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What is the difference between a recruiter who asks questions to gain information and a  recruiter who does the homework and then asks questions to gain understanding?

It is about the same as the consumer who buys what he or she likes versus the corporate buyer who stocks the store with merchandise that others will buy.  The good buyers do their homework, track emerging trends and scrutinize market research.

The reason the national average two-year turnover rate is high for candidates who have been recruited from outside an organization is that most recruiters just ask questions to gain information, not understanding.  They want to check off a box on some form and move on to the next job order.  To do otherwise could be problematic and the “problem” is that taking the time to achieve that understanding increases the probability that the placement will be a lasting, cost-effective one.

This is not intended to be a cute play on words.  A candidate’s ability to fit and flourish within an organization can be measured by his or her understanding of as many aspects of the position as possible before being hired, and the problem is, that takes time and effort, and far too many recruiters approach the process of finding a manager or an executive as a transaction.  Their approach amounts to don’t ask/don’t tell recruiting.

Yes, I know recruiters cannot afford to take the same amount of time and effort in recruiting a housekeeper or dietary assistant as they would with a manager or department director, or a director versus a vice president or member of the C-suite.  In-house recruiters argue that this “understanding” approach to recruiting — I prefer to call it transformative — is not practical when you are being held accountable for the cost and the time it takes to fill a job order.  They have a point, to an extent.  The truth is that they are working within a system that is transactional in nature — filling job orders in a timely and cost-effective manner.  Rarely is the recruiter, or his or her boss, held accountable for the turnover rate.  The incentives are not geared to the right outcome.

For the retail buyer at the corporate headquarters who stocks the shelves with merchandise that does not “fit” with the consumer’s expectation, there will be adverse financial consequences for the business and, more than likely, its sales associates when commission checks are issued.

Companies with a turnover rate under 10 to 12 percent are probably getting something right.  Everyone else needs to step back and re-look at how the recruiting is being done.

Turnover costs an organization real money.  It also creates real pain, especially when it occurs because the recruiter and the hiring authority made the wrong choice.