You are the Red-Headed Stepchild. Embrace it.

Recruiting is classically the red-headed stepchild of any organization. It’s just a fact of life. You’ve known it, you’ve either embraced it or you’ve spent the better part of your career trying to fight it. But when it boils down, we hear the same things. “Its an operational role”, “They are not a revenue-generating department” “All they do is shuffle paperwork”. Yep, all of these sound familiar to you if you have been in recruiting for any significant period of time.

Is it true? Probably not. Think about it – sure, we are an operational unit, and yes, we probably are responsible for more deforestation than any other team in a company (But we’re all starting to digitize, right?!?). What I cannot get over, and trust me I’ve fought this battle in my head for years, is the “non-revenue generating” claim. Exactly who do you think produces the candidates from thin air who DO generate the revenue? Without a strong recruiting function, there aren’t any “rainmakers”, “sales kings” or any other fancy name you want to derive. We may not hit the P&L as “sales”, but almost all of our jobs involve a level of sales, and showmanship.

What we really need to do (and this includes me, TRUST ME), is to just embrace the fact that there are some perceptions we may just never overcome, no matter how much data and “metric-y” information we provide. What you can do, is to build a trust and rapport with those in your organization who will ultimately recognize the value of a strong recruiting function. By doing this, you’ll be building an army of supporters who can voice to the organization that they just can’t live without you. Having that voice be speaking on your behalf will ultimately get you the seat at the table you so desperately want. That, and solid data to prove what you contribute. Not just time to fill, and applicant source data. Data that speaks to the revenue generating side – cost effectiveness, business savvy with contracts (job boards etc.) How much money did you save by employing your vast set of skills. Sales folks don’t just say “hey I closed 3 deals this month!”. They say “hey I closed 3 deals this month worth $425,000!” You can be an efficient recruiter, but be sure to quantify HOW efficient you’ve been.

If you don’t, the beatings will continue.

Authors Note:
Sadly, I wasn’t sure sure how the phrase “red-headed stepchild” came about, but I got curious and looked. You should too. Looks like we have Charlie Sheen to thank, at least in part.

Thanks Charlie - you've doomed us all.

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