it ranked at all. Given that the largest company in Baltimore is number 199 on Fortune’s scale, if her client is in Baltimore, it’s not in the F100. Even if her client is the largest company in Baltimore, it has approximately 30,000 employees while Lockheed Martin has over 120,000.

Nagging in the recruiter's mind should have been the question, "Why would a director at a F100 company, be interested in a lower-level job at a smaller company?  The answer is, that it's not likely they would be. Any decent recruiter would approach that person in their talent pool as a source rather than as a prospect. That she didn't, begs the question whether or not she had either the market or the business acumen to even consider the question.

Again, the point is not about me or my ego. The point is that many recruiters make this type of mistake and solidly brand themselves as amateur and poor ambassadors of their client. At issue is that a company’s objective is to recruit the best talent available. Their recruiters, whether third-party or in-house, are the company’s ambassador to the talent pool. Indiscriminately approaching individuals within the pool without even a cursory due-diligence review of their background and an accordingly-crafted sourcing message will inevitably either insult people who otherwise could be current sources (and future prospects), or leave them with the impression that the recruiter is a fool either without the requisite business acumen, sophistication, or both. Neither engenders a positive reputation for the recruiter or their client.

Amen! You really hit the

Amen! You really hit the nail on the head with that one. I fear that so much "recruiting" has become a highly administrative, transactional process in this electronic age that the art of the skill is being lost.

Thanks for your comment,

Thanks for your comment, Diana; I think that there are many who agree with you!

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