Our HR Recruiting Philosophy
Our first step in any hiring project is to picture the person our client will want. By that we mean the actual person, not just the resume. For HR hiring projects that is even more important. We will explain the why and how behind that below.
Human resources recruitment projects are not HR manager jobs like other disciplines. Each needs to be approached differently. Each requires its own strategy, one that is unique to that particular client.
How we recruit for HR projects.
Human Resources Recruiting | Philadelphia and National
Approximately 20% of our projects revolve around Human Resource recruiting. Our clients vary from small, emerging companies seeking their first HR professional to large, established firms seeking more than the standard HR functionary. Human Resources recruiting is tough. It is not a strictly quantifiable function like sales, engineering or finance. We can help you avoid the:
3) Ill focused players
4) Empire builders
We are able identify the HR person who will help you solve and improve YOUR business operations, not someone who comes to you with a pre-set agenda and selling you programs you don’t need. With decades of HR recruiting experience, we can find the right match for you.
Human Resources Recruiting Services
Over the last few years, Right Recruiting has completed human resources recruiting projects in Pennsylvania, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Delaware, Washington DC and well as here in the Philadelphia region. From Human Resources Generalist to Vice President, each HR talent acquisition project creates its own challenges. If there is a Human Resources hiring niche, we’ve seen it and filled it.
Human Resources Recruiting Challenges
What makes HR recruiting so unique? In our experience the human resources function is often different in each company. It is not a standardized function like accounting. It comes in many flavors. It seems like every company expects different things from HR. Some require a tactical HR function that delivers rudimentary services efficiently and others expect a proactive, strategic function that contributes at the executive level. That decision is made at the Owner / CEO level depending on the business needs of that particular company in that particular industry and that particular time.
As an example, imagine three companies. Company A is a 100 person manufacturer ready for their first HR professional. Company B is a 300 person software company seeking their first Vice President of HR. Company C is a 10,000 person retail chain seeking a Regional HR Director to handle HR issues among 50 stores and a Distribution Center in a region. We’ve had 3 recent projects just like these. Here is our thought process for each.
Human Resources Recruiting Challenges | Company A
Company A needs someone who can make tactical and lower level strategic decisions. He or she decides on payroll and benefits providers, resolves workplace issues and, well basically, does every HR function on their own or through vendors. This person must also be very comfortable in a factory and be able to communicate well and empathize with hourly labor. If this company continues to grow, they may want the person to eventually build a small but efficient HR department. This job is for someone with a personal touch who likes to rub shoulders, sometimes literally, with all types of people.
Human Resources Recruiting Challenges | Company B
Company B is a very different situation. The population that person will support, the internal clients, are mostly young professionals. They are software developers, marketing people, with a sprinkling of administrative support. These can be demanding people who expect service from HR professionals that are very different from the expectations in Company A.
Company B’s population wants flextime, career development, a comfortable work environment, and, of course, great salaries and benefits. They want everything and will be vocal about it. This person will also inherit a small HR department and will need to lead and mentor them to take them to the next level. For this project we need someone who can deal with a lot of different personalities and egos and who can contribute at a high level as an HR Executive. Because companies in the IT space are always recruiting people, this person needs to be very savvy in recruitment strategy as well.
Human Resources Recruiting Challenges | Company C
Company C represents a very different situation. Because retail is seasonal, this Human Resources person must support a fluctuating workforce with high turnover. Another challenge is that the workforce, maybe 1,000 people, may be spread over 5 states. That is a classical Human Resources challenge. How do you connect with a workforce that you see weekly face to face, at best?
This position requires someone who can travel and who has a personality that is professional yet direct. This HR professional needs to build good relationships with his or her internal clients but won’t have the day to day interaction to support that. For that project we needed a GREAT communicator who can be a presence in multiple locations without relying on those little personal interactions that can be a useful tool for an HR practitioner.
Call Right Recruiting at 215-641-9300 to start your HR Recruiting Process
Our Human Resources Recruiting Approach
Our approach to HR recruiting projects is holistic. Our first step, just like our other projects, is to establish a mental picture of the person we want and the type of company they work in now. Unlike other recruitment firms, our first thought is NOT who do I know now who will be convenient to sell to the client. Our first thought is, what type of company employs this person. Do we want someone from a manufacturer? If so, what size? For Company A, mentioned above, our target was either the top HR person at a 150 person manufacturing firm or the number two person at a 300 person company. That gave us the mental candidate image.
Next step is what we call target research. What companies fit that criteria and are within 45 minutes of our client? That gives us our target list. Depending on location and criteria, that can be 10 companies or 100’s of companies. Obviously, the more targets the better. From that research we build use our extensive network and call list. That can be as many as 300 people. In other words, for any single recruitment client, we may reach out to 300 or more people with in depth client description. Our clients’ HR project descriptions get into the right hands.
As with every project, some people are interested and want to hear more. Others are not. The former are funneled to a two person team for an initial phone call. The first person describes the job in greater detail while the second gathers information, not just about the candidate, but also about where he or she works now. That last part is very important.
Unlike some other disciplines, HR practitioners do not work in a vacuum or tunnel. Their employer creates context for how they do their job. To understand if any one candidate is a fit, it is important to know about them, of course. But we also want to know about where they’ve worked. Culture, organizational support, reporting structure are as important as what they say on their resume. It is the ocean in which they swim.
Two HR resumes may say the same thing. But one may work in a very top down company with strict rules and a strong executive or ownership function. The other may work in a company that allows more autonomy and options with a looser culture. Knowing the context will help us both explain the job better, demonstrate the contrast to both candidate and client and should also help us make a better fit.
Context is important to the HR candidate as much as it is to the client. Describing culture and areas of autonomy requires a lot of subjective words. Please tell me precisely what a good culture would be? One person’s consensual culture may be too bureaucratic for someone else. We like specific situational anecdotes to describe our HR projects and candidates. Real life narratives are much better than subjective. buzz words.
In all of our projects, our goal here at Right Recruiting is to describe both the client and candidate as accurately as possible. How often has a recruiter said to you, “this candidate is sharp!”? What does sharp really mean and, equally importantly, is someone who is sharp at one company going to fit into your company? This difference between sharp and slick is a matter of context. We like specific descriptions of accomplishments and expectations backed by an explanation of context. Here is what this person did or here is what this client expects in this specific environment. That’s context.
If you are reading this, maybe you are trying to find a recruiting agency. To help give you context about us, we will describe some specific projects below to help you make a decision.
Right Recruiting | Human Resources Recruiting Projects
1. All The Ships At Sea
We were contacted by this Florida based maritime company for recruitment services to identify someone for a VP of HR position. This company had two locations, one on the West Coast and one in Florida and they wanted to create a common culture between the two. The HR VP would have 4 direct reports, two at each location, and be based Florida.
Imagine this shipping industry HR challenge as your employees are floating somewhere on the ocean and operate in a unique, authority driven culture. The actual workers are provided by the union and paid by the union. The employees supported by HR are the ships professional staff (officers) and some technical people as well as shore side staff. How do you create a culture of safety, create a positive environment and monitor your culture when half of your employee based in sailing hither and yon daily?
We knew this wasn’t a project in which we could just steal from a competitor. Why? Two reasons. One, it’s an industry with serious non-compete clauses. Two, most competitors still thought of HR as personnel.
Our candidate profile required someone with the following criteria:
1) Was smart and creative. There was no template for them to follow.
2) Someone with a lot of diverse experience which included harsh working environment workplaces and multiple locations.
3) Someone with a sense of adventure.
4) Someone who didn’t want an empire.
That was our profile. We went through 50 people in 6 weeks, referred 5 to our client and two months later, offer extended and accepted.
2. I Need a Benefits Manager Who Wants To Be a HR Generalist
A PA based mid-sized manufacturing company was changing its HR business model. Instead of vertical silos, Compensation / Benefits / Talent Acquisition, etc., their VP of HR wanted to transition over a six month period to multiple HR Business Partners who each supported a specific company demographic- a Business partner for Sales, one for IT / Finance, one for Ops, as a few examples.
This plan was a work in-progress and there was an immediate need for a Benefits Manager. Our task was to find a Benefits Manager who wanted to move into a BP / HR Generalist role over the next year and who was also capable of making that transition. Those are two different types of jobs and sometimes represent two different types of people.
Our profile was for:
1) Someone from another manufacturer or distributor
2) Someone who had spent most of his or her career in benefits
3) Someone who was good at benefits but was capable of and interested in a HR / BP position. We had to keep in mind that those are different jobs and not everyone could make the transition.
This was a challenge. To many it was an interesting job. However, we had to be conscious of the difficulty in the career change and eliminate some, even if they were interested. This was a 2 ½ month project.
3. I Hate HR But I Need A HR Manager / Director
We had worked with this business owner for 8 years, filling jobs from COO down to engineer, when he finally admitted he needed an HR professional. At 130 employees, it was definitely past due. Like many business owners, our client was from the generation that remembered HR as personnel. His impression of the discipline was outdated. One day he called and said, it was time to find someone. Unlike other companies in this situation, our client had paid attention to compliance and related issues so this was not a crisis needing to be solved. It was more of a function that needed to be centralized. Our client was a smart guy and we knew that if we got the right person in there, everyone would be happy. Of course, the wrong person would be a disaster.
Here was our profile:
1) We wanted someone with a sense of humor. Humor is an undervalued business lubricant.
2) We wanted someone who came from an engineered product / manufacturing firm who would be comfortable with his / her internal clients.
3) We wanted someone who took a of pride in their HR professionalism but who saw themselves an an advisor to ownership on HR issues but not on general business strategy. We needed a unique combination of pride and humility.
Fortunately, we knew that this need would eventually appear and had people in mind. Our client had 2 finalists in 3 weeks.
4. Classical VP of HR Search – Corporate America
Our client, a PA based pharma company, had just lost their VP of HR due to a spouse’s relocation. The suddenness of the lost created a problem. No obvious internal successor and a series of acquisitions on the horizon. Time was of the essence.
When they called us we were asked one question- how long will this project take? We had worked on jobs for them before but in other disciplines. They knew us but had never really faced an HR need before. My answer was simple- depending on your interview availability, we can have you finalists within one month. Our skeptical client agreed. Our profile was obvious:
1) Someone with VP level experience at a major company who was local. A relocation would take too much time and slow everything down.
2) Someone who had been through acquisitions
3) Someone with a definite level of interest. We did not want our client to waste time on tire kickers.
We set up a team that day, went through an expedited process to include weekend candidate meetings and phone calls and kept our promise. One month and our client had 2 finalists.
Human Resources Recruiting Summary
We at Right Recruiting, a HR Recruiting firm in Blue Bell, PA have been filling the best hr jobs for Human Resources positions, HR manager recruitment, HR Director jobs, and HR Executive jobs since the days it was called a personnel department. Of course, those were the days when we also sent resumes to clients by mail. No, not email, not fax. The real mail with stamps and envelopes. Right Recruiting offers four decades of being a leading hr agency offering professional recruiting solutions.
That represents a lot of water over the Human Resources dam, but we think it gives us a unique perspective for an executive recruiting in various job markets. We have seen how the Human Resources world has evolved from a secondary or tertiary function to the strategic role it fills now. Human Resources professionals have changed from the person who tells you, sometimes a bit too gleefully, why you can’t take vacation when you want it to someone who actually makes the workplace better.
Of course, there are other talent acquisition examples, but the above should give you an idea of our approach. We fill 10-15 HR positions a year, about 20% of our projects. Half of them and here in the Delaware Valley and the rest nationally. We know what we are doing as an hr executive search firm.
One last thing. Many human resources recruiting firms specialize in one thing and there are HR recruiting specialists out there touting their great contacts and knowledge. We take a different approach as a human resources search firm:
1) Our specialty is knowing our clients. Over 80% of our assignments this year have come from companies we’ve worked for in the pat. Most have them have been in a different discipline than the prior project. The know that we know them.
2) We are loyal to our clients, not our contacts. Specialty recruiting firms can build networks of “friends” and that can result in a candidate flow based upon favors, not talent. In other words, we are not representing an ex-HR client to you as a favor to them, not a service to you.
3) If you are a mid-sized company with recruiting needs in multiple disciplines, you can call us. Why manage multiple “experts” when one will do the job?