What a situation. Who couldn't help but inquire further?
To troubleshoot the situation, I started asking about the measurements to ensure only high-quality candidates are hired. The answer was bad news. There's nothing in place, so it seemed pointless to think that senior management might have any type of advanced measurements established to monitor effectiveness of the hiring manager.
I tried to gain some ground and hopefully a level of trust with the recruiter, so I asked if he was willing to lay out a plan to ensure the highest standards are in place for future hiring. Most critically, I suggested that this type of plan should be discussed with and approved and monitored by the most senior levels of the company. That way, he might at least have some recourse to fire the client if they prove uncommitted to doing the right thing for the business. If nothing else, the recruiter has his own reputation on the line for committing to effective standards. That's something he can carry with him to the next client.
Here's where it got interesting. As it turns out, the hiring manager is related to someone in senior management, but that's not the only major complication - the recruiter is actually the HR Manager working internally for the company.
I think I stepped on his toes a bit because all of a sudden there was a tone of implied backbone (why then and with me, who knows?) telling me that his problem was not uncommon and that "big problems require big, innovative solutions."
I can't argue the point about the commonality of the problem or about solutions, but unfortunately, that's where the conversation ended.
Alright, I already know that I don't play politics well because I'm mission-oriented, and often to a fault. If what I'm doing doesn't support the strategic outcomes, I'm clearly "fixin' for a fight" and I promise you'll see it coming.
But I wondered after the fact if the purpose of the conversation wasn't as much to create a solution as it was for him to vent his frustration. Because by holding to principles and doing the right thing...even to the extent of firing the client...he would potentially put himself out of a job. Bear with me on this point, but when principles are compromised due to personal loss, they aren't really principles in the first place.
So readers, here are my questions to you:
- Is the recruiting function too often being compromised by people who don't understand the long-term business implications of their actions?
- If they actually understood the implications, would they stand and fight for doing the right thing?
- Is the cost to the individual actually irrevelant so as to stand up and be recognized as an innovative recruiter who measure business performance?
- And finally, is it worth it in this case to risk his job to do what's right for the client and the very nature of business and capitalism?
Not only do big problems require big, innovative solutions, they also require big, unwavering principles.