I’ve heard people (job seekers, people on the receiving ends of headhunter calls or phone interviews) complain about recruiters who don’t know what they are talking about. Specifically, complaining about recruiters that don’t understand their functional space. It’s not enough to have an idea of what’s what in the tech industry. If you are recruiting for positions in a particular functional area (like marketing), understanding that functional space lends a lot of credibility; with clients/hiring groups, peers, candidates and it just makes you do your job better. I’ve always imagined myself as part of the business versus part of HR so I’ve enjoyed learning as much as possible about marketing (I hadn’t recruited for marketing when I joined Microsoft).
Anyway, all you people who have complained, I hear you. I can’t imagine doing a phone interview or discussing an open position with a hiring manager without having strong knowledge of the functional space. And having been here for while (5.5 years…I still can’t believe it) and having recruited for most marketing groups here, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of both marketing as a functional space industry-wide as well as marketing at Microsoft. Trust me, I’m not trying to pass myself off as a marketer…I know just what I need to know to have in-depth conversations with candidates about marketing plus a little bit more.
One thing I’ve done to share the love with my fellow recruiters is set up a training titled “Marketing Fundamentals for Staffing: Understanding Marketing and Hiring Marketing Talent at Microsoft”. I’ve given this training before and now we are doing round 2. Topics include industry definitions and taxonomy, the 4Ps, roles and marketing taxonomy at Microsoft, marketing concepts, Value Proposition Lifecycle (think product development lifecycle for marketing), career progression in marketing, resources, tools, etc. This is basically targeted toward any recruiters here that are new to recruiting Marketing at Microsoft (they could be new to Microsoft or new to recruiting for marketing).
It’s funny how often I phone interview candidates who are shocked by how much I know about marketing (I’m sure that some of my peers here get the same type of comments from candidates). This makes me wonder what the candidate’s other phone interview experiences are like and how in the world the recruiters get any depth of information without being able to ask intelligent follow up questions. And how other companies train their recruiters in specific functional areas. Besides the phone interview, another way to tell if a recruiter cares about their functional space: check out what is on their bookshelf.
I’m not really trying to toot our horn so much as 1) share the importance of functional knowledge with recruiters and 2) encourage job seekers out there that there are recruiters that care about your experience,care about the functional space we recruit for and who just plain “get it”.