I read an interesting article one time about how to catch monkeys in the wild. The hunter will take a coconut, drill a small hole in the top, hollow it out, then place nuts and berries inside. Then they chain the coconut to a big tree in the area. The hole is just big enough for a monkey to slide their hand into the coconut, but once they grab the goodies inside and form a fist, the hand won’t fit to come out of the hole. The monkey is so stubborn about the goodies that they just won’t let go of the nuts and berries and get their hand out…so they just sit there until the hunter comes back to get them and take them away.
Recruiters are not much different than the monkeys mentioned above. They have found some goodies in a handful of places – whether it be a job board, a user group, college recruiting, even a process or a tool, etc. – and they have made that thing their primary way of recruiting for years to come as a result. The landscape around them changes quickly with new tools and resources and strategies taking form, but they won’t have anything to do with them because they hold tight to the goodies that once tasted so good. Others have begun to have consistent success around them using some other approaches, but nope – not gonna let go.
I work with companies all the time who have fallen into ruts. They think they are doing okay, maybe suspect that a few tweaks might be in order, but would be content to continue on with no changes if they were really honest. I had one such company bring me in to evaluate their entire recruiting structure – strategies, processes, technologies, people, etc. They wanted to place more of an emphasis on social media and were looking to me to give them information and a plan that would work for them. At the end of my evaluation though, social media was way down the list of the things that needed to be addressed with this organization. Their technologies were ineffective. They had no established processes. Management had become so discouraged by using their internal recruiting team that they simply asked them to post their openings and to funnel everyone to them so they could do the process of screening candidates in or out instead of leaving that to the professionals. They had no metrics established to measure performance and effectiveness. Social media wasn’t in the top 10 of what needed to be done. Other companies throw more recruiters at whatever the problem is and hope that will fix their issues, instead of taking the time to identify the true problem and address it.
Change can be scary! But as the world around us advances and changes, it’s foolish to think that we can continue to hold tight to the goodies that we once found in a recruiting coconut and remain effective, much less…improve! A fresh set of eyes can be highly effective at taking an unbiased inventory of where things stand today, and how well you are set up to be successful in the future. If you are the company who has their hand clinched tightly inside the coconut, please reach out to me and let me come help you become free from this trap before the monkey hunter whacks you on the head and throws you in his bag! You know it needs to happen, just make the decision now to at least explore it through a conversation.