Hiring Cheaper Isn't Hiring Better: Why Companied Continue to Get Exactly What They Pay For
By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 2008
Sometimes it also seems that bodies are bodies, interchangeable and most wisely obtained at the lowest possible cost for the least amount of effort.
Certainly, anyone who works in today's corporations knows that far too few employees are trying to do far too much work with far too limited resources. At some point in the last century, people were those companies' most important resource - but that was then and this is now, dude. If not ignored or placed on hold by corporate edict, hiring has become a necessary evil as opposed to a golden opportunity.
And with every possible ounce of cost being wrung from corporate budgets, it seems to make sense to hire on the cheap: waste-not, want-not. This has led to the creation of computerized "vendor management systems" for personnel procurement; applicant-tracking software that classifies, files and retrieves r'esum'es electronically; "preferred recruiter" lists based largely on search firms' willingness to discount their services; increased reliance on online job boards, and so on.
While it might be argued that certain kinds of skill-intensive positions can be filled through automated recruiting and assessment, that is hardly the case for positions where factors such as leadership, judgment, persuasiveness, management style and emotional intelligence come into play. There has yet to be seen a r'esum'e that presents its subject as a whole human being - capable of accomplishing some things more than others and destined to reach a certain level of personal achievement.
What happens over time - especially in larger, more "organized" and more bureaucratic organizations - is a gradual dumbing-down of the hiring process. Actions are taken and decisions made on the basis of their efficiency (or, better yet, cost-efficiency). Those responsible for finding and attracting the ideal candidate are denied access to the very individual who most understands the needs and dynamics of the open position - namely, the person to whom the position reports. Candidate interviews are repeatedly rescheduled, and hiring decisions are postponed for months. Adding injury to insult, search firms are asked to work for smaller fees and accept later payment, two dampening factors on a firm's level of commitment, degree of thoroughness and sense of urgency.
It's like the wife who never knew her husband drank until he came home sober one night: life seems normal until a better alternative arrives.