If Steve Jobs were to run a Recruitment Firm!

The above chart shows book value of Apple, Manpower, Korn / Ferry International, Heidrick & Struggles, Spencer Stuart. Revenue in 2002-2005 were comparable but from 2005 Apple took a trajectory that none other could even dream of. From the graph it’s clear that staffing industry has been struggling to maintain its growth and a major overhaul should happen for the industry to survive.

In this blog, I would apply principles Steve Jobs lived by to simulate how steve would have turned around the staffing industry if he were running a Staffing company. The below photo best summarizes the principles of Steve:

Point 1: GO FOR PERFECT: Staffing companies are clearly struggling to maintain the quality of hire metrics. In a survey conducted by Jobvite, companies ranked 3rd party recruiters and search firms as 6 out of 9 in order of quality of hire. Clearly, staffing firms must focus on improving quality of hire rather than just focusing on quantity.

Point 2: TAP THE EXPERTS: Staffing firms have always struggled to hire the best talent at all levels. While executive search firms have been successful in attracting top talent, others are unable to attract top talent from other industries. Steve Jobs would clearly have attracted top talent from other industries to run each portfolio.

Firms should mitigate above challenge by providing high quality internal training, which is sorely missed because recruiters are typically well networked and find another job just after achieving some level of success after training. Steve Jobs would have created an organisation which would command high loyalty and therefore company could have invested heavily on training without fear of loosing trained resources to competition.

Point 3: BE RUTHLESS: With increasing number of channels for recruitment such as social media, competition for filling a position is becoming intense. Under such business scenario, only the expert survives. Therefore company would be forced to look at their market and their core strengths and choose to focus on their strengths. Not being ruthless would mean that certain verticals of the company continue to bleed revenue rendering the whole company inefficient. Steve Jobs would have first focused on a particular talent cluster and established clear leadership and then moved to different segments rather than broadly focusing on any industry.

Point 4: SHUN FOCUS GROUP: Several India staffing firms completely depend on clients for direction instead of being the beacon. Staffing firms must build strong R&D and business consulting arm that is able to foresee challenges that companies would experience in their talent supply chain and help mitigating such risks.

Point 5: NEVER STOP STUDYING: Corporate are quick to adopt social media to strengthen their talent supply chain. Freelance recruiters too were quick to adopt, at least LinkedIn. However staffing firms in India have not implemented processes and methods to leverage these new age recruiting channels. Here are websites of top firms which DON’T even have link to Facebook on their webpage!(2011)
a. Adecco India
b. Manpower India
c. Head Hunters
d. Mafoi (present but poor implementation)
e. ABS Consultants (Great scope of improvement)

Point 6: SIMPLIFY: Two decades ago, job sites brought in dramatic shift in how companies found talent and how people found jobs. However since then, no significant improvement has occurred in terms of recruitment methods or in parameters such as Submission to hire TAT, experience of candidate from first contact to on-boarding or any other parameter. There has been marginal improvements but no significant disruption. Perhaps a great candidate experience management could be the way forward. GTM-People matters Talent friendliness Award is one good step in the right direction. Steve Jobs would have, looked to make lives of Talent and Clients much simplified while taking on all the complexity on himself.

Point 7 (Keep your secrets), 8 (Keep teams Small), 9 (Use more carrot than stick), 10(Prototype to the extreme): I feel these are not as relevant in service industry as in high technology driven product companies. If you believe they do, then please share your thoughts.

8 thoughts on “If Steve Jobs were to run a Recruitment Firm!

  1. Great perspective — as you know the challenge is always in the execution.. Coming from Corporate Talent Executive– this is good to see in writing.


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