The Education Pipeline


I figured it out on a bus between Austin and Forth Worth Texas. “It” being why people in HR and recruiting don’t actually know how to do their jobs. Now, this isn’t an all or nothing scenario, so don’t start your angry comment just yet.

Have you ever thought about all the decisions you make in your job – not just the yes or no decisions, but the ones you have to make that require a lot more work behind the scenes? These are your big technology investments, executive hiring decisions and strategic placements. How do you learn how to make those decisions more effectively?

The answer in recruiting, at least, has been to fail. To fail miserably and repeatedly, deteriorating your reputation one choice at a time. We work blindly – tasked with some decision and then we’re left to use the internet to make the best educated decision we can. Just like using Web MD to diagnose yourself, the outcomes are completely invalid. I’d call it an educated guess but it’s not educated at all. Clicking and choosing the outcome you want is for children’s books, not business or healthcare.

Then we’re told to register for this $2000 conference, where no one has taken the time to teach us anything but rather set a series of speakers who regurgitate ideas they’ve heard from other people with original thoughts. These conversations are framed around gossip, Vegas hangovers and bashing the big guys rather than something that more closely mirrors a university setting focused on education. That conference entry fee is really expensive permission to blow everything off for a week, not a path towards learning something that will help us be better.

See, if you want something to go better, you have to teach people how to do better in the first place. There are endemic issues across the recruiting and HR industries that we talk about at every conference – bad hiring managers, bad managers, retention, candidate experience – but I can’t point to one valid education pipeline. For example, we don’t train people how to be better managers yet we constantly fear the consequences of bad management. Then I put you on some recorded webinar to do better next time? Yeah, that’s not going to work.

If we trained engineers this way, by pointing to problems but not education on solutions, I can tell you right now I wouldn’t be driving, flying or bussing anywhere in the first place because I would die. So why aren’t we taking the education mandate to the industry that impacts how we all spend 40+ hours a week?

Think about it.

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