This week’s announcement that Thomas Bivens, our managing director, is a Portland Business Journal 2017 “Forty Under 40″ winner means he’s joining the ranks of 52 Limited founder Brooks Gilley, a past recipient of the honor. That’s 52=40/40×2 for you mathematically-minded folks.
Obviously touched, our managing director took to LinkedIn to share his thoughts on the award:
When it was announced … a colleague posted a congratulatory note on social media saying how great it is to see leaders in the recruiting industry receive recognition. That got me thinking… why do recruiting firms get such a bad rap and how can I change it?
The short answer is that we tend to do it to ourselves. Despite the critical importance companies place on hiring and retaining people in an ultra competitive marketplace, recruiting services continue to be more and more commoditized. That juxtaposition doesn’t make sense.
So many recruiting firms are transaction focused, not relationship-driven. Many will say otherwise, but the typical business model paints the story. Hire a slew of newbies without any training or experience, assign a bunch of sales-focused metrics, and let the team compete in a battle royal of sorts to evaluate who stays and who goes. The focus is on the numbers, the deal-flow, and making money. The more you transact, the more favorable you are viewed.
The transaction-first mindset is like a disease. It creates bad habits and reinforces poor behaviors. Nobody likes to be pestered as though they’re being sold a used car they don’t want. It confirms to candidate and client alike that they are simply the means to another notch on this week’s KPIs.
For many years I had the opportunity to lead an internal talent acquisition team for a global management consulting firm. Immersion in this environment sharpened core competencies related to active listening, accountability, and problem solving. It crystallized my philosophy upon re-entering the agency world. At 52 Limited, we do things differently.