The headhunting business has never been an easy gig. Finding and (usually) stealing good talent for your clients is a challenge and a half. The best headhunters are those who know how to grasp what a client company needs. In other words, who is it you’re out there trying to recruit?
If you don’t know, pack it in. Go home.
We refer to the headhunting business as search — and the implication is that we know what we’re looking for. That’s what separates good headhunters from the hacks and the wannabes.
So I’m perturbed. You’d think the one thing that all headhunters grasp is the simple (but not easy) concept that you must know what you’re looking for. But when the headhunting industry announces that its theme this year is The New Recruiting Mandate: Defining True Talent, it’s time for employers who use headhunters to head for the hills. Because that’s where they’re going to have to go to avoid the hacks and the wannabes who need a conference to figure this out.
Gimme a break. Knowing how to do what headhunters are paid to do is this year’s clever new marketing theme? That’s like Michelin starting an ad campaign that says, “Our new strategy is learning how to make tires.”
The Kennedy Recruiting Conference is probably the leading event of its kind for headhunters, recruiters, HR folks, and groupies associated with the business. When a leader in the industry puts on a show to teach how to define true talent, that tells us one thing:
Today, the headhunting industry is so full of total novices, fast-buck entrepreneurs, online resume-scrapers, job-board mavens, LinkedIn miners, data-base scavengers, spam spreaders, and clueless franchisees that any company needs to ask one question when it interviews a headhunter:
“Do you know what the hell you’re doing?”
Any company that doesn’t will likely wind up The Horse’s Ass in the Rear-view Mirror.
Unless the good folks at Kennedy are merely signaling that they believe the headhunting biz is imploding under the weight of ignorant practitioners, I suggest that they quickly scrap this year’s conference theme, cancel the registrations of all the wannabes and give them a free pass to a WordPerfect class instead.
Offer a program infinitely more useful.
The New Recruiting Mandate: How to identify headhunters who know what they’re doing.