Thanks for so many of you responding to my recent survey about this column. Virtually everyone seems to think that the topics covered this year have been provocative and interesting. The one voted the best was the series on world class staffing. The top two desires for future columns are to focus on sourcing and retention. Other interests are on new technologies, metrics, attracting the passive candidate, general recruiting trends, how to recruit specific types of candidates (e.g. seniors, military, minorities), and on the regional aspects of recruitment. All are great topics and I will strive to tackle most of them during 1999. For all of us who are involved with employment – whether it is looking for good people or developing the tools and processes to make finding good people easier, faster and cheaper – both 1999 and 2000 will be seminal years. These two years, I think, will be the ones in which the technologies and process that dominate the next decade will be born and grow. We have seen some early starts, as I indicate below, but the next 24 months will be explosive. Companies will emerge that are focused on finding automated, Internet-based ways of doing everything from screening candidates to doing background checking and new employee orientation. The shortage of skilled people will not change for at least a decade, which means that the recruiting profession will have to change. It will have to focus on customer service, on public relations and advertising and on building long-term relationships. Here are a few more specific predictions for the next 12 months:
When companies first started registering their domain names, most chose the company name itself. For instance, IBM is at www.ibm.com, Cisco is at www.cisco.com and so on. Of course, this type of domain name makes it easy to find the company’s public site – the one the company wants you to visit. But large companies often have more than one Web site. And, on some of those sites reside directories, white papers, association lists and all sorts of things with names of people waiting to be found. One of those people could be your candidate. This week, we’ll look at how to find a company’s other domain names. Then, in the next couple of weeks we’ll look at:
- finding particular files in those particular Web sites
Have a shortage of candidates? An “Employer of Choice” (EOC) like HP, for example may get as many as 1,000 resumes a day! Becoming an EOC isn’t easy but it certainly can help solve your shortage of applicants. An EOC is a conscious corporate-wide employment strategy designed to re-make a company image as “a great place to work.” EOC is a term used by recruiters to designate a company that, because of it’s status and reputation as a great place to work, is always the first choice (or at least on the short list) of world-class candidates. One obvious advantage to the company is that it can easily attract and retain the top talent it needs to produce a quality product. In addition, EOCs get name recognition, which helps build the firm’s brand, and it also usually improves sales. Many companies say “employees are our # 1 asset” but if you really believe that, then becoming the EOC needs to be the primary corporate goal… Because it is the only/best way to attract and retain those “most important assets.” There is no plaque awarded to for EOC status but there are many benefits that can accrue to a firm that reaches it. ADVANTAGES OF BEING AN EOC INCLUDE:
- Ease in attracting quality talent.
The resume or curriculum vitae (Latin meaning course of life) is dead as we know it. This decade of the Internet has already changed the way we look for work, are screened for work, and are recruited. The resume in its usually rather drab and inconsistent dress has gradually given way to the list of key words that satisfy the applicant tracking systems and automated database entry that most large companies now own. Even smaller companies are opting to use an outside service to scan resumes or are purchasing any of a number of smaller systems that are cost effective and adequate for organizations with low volumes of openings and resumes. These rather crude matching systems are now evolving into interactive tools for building resumes in real time and for simultaneously conducting aptitude and interest testing. Entire books have been written giving hints on how to write a resume for this electronic age. Many of them include lists of words that will get your resume noticed by a recruiter. Many job seekers trade secrets and discuss strategies on how to beat the system and get their resume into the hands of an actual human recruiter who may see merit where the computer doesn’t. At outplacement seminars topics include discussion and practice in crafting resumes that list all relevant words that might result in a match with a job. Applicants are taught how to read a job decryption and ferret out the significant words and phrases. Dictionaries of key words are passed around the Internet. There are 5 downsides to resumes from an employers perspective: (1) they are written by the candidate and show only favorable information and use key words to influence the matching process, (2) they do not include all the information an employer may want, (3) they are too general to clearly identify what the candidate is interested in, (4) they require a written (and administratively time consuming) response, and (5) they have to be scanned into some form of database to be easily accessible to hiring managers and recruiters. As the job market remains tight for skilled people (and it will remain this way for at least the next decade despite the economy, Asia, or Clinton simply because of supply), the paper resume will slip into oblivion. The process of applying for a job will be more interactive and more focused on a variety of parameters rather than the few that can be encompassed in a resume. I think all of us agree that our careers are more than a piece of paper. I have heard candidates say countless times: “My resume doesn’t really reflect what I can do.” Sharp managers also realize that a person who has a skill doesn’t necessarily become a great employee. Other things such as attitude, energy level, creativity, and philosophy all play a part in making someone a good employee. These are traits and abilities that don’t come across on paper very well. Because of this, some organizations are now developing web sites that build a resume for you by asking the questions the company wants to ask and by ‘forcing’ you to supply the information the organization needs to make a decision about proceeding on with you or not. Cisco and Microsoft have built web sites that not only build a resume, of sorts, but also screen you for a variety of jobs based on how you answer a series of questions. Microsoft has developed an on-line aptitude test that then automatically recommends a variety of jobs that a candidate might be interested in. More companies will begin automating the process of gathering basic information about a candidate. The process is already accelerating as we end 1998. Korn Ferry has teamed up with the Wall Street Journal to offer FutureStep, a program that determines interest and aptitude and then builds an on-line profile in real time of potential candidates. World Hire, a newly started company in Austin, Texas has developed a number of tools that aid a company in building a profile of potential candidates and then ranks candidates based on how they have responded to questions that have been weighted by the hiring manager. World Hire also builds an on-going relationship with candidates and keeps information current. I predict that between now and the turn of the century most large companies will have modified their web sites to include interactive, real-time resume building. These sites will take the candidate through a discovery process about the company and the potential jobs. They will be very interactive, have video and audio, and give a prospective candidate a realistic preview of what the company is like. At the same time, the site will collect information from the candidate about education and experience, probe for skills, assess interests, ask for opinions and ideas, and in the end offer a hiring manager a much more rounded picture of a candidate than can be done with a paper resume. Look for more and more tools and companies to pop up that help your create these sites. Also look for tools that evaluate skills and that assess interests. These are available now but will be greatly enhanced and sophisticated over the next two years. The resume has had a good run — more than 80 years — and will live on electronically in a vastly different format. May all those resumes in file cabinets and file folders around the world rest in peace as they crumble into dust.
Do your searches still produce myriad unwanted results? Read the suggestions put out by the University of California at Berkeley. In this easy-to-understand article, there is a superb table that categorizes the types of searches you might want to do and how best to go about them. They break your type of search into the features that you might be looking for. For instance, are you looking for a proper name or phrase? Or are you looking for information “about” something, such as an industry? Perhaps you’re looking for a rather common phrase that has so many contexts, your search results become a new search on their own. Or are there numerous words to describe the type of person you’re looking for and you’re not sure which is best? UCB gives you suggestions for how to conduct your search in each of the above trying situations. There is a dandy little chart that explains how best to incorporate search operators and phrases to help you get better results. Read it-it can save you an amazing amount of time in your future searches. If you’re not a fan of reading tables, and find tables hard to follow, there’s also a text version that includes details and very specific search instructions.
Intraplacement is a dynamic process that uses the tools and strategies of external search and applies them to internal candidates. Internal candidates are superior to external candidates because they usually have a much higher success rate in their new jobs than external candidates. This is because they already know “our” culture and they have already performed well in it. But they might also be “passive job seekers” with poor job search skills. If you don’t act to keep their career moving they could easily become your next retention problem. The goals and objectives of Intraplacement: The basic goal of Intraplacement is to increase the number and quality of growth opportunities available to current employees. Intraplacement works because there are many employees (and particularly technical staff) that have low job search initiative and weak interviewing or job search skills. Internal systems can also be so confusing or frustrating that employees often postpone any internal search. Sometimes they will only act when they get direct help from another source and unfortunately, that is often the executive search professional that calls them with a new external job opportunity with another firm! The second goal of Intraplacement is to improve the retention of key people, because “if we don’t place them (internally)… an outside firm will.” Intraplacement is a prevention strategy that “pushes” or guides key employees into new opportunities rather than waiting for them to “jump” on their own. Intraplacement also offers a variety of challenges in addition to the traditional promotion opportunities. A strategic goal of Intraplacement is to help redeploy a firms “Human Assets” to areas of business need (and opportunity). Intraplacement facilitates the movement and helps direct it from areas of low return to those of higher return. (Yes, this means moving people when the corporation needs it as well as just when the employee wants to go!) Another goal of Intraplacement programs is to motivate and excite the workers. Continually challenging workers through internal placement will increase employee motivation and growth. An added side benefit will be that you will enhance your firm’s image, so it will be easier to attract new workers. A final goal of Intraplacement is to get managers more involved in the development of their employees. Currently it is solely the employee’s responsibility to grow his or her own career. Rather than being advocates of movement and growth, some managers actually “hold back” their best employees in order to protect their own self-interest. By including metrics and individual rewards for managers that attract, develop, and grow employees (theirs and ones from other departments) more learning, movement and growth will occur. With Intraplacement, managers can become more of an equal partner in the growth and movement of employees. Companies like Intel, Sun Micro, HP, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Silicon Graphics are famous for the internal movement and the development of their people. They have all advanced beyond relying on “paper” postings and have added mechanisms to increase the movement of their employees. Steps in Intraplacement: Intraplacement programs must be customized to the culture of the company. However there are some common steps almost all firms go through in implementing an Intraplacement program. They include:
- Start with tracking the movement (or lack of) for all key employees and identify those that are “stagnant” (haven’t moved in __ years). Be sure to monitor for diversity and any possible adverse impact.
With over 2,500 job posting sites on the Internet, hundreds of newspapers, and a multitude of job fairs to choose from, on a limited budget, it can seem overwhelming to determine the most effective ways to spend recruitment dollars. The goal is to achieve the highest qualified response rate per dollar spent. Incorporating a thorough, well-planned, Internet campaign into your current recruiting strategy will significantly increase the exposure of your positions and decrease your cost per hire. The key to success is spending the time up front to develop a well-planned marketing strategy. Continue to think strategically about the most efficient and effective ways to reach your target market.
- Evaluate your recruitment budget as ONE pool of money. This includes allocations for Job Fairs, Print Advertising, Search Fees, and all other resources for finding qualified candidates.
FIFTEEN WAYS TO FIND EMPLOYEES: More than ever recruiters and managers have to be creative and willing to experiment in order to locate and woo candidates to their organizations. Here are a list of fifteen ways you can find candidates. 1. Attend conferences just to scout out potential talent. Start building a relationship by chatting, offering them a coffee, telling them about you and your organization. Make sure they know how to get in touch with you and you with them. Other types of meetings or community service events also offer you a chance to recruit. A good salesman, so the saying goes, never rests. 2. Hang out (or get the right recruiter or manager in your organization to) at the places your candidates hang out. If you are looking for programmers into the good life, try micro- breweries or small nightclubs and bars. Pass out your cards. Make acquaintances. Ask around to find out who does what, for whom and how they are regarded. This has worked well for Cisco and other Silicon Valley firms and can work for you too. You have to go to where THEY are. It’s really not hard to find out where the hottest spots are or what hobbies are ‘in’ at the moment and then place yourself there. 3. Go to a job fair like a Westec (obviously an event on the West coast, but there are similar ones all over the country) and raffle off a top-of-the-line bicycle or sports car or Sun workstation. Although the items may be expensive, they are cheap compared to endless and fruitless ads! The publicity you’ll get if you stage this right is worth a fortune. You can even get TV and radio coverage if you get your PR or advertising group to help. Send out press releases. Make it a BIG DEAL! 4. Hold an informational or educational session carefully planned to attract the type of candidate you need. Send out an invitation to a list of people in a certain profession or who subscribe to a certain magazine. Make it an early evening event with wine and cheese or some other snack appropriate to your audience. Offer a real education value make sure you really deliver — but gather business cards and infiltrate the audience with your managers so they can chat and start building relationships. Last year for example, the Charles Schwab Corporation held an event to educate programmers about investing. Invitations were extended to about 1,000 people and over 400 showed up. Schwab collected business cards. Each speaker talked for 2-3 minutes about Schwab and what it was like to work there. Everyone who attended got real value and learned a lot about investing better. Schwab eventually hired about 50 people from that event. And the cost was minimal — just a hotel room and some snacks. All speakers were employees. 5. Offer ANYONE who checks out your corporate web site a chance to find out more about your organization and its jobs. Make it easy for them to click and be led into a well designed series of web pages that entice and explain. Make the candidate want to apply and make it easy for them to do it. Promise them a personal call if they apply after filling out a qualifying form, or promise them some form of contact quickly. Every hour that goes by diminishes your chance of closing the deal. 6. Build strong relationships with professors and instructors on college and university campuses. Many college students rely heavily on the advice of their professors when making a career decision. Some studies show that professors have more influence than spouses, close friends, or parents. So if you and your company are well regarded, you will have a leg up over the competition. But, these relationships are built over years and take a commitment on your part. The good thing is that the relationships often go with you, whether you are a recruiter or a manager, and help you no matter what organization you are with. The belief is that if you are there the organization must be OK. 7. Join everything! Belong to as many professional associations and local groups as you can. Keep your involvement at a professional level, not at a recruiting level. Offer to make presentations, contribute and yet make it known that you are always ready to help someone find a job (even if it’s not in your area of need). The more good will you build up, the easier it will be to tap into the group when you are really in need. I have friends who make this a mainstay of their sourcing efforts. The by-product is in-depth information about candidates. You will really know who is strong, who is weak, who is liked and who isn’t and why. All of this can be invaluable in making the right decision for your organization. 8. Re-recruit those who have left. Remember that a great source of candidates are those previous employees who decided to seek greener grass. Many are more than likely willing to return. Your job is to find out where they are (and actually you should have never let them leave without knowing how to stay in touch), discover why they left (the real reason) and then try to remove objections and overcome reluctance. Get them back to talk to key people, court them actively, and try to get management over any anger at them because they left or were disloyal. We all like to try new things and are probably stronger and more experienced for it. If you are new to the company yourself ask for a list from HR of those who have left in the past six months. Call them up and ask them to fill you in on the company as you are new. Get to know them a little and find out if re-recruiting is feasible or not. You can both benefit from this. 9. Use high school students now and hire them later. I have written a previous column about school-to-career programs (October 1st, 1998) which outlines in detail what these programs are. Basically they are designed to provide a high school student with some work experience and to give them a chance to learn workplace skills. Many go on to college and can work part-time or full-time in the summer and then become regular employees. These programs are wonderful in that they give you a chance to screen and mold future employees. You get to guide their school work and get them focussed on what you need as a company. They get a good job and the guidance that many of them need to make tough choices. Many companies get a significant portion of entry-level people through these programs quite inexpensively. 10. Other similar programs focus on welfare people re-entering the workplace after being trained with tax dollars. Some organizations are using released prisoners in certain types of jobs. 11. Hire the elderly and those who have already retired once. Many of these senior citizens are happy to get back to work, to learn and contribute. They are excellent workers and are obviously less likely to be enticed away for a few dollars. If you are in an area with many retired people, you are siting on a potential gold mine of skills, knowledge and talent. Go to the retirement communities and groups that have a large percent of older people. Offer them benefits that are attractive to them such as medical benefits that will augment Medicare or more expensive eye care instead of life insurance or child care. This is where a partnership with your benefits department is invaluable. 12. Offer more people fewer hours and more flexibility in work schedules. This can be a source of many people who are constrained by family or other duties from full time, 8-5 employment. If you can restructure jobs so that they can be shared, done at different times, or done at home, you can reduce your need for harder to find fulltime workers. 13. Move parts of your business to areas that have attractive lifestyles and high unemployment. Although these areas are harder and harder to find, they do exist. Many high tech companies have opened design centers of 5-25 employees in remote areas of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado because of the life style and the fact that families like to live in these areas. They can then attract the best designers to move there. There are also fewer temptations for these people so turnover goes down. 14. Develop work-while-you-learn programs that are focused on bringing in a group of people who can perform one job while they are learning to do another more difficult or more complex job. For example, C++ programmers can be productively working halftime while studying Java programming. This trend will continue to grow over the next several years as certain skills die away or become less needed and others are growing rapidly. 15. Go global. Many countries have few jobs and lots of skilled people. Central Europe and parts of Asia fall into this category. High tech has been tapping this market for a decade, but others can too. Many of these countries have excellent teachers, mathematicians, physicists, and engineers. Many are willing to learn new skills and may even fit the category above (#14). There are many third party companies that bring these people to America legally and with proper visas and then help them find employment. You can utilize these services easily and at a reasonable cost. I hope these stimulate your thinking. If you have an idea that I haven’t mentioned, I would like to hear about it. Send me an email at email@example.com. Let’s keep this list growing. See you next week. Happy Holidays to everyone.
So, you’ve found a newsgroup posting that interests you. Apparently she’s got the skills, understands the lingo, seems articulate…But don’t jump the gun. Check her out a bit first. Think of it as a pre-screening. Author-profiling is a great way to see who has said what. It’s a statistical summary of articles originating from a particularly identified person. This helps you decide whether postings are from reliable sources; it’s a multi-step process. For instance, let’s say you found a resume or an interesting post from Jane Doe. Go to the Power Search page, leave the “Search For” box blank, but put in at least a partial e-mail address for Ms. Doe. This brings back a listing of all the postings made by anyone who has “Doe” in their e-mail name. (For more information, see last week’s issue on “Didja Know of DejaNews”. You could then read what the person has posted and where. But, to save time, click on one of the postings. To the right of the screen you’ll find a link to author-profiling. Clicking on it will give you the number of postings the person has made and where they were made-almost makes spying seem easy. USENET II – FOR THE SERIOUS USER If you’ve been to the newsgroups you probably know there’s a great deal of spam, off-topic postings, and commercialization. Certainly, this takes away from your ability to efficiently find people you need. Passing by all the spam is often time-consuming, particularly as spammers have become better writers. You now have a choice. You can try out Usenet II (UII), which tries to deal with some of those problems. It has carved out a piece of Usenet and made it subject to consensus controls. What this means is that a newsgroup can become part of Usenet II by being a “sound” site-one that has no spam but has content. Clearly this is a controlling step. Groups are determining what can and can not pass through. However, no matter where you fall on the side of control of the Internet, having two Usenet sources to troll can’t be all bad. For further information, see Usenet II, which offers a clear explanation of acceptable policies as well as a listing of which groups already participate. Or, view a clear explanation of their goals.
In these times of low unemployment, recruiters are constantly on the lookout for the best talent to fill open positions. We put tremendous resources into external sourcing and recruiting, but most of the time we fail to actively seek out some of the best candidates in the world-those that are literally right under our noses… our own employees! Sure, most companies have internal job posting systems but many were designed in the 1950′s before Generation Xer’s and technology came along! These traditional systems almost universally rely on the employee to initiate the search for a position while Intraplacement systems use Intrarecruiters to proactively seek out and place the best internal candidates (even though they might not be actively seeking a new position)! Intraplacement is a dynamic process that uses the tools and strategies of external search and applies them to internal candidates. Internal candidates are superior to external candidates because they usually have a much higher success rate in their new jobs than external candidates. This is because they already know “our” culture and they have already performed well in it. But they might also be “passive job seekers” with poor job search skills. If you don’t act to keep their career moving, they could easily become your next retention problem. Many existing job-posting systems have serious flaws. Employees are often frustrated with them for a variety of reasons. Finding out the “real scoop” on a potential new job takes hours of “detective” work and if you are not well connected, it’s a shot in the dark. Firms post the openings on the bulletin board but just browsing through it can get you instantly branded as a disloyal team member. Some bosses even “hold back” the best employees from transfers for their own advantage and brand those who transfer often as “job jumpers.” Increasing the internal movement of our employees through Intraplacement (it can also be called “Intrasourcing” or “Intramovement”) has additional benefits beyond the higher success rates of internal candidates. These include “back-fill” capabilities in case of an unexpected opening; increased retention rates; higher levels of motivation, and an increase and expansion of our employees’ competencies. The currently tight job market has forced companies to look at new ways to motivate, grow, and retain their workers. Intraplacement reduces turnover by increasing opportunities for employees to grow and to be challenged. It assists employees in moving to new projects, opportunities, and jobs within the company. Effective Intraplacement Programs use a combination of internal posting, external sourcing, and career development tools to accomplish its goals. This piece will give you insight into how top firms have increased their internal movement. It will help you improve your current job posting system or show you how to replace it with a totally new Intraplacement system. How does Intraplacement differ from current programs? Intraplacement differs from the more traditional job posting systems in a variety of ways including:
- Intraplacement is a shared partnership where the company assists candidates by increasing their opportunities to learn and grow within the firm. Under the traditional job posting systems candidates are pretty much “on their own” to place themselves. Intraplacement is a proactive approach that helps employees get placed. It assumes that many internal candidates are “passive” and that they don’t automatically possess great job search skills (if they did, they might use them to leave our company)!
Although several services exist to help you search newsgroups, DejaNews is perhaps the most complete and easy to use. It’s a fact that DejaNews finds resumes posted to resume-specific newsgroups. But, it also gives you a way to search for passive candidates through its search interface and its Interest Finder. DejaNews bills itself as “the” source for Internet discussion groups. It is. DejaNews has over 100 million articles from newsgroups dating back to March 1995. In total, they have over 380,000 resumes archived. A search through their standard archive, containing postings from the last 6 months, reveals 14,000+ resumes. On the other hand, Alta Vista has over 25,000 resumes – but they go back 10 months and are not indexed from newest to oldest. Consider their “Interest Finder”. From the search interface, you can key in what you’re interested in to find appropriate newsgroups. For instance searching for groups on “computers” results in 14 newsgrouups. Searching for “accounting,” though brings up 33-which helps point out the need to search well. One reason there are so many groups related to “accounting” is because of the recent political movement requesting an accountant from the Senate and the President on certain matters. Unless you’re looking for a government official or an ex-intern, these particular groups won’t necessarily help you find a brilliant accountant. And a simple search for “resume” can’t help much either, since if it’s pronounced differently but spelled the same, it no longer means a C.V.-type posting, but rather “to go back to.” Use the search filters to narrow your search by author, subject, newsgroup, or date. If you want to find accountants looking for jobs, go down to the subject line and type “resume & accountant.” Click on “Create Filter.” You’ll find several hundred resumes. Once you’ve done this, you can refine it further. Next week: Pre-screening Candidates with Usenet
This is a list of employment practices a recruiter might consider as you attempt to move into 21st century HR:
- Do a survey of all hires and ask them why they accepted the job (and what were their concerns).
Eighteen years ago, Usenet was the first resume database on the Internet. Usenet is a huge bulletin board system for many thousands of newsgroups – topic-specific discussion platforms. Anyone across the globe with access to the Internet can participate and often, it seems as if each and every one does. Today, there over 50,000 different newsgroups ranging in subject matter from pet care to religion to job hunting. Each day, tens of thousands of people read and post messages in the threaded (and public) conversations. And a few thousand post jobs and resumes. Finding these resumes can be more than time-consuming; it can be downright frustrating. Often, they’re mixed up with lots of other stuff you don’t want — get-rich-quick schemes, other recruiters’ postings, and rather unsavory personal messages. And, there’s cross-postings galore. Next week we’ll talk about how to sort through all this chaff. For now, consider these newsgroups: alt.building.resumes alt.medical.sales.jobs.resumes alt.resumes atl.resumes aus.ads.jobs.resumes ba.jobs.resumes fl.jobs.resumes il.jobs.resumes israel.jobs.resumes misc.jobs.resumes nm.jobs pdaxs.jobs.resumes stl.jobs.resumes us.jobs.resumes You can access these newsgroups and more, through a newsreader or through a Web-based service such as the following: * Alta Vista * Ask NPAC * Deja News * Excite * Forum One – Searches 37,000 newsgroups * HotBot * InReference – Searches only 17,000 newsgroups – but a sizeable number of publicly accessible mailing lists. * SuperNews If you are new to Usenet and newsgroups, and want to know more, try News Basics – ZDNet’s great and handy rundown of Usenet 101. From Netiquette to newsreaders, they cover what Usenet is; what software you may want to use to access it; what websites catalog postings; what an FAQ is and how to find them, and more. Next week: “Didja Know of DejaNews”
Most interview strategies were developed long before the “Internet” age when the speed of change in business was rather slow. However, if your business is in a rapidly-changing environment, you will need new tools that can tell you more about the future possibilities of a candidate than what they did years ago. Does your business require “outside-the-box” solutions that didn’t exist 3-5 years ago? Are you looking to excite applicants and send them a message that your firm is different? If so, you might consider a new approach to hiring called a “Fut R View.” What is a Fut R View? A Fut R View is an advanced interview technique for IT, product development, and other forward-looking jobs. In a Fut R View the focus is on assessing applicants’ new ideas and their competencies in planning, forecasting, and solving future problems your firm will face under the unique constraints of your culture and your business environment. Fut R Views work best for cutting edge jobs and for selecting innovators and the “very best” in their fields. They are not for every job. They can, however, be a supplement to existing interviews or used as a stand-alone tool. Fut R Views emphasize the forward-thinking whereas behavioral, as well as most other interviews focus on the past. Reasons for using a Fut R View to gain a competitive advantage in hiring:
- You can’t beat the competition in hiring the best candidates if you use the same tools as the competitors to screen your candidates.
Well, we finally come to the end of our list of the seven things an organization must have to be considered world-class. The first questions that must be asked are simple ones: What is important to your customer? And, who IS your customer? Although these are simple, they are not easy to answer. Is your candidate the customer? The hiring manager? The executive team? Or is it all of these? What do each of these hold as important? What are the criteria they are judging you by? Do you know? This week we look at who the customer is and how you can measure the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts. All seven of these steps, put together into a system and properly managed, will provide your organization with a clear advantage over the competition, and with a giant leap toward being a leader in the 21st century. To start, here’s the list of seven things you must have if you want a world-class staffing organization. 1. PAPER IS NON-EXISTENT (Discussed on Wednesday October 7th) 2. MANGERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RECRUITING PROCESS (Discussed on Wednesday, October 14th) 3. THE ORGANIZATION USES THE RIGHT TYPE OF EMPLOYEE IN THE RIGHT POSITION (October 21st) 4. DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT IS PART OF THE RECRUITING MINDSET (October 28th) 5. THE ONLY CONSTRAINTS ON FILLING POSITIONS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ARE CAUSED BY SCHEDULING DELAYS (November 4th) 6. STAFFING IS PART OF THE IMAGE DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING EFFORTS OF THE ORGANIZATION (November 11th) 7. THE ORGANIZATION MEASURES RECRUITING SUCCESS (November 18th) No one would deny that the candidate is probably the foremost customer – judging us on the quality of our interaction with him or her. If we make a good impression it will remain with the candidate and passed along to everyone they talk to. If not, it can damage our reputation for a long time. But, the hiring manager is also very important for two reasons: (1) she hired you, the recruiter, to do a job, i.e. find a qualified employee and (2) she will pass judgement on how good your candidates are. If it took weeks or months to find the right candidate, she will want to know why. Or, she may have already decided that the reason is YOUR inability to source and attract the best. Before accepting any recruiting assignment, you should clearly establish the criteria by which you will be judged. In almost every case, speed will be followed by quality. Cost is almost always last — and often not even a consideration at all. Yet, when I scan the literature on recruiting, I see a focus on cost per hire, on advertising budgets, and on dollars in general. I always wonder why? If you were able to produce two or three highly-qualified candidate in a few hours after receiving a bona fide requisition or job request, and if one of these candidates were hired, wouldn’t you be a hero? Wouldn’t cost be irrelevant? I think these are the critical parameters, in order of importance: 1. TIME TO HIRE: Speed has become the competitive differentiator. All else being equal, this is what makes a difference to candidate and manager. Just think what response you would get from a manager if one or two days after your received a job requisition you provided one or two very qualified, well-screened candidates? Is this possible? Yes. Given new Internet-based tools for screening, tracking, and background screening candidates, it is possible to have very short turn-around times. 2. QUALITY OF THE HIRE: Did your new hire actually show up the first day? Do you know that a very high percentage of new employees never show up on their start date and that another significant number don’t come back after the first or second day? What is your 1-, 2- and 3-month retention rate? As a recruiter, there are many things you can do to improve the chances that the person hired will stay and perform. You can test candidates for skills and abilities, you can do background checks and reference checks, and you can use the speed with which you extend an offer and set the start date to ensure that the quality of your candidate increases. All of these techniques add to your percentages. Hiring can, to a large extent, be a scientific process with many more procedures and safeguards than we generally believe. But, with the cost of turnover exceeding 33% of annual salary, whatever you do will pay off. Good hires mean employees who show up, work hard, and achieve their goals. By understanding the skills and personalities of currently successful employees, you can develop profiles of success to use in your interviewing and screening. 3. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: Do you survey your customers and find out what they really think about you and the staffing function? Inside large corporations, given today’s supply constrained marketplace, recruiting functions are on the front line. Everyone scapegoats and complains about their staffing organizations. Unfortunately, they are often right! It is seldom that a recruiting function markets itself well and effectively. Do you have an active marketing campaign? Do you publicize success? Are you active or passive in creating your image? Are you surveying your customers to see what they want? What do candidates think about you? Is your advertising agency guiding you both internally AND externally? 4. CANDIDATE DIVERSITY: Are you hiring a good mix of people? So you have targets and goals for hiring Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics? What is your strategy to attract and retain great people of diverse backgrounds? Everyone is seeking out diversity. Schools are swamped with recruiters looking for topnotch Asian, Hispanic, and African-American MBAs, engineers, and programmers. But, are you helping to build future talent through supporting high school and college intern programs. Are you providing scholarships? It is critical to have an active program with goals and a clear strategy. 5. COST PER HIRE: What does it cost you to bring in the talent? While this is far from critical in today’s market, it is always wise to watch costs and have a program of continuous improvement. Make sure you are spending money on the things that make sense and pay off. Measure what works and doesn’t work as rigorously as you can. Never spend more than you have to, but always weigh costs against potential benefit. And remember that you have to pay for top talent just like sports teams do. Good people know they are good and demand appropriate salaries and benefits. Next week we will tackle some new issues. There are lots of things to cover as we start a new year, including personality testing, background screening, outsourcing the recruiting function, and outsourcing all the administrative side of staffing. There are many new Internet tools and services that we will start sorting through. It should be an exciting new year! See you next week.
Tired of racking up phone bills and staying online only to be frustrated by the results? Then don’t. Employ yet another web-agent to help. This time, a reptile – a multi-functioned, offline browser called WebSnake for Windows 95 or NT. WebSnake gathers all pages within a web-site, pulls out email addresses, and imports bookmarks. Of course, this is all well and good for those of you into collecting competitive intelligence. But who else might care? Well, it also searches for and retrieves web pages within a specified site, based on several types of keyword searches – perhaps an essential function for those perpetually pursuing people. Or for those who have found a huge site that looks as if it has possibilities for candidate mining, but who don’t have the time to search through it. E-mail addresses are found through a simple keyword search, but bear in mind that the keyword must be in the e-mail address. Thus, it can help find all people at, say, Cisco or Bay Networks, but it won’t find “Cobol Programmers” unless that phrase is within their e-mail address. If you find a site that looks as if it might have many promising pages, and you have neither the time nor the inclination to browse through it online, use the browse function. The site gets copied to your hard drive and you can peruse it later, while offline. Often, if you have a reasonably fast computer, but only a 28.8 modem, browsing from your hard drive is quicker than doing it online. Its most useful function though, is search and retrieve. It can be set to look for keywords within a particular site AND follow all links within the site while it looks for similar keywords. In fact, it is with this function that WebSnake surpasses other offline browsers by a mile. By setting our query, limiting the search to only text files, and asking it to follow all links within one large site, we found several pages – outside the site – which contained resumes of Cobol people. Not bad for little work. You can search all files within the site or you can choose just text files or just keywords within filenames. However you choose to search, make sure to select the properties before you send out the Snake. Within these properties, the advanced function lets you add filters to the search query, limits the amount of pages brought back, and eliminates the bringing back of any image or audio files. System Requirements: 486/33 or higher PC, Windows 95/NT, 8MB RAM, 5MB available hard disk space. Try a free demo or just buy it. It’s only $29.95. Next week: With 50,000 newgroups in Usenet, where do you start? Usenet: An Overview
- Places newspaper ads to get people’s attention and to bring in potential clients?
Almost everyone in the recruiting business must also be an “imagineer,” (using Disney’s term) and create a brand image for their company and for the positions they are offering. Those who are best at this, reap the benefits of hiring more people and doing it faster than anyone else. This week we will explore how you can be better at marketing and branding yourself, your company, and your positions. To refresh your memory, these are the qualities that MUST exist for world class status: 1. PAPER IS NON-EXISTENT (Discussed on Wednesday October 7th) 2. MANAGERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RECRUITING PROCESS (Discussed on Wednesday, October 14th) 3. THE ORGANIZATION USES THE RIGHT TYPE OF EMPLOYEE IN THE RIGHT POSITION (October 21st) 4. DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT IS PART OF THE RECRUITING MINDSET (October 28th) 5. THE ONLY CONSTRAINTS ON FILLING POSITIONS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ARE CAUSED BY SCHEDULING DELAYS (November 4th) 6. STAFFING IS PART OF THE IMAGE DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING EFFORTS OF THE ORGANIZATION (November 11th) 7. THE ORGANIZATION MEASURES RECRUITING SUCCESS (November 18th) When someone says, “Silicon Graphics hires only young whiz kids,” or when a friend says, “Silicon Valley companies offer a lot more freedom and excitement than other companies,” what are they REALLY saying? They are saying that certain companies have created an image — have branded themselves — better than other companies. They have carefully created an image that makes us think about them in a certain way. In reality, working in most of these companies is probably pretty much similar to working for other companies. Of course, there are individual differences and nuances, but generally we are focusing on IMAGE and BRAND. World-class recruiting involves actively creating the image you want to attract the kinds of people you want. An effective staffing organization creates an image of the company in the minds of prospective candidates through all of its activities. The product advertising side of a company can help this process, but generally they are experts at selling and marketing things or services, not the intangible rewards of employment in YOUR firm. Here are some axioms to guide the process of image and brand development: 1. You must deliberately craft a brand. Define what is unique or special about your company. This takes time and is not an easy task, but it pays many dividends. For years IBM did little active recruiting because its carefully cultivated image said: “stability, security, advancement, and leading edge technology.” Every internal recruiting system supported the image that IBM was different and unique. It gave the impression that only students with high GPAs need apply, and that only candidates who had solid research experience or had done something very different were wanted. This is what IBM created as an image for itself over the years — whether it was deliberate or not — and it worked. People flocked to work there. 2. Be aware that all recruiting is about answering the question: “What’s in this for me?” in offer from Microsoft, for example, says things about ME. IT says I am desirable, smart and “cool.” It says that I could run their recruiting hurdles successfully. Their offer helps brand ME. The more you can help a candidate feel important or special because she accepted your offer, the more successful you will be. Make it really easy for a candidate to say “YES!” 3. Use every channel to create an image. Get employees or other people to write articles about your company. Work with your internal public relations people to get mentioned in leading magazines. Get people to present at conferences. Run image advertisements. Sponsor events that reflect your image. If you want to attract young, socially responsible people, support causes they are concerned about. Make donations to the charities and non-profit institutions that your employees support themselves. Whenever I see an ad for Nike or Cisco or Microsoft, I can see that the ad is also targeted at attracting great people to work there. The messages work both for the product and for recruiting. This is great advertising! 4. Make sure every recruiter is sensitive to the image-lives it and promotes it. Too often I see recruiters that are almost oblivious to the company image. They don’t really know what the firm stands for or why. This has to be unacceptable. Pick contract recruiters who understand the brand and can sell it. Make sure your recruiters are accurate reflections of the kinds of people you are seeking. Really great recruiting firms virtually match potential candidates to recruiters in term of looks, personality and, style. We all tend to hire and accept offers from people who are like us. 5. Analyze why people say yes to an offer. Make sure you probe for the real reason they agreed to come work for you. In this process you may discover great ideas for future advertising and promotions. Take time to look at success, as well as failure. Supporting the solar car design contests at several universities helped me attract top notch electrical engineers many years ago. They said yes because we had matched them with some senior engineers who worked closely with them to design the car and supplied critical parts for free. The new hires told me our support and generosity make them trust that we would be a good employer. It is very easy to get caught up in technology, systems, and more sophisticated recruiting techniques. But there is much more to being successful than that, as you all know. It takes a well thought out, very systematic, and deliberate advertising and image-creation strategy for real and continuing success. See you next week.
Search engines are great places to start looking for a single, specialized candidate, or even for pages that may list several names in a particular users group. Sometimes, though, a need to fill reqs is so pressing that conducting a detailed search may not be in your best interest. On the other hand, you may just need to add to your database in order to avoid hitting the same people over and over again. Your choices? You could spam everyone in your prospect database and risk losing leads for future openings. You could search through your current database in hopes of finding a few relevant candidates, recheck their info and ask them for leads. Or you can put a spider to work. While spiders crawl the Web following various links, the Web Mole goes deeper into the cyber-sphere, looking only for e-mail addresses. It finds addresses based on a keyword query you create, saves the addresses, and lets you send these new prospects a piece of targeted mail without needing to “cut and paste”-all at one time. If you have various types of reqs open, just do another search with different keywords; you can conduct multiple queries simultaneously. Web Mole has a filter to eliminate duplicate addresses and claims to collect about 1,000 different e-mail addresses in an hour-depending on the keywords used. However, we tried it looking for “COBOL” and “Y2K” and found only 313 names in an hour. Of course, that was 313 more than we had when we started. Although you can download a free demo from Web Mole’s Web site, the demo will not save the e-mail addresses it collects. A one-user license for Web Mole is $249.00. Additional users can purchase a license for $99.00 each. System Requirements: Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, Pentium 75+, 10 MB disk space, 16 MB RAM, Internet connection. If you send untargeted bulk e-mail you insinuate yourself into someone’s life whether they want you there or not. Spam can result in flames, a widespread poor reputation, or even cause your ISP to cancel your account. This is not necessarily a good way to go if your business requires you to get people comfortable with you. Targeted e-mail campaigns are far more effective. You choose who to send mail to based on qualities about them that you’ve found attractive or promising. Next week: Slithering through the Cyber-sphere
Applicants may also be customers:
“Don’t call us…we’ll call you” is a phrase from customer service “hell.” This commonly used phrase is just one indication of how many employment processes are “arrogant” in their approach toward candidates. Often employment takes a “it’s my way or the highway” approach to applicants. “We frequently say we want creative, ‘out-of-the-box thinkers’ and risk takers in our organization but in practice our selection processes are often so rigid that we end up scaring away anyone that varies even a little from the norm. Enlightened HR professionals realize that candidates are also potential customers (as well as potential strategic partners of our firm). As a result, we need to begin to treat all applicants with a high level of courtesy and respect. We can no longer afford to treat applicants as people that “bother us” with questions. HR needs to learn how to duplicate the level of customer service that is usually provided by our sales, customer support, and product service departments. Poor treatment might have consequences:
Treating applicants poorly might result in an indelible mark (about our firm) in their minds that may not be easily removed. Michael McNeal of Cisco Systems coined the phrase “staffing – the graceless process.” I think that in some cases he is being kind because we routinely drag out the selection process for months while at the same time keeping candidates in the dark. We often fail to even ask the applicants if they were satisfied with the process. If Baldridge Award examiners were to look at the customer service aspects of most recruiting and staffing process they might actually laugh. Part of the reason staffing is not customer service friendly is because most staffing processes were developed when the unemployment rates were high and employers could demand anything from desperate applicants. That has all changed now so it’s time to treat our applicants like customers. Lets look at how to make the staffing process more customer friendly. What is excellent customer service? The basic elements of excellent customer service generally include: