31st July 2012: Slow Recruiting

Etsy chief executive officer Chad Dickerson:


Recruiting too slowly for key positions can be a liability in a fast-paced industry, but the larger point is that the way you and your company treat people over longer periods of time has more impact on your recruiting efforts than anything else.


This is something the higher education sector has to learn. It is a key reason why some young researchers are leaving academia for more lucrative opportunities in the private sector. Initially, they are recruited for 3-to-5 year positions and possibly for long-term research track roles. However, young researchers also now face significant institutional barriers: high entrance requirements for entry-level roles (which include a PhD, teaching experience, and publications’ track record’); a preference for short-term contracts and casual positions; recruitment decisions that are often now driven by cost reduction economics; an incentives system that can block individual efforts; and the lack of a long-term strategy for intellectual capital and property. How you treat academic scholars over their employment period affects the productivity of their research programs. Dickerson is right that slow recruiting can underpin a long-term strategy for human resources management — not necessarily the mindset that many universities have, at the moment.