Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Identifying "The Reluctants"

I worked with a group of highly skilled people several years ago on developing a service that should have held special appeal for Human Resources departments. It could have saved them a considerable amount of time while reducing the likelihood of lawsuits.

You may already know where I'm going with this. It turned out that our primary roadblock in selling the service was the Human Resources department. 

And that was a huge lesson learned. Never assume that the group that is closest to the action will have the clearest picture of the benefits. They may be so bound to the current system or to protecting turf that they won't give serious consideration to an alternative, especially one from outsiders. 

When I later learned of a computer service that ran into a similar barrier with the computer people, I rejoiced in learning that they were eventually able to overcome resistance by marketing to the chief executive officers. Eventually the computer professionals became enthusiastic adopters but only after they used a product that they had initially shunned.

The natural and logical market sometimes isn't.


Vince Dunn said...

As part of a job I held several years ago I did annual in-person EEO/AA training throughout the firm, which included several client facilities where we had staff assigned. At one location my firm's site manager invited a few senior client managers to attend. They liked what was presented and asked me back to present to their staff. I probably should have checked with the HR folks in the client group, but they were invited by the client manager asking me back. Needless to say they were not thrilled with an outside person coming in. No one from HR attended the sessions.

Michael Wade said...


Very interesting. Unfortunately, it is not surprising.There are many HR people who are very uptight about turf. This may be due to a perceived "clout" deficit. EEO can be one of their greatest areas of sensitivity. Of course, I believe that EEO should be separate from HR; an opinion rarely shared by the HR people.


Eclectipundit said...

In my current job search I am attempting to bypass HR and the black holes and brick walls that gets people NOWHERE. I'm tracking down the hiring manager as best I can and sending them all of my info through the U.S. mail.

"I call the automated online application sites Black Holes because just like a real black hole in space, when you drop a job application into an automated recruiting portal, it virtually disappears. Maybe its atoms are shredded and sent to another dimension - who knows? All we know is that you don't usually hear anything back from the employer." Liz Ryan, Reinvention Roadmap.

Most recruiting processes are broken so I'm doing my best to not use them. HR has allowed this, designed these, and let's not forget the compliance people and attorneys that have aided and abetted them. I'm certain that a strong majority of HR people loath people that attempt work arounds.

My view anyway. E.

Michael Wade said...


Seeking a job through HR puts you in competition with masses of people; an mountain of applications where applicants become just another piece of paper. Going directly to a hiring manager, especially in private sector firms, greatly improves your odds. Ideally, you want a situation in which you are a monopoly and no other candidates are being considered.

Don't get me started on the online application system. That is clearly designed for the convenience of HR and not for the job applicants. I tell my workshops on EEO that if I were king everyone in HR would hit the street every three or four years just to be reminded of how demeaning it is to look for work.

Good luck!