Hey Joel, thanks again for joining our in house recruiting team. We are really excited to have you on board and can’t wait to see the value you are going to add to the company! For our first order of business, the digital marketing department has been trying to fill a SEO Analyst position for a few months now. The hiring manager’s notes say that they need experience with Adobe Omniture, SEO Conductor and Google Analytics. They also need to be proficient in SEM and familiar with Kenshoo, Marin or something similar. It’s important that they have experience with high PR links and know how to scale the CTR while maintaining a solid CPC and CPA. The notes include that they want an all star with several years of experience who really knows their stuff. Any OMI certs are a plus and they would love to see a couple people with some PHP & Java know how in order to help with overflow from the web dev team. We know that you are going to knock this one out of the park for us. Thanks Joel.”
This is how it typically starts when a member of the recruiting team is approached about a position the digital marketing department is trying to fill. They field the request just like any other, listening attentively and trying diligently to catch all the details. Wide eyed and excited about the upcoming hunt, they get out a pen and paper to take down some notes as the messenger quickly spouts off the information. By the end of the request, the receiver immediately knows he is in way over his head and is in trouble.
What this made up manager (although it happens quite often in real life) has just done is the equivalent of asking a general contractor to find a PC Solar Energy Field Technician when he typically builds residential homes for a living. He’s going to look around at his group of plumbers and carpenters, then look you dead in the eye and laugh at what he assumes was your not that funny joke. He is used to working with skilled labor guys, not a specialized solar industry professional. Just because the upcoming job includes some solar panels that will need work does not in any way mean that this general contractor suddenly developed the years of knowledge needed to properly source a qualified technician.
Digital marketing is an increasingly diverse field, with nooks and crannies of specialized knowledge sprinkled all throughout it. It is unreasonable to ask someone who isn’t a professional in the industry to fill one of the industries toughest positions, just as it’s unreasonable to ask the contractor to fill a solar energy role. Doing this seldom works and usually ends with the hiring manager, the recruiter, the candidates and the management team all being frustrated and confused as to why it happened. Joel thinks he sent the hiring manager some “really good” guys, the hiring manger asked one of the candidates to explain how to increase quality score (a “good question” he found online, it’s not his specialty) and the candidate answered with something about LeBron James, the corporate team is stuck and just wants the job to be done and the position filled with a quality employee and all the candidates that interviewed have a bad taste in their mouth about the company that just wasted their time. Everyone is upset all because Joel was asked to do something well outside of his skill set that he should have never had the responsibility of doing. He is great at finding new account managers, HR assistants and even high level managers, but Joel wasn’t able to come through on this one job because it was an absolutely unreasonable request from the very start.
The mindset of having an in house team fill EVERY position that comes available is antiquated. I understand a growing company’s “bottom line” and need to cut cost everywhere possible but the amount “cutting cost” saves in one area can cost heavily in another. For example the company mentioned earlier saved on an external fee but how much money did they lose in time from the botched interviews? How much in resources having Joel use an ATS for a month and a half without any results? How much impact from the negative morale between departments? How much unearned income because they don’t have a quality candidate in that position now and haven’t for the last four months?
Sometimes it makes sense to hire in house and sometimes it can hurt more than help.