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Recruitment Performance: Why Recruiting Managers Hang onto Poor Performers

by | Dec 30, 2021 | Owner Issues

As a professional recruiter or search consultant, you tell clients all the time that hiring the wrong person can set you back in terms of time, energy, and money. And hanging onto the wrong employee for too long? The same things can happen!

And if you’re an agency owner or a recruiting manager, the same applies to you. Yes, that’s right, not only can hiring the wrong person to be a recruiter be a headache, but so can not getting rid of somebody for their poor recruiting performance.

So what gives? Why do recruiting managers do it? Why do they hang onto poor performers well past the point that they should?

Recruitment and performance management best practices

To help us answer this question (and many others), we’re going to draw upon the experience and expertise of industry trainer Terry Petra, a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and a Certified International Personnel Consultant (CIPC).

If you’re a recruiting manager and you’ve been one for any length of time, you’ve probably faced this situation. You’ve had an employee that should be terminated. However, you were hesitant to take action. The reason for termination is of little consequence. It could be for:

  • Poor recruitment performance
  • Poor attendance
  • A negative attitude
  • Overall cultural fit with corresponding deficient productivity

The longer you wait to terminate the person, the more difficult it will be. Why? Because by waiting, you’re unconsciously rewarding them for their behavior. Meanwhile, everybody else in the agency suffers. According to Terry Petra, although the recruiting manager might understand this, they sometimes still do not take action. And their inaction carries consequences.

“The highest performer does NOT establish the standard of recruiting performance,” he said. “Rather, the poorest performer who management allows to remain part of the work unit establishes the standard of performance.”

Reasons for condoning poor recruitment performance

Terry maintains that there are four primary reasons why managers condone poor recruitment performance:

#1—The need to be loved and accepted

The problem is that the recruiting manager is seeking love and acceptance in the workplace. And yes, everybody wants to feel accepted. But at the expense of production and placements? Not so much.

“When your primary goal is to be loved and accepted by the members of your team, your management style becomes predominately based on emotion and not logic,” said Terry. “This inevitably compromises the objectivity of your decision-making process, as you do not want to be rejected or disliked by those you supervise.”

#2—Willful (and hopeful) ignorance

This is also a natural human reaction to a problem. Just ignore it and maybe it will eventually go away. However, as we all know, it rarely works. In fact, it could make the situation worse.

“The manager ends up ‘building walls’ between themselves and the problem employee,” said Terry. “The employee’s peers will note this. A growing empathy for the ignored employee can create bigger problems for the recruiting manager than the one they are trying to solve.”

#3—Shying away from potential confrontation

Just because you’re a good recruiting manager does not mean that you like confrontation. If you think about, who really likes confrontation? Most people do not, making this a common problem. However, it is sometimes necessary, and this is one of those times.

This is why it’s critical to have a good working relationship with your recruiters. That way, feedback will be interpreted as constructive, not destructive. And not communicating your concerns for an extended period of time and then terminating them “out of nowhere” is even worse.

“The employee may have been working in ignorance, not being aware that a performance problem even existed,” said Terry. “Therefore, they are taken by surprise when confronted with termination. Under these circumstances, the employee’s reaction is quite predictable.”

#4—Lack of metrics to measure recruitment performance

You’ve probably heard this saying before: “Inspect what you expect.” And then there’s this one: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Before you can call out somebody for poor recruiting performance, you must have standards for performance. You must have a way of measuring that performance, and if it falls short, communicating where and how it’s falling short.

“The primary reason why managers condone incompetence is reason number four,” said Terry. “The lack of clearly defined and communicated job-related performance standards compromises the manager’s objectivity and misleads the employee. In fact, it may actually create a situation where a wrongful termination suit could be the result.”

And nobody likes a wrongful termination lawsuit. And nobody wants one, either. What everybody wants is more placements. However, without metrics, measures, and standards, the path forward is not clear. This applies to both the manager and the recruiter.

“The manager lacks objective performance standards and measurement on which to base a proper decision,” said Terry. “In the absence of performance standards and measurement, both the manager and the employee for the most part, are working blind.”

Communication’s role in recruiting performance

So taking all of this into context, there is a question that recruiting managers must ask themselves regarding recruitment performance:

“Do my employees clearly understand, in objective, performance-based, job-related terms, what is expected of them on a daily basis?”

If the answer to that question is anything less than a resounding “YES,” then there is trouble brewing. It may have already come to a full boil.

According to Terry, establishing and clearly communicating objective, job-related performance standards is the first and most important priority of a recruiting manager.

“Everything from a manager’s ability to attract and hire good employees to their performance on the job is dependent on these standards being properly established and communicated during and after the hiring process,” he said.

There’s a bonus to this approach, as well. After all, a manager’s success is partly determined by the performance of the recruiters they supervise. Implementing and communicating these standards will not only improve their recruiters’ performance, but their own recruitment performance, as well.

Poor recruitment performance? Embrace training!

Top Echelon Software offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library as free online recruitment training courses. These webinars touch upon a variety of topics for improving recruitment performance. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers a recruiting software and ATS that can help you save time and increase performance. We invite you to try our applicant tracking system FREE for 15 days. You do not need a credit card to start your trial and there is no obligation.

Click HERE to start your free trial of Top Echelon’s recruiting software.

Or, if you want to wait for the trial, you can request a live demo of our top applicant tracking software. We will be glad to show you the software and answer any questions you might have.

Click HERE to request a live demo of Top Echelon’s recruiting software.

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