The long and short of it

Every once in a while, HR and Management butt heads. It’s true.

There can be disagreements about all kinds of things: disciplinary process, policies, lack of policies, too many policies, staffing, documentation, the colour of the sky…the list literally goes on an on.

I have often been on the other side of the desk in a situation involving recruitment. Now what I define as recruitment is identifying, sourcing, posting, screening, interviewing, selecting, and placing a person in a vacant role. (I am purposely leaving out a great many details, but for the sake of keeping this post relatively short.)

Management’s definition of recruitment often is Oh and they have to be the same AND better than the last person. They need to be able to do the job as it has been done AND also in a way that we have yet to define. They need to be able to be subservient to some of the group AND be able to push back others. They need to be high performers AND willing to sacrifice personal development by staying in this role for the next ten years.

And it is this last sticking point that I’m going to focus on. The choice between the “high performer” and longevity. Because despite the emphasis on the “and”, this is really an “or” situation.

Why, you might ask, should you have to choose?

Isn’t it reasonable to want someone who has a lot of potential AND who will stay in the job for a long time?

Reasonable, but not easy.

Let me ask you – if you had management insisting that they would be willing to pass over highly qualified candidates in favour of longevity – what would you think?

Is this a matter of quantity over quality? Would you not rather get 2-3 years of high quality and hopefully “engaged” work from one candidate or would you prefer 5+ of middle of the road.

And for that matter – what guarantee do you have that the long-term investment you are making will actually come to fruition? Are you going to have them sign a 10-year contract with a no trade clause? And what if they DO stay on past that 5 year mark and you are not impressed with their performance?

On a scale of “one to I-don’t-care”, intentionally passing over candidates who are going to give you the best quality because you think they are going to bail…well that says more about the job, your group, and your management than it does about the candidate…doesn’t it?

In the long run, you can expect to be going through this process again AND again AND again.


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