Pretty much every recruiter (in-house or agency) will promise to recruit “the best talent”. I like the phrase as it uses 2 key words that interest the reader ‘best’ and ‘talent’, however I also think it’s a load of sales tosh.

For regular readers of my posts you’ll know I’ve returned to recruitment after a 6-year hiatus. This time away from the sector has given me some much-needed perspective when evaluating how to solve a client’s hiring problems and I have developed an offering that is a bit different to those recruiters who have not experienced anything professionally outside of their sales cubicle.

One of the changes that’s occurred in my absence is the phrase ‘talent acquisition’ and apart from being the most Americanised thing I’ve ever heard, is also a throwback to the old days when companies believed they were omnipotent.

The dictionary definition of acquisition is ‘the act of acquiring or gaining possession’. I find it difficult to understand how that is relevant when trying to attract future colleagues who you want to be engaged with your employer brand and feel valued rather than another brick in the wall (sorry Pink Floyd fans).

I have actually put the word ‘talent’ in my LinkedIn summary so I know it sounds hypocritical, however if I put my real title ‘recruiter’ then 2 things would happen.

1. The keyboard warriors would hound me as apparently all recruiters are evil buggers and parasites (this hasn’t changed since I’ve been away but apparently we’ve now moved above estate agents in the abuse chain)

2. Possible clients might not think I’m any good as I don’t shout TALENT really loudly like everyone else. As I run a small business I can’t risk losing a client so have sold my soul and hate myself a little bit because if it.

The word best is also a strange one, it’s ambiguous enough to never be measurable yet sounds so alluring. Who doesn’t want the ‘best’ in their business, or to actually be one of these fabled ‘besties’. This again is where I believe the focus should shift away from skills, ability and experience (these are a given) and more around the right FIT for a company and the candidates themselves.

The number 1 priority for recruiting (from every meeting and conversation I have ever had with HR professionals) is the right FIT for the business.

If this is the golden key, why doesn’t it always open the door.

The answer is hiring managers (who have managed to wiggle away from HR or the internal team) like recruiting and make decisions based on who is sat in front of them. It’s a very powerful thing to employ someone, it gives people a sense of enormous satisfaction and if they’re honest makes them feel pretty important. Therefore, they want to say they’ve recruited the best. However, being the best in an interview doesn’t matter at all if the candidate has no synergy with your company’s values, or hasn’t engaged with your employer brand as the focus has been on getting the job (candidate) and filling the role (hiring manager), and not matching the right person.

I believe there needs to be 3 people in the recruiting relationship to make it work; client, candidate, recruiter and it doesn’t matter what they’re called as long as they have a common goal in mind. If you’re expecting me to tell you this goal then I’m afraid I can’t as each assignment is different (apart from the obvious), however the arduous hard graft we put in with our clients and candidates every time means we get it right first time.

To borrow a quote;
“It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday”

I would love to read your comments on my post and also if anyone knows where the above quote is from please let me know as the internet as let me down this time.

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