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HR/Recruiter Question

#1 HR/Recruiter Question
17/06/2006 01:59

Big Blue Blues

Hello--looking for some wisdom...

IBM left a phone message asking me to reply immediately for a thought-leader position. I replied immediately. I didn't hear back for three weeks. Then I managed to speak with someone. They offered a me second interview, but would have to work out a time with their partners. After four weeks, HR replied that they couldn't get anyone organised for the interview. They said they would be able to arrange something over the next four weeks. Yesterday a friend sent me a posting for the position he found on Monster. I guess, despite their assurances, I'm out of the running.

I'm new to the industry, but my experience with recruiters and HR departments has been deplorable. As a group of experienced consulting professionals, I'm asking for your insight.

Could you help me understand:

1. why firms that glorify the flat organizational structure are so hierarchical?

2. why (professional) service firms have such deplorable service?

3. what's up with HR?

4. as someone with 6 years experience and the requisite education, I would have thought that SOMEONE would have thought "Hey, this guy might be in a position to hire our firm one of these days."

How does one get a job in the industry? Am I just expecting too much? Going after the wrong firms?



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#2 Re: HR/Recruiter Question
17/06/2006 10:17


Dear BBB,

Ihave been involved in HRMand Organisational Development forover 29yrs and Ihave sound qualifications in this field.

My experience with big companies is that they tend to value their core business and neglect HRM/D.They tend to combine it with general administration and finance which is wrong.It takes time and resources to develope good HR professionals.Doing that is not an expence but an investment which many do not want to do!They thus leave it for any Tom to do!

Some others hire the function out to "Consultants"However they have do not have the skill to select the best HR consultants.So they make mistakes and hire wrong ones.

Just get to the organisation and talk to someone responsible and if you do not get audiance,just look for a job somewhere else.They should attach more value to you than they are doing.If you are frustrated before joining,how do they think they will attract you or any other?Ihope one of them reads this!

Good luck

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#3 Re: HR/Recruiter Question
17/06/2006 15:17


HR can be a nightmare, but once you've been in consulting a while you learn that that's just what partners are like. They're unreliable enough at the best of times when another consultant asks them to do something. When someone from a corporate function like HR (who just doesn't exist to them) asks them to do something like look at a candidate's CV and find a time to interview, there's a good chance they won't do it without serious chivvying.

There's a good chance that the person in HR genuinely hasn't been able to get a partner to set aside time for an interview. That could even be a good sign - it could mean they're so busy with client work they can't spare the time but will be desparate to recruit an extra pair of hands when they do meet you. In that position, where HR knows that there is pressure to recruit more capacity but can't schedule interviews yet, the only thing they can do is keep advertising and building up the shortlist of candidates.

If you had been definitely turned down, I'm sure you would have been told. The fact that a partner decision is essential means they're taking this appointment seriously. However, as suggested above, while managing consultants is like herding cats, managing partners is like herding big cats. They always want to do their own thing, and that includes recruiting. They often become partners because they have the networking skills to win new business (even if the firm's bid is more expensive, or not as competent). Therefore they would often be more comfortable with the idea of hiring someone who comes to them through personal networking than someone presented on a CV by HR (again, even if the individual is more expensive, or not as competent).

So to answer your questions:

"1. why firms that glorify the flat organizational structure are so hierarchical?"

Because partners like to pretend they are in charge of their own practice and like to roam free on the savannah, even if they are just one of several hundred partners in a big zoo like IBM. Partners are also more likely to be relicts of older, more hierarchical, times.

"2. why (professional) service firms have such deplorable service?"

Because the corporate service functions are disempowered, there isn't much movement or pressure to develop best practice. For example, while the professional groups have been pushed to move away from stodgy career models, the back office in the same big firms can have a job-for-life attitude.

"what's up with HR?"

As above, being disempowered, undermined and complacent.

"as someone with 6 years experience..."

It doesn't matter how long you've been around, it matters what you've done and who you've worked with enough to impress them so they'll recommend you to others. A lot of good people throw their CVs at consultancies every day, so yours has to be outstanding to stick.

"How does one get a job in the industry?"

Be outstanding and make sure that's reflected in your CV - partners spend even less time and effort reading CVs than HR. Also, try and get recommendations through your networks to meet existing consultants.

"Am I just expecting too much?"

I don't know as I don't know how good you really are. Assuming you're credible, in theory people are what make a good consultancy business so you should expect the best service possible; in practice, I don't think your experience is unique.

"Going after the wrong firms"

Perhaps. If there isn't an instant click between your experience and what they're looking for, it might mean you'll have fewer opportunities to shine once you're in the job.

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#4 Re: HR/Recruiter Question
18/06/2006 05:55


Thank you very much for your reply; you have given me a better understanding of industry idiosyncrasies, and how to manage the issues. I appreciate your taking the time to write.


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#5 Re: HR/Recruiter Question
18/06/2006 05:57


Dear KKFrancis and Anonathon,

These are thoughtful and helpful replies. Your candour is exactly what I had hoped to gain from my posting. In reply to Anonathon, I'll emphasize my accomplishments rather than projects. I have a couple of friends in the industry, and I'll follow up with them.



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