Fuel50 Guest Post: The Three Truths of Agile Recruitment

March 26, 2015 by

Fuel50 LogoThe silver bullet, the magic cure, the rock star employee who will magically solve your business woes. Myths, all myths, and dangerous ones at that, that easily gain traction when the blind start leading the blind through the murky waters of talent acquisition and management!

The three truths of agile recruitment:
#1 Any employee is only as good as the environment in which they must operate (and the opportunities they are given).

#2 It’s a question of alignment; the right career experience, for the right person at the right time.

#3 It’s very possible to turn an A player into a C player if you fail to engage them, as well as to move everyone up a league, once they find their calling.

If you find yourself struggling to find the talent you need to execute your goals, or have been left disappointed with your recent talent acquisitions, take note. Science tells us that when we find ourselves in a situation in which things are not working, the natural response is to do more of what we are already doing. The absurd thing is that whatever we were doing was clearly not working, because that’s how we got into the pickle in the first place!

Applied to recruiting, this means that instead of scouring the talent horizon to find the talent we need outside our walls, it’s time to flip the focus from a deficit towards a sufficiency approach. We need to turn inwards and find out what caused us to have to recruit externally in the first place. Only once we start doing this are we able to capitalize on the wealth of talent we already have within, as well as benefiting from widespread organizational effects of internal recruiting, which include a 66% increase in performance of the HR function, 30% lower problem attrition, absenteeism and higher overall business performance[i].

Why are you having to recruit in the first place then?

Most likely, you are recruiting to replace an employee who is leaving you to move onwards and upwards. Why did you fail to engage them with an attractive career development proposition?

Perhaps it is a maternity cover. Why are you missing this great opportunity to offer a ‘stretch’ assignment to a more junior team member, or a lateral secondment to broaden the business acumen of an upcoming leader from a different function?

Maybe you are failing to meet key business objectives. Well, do you really think someone from outside is the best person to help you with that? If your current people are disengaged and not performing it might be time to do some hard analyses, such as addressing their engagement levels and critical skills gaps. Those recruitment and pay role dollars might be better invested in development.

Your business is expanding and you need more people. Great! That’s an almost passable reason. But, before you rush off, make sure you move the people you already have within up and recruit into your lower tiers. It’s all about tapping into hidden talents and increasing talent leverage.

An important point here is that we do not wish to deny the importance of recruitment as a critical function and area of business competency. Rather, we expand recruitment horizons to include all recruiting, be that internal or external in nature. Greater attention should be given to the pool of candidates within, and strategy should be put in place to ensure they are competent, well skilled and performing. This places recruiting as a critical spoke of a broader integrated talent strategy wheel, on par with other key functions, such as learning and development, mobility, leader development and succession planning.

Because great recruitment begins within, with a well-honed and readily deployable internal talent pool that corresponds to market demands is key. There is no magic wand to career development; it’s simply a matter of the right experience at the right time for the right person, and assisting them to learn the necessary lesions each experience offers so that they can grow into their best professional self.

In order to achieve this, you need to get to know your people. What do they want to achieve? It’s no use recruiting a junior manager for a managerial stretch assignment if he doesn’t want to move or would be prefer to becoming an expert in a specific subject area instead. Does this new position represent a desirable opportunity for him or would he rather be focusing on a personal goal at the moment? For internal as for external recruiting, effective communication that allows you to understand authentic career preferences is essential.

Incidentally, I nearly forgot to mention that once you begin to look within and get your internal recruitment piece right, you might be surprised how your employer brand is strengthened. Internal recruiting increases engagement and the value your people place on their contracts with your organization. They are more likely to recommend your organization as a great place to work and recommend you to their friends. Your own people might become your greatest advocates, providing a steady source of quality hires (if you really need them). Imagine finding yourself position of being able to choose between promising candidates who actively approach your organization, and to have the luxury of assessing them against strategic business needs, instead of reacting to sudden departures and immediate talent crises.

By Maya Crawley, Fuel50
This piece was originally published on Fuel50’s blog

[i] These figures are taken from Fuel50’s original career engagement benchmarking research, which provides an overview of how internal recruitment impacts on broader organizational dynamics. Contact Fuel50 for a copy of this paper.


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.

Email: kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com