When you describe something as a “Herculean task,” you’re usually doing so because the task is practically impossible. Or you’re implying that the only person who could complete the task is Hercules, the mythical Greek figure.
This brings to mind the “12 Labours of Hercules” from Greek mythology. Let’s review them, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- Slay the Nemean lion.
- Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
- Capture the Ceryneian Hind.
- Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
- Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
- Slay the Stymphalian birds.
- Capture the Cretan Bull.
- Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
- Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta.
- Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
- Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
- Capture and bring back Cerberus.
If Hercules had been a recruiter, there would have been 13 labors. The 13th labor would have been the following one:
Educate all clients completely regarding the state of the employment marketplace, leading to faster hiring processes, more compelling offers of employment, and more high-quality hires.
I don’t know . . . one or two of the previous 12 labors might be more difficult than client education. But not many more than that.
Barriers to client education for recruiters
If you’ve been a recruiter for any length of time, then you know that client education is a seemingly never-ending battle. No matter how hard you try or how much progress you make, it seems as though the job is never complete. That’s because there are hiring managers who can not grasp the reality of the situation. Not all hiring managers, mind you, but quite a few.
So let’s dig down into the reasons why this is the case, shall we? Because before we can fully address a situation, we have to fully understand it.
With that in mind, below are four of the main reasons why client education is a Herculean task for recruiters:
#1—It’s difficult to accept a reality that doesn’t make your life easier.
It’s a candidates’ market. Candidates are in the “driver’s seat.” They have more options and more opportunities, which means they have more leverage. Accepting all of these realities also means accepting that life is more difficult for hiring managers. Ergo, hiring managers are not running full-speed to embrace this reality. In some cases, they’re not running at all.
Think about it. Who likes being told that what they want is not as important as what somebody else wants? Nobody likes to be told that. Nobody. And in this current market, what top candidates want is often more important than what hiring managers want. It seems to me that would make hiring managers want to rebel against reality, not welcome it with open arms.
#2—Hiring managers are uber-busy.
They have other tasks and duties to carry out besides the ones that deal directly with hiring. As a result, their time is limited.
That becomes a problem when duties dealing directly with hiring require more time and effort. Then hiring managers have less time to do everything else. So even if they possess a cursory understanding of market conditions, convincing them to give your candidate top priority above everything else that they’re doing is a tall task.
#3—Hiring managers believe that it’s a privilege to work for their organization.
One of the tricks to hiring top candidates is convincing those candidates that your employment opportunity is their best option. Of course every hiring manager believes that their employment opportunity is the best one. They work for the organization, for crying out loud!
If the hiring manager believes that working for the company is the best and most logical option for their career, why would they NOT believe the same thing about somebody else’s career? (Even if it’s not really true.)
#4—Hiring managers are fearful of making a hiring mistake.
This is a problem because the market is moving so quickly. Top candidates are disappearing off the market nearly as quickly as they’re going on the market.
Even if a company’s hiring officials are fully aware of current market conditions, they’ve accepted the reality of the situation, and they’re committed to giving the search priority, they’re probably still fearful of making a hiring mistake. That makes them hesitate just enough . . . to lose a top candidate. All it takes is a moment’s hesitation these days. And they would rather not hire at all than make a bad hire, since their quality of hire rating probably affects their performance review.
Add it all up, and even Hercules couldn’t fully educate and motivate his clients to acknowledge current marketplace conditions, allocate the necessary energy and resources, and take the appropriate action in a swift and decisive manner.
But he could STILL slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra. That has to count for something . . . right?