Politicians and Recruiters Make Strange Bedfellows

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

I got my political fix over the last few weeks that should carry me for a while, at least until the debates start. I watched some of the proceedings from both conventions, read the analysis from some political wonks that I follow and caught snippets of video from a few of news shows. I like being informed. I am interested in the issues and am willing to listen to those who want my vote as they attempt to explain their solutions, their vision, their qualifications for the job that they want to be elected to.

I will make my decision (maybe I already have) based on a number of factors the least of which is party affiliation. I want to see the best qualified person elected. I want to make an informed decision and I think that every voter should want the same. Otherwise any election for any office becomes more American Idol and not what our founding fathers envisioned.

During both the conventions there was a good deal of chatter about the vetting process. When I heard this phrase repeatedly I all of a sudden realized how similar that this process used in the political arena was to the process that recruiters use.

The Vetting process is employed by a political party to look for and uncover any and all issues, scandals, misdeeds, skeletons-in-the-closet events or relations that might pose a problem for a particular candidate and potentially make him/her unelectable in the eyes of voters. It is not used to determine proper qualifications for a particular position/office but it is sometimes used to determine the candidate’s positions on certain key issues how aligned and in agreement those positions are with the party or in some cases a running mate.

Recruiters have their own Vetting process and it is called the reference check. Good recruiters use the reference check to verify much of the information that the candidate has supplied during the interview and use some of this information when making a presentation to a hiring manager.

The true reference check is much more than dates of employment and title of position held. A true reference check comes from the candidate’s peers, supervisors, customers, suppliers and includes such things as verifying RFL (reason for leaving) a job; type of employee; type of co-worker; college degree; rehirable or not; strengths and weaknesses; recommended fit for position to be filled; and if and when there is not a strong reference, advising the candidate not to use that reference in the future.

All of this information becomes part of the candidate’s history that the recruiter could use in presenting the candidate to the hiring manager and to provide evidence that this candidate is the right candidate for the job. Additionally, if during this vetting process information surfaces that suggest some issues such as scandals, misdeeds, skeletons-in-the-closet events that would pose a problem with the candidate being hired then the recruiter can decide to not represent the candidate or take other action.

Recruiters also use a vetting process in determining the clients they would want to work with. Or do we just take a job order from any company that has an open position that is somewhere in our market space? How you answer that question goes a long way to defining what type of recruiter you are and what your client’s perception of you truly is.

Good recruiters struggle with vetting their clients but in the long run they know that it is worth the struggle. Before deciding to pursue a prospective client recruiters should do some research and gather as much information about the company, profitability, market position, number of open positions, history of layoffs, viability of product or service, BBB reports, Hoover’s info, references from former or current employees, references from customers. More information can be gathered in the needs analysis portion of the process where recruiters can get a sense of how cooperative the hiring manager will be, how much HR or internal recruiters will be involved, commitment to the recruiter’s process for interviewing candidates, commitment to quick feedback and access to those involved in the interview, complete specs for the position and a signed fee agreement.

If during the course of your upfront research and the needs analysis you discover anything that would cause concern, anything that would make you think that this may not be a good engagement then make a decision. Cast your vote to either go forward with the assignment or decide not to do business with that company and be professional about it.

The recruiters vetting process allows the recruiter to provide the best qualified, interested and available candidates for the most cooperative, appreciative and long-term clients.

Now, if that only could work in the political arena.

My next blog will be about another phrase I heard repeatedly during the conventions, Fact Checkers.

Til then.

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