Adapt or Die: Most Recruiting Failures are Self-Inflicted


HR ideas…by Jeffery Giesener – CEO – SourceMob

What do the American mastodon, woolly mammoth and Arizona jaguar all have in common? Here’s a hint: they all suffered similar fates to Hostess Brands, Circuit City and Blockbuster. Yes, they all went away. Extinct. Vanished. Disappeared.

Is Your Recruiting Department Going The Way of the Dinosaur?

However, your Talent Acquisition department doesn’t have to go the way of the dinosaurs. Instead it could take a lesson from the creatures that are no longer in existence. Afterall, organizations — much like animals — that live in an ever-changing environment, need to be aware and responsive to their changes so that they continue to survive, sustain and grow. Otherwise, these slow, inflexible, bureaucratic organizations will face similar extinction.

I recently came across a three-year study by Bain & Company on performance variation.

Performance variation is due to three factors

Bain’s research revealed that between 40 to 50 percent of performance variation is due to just three factors.

These three factors represent best practices for any HR leader in any organization to consider.

First, successful HR departments have a strong, well-differentiated core. In other words, these departments focus on their greatest recruiting strengths — why do your employees stay with your business? Why do they refer talent in such great numbers to you? Why do your candidates want to come and work for your organization? What does your culture deliver that other companies in your vertical do not?

Second, successful companies have clear non-negotiables. In other words, they have the ability to, “translate their strategy into a few simple values and prescriptions that people throughout the recruiting organization can understand and use to shape actions and decisions.” They have built intolerance for excess complexity in favor of simplicity and focus. Yes, markets change. Yes, technology changes. But, according to Bain’s data, it’s the unnecessary INTERNAL complexity — the inefficient or ineffective communication, the lack of focus on candidate experience, the multilple layers of inefficient recruiting technology, the inability to take a mobile apply, the inability to follow the social recruiting trend, the extra approval layers that delay decision making, the preference to study things incessantly but not take action (we call that “analysis paralysis”) — that turns companies into lumbering dinosaurs.

And Third, successful recruiting organizations have systems for closed-loop learning. In the face of rapid changes — the recruiting web, social and mobile job marketplace, candidate experience, technology advancements, competition and so forth — successful HR organizations seem to react faster than their competitors. They use hiring conversion data from various sources (internal and external) to understand what’s changing in their hiring and employee engagement environments: they learn from employees, partners and candidates alike; they learn from their own operational data; they learn from industry (and out-of-industry) role models. They have robust social and mobile listening posts to understand how things are changing, which gives them the ability to adapt quickly. In some ways, these organizations can see around recruiting corners: they have the ability to anticipate changes before they occur.

In the words of Rupert Murdoch: “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small any more. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

In summary, successful HR/Talent Acquisition departments — those that grow and produce a consistent return for their organizations — seem to do (at least) three things very well: they focus on their strengths, they favor simplicity over complexity and they systematically gather data from a variety of listening posts to better anticipate how and when to change.

On the contrary, companies that fail to grow and/or generate sustained value usually struggle in at least one of those three areas. But they don’t have to. In the words of the study’s authors: “The extinction of once-great innovative companies is less often caused by technological or market evolution and more often by self-inflicted wounds and slow cycles of decision making and adaption.

Let’s schedule a virtual appointment at your convenience. Simply reach me by email at or by phone at 952-807-8364.

ABOUT SOURCEMOB: SourceMob links Internet, social, talent community and mobile recruiting solutions to help talent acquisition professionals recruit the very best candidates for tough-to-fill positions. SourceMob software distributes job content and conversations providing a job posting springboard to over 3.5 million candidate profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and all of the major search engines. Our solutions also enable Mobile Quick Apply and candidate application management services to create efficiencies and lower recruiting costs.
Looking forward to hearing from you,



Jeffery Giesener



Twitter: @sourcemob





Adapted from a post by Brian S. Lassiter