In every occupation there is a small suspension of truth that we do to get through our days and not go completely insane. Recently I wrote about the 7 Hard Truths That HR Must Learn and how in HR we play these games with ourselves about what we do in HR vs. what actually happens.
Often HR focuses on compliance ‘believing' it's what our organizations need from us, when in actuality they need us to be more strategic. HR focuses on compliance because it's comfortable, not because it's what is truthfully needed.
As I said, this suspension of truth happens in every occupation. Good sales people become bad sales people when they start focusing on the sales process vs. picking up the phone or meeting with potential clients. Focusing on the process fills our time, picking up the phone and potentially getting rejected is hard.
Talent acquisition is no different.
Develop the talent acquisition department you've always wanted
Accepting these truths does not mean we give into them. It actually means the opposite. Yes, accepting these truths will set you free! See these truths as a starting point to move forward and develop the talent acquisition department (and strategy!) you've always wanted.
Here are the three hard truths talent acquisition must learn:
1. The quest for a perfect candidate is just that, a quest. We spend so much time trying to find "perfect" candidates for our organizations and hiring managers, even when we know the perfect candidate is a myth. We chase unicorns instead of setting an expected reality: Here's who we are. Here's what we can pay. Here's what the market will give us. All candidates have hickeys; don't allow your organization or hiring managers to forget that. Hire reality, not fantasy.
2. Hiring managers will never make talent acquisition their #1 priority. Unlike you, your hiring manager's main job is not bringing talent into the organization. They have a department to run, they have a team to develop and they have organizational responsibility to make their function run as well as they can. Talent acquisition, on any given day, might be very low on their priority list. That's fine.
Figure out how to best work with your hiring managers individually, and move your function of bringing talent into the organization forward. Dealing with hiring managers "individually" is important because one process will not fit all managers. Stick all of your hiring managers into one process, and watch that process fail.
3. Assessments will never be perfect. Put this truth right out there for your hiring managers to know. Otherwise, the first time you hire a person who had great assessment results, but fails, it will get thrown back in your face - "See it doesn't work!" But assessments do work. They work on percentages. We play the odds. Odds are if a candidate scores at this level they are 75% more likely to be a great hire. This means 25% of the time they might be a dud. No, the process is not perfect, but I'll take the odds. Our job in talent acquisition is to reduce risks of bad hires, not eliminate them.
Embrace these talent acquisition truths
Embracing these truths will set your talent acquisition function free. Free to move forward knowing it's alright to make some mistakes, to try some new things and ultimately make your function more valuable to the organization.
Your turn: What do you think of these three hard truths about talent acquisition? Any other truths to add to the list?