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October  1998 RSS feed Archive for October, 1998

The Most Effective Recruiting Tool: Employee Referral Systems

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 30, 1998

What’s the best recruiting tool? Web pages, relationship recruiting? It may come as a surprise to many that the tool which brings in the highest quality of candidate for the buck is an employee referral program. The very best firms get more than 50% of their hires from employee referrals. Many firms have employee referral programs, but most are poorly designed, haven’t been updated in years, and provide no proof of any real business impact. In this piece I will show you the advantages of a comprehensive referral system. The secret to a great referral program is to make sure that it’s not an “Human Resources program.” To be successful, referrals must become a valued part of the company’s culture and a standard way of doing business. Every employee must actually believe that the key competitive advantage over others is the entire company’s involvement in the recruiting process. No centralized recruiter can know as many working professionals in a discipline as the employees themselves. Therefore, if a recruiting effort is to be successful, the “ownership” of recruitment must be shifted to the managers and their employees. Developing a culture that continually seeks out and learns from talented people is the key to business as well as to recruitment success! The most common weakness of referral systems is:

  1. They fail to vary the reward with the importance of the job and the actual performance of the hire,
  2. keep reading…

Grow Your Own — Or How To Build the Talent You Need

by
Kevin Wheeler
Oct 28, 1998

Well we are now on the home stretch in discussing what makes up a world-class staffing function. Let’s continue on with a discussion on why the development of talent is part of the recruiting mindset. 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) Demographics suggest that we will not have enough people to fill all the jobs that will exist over the next decade, no matter how good we get at finding and enticing them. Oh, the sheer numbers will be there but those with the skills we need, with the particular set of experience and education and the desire to work for corporations will all be lacking. And while this is a doomsday view that has been around for a while now, there are things we can do to lessen its impact or even to avoid any affect on our business at all. How? We have to develop a multipronged strategy to ensure that our organization, whatever it is, will have enough people. One prong is to get very good at sourcing and enticing candidates. We have already discussed this. Another prong is to encourage our own employees to continue to get more training and education so that they can assume new roles. Even as automation and the creeping evolution of processes and systems replace more and more people, new jobs will be created as well. For example, recently I had my eyes examined. The doctor used a new fangled machine that automatically checked my eyes (in about 2 minutes) and gave her an estimated prescription. Then she conducted the normal eye exam (which took about 30 minutes). After she finished, she compared her findings with the machine’s findings and guess what? They agreed with each other! If I were her, I would be worried about the future of my profession. It seems that only the medical part of the eye exam is left for the doctor (for now at least). Yet, someone will have to refine and improve the machine, and set it up and calibrate it. Hence several new jobs are created. I remember when I was in high school (yes, I can still remember back that far) we predicted that there would be widespread unemployment because so many jobs would be eliminated. We were right and wrong. Many jobs have disappeared or the number of people pursuing them has declined (car mechanics, car assembly workers, nurses, train conductors, typists, word processors, etc., etc.). Yet, more jobs have been created including such jobs as web master, computer network specialist, astronaut, telecommunications technician, and chief knowledge officer. The bottom line is that we need to offer people a continuous opportunity to develop themselves and prepare for these emerging opportunities. On-going education outside of the traditional university system is growing rapidly. The University of Phoenix (http://www.uophx.edu/online/), one of fastest growing institutions of higher education, is forging alliances with other schools and is entering more states. It has recently reached out internationally to offer degrees in a variety of formats. And, to top all of this off, it operates as a profit-making corporation, not as a non-profit as most universities do. On-line education is a growing business with classes being offered via the web by companies such as DigitalThink http://www.digitalthink.com/) in San Francisco which offers technology courses of high quality as does another company in Denver called Real Education (http://www.realeducation.com/). The Western Governor’s University (http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/index.html) is another effort to encourage working adults to continue their education on a part-time basis without leaving home. The Western Governor’s University is a collaborative effort of many Western states to offer degree-level education to almost anyone. It recently has expanded its reach by entering into partnerships with schools in other states and with the Open University in the United Kingdom. Degrees are granted when a student shows mastery of a subject, not when he or she has spent enough time in a chair! The California Virtual University (http://www.california.edu/) is another allied project to leverage the state’s already immense resources to provide more education to people remotely. It is an exciting time or a very scary time to be involved in education, depending on your viewpoint. Everything is changing and the growing demand for talented people will continue to push educators to experiment and expand to meet the demand. Many corporations are forming corporate universities to help meet these same challenges. Corporate universities, while perhaps best covered as another column, use many different approaches to anticipate employment needs and develop people for these positions even before they are needed. If this interests you, please take a look at my web site: Corporate Universities and Human Capital (http://www.kwheeler.com). This is also where you can find all the past columns I have written in one easily indexed place. A comprehensive and world class recruiting function will have a strong collaborative arrangement with the training function to begin developing talent internally. It will also work with the high school and community college system to make sure they are aware of your needs and have programs in place to educate and train potential and current employees. State-of-the-art functions will also have vigorous programs for ringing in high school a college students to provide them experience and education and to begin the recruiting process as early as possible. Without some involvement in education, your organization cannot have a world class function. See you next week.

Spiders and Snakes: No Green Thumb Required

by
Jennifer Hicks
Oct 26, 1998

Just as your garden benefits from spiders and snakes that eat the typical pests, your searches on the Web can benefit from them too. But, the ones on the Web aren’t the creepy crawly kind. Rather, they’re sophisticated software applications that traverse the Web in search of whatever you’ve programmed them to find. They “eat” the pages from the Web, deliver them to your hard drive and you reap the benefits. Spiders and snakes allow you to do routine tasks in an automated way, leaving you more time for more important recruiting work. Several functions can benefit from spiders and snakes. Search engines use the applications to crawl the Web, looking for new pages to index and new links to follow. If you have a Web site, you want to make sure and submit your URL to the top search engines so their spiders will find you. If you don’t have a Web site, spiders and snakes are extraordinarily useful in other ways – perhaps more immediately relevant to mining candidates. There is a type of intelligent agent called a browser searchbot that allows you to search multiple engines from a single query, giving you a quick and convenient way to search the Web from your desktop. Some of these include: Copernic 98, Queryn Metasearch, WebFerret and Web Seeker. Other types allow you to do a quick meta-search online, but save the results to your hard drive so that you can view them offline. Often you can specify how deep into a site to go and which links to follow. These are particularly useful if you have limited time online or want to create your own database of relevant sites. Some of these include: Websnake, Black Widow and Web Whacker. Then, too, there are those handy applications that gobble up email addresses from relevant search pages, saving you tons of time searching, cutting and pasting. These include: Webmole, Web Bandit, WhoIs and MacroBot Pro. In the next few weeks, we’ll take a close-up look at some of these software applications that can make your Internet recruiting life considerably easier. Next week: Web Ferret

Gaining A Competitive Advantage Through Increasing “The Speed Of Hire”

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 23, 1998

Want to achieve extraordinary results? Set unreasonable timetables! – John Patrick IBM Strategist What is the speed of hire? A deliberate strategy for improving the quality of our hires by decreasing the cycle time for making a hiring decision. Don’t confuse speed of hire with “time to fill”. Speed of hire is a strategy to increase the quality of the hire! Our goal is to hire the very best and brightest but the competitors have the same goals. How is one to gain a competitive advantage if we use the same tools and strategies as our competitors? Consider using speed hiring (also known as “real time” hiring) which is where the candidate is hired before the competitor even responds to their resume with the standard acknowledgement postcard! Normally the quality the people that are hired is the key metric for measuring the effectiveness of the employment function. In certain circumstances, the speed of hire may actually be the most significant contributor to a quality hire. Let’s start with an illustration. A star player (i.e. Michael Jordan) begins to look for a job. How long would a star be on the market? A month, a week or a day? What are your chances of snagging this star if your selection decision takes 60 days? A major computer firm found this out when it examined the number of superstar candidates it was hiring. When they found the number of star hires to be unacceptably low they identified an astonishing fact. Superstars are only on the market for a brief time (usually less than two weeks and sometimes as little as a day). The firms hiring process was so slow that by the time a decision could be made the star candidates were lost to the faster moving competitors and only above average candidates were left to choose from. The premise of speed hiring is that if you can build a decision process that responds to a hiring opportunity in a day or a week you will capture these superstars before the competitor can even schedule an interview! Possible advantages of speeding up the time to hire:

  • The very best and brightest are in great demand. If you make rapid decisions for certain jobs you will get a better quality of hire.
  • keep reading…

Right Person — Right Job! Part III: Make Sure the People You Hire ‘Fit’

by
Kevin Wheeler
Oct 21, 1998

Over the past two weeks I have covered different aspects of what makes up a world class recruiting function. Today I continue that discussion with point number 3. To refresh your memory, these are the six qualities that MUST exist for world class status: 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) 3. DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT IS PART OF THE RECRUITING MINDSET (October 28th) 4. THE ONLY CONSTRAINTS ON FILLING POSITIONS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ARE CAUSED BY SCHEDULING DELAYS (November 4th) 5. STAFFING IS PART OF THE IMAGE DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING EFFORTS OF THE ORGANIZATION (November 11th) 6. THE ORGANIZATION MEASURES RECRUITING SUCCESS (November 18th) How do you assess candidates? And even more importantly, how do you define the position in the first place? For the past several years there has been an emphasis on developing competency profiles for positions often based on the skills of incumbents. This is beginning to replace the traditional job description that has become increasingly meaningless and generic. The competencies usually consist of a series of skills or abilities that a person needs to have to effectively perform a particular position. And, depending on how well the people performing the analyses are trained and on how much data, whether objective or subjective, that exists about a position, the more accurate the competency profiles are. There are 3 things a recruiter must be aware of about competency profiles: 1. How accurate are they? Do they really discriminate between positions. For example, if you were to use the competency profile for a particular type of accountant would the profile really distinguish one type from another? In my own experience, most competency profiles are too generic to be as useful as they could be for recruiters. The best lists contain very specific skills required to do that job, as opposed to some other job. I get particularly irritated by lists that include such items as “business skills” or “strategic thinking” as 80% of all positions require those. Useful competencies are very specific and very much tied to a particular job. The danger is that those skills may not be those that are really needed to excel. 2. Are they recent? Has the job been significantly changed since the profile was developed? Many job profiles, especially in the high tech world, can become obsolete very quickly. 3. Are they measurable? Can it be determined in a screening process whether or not a candidate has these competencies. In many cases, competencies might include things like good team skills, or ability to deal with customers in a friendly manner. Subjective competencies are difficult to discern and may only be known after the candidate is on the job. So useful competencies are those that are accurate, timely and can be readily determined through resumes, interviews, or some other means. Many companies offer help in developing competency profiles including Skillscape. Testing of all Types: Over the years many tests have been developed to help select candidates based on psychological profiles or other criteria, but these can get you into legal hot water and may or may not be any more accurate than other methods such as behavioral interviewing. A company in Minnesota called Select Profiles claims that by using profiling and testing you can get a 75% success rate in your recruiting versus only a 14%-26% success rate using interviewing and background screening. Behavioral interviewing and structural interviewing all have their place in the spectrum of things we do to find the right people, quickly and at low cost. Interviewing tools, however, are subject to all the weaknesses and whims and fancies of human beings. We tend to like people who are like us. We tend to respond to body language and dress, more than to what is actually being said. The Gartner Group recently conducted a survey that showed a higher success rate for employees who had been interviewed over the phone rather than in person. The suspected reason is that the phone filtered out the physical — the body language, the clothes, and the racial types — and focused the interviewer more on content. Let Candidates Screen Themselves: An emerging technique is to proactively let potential candidates screen themselves. There are several web sites that now explain positions to candidates and ask them to take short ‘interest’ tests. A good example of this is called the Microsoft Skills 2000 Aptitude Tool and is found on the Microsoft web site. Microsoft’s tool asks interested persons about 80 multiple choice questions about their interests and skills and then directs them to job types. The site gives a brief description of each job type and allows candidates to then apply for job that seem to match their interests and skills. As this is purely voluntary and has no direct connection to getting an interview or a job, it is legal and even fun! At the same time, Microsoft collects information about who is taking the test, what common answers are, what percentage are ‘qualified’, and so on. This adds to Microsoft’s considerable knowledge and skill in attracting good candidates. Another new web-based tool is called Recruiter and was developed by a company called World.Hire in Austin, Texas. This tool allows you to advertise your positions, pre-qualify candidates, and focuses on attracting the passive job seeker as well as the active one. I will devote a column to this company at a later date. IBM is using this tool effectively on its Global Services web site. What We Do Know: We know that providing candidates with ways to self-screen is an effective way to reduce the number of people applying for jobs which they are truly not qualified for nor interested in. We know that providing a way to preview a job is an effective tool for letting people experience want the job would really be like. We know that interviewing, by itself, is rarely a good way to pick people. And we know that testing, while much of it is legally suspect, is increasingly becoming the most efficient and objective way of screening people. The bottomline here is simple: we need to find more sophisticated methods to screen people as the costs of recruiting increase and as the supply decreases. And, to my old adage, we do not necessarily want to screen people OUT of jobs. What we want to do is to screen people INTO the RIGHT job for them and the organization. The web makes doing all of this easier and cheaper, and I believe we will continue to see a variety of new web sites and companies who focus on providing screening tools of one kind or another so we can identify the right job and find the right person to fill it all the time! See you next week.

Search Engine Wrap-Up

by
Jennifer Hicks
Oct 19, 1998

Over the past two months we’ve focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the major search engines. There’s no need to stop there, though. Hundreds of specialized search engines have a home on the Web as do many search engines that conduct searches through several engines simultaneously. You might want to check out the following: o Dogpile – A meta search engine that searches Yahoo!, Lycos’ A2Z, Excite Guide, GoTo.com, PlanetSearch, Thunderstone, What U Seek, Magellan, Lycos, WebCrawler, InfoSeek, Excite & AltaVista, FTP sites and Usenet databases. o Internet Sleuth – Choose from over 1500 searchable databases. o Beaucoup – With links to more than 600 general and specialized search engines, including regional ones and those that help with email addresses, phones and domain names. o MetaFind – Searches through 6 search engines and organizes the results. It retrieves 20 links from AltaVista, 50 from Excite, 25 from Infoseek, 30 from PlanetSearch and 50 from Webcrawler. Supports Boolean queries. o GeoCities – Searches through the personal pages at GeoCities and supports Boolean queries. There’s one thing that’s worth remembering: The search engine you use is only as good as its index AND your query. If you find yourself conducting endless searches with very few results, it’s worth the time to really learn how to craft effective search queries. You can learn how to search the Web with real results. Next week: Spider and Snakes

How to Continually Improve Your Recruiting Program!

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 16, 1998

Many recruiters get it all wrong! They put major effort into finding great candidates but they almost universally leave out one of the most important aspects of any business deal… they fail to check to see if the customer is satisfied and if the product “works” after the “sale”! I call it “dropping the candidate over the wall”! After a long hard search and after the offer is finally accepted, recruiters usually call it “quits” and move on to the next requisition. Unfortunately, there are serious consequences when you fail to follow up on what actually happens to your hires. What might happen if you drop recruits over the wall and walk away!

  • The new hire might be a “crib death” i.e. someone that quits the firm within a few weeks/ months.
  • keep reading…

Managers Are Responsible for the Recruiting Process

by
Kevin Wheeler
Oct 14, 1998

Last week I said there were 6 qualities that had to exist before an organization could say it had a world class staffing function. I covered point number one last week. Today I will cover point number 2. To refresh your memory, these are the six qualities that MUST exist for world class status: 1. Paper is non-existent 2. Mangers are responsible for the recruiting process 3. The organization uses the right type of employee in the right position 3. Development of talent is part of the recruiting mindset 4. The only constraints on filling positions almost immediately are caused by scheduling delays 5. Staffing is part of the image development and marketing efforts of the organization 6. The organization measures recruiting success Managers must own the recruiting process and with the advent of superior, web-based technology they can now assume almost complete responsibility for the process. The recruiter becomes the facilitator and coach, the expert guide, the person who can help the manager make decisions among many criteria and people. This is very different from the role most recruiters play today. In my experience managing recruiters and being a recruiter, I can verify that recruiters often want to own the process themselves. A few even look at the manager as a guide for themselves, the ‘experts’ in the process of recruiting. Some recruiters resent a manager expressing his or her negative opinion about a favorite candidate or vice versa. And some eventually get the power to virtually make the decision for the manager. In all cases this is bad, bad, bad! Why? I believe it is bad for 2 distinct reasons: ultimate accountability and cost. After a candidate is hired, the recruiter’s role pretty much ceases. Maybe there is casual contact, but once on board the formal role of the recruiter ends. Yet at this point the manager is fully responsible and is counting on the productivity, skills, and ability of the newly hired person to help achieve whatever business goals she has. To have not been intimately involved and responsible for the hiring of the person cannot be excused. Even though the process of finding, interviewing, selling, negotiating, and closing on a candidate are time consuming and difficult, this is the very process that will make a manager successful or not. A critical process such as this cannot be left to a recruiter who is not as well acquainted with the job, the skills needed, the politics of the organization, or the chemistry between the manager and the candidate. When managers try to abdicate this responsibility, it is the duty of the entire recruiting staff to push back and become the coach, the nag and even the trainer for the manager. It is also far more costly to use a recruiter in this way. It reduces recruiter productivity while diminishing the power and quality of the process when conducted by the manager herself. If mangers feel that recruiting is so insignificant, so unimportant and non-strategic that it should be left to a person who is essentially a non-player in the role the new hire will have in the organization, then I suggest the recruiter should examine whether or not to stay at that company. It seems to me that any company with many managers in this school is so far from world class that I would be worried about its chances to succeed. When managers say: “Go ahead and recommend a hire for me.” or “Find someone, run them by me for confirmation and then make the hire,” don’t be flattered or swayed. Push back. The sense of power and responsibility is deceiving and will ultimately hurt the organization. World class means managers own the recruiting process! See you next week.

Site Visit: Northern Light

by
Jennifer Hicks
Oct 12, 1998

Northern Light isn’t your typical search engine. To distinguish itself from the pack, it has integrated two competitive industries: the search engine market and the information delivery market. The Northern Light database searches both its indexed Web pages and full-text articles from 2,000+ publications in non-public databases. It sorts the search results into folders based on keywords, source and other criteria. These folders set Northern Light apart from other search engines. Instead of ranking results by keyword or other criteria, Northern Light dynamically creates theme-based, custom search folders that guide you to a set of focused results. There are four types of folders: subject, type, source and language. These folders do not contain pre-set results. The subject folders use a hierarchy of more than 200,000 subject-based phrases that matches keywords to this subject base. This pre-sorts the results for you. The source folders are often divided into top-level domain names, specific companies and personal pages. The third folder type lets you know what kind of document you’ve retrieved – whether it’s a map, a resume, an FAQ, a press release, or other document type. Northern Light’s Special Collections (the information delivery arm of its business) provide quick and easy access to an array of publications. Summaries can be accessed for free; most specialized information can be retrieved for a nominal fee from $1.00 to $4.00 per article. You pay only for what you actually retrieve. While Northern Light’s normal search uses Boolean operators, its Power Search allows you even more control over your results. You can specify the types of documents and the types of sites you want to retrieve them from and a date range. Of great help is the ability to search for words in the title of a Web page and for words within the URL. In August, Northern Light had indexed 80 million Web pages. They’ve increased that to 94-97 million now, and expect to index 100 million by the end of the week-which would rank them right up with Hot Bot and Alta Vista. These are all search engines best suited to the advanced search tasks of flipping sites and drilling down to find hidden candidates on the Internet. One last thing: bookmark ‘em. You’ll want to return to their site. Next week: Search Engine Wrap-Up

Recruiters’ Paradox: Use Relationship Recruiting to Get the Very Best

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 9, 1998

In the first part of this series I introduced the recruiters paradox. The Paradox is that unemployed / malcontents are the easiest people to recruit but they are the exact opposite of what managers want! If recruiters want the very best in a field they have to target content, employed people. That requires different tools than the more traditional approach to recruiting, which I call “coincidence” hiring! Stop relying on coincidence hiring: Most recruiting is based on the ludicrous premise that the best people just happen (by coincidence) to be actively in the job market at the exact time that our firm has a job opening. Recruiter’s paradox #3 – The very best people are on the job market for such a brief period of time that it would take an incredibly lucky coincidence for your ideal candidate to be actively in the job market during the brief period your job was open. If the best candidate became available a week before a requisition opened or a day after it closed they would be ignored because there was “no open req.”! The odds of such a coincidence (where the best in the field just happen to be available the same day we have an opening) is incredibly small. So if a firm is to attract the best from the ranks of the employed it must add a long term, continuous recruiting strategy. I call this strategy “Relationship Recruiting” which finds the best people in key job areas, independent of whether there is an open requisition. RELATIONSHIP RECRUITING: Relationship Recruiting (also known as continuous recruiting) is a strategy that targets the very best currently employed people in high demand fields. It is a continuous process whose goal is to set up a pipeline of candidates. It stretches the recruiting process over a period of months (or even years) until the targeted candidate finally decides they are ready to move into the job market (and to our firm). After the initial step of capturing the “names” of the “best” employed people phase two, known as “personal courting” begins with the goal of building trust with the candidate. This deliberate trust building process is necessary because the very best recruits require that you build up mutual respect and trust before they will even consider your firm. Stop hiring “strangers”: Most people we recruit using traditional tools are “strangers” because we have never met them prior to receiving their resume. In contrast, using relationship recruiting we build a long-term relationship, and as a result, we will know a great deal about the skills and interests of the target candidate. We are now hiring “friends”. By not hiring “strangers” we dramatically lowering the chance of being fooled by a “stranger” during the traditional and relatively brief candidate screening process! Steps in the relationship recruiting of “Michael Jordan”: Let’s look at an example. Take for instance if our goal was to hire a great “player” (like a Michael Jordan). As a top performer, he would most likely not be actively looking for a job during the several week period in which we had an open requisition.

  • We start with a continuous process of finding his “name” as a top performer.
  • keep reading…

World-Class Staffing? How Would You Know?

by
Kevin Wheeler
Oct 7, 1998

We all talk about creating a world class staffing function, Yet how many of us have any guidelines for setting up such a function? Would we know a world class function if we saw it? Over the next few weeks I will explore what is meant by this, I think, from a variety of angles. I believe that there are 6 basic factors that must exit before you can say you have the best staffing function around. They are: 1. PAPER IS NON-EXISTENT 2. MANGERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RECRUITING PROCESS 3. THE ORGANIZATION USES THE RIGHT TYPE OF EMPLOYEE IN THE RIGHT POSITION 3. DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT IS PART OF THE RECRUITING MINDSET 4. THE ONLY CONSTRAINTS ON FILLING POSITIONS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ARE CAUSED BY SCHEDULING DELAYS 5. STAFFING IS PART OF THE IMAGE DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING EFFORTS OF THE ORGANIZATION 6. THE ORGANIZATION MEASURES RECRUITING SUCCESS This week I will begin by discussing the first of these: PAPER IS NON-EXISTENT. In ensuing weeks I will discuss all of the others. An organization where paper in non-existent uses web-enabled or web-based electronic systems to locate candidates, route resumes to managers, communicate with candidates, track candidates through the recruiting process, and capture historical data. There are large banks of candidates who are pre-qualified by on-line interviews and by email chats with potential hiring managers. Software allows candidates to self-select and screens them for appropriate competencies and experience before passing them on to a manager for review. There are no candidates in this databank that are inactive or more than 90 days old. Managers are encouraged to build networks of potential hires and maintain some contact with them even when they have no interest in hiring immediately. All applications for employment and other necessary paper work have been placed on-line and are available to candidates at any time. Pre-hiring background checks are at least partially automated through connection to outside screening agencies. And, once a candidate becomes an employee, the initial introduction to the company, orientation process, and all necessary paper work are on-line and available all the time. A candidate can start learning about the company and start filling out benefit forms and insurance information even before reporting to work on the first day. I have constructed the rating scale below to help you determine where your organization is in developing this paperless world. Choose ONE answer from each group below if it applies to you or your organization. If nothing applies, go on to the next group of statements. Add up the total points. If you scored 9-12, you have a long way to go although you have made a start. If you scored 13-22, you have already made lots of progress. See if you can continue to add more features to what you do and change the mindset. Scores over 22 mean you have a virtually paperless staffing function. I’d love to hear from anyone who honestly scored in this range. I will write an article about you in a forthcoming column. We use email to communicate with candidates (1) We use email to communicate with managers and to forward resumes to them (2) Managers communicate directly with candidates on a regular basis (3) We prescreen candidates by phone (1) We interview candidates online via email (2) We interview candidates on-line via email or live chat with a video camera link. (3) Recruiters do the bulk of all sourcing, screening, interviewing and selecting of candidates. (1) Our managers and recruiters almost equally share the recruiting, interviewing, selection process (2) Once the recruiter locates and pre-screens a candidate, she is out of the process until offer time (3) We use a PC-based, propriety tracking system we built ourselves. (1) We have and use a client-server applicant tracking system (2) We have and use a web-based or enabled applicant tracking system (3) We use the Internet search engines (Alta Vista, etc.) heavily in sourcing candidates (1) We actively use job posting boards and search engines to source candidates (2) We use a web-bot to search the Internet for candidates automatically for us. (3) Our organization has a web site and uses it for recruiting (1) Our web site is used internally by employees seeking jobs as well as by outside candidates (2) Our web site has the capability of screening candidates through some form of on-line assessment tool (3) Our application for employment if on-line and can be printed and then filled in and mailed back to us. (1) Our application for employment is on-line and can be filled in on line, printed, signed and mailed back. (2) Our application is entirely electronic, can be emailed to us after it is filled out and uses electronic signature. (3) We conduct background screening, at least partially, via on-line services and tools (3) Information about the company and its benefits is available on-line through the company intranet.(1) Our orientation material is on-line for new employees including answers to frequently asked questions (2) New employees can fill out benefit forms and related documents on-line (3) Next week I will talk about the next two points about manager’s responsibilities and types of employees. Have a great week!

Site Visit: Infoseek

by
Jennifer Hicks
Oct 4, 1998

Infoseek garners a 21.5% share of those who use search engines, according to a July report from Relevant Knowledge. But, why so many users for a little search engine that indexes less than 10% of the Web? We think that one of its strongest selling points was its immediate indexing of submitted pages. If Jane Anybody threw her resume into an HTML editor and submitted its URL to Infoseek, the search engine would have the page in its index within minutes. Clearly, if you’re looking for the newest resumes, the newest people, such immediacy becomes vital. Recently Infoseek suspended its immediate indexing so now it’s like the rest, but too small to be of much help. Despite the change, It is a pleasant place to stop and a user-friendly portal for Web novices. Searching by keyword or phrase is simple and the page is customizable. An easy to use directory points you to the hot spots (channels) in a variety of categories including the standard ones: business, computers and entertainment. Infoseek allows you to choose what to search: the Web, Usenet or company news. On the advanced search page, drop down menus make it easy to conduct a more complex search, another point in favor of this site as a nice introduction to Web searching. No complicated Boolean search strings here, just simple language queries. And, you can determine the number of results to return, from 10 to 50 per page. One feature that sets Infoseek apart from others is the way it returns results. Rather than listing individual pages from a single site, it groups them. This gives a clearer idea of how many sites have relevant information rather than how many pages do. Infoseek is a relatively small search engine. In May, it still had only about 30 million pages indexed. Given that the April ’98 issue of Science reports there are about 375 million Web pages, an Infoseek search limits you to less than 10% of the Web. But, Infoseek does revisit sites on a (mostly) monthly basis so the results you get from a search are relatively fresh. If you’re looking for general information, using a smaller-sized search engine is not necessarily bad. However, if you’re trying to find those potential candidates who aren’t being called by 27 other recruiters, you want BIG search engines. Next week: Site Visit: Northern Light

Recruiters’ Paradox: Recruiters That Rely on Resumes Miss the Best Candidates!

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 2, 1998

World class recruiters find “names” rather than resumes Make a note ? Recruiters that rely on resumes miss the best candidates! Why is that? When you are seeking the very best candidates you must assume that because they are excellent at what they do, that they are currently working. Happy, employed top performers almost universally do not have (or need) updated resumes. As a result… anyone that sends you an updated resume is very likely to be unemployed or a malcontent and thus is NOT an ideal candidate! Recruiters paradox #2 ? Requiring (or waiting for) an updated resume almost assures that you will not get the very best candidates! Most recruiters make having an updated resume a pre-condition to add someone to their candidate list. This is a serious mistake. Leading firms like Cisco have found that you can easily recruit candidates without resumes by using tools like ?profilers? (automated software that prompts candidates to answer questions about their skills and experience). World Class recruiters go a step further and put a high value on just capturing the names of the best in the field as a first step in building a recruiting relationship. Finding the names of the best in a field is the first step toward World Class recruiting! Why the best don’t have resumes:

At any one time less than 25% of all people have updated resumes and among top performers the number is often half of that. ?Michael Jordan? doesn?t have a resume and it would be an insult to ask him for one. The very best don?t have resumes because:

School-To-Careers: Alternative Ways to Source Candidates

by
Kevin Wheeler
Oct 1, 1998

I don’t know how many recruiters look beyond the requisitions they have in front of them. Unfortunately, I think it’s probably a small number. However, for those who DO think longer term — probably the recruiters who are regular employees of a medium to large size company — the concept of long term strategic sourcing may make sense. By this I mean locating potential employees early in their educational process, nurturing and mentoring them to acquire the skills and capabilities needed to work in your organization, and then finding creative ways to ensure that they contribute to your company’s productivity AND continue their education. One of the ways to do this is to see if your community supports a school-to-careers program. These programs are partnerships or alliances between the local high schools or community colleges and segments of the business community. In San Francisco, for example, there are a number of partnerships clustered around career segments such as financial services, travel and hospitality, information technology, and health care. These partnerships, dubbed academies, help several hundred students each year work part time in the field of interest to them while taking courses in school relevant to the same area. Finance students take courses in accounting and equity markets and travel students take courses in customer service and in learning about a variety of countries and travel destinations. By the time the students finish high school or community college, they have marketable skills and are often hired directly by the companies in the partnership. Almost all of these companies also provide ways and financial support for the new employee to continue schooling. This is a much cheaper and more productive use of resources than paying agency fees and advertising for open positions. Even the cost of tuition is cheaper than many of the costs associated with recruiting. These programs also build loyalty and make employees want to stay. Employees who are hired through one of these programs leave less frequently, are productive sooner, and contribute more over their life cycle with the company. Many positions that have been filled traditionally by the candidate with 1-3 years of experience, in other words a beginner, can be successfully filled with a school-to-careers student. New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and many other cities across the United States have these programs and thriving companies who are smart enough to know how good the students are, how inexpensive they are in the beginning, how cheap it is to hire them, and how little it costs to keep them! In every way, the school-to-career programs are win-win. If you would like more information, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or district high school office, or send me an email and I will try to put you in touch with a local sponsor or contributor. Make YOUR recruiting a long term strategic advantage.