Why taking orders in this market won't work.
I had a chance to see Senior Vice President of Development Dimensions International’s Selection Solutions Scott Erker last week (he is not pictured here.) He gave a seminar on improving relationships with key stakeholders in the selection process. It was a good presentation that applied in a big-picture way to what we face here in China. One of the questions that was raised during the presentation was "How do I get my Hiring Managers to tell me what they really need in a candidate?" I went on to discuss this further with the people at my table, mostly corporate HR Managers, and found the they often have a hard time getting to the bottom of what their managers really need in a candidate and what they add to the Job Description to either fill up the page or to add to the "order" the corporate recruiter is taking. This is the same challenge that we often face as external recruiters. We need to find out what the Hiring Manager really needs while comparing it to what we know is in the market. We do this in a number of ways. First is by double checking that everything in the JD is really necessary. Can, for instance, we substitute one common software package for another. Does the candidate really need x years of experience? A good recruiter will use a number of "what-if" questions to get the answers s/he needs; "What if the candidate has all of the technical skills but only y years of experience, What if his background is in another industry?, What if...." We use these to get an idea of the candidate that can do the job. What a good recruiter is doing with all these questions is creating a functional description from the corporate job description of what the successful candidate will have to do when she gets the job while letting the Hiring Manger know that he is not able to get exactly what he has put down on the job order/job description. Compromise is key in this market as many of the "perfect" candidates that we will find will be far above the salary expectations of our clients and they need to realize that to remain within their budget they will have to be flexible and think outside the tick boxes. Good recruiters, internal or external, should not be order takers, they should be windows into the market for the managers they work with. The best Hiring Managers are those that take the current market conditions into consideration and re-think what they need to see in the successful candidate.