Frustrating Moments

12 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Providing services to companies as a Consultant has it’s challenges but more bluntly it is frustrating. It requires the Consultant to be very versatile in satisfying customer needs. My experience has concluded that there are 3 main groups of clients which I will try to highlight with some pros and cons. To make this a little easier to follow, I will use the sole example of providing recruiting services. This short comparison will address the main differences of good and bad practices of these 3 groups of clients hence the frustration that any Consultant or provider of services constantly face.

The first group is large companies ( 500 employees and more ). These companies are very well organized but at times their systems become cumbersome to the point where they slow the process. All Managers are part of a culture whereby the process is the same for everyone, except for technical skills all recruits must possess the same basic traits to fit and most importantly there is consistency. The downside has to deal with Human Resources as the middle person for communications. Some Human Resources do understand the positions but most read a job description therefore making it very difficult to understand the job and its intricacies. Technical requirements are not understood as many have never been in the department or plant that they are assisting with the hiring. The last weak area is coordinating times for interviews. Because all managers are busy the length of time to have 2-3 interviews can drag as long as 3 months from start to finish.

The second group of companies is the smaller companies ( 25 to 500 employees ). Most commonly these companies are owner operated. The upside is the speed of the process and the decision making. For an outside resource this is great. One of the main weak areas is every Manager has a different vision, philosophy, management style and makes you feel like you are dealing with multiple sub-companies. What these Managers want and what they need is like night and day. Most are not trained in interviewing skills in fact some are almost non-professional in their communication skills. Even though you are able to work with the decision makers the process becomes confusing and frustrating. The lack of culture and uniformity is their Achilles heel. Very common to this group is what I call “mood hiring”. Each time you communicate with these Managers the job specs or requirements keep changing.

The last group is government or government affiliated. This group is very frustrating. Too many people are involved in the decision process. This makes the process very long and cumbersome. There are too many layers of management and non-management in the decision making. The process is more important than the end result. Too many people involved in the interview process. Panel interviewing is very common and as common is the number and variety of people on these panels. Too many times, the panel has people that are not trained or versed in interviewing, have no direct or indirect dealings with the job to be filled, biases prevail, timeliness is nonexistent, power plays are obvious and more. These panel interviews are as effective as throwing stuff on the wall and hope something sticks. For the candidate applying for the job, there is no good preparation that could help their chances of the getting the job. Getting the job is like buying a lottery ticket.

Some may challenge me in my thinking but these observations have been seen over and over again during decades. The biggest frustration for a Consultant is offering to help and change these weaknesses but that is not what they hired you for so butt out.