Occupational hazards come in all forms … Cops get shot, waiters get stiffed, and dentists smell breath that would gag a dog. In human resources, the hazard is learning to hate people. Ironic, yes?
HR Senior Execs are toadies to the “real” leaders of the organization … Generalists are often witness to the most base of human behavior. Specialists in compensation or benefits are dying inside waiting for one more person to complain about their pay, their coverage, their co-pay, or their 401K compared to what “other” companies offer.
All HR people bear witness to the double standards and favoritism that somehow benefit the wrong people. Seriously, do you know how annoying and despicable we are as a species?
Yup, by and large HR folks can be a pretty acrimonious bunch. None of these, however, hold a candle to the most jaded of all HR professionals … the Internal Recruiter [Generalus nofriender].
Experience in recruiting is invaluable as you move up the HR food chain, but I suggest you begin to encounter diminishing returns after Year Two. Why is this?
Think about it from the perspective of the recruiter:
- Volume – after you’ve looked at 10,000 resumes, had phone interviews with 1,000 job seekers and had your head ripped off by 100 hiring managers, you cultivate a certain level of pure exasperation for idiots.
- Too much inside knowledge – You know what really ticks off the average recruiter? Getting exposure to the offers that other people get when they walk in the door. Even worse, seeing the ridiculous “add-on’s” that candidates (or current employees) demand before assuming a new role – especially when they get the stupid requests.
- Second-fiddle syndrome – During the initial interview & selection process, the recruiter is the critical person for a candidate. BFF, sounding board, coach, advisor ~ then they get hired and pfffffft. Count on it, once they get the job, the recruiter is a toot in the breeze.
- The bad hire – If a newbie flames out, it’s the recruiter’s fault. If the newbie goes on to be CEO, nobody cares or remembers who brought them into the company.
- “Real” HR – Even within their own kind, Recruiters are the whipping post. They don’t do “real” HR work and the internet has reduced a lot of their job to a screen & sort position. Whenever the topic of outsourcing comes up, you can be sure that Staffing is in the crosshairs as a first cut.
- Career vacuum – Stick around too long in the recruiter role & you’ll be given the career kiss of death, the dreaded “Senior Recruiter” title. You now have zero transferable skills internally and you’ve priced yourself too high for an HR “rotation” assignment. Either suck it up or get your own resume ready, ‘cuz your fate is sealed.
A decidedly grim view, I know, but I speak the truth because I care.
So, what do you do about it?
Top three things to do immediately and often:
1. Make it known that your five-year plan does not include being a phone-jockey for job applicants.
2. Gain the gracious support of your internal clients: Offer perspective and insight they don’t normally get from their recruiter, and challenge them on the ranking and selection of candidates. Remind them of the cost-avoidance (a great ROI in theory, but they may not give a rip) you offer them by providing a service an external recruiter would charge thousands of dollars to do.
3. Push those in charge to let you “shadow” or participate in any number of different functions.
And for Pete’s sake, do it before you get promoted to Senior Recruiter.