Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

What Do Researchers Do – Part IV
October 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

I was going through some of my old blog posts when I stumbled across one of the very first series of articles that I wrote, discussing the role researchers and sourcers play in their companies. I have decided to update and re-post them over the next few weeks. In this final week, we’ll discuss and dispel some common myths associated with the role of the researcher/sourcer on a recruitment team. Enjoy!

So, I’ve talked about what a researcher does and doesn’t do. I’ve given you some of my thoughts on where to look for a researcher for your office, and what qualities in an individual might lead them to be a good researcher. I’ve also given you some insight into the day in the life of a researcher. What’s left? How about some fun things: some common misconceptions of what a researcher is. Yes, I believe every researcher has beaten this topic to death at some point or another. But now, it’s my turn! The goal of this is to shed some light on some of the things that are incorrectly associated with internet research, and hopefully offer some suggestions on the correct way to classify this increasingly vital part of a recruiting operation.

Myth #1: “The researcher will find you candidates.”

You may think, ‘How is this incorrect? That’s what researchers do isn’t it? Source candidates?’ Not exactly….as I’ve mentioned in prior postings, a researcher’s duty is to source leads. YOUR job, as a recruiter, is to turn them into candidates. Now, there are times with this does apply; for example if you have a researcher who also pre-screens the contacts/leads they source before passing them along to the recruiter. But for the most part, we researchers generate the leads, and you recruiters qualify them and turn them into candidates. Call this a simple play on words or whatever you like, but I felt it needed to be included here.

Myth #2: “Just find me resumes.”

Sure, your researcher will find you resumes. Some of the time. But depending on what resources they are provided, the majority of the leads that your researcher can and will provide you with might just be a name, title, and method of contact. Perhaps also a short bio. When doing high-volume searches, I do use pay-for job boards (Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, etc.) for portions of the search, however when working on one-off searches, I will typically start with social networks. Most (good) researchers do not rely solely on resume boards. Should I even go so far as to say a good researcher will not only also use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to source? I might get some hate mail for saying that, but it’s true. Researchers will from time to time come across an HTML resume or a personal website with a resume posted on it. But most of their leads may be simply names and contact information. Just be realistic, and get excited if your researcher DOES give you a resume! Don’t get salty if ‘all’ they give you is a list of 50 names and contact information. 🙂 Get pumped about all the networking you can do when you call those people!

Myth #3: Being an internet researcher is a ground-level starting point for becoming a recruiter.

Not in every case! Recruiting professionals across the board talk about this concept of the “junior recruiter” – some stating this as correct and others calling it a false assumption. This label is as dumb as thinking that all tall kids want to grow up to be professional basketball players. I for one have no desire to recruit. I enjoy the thrill of hunting down leads. Other researchers I know partake in some of the recruiting process and yes, they would aspire to be a recruiter one day. But don’t pigeonhole your researcher into being fast tracked to the divine status of “recruiter”. Take a few moments to find out what excites them and encourage them to develop their skills and pursue their own career goals.

Myth #4: I can do my own research. I don’t need to waste money on hiring a researcher.

Um, I’m curious how you successfully keep up with your own industry and not work 24/7 if this is your attitude toward research! In a conversation I had with a recruiter who had taken some time off, he mentioned that for two weeks prior to getting back on the phones he spent at least 10 hours a day researching the latest news in his industry. Yes, you read that correctly – 10 hours a day, for two weeks. And this recruiter still uses researchers on a daily basis! I presented this question to my LinkedIn network and was shocked at the number of responses I got that said “No, I do not use a researcher; I do my own research.” In my personal (honest) opinion, this is very cocky and I can’t imagine that many of those recruiters are big billers (as I prepare to be sent more hate mail for saying so!). As a recruiter, your bread and butter is earned by being on the phones during the day, not searching news sites and conducting research. I’ll bet the majority of those who do their own research do this on their own time – in the evenings and on the weekends – thus sacrificing family time and any resemblance of a personal life to do so. So, tell me again that research is easy and doesn’t take much time and that hiring a researcher wouldn’t be beneficial? Okay then…

Myth #5: 23 ways a researcher will help you make more placements in less time

I don’t think any explanation is needed here. This post is ALLLLLL kindsa wrong, IMHO! Please just read the list of what duties the author thinks a researcher can be responsible for and see if it doesn’t steam you. My favorite in this list has to be “watering plants”…

Myth #6: Researcher = data entry/PC troubleshooter/anything-I-don’t-feel-like-doing person

Yes, I think most researchers have a love for technology, which predisposes them to being good at all things computer-related. However, know that the more you ask your researcher to deviate from their research duties, the less time they will be able to spend on what you hired them to do – research! The last thing in the world you should be asking your researcher to spend a great deal of time on is data entry. This is a job for which you can hire someone at $8/hour. While it’s definitely part of what the job entails, using your researcher to do a large amount of data entry is, quite honestly, wasteful of your payroll dollars. A good friend of mine and former fellow researcher stated once that his job description was “All duties that no one else in the office wants to do.” Turning your researcher into a gopher is a gross misuse of talent and will inevitably turn your researcher off.

Remember – research is a vital part of your recruiting operation. There are four foundational parts of a successful recruiting office:

  • Process (Operations)
  • Client Relationships (and/or Business Development in agency settings)
  • Recruitment
  • Research

Eliminating any one of these components will cause your recruiting operation to run inefficiently, and research is an especially vital part of this foundation. Research is the backbone of the recruiting body; it supports and facilitates necessary information to reach the rest of the parts.

Don’t let the myths of what research is cloud its importance in the functioning of your recruiting practice. If you’re unsure how research will play an important role in your office, I urge you to contact someone who does use research and talk to them. Or you can call or email me; I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts with you!

I hope this series of articles has helped you get ‘warm and fuzzy’ with research. My intent was to help the recruiting community better understand what research is and also learn about the thought process that goes behind it. Remember: researchers are real people too, and real important in the recruiting process! Even though we’re not actively generating the dollars, you really can’t put a price tag on the value that we bring to a recruiting operation.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Another great post in this series and one that I passed on to others. Couldn’t have put it better – scope creep especially. Thanks!

Comment by Dorothy Beach, CIR PHR

great post! how many parts do we have coming? hopefully, this isn’t the last

Comment by Kiandra

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