It’s not the war for talent; it’s the war for recruiters

If you think recruiting good talent is going to get any easier, think again. But it's not just because good talent is hard to find. So are good recruiters.

A case in point: A recent Wall Street Journal article noted how two of the world's largest executive search firms are fighting to find and keep their own talent. It seems one of them has been poaching recruiters from the other.

Why? Because they realize that anyone can post a job, make a few calls, and maybe find a warm body to fill a position. But it takes top notch recruiters to efficiently and effectively find quality talent.

I'm talking about recruiters who have networks already established, know the industry, understand the company's culture, know how to interview, and know where to find passive candidates (or those ready to leave but not looking). It's as much an art as a science.

And recruiting itself has not gotten any easier. With so many websites, social networking avenues, and people looking for work, there's a tremendous amount of noise out there.

So what chance does an overworked HR generalist or department manager have? None.

It's time to build networks, develop good interviewing skills, or find and understand all the different places to look for talent (and which ones are worth the time). The average HR person or line manager just doesn't have the time to do these things and their "day job" as well.

If you don't have experienced, dedicated recruiting in your organization, you don't even have a horse in the race. We get asked a lot about the value of recruitment process outsourcing or temporary staffing. Why should a company go outside for recruiting?

The answer is three paragraphs above. Most companies don't really have true, dedicated recruiting anymore, and most don't have the time or expertise to build extensive networks and find passive candidates. It makes sense now more than ever to look to dedicated recruiting companies.

Companies that have solid recruiting resources in place will hit the ground running this year. Those that don't will be scrambling as their talent is poached away, much like the search firm I mentioned in the beginning.

If you've ever thought about assessing your internal recruiting ability, outsourcing some or all of your recruiting, or evaluating your vendors, now's the time. If the big executive search firms are having trouble finding and retaining talent, what chance do the rest of us have?

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