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December  1999 RSS feed Archive for December, 1999

How Good Are You at Evaluating People? Part Two

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
Dec 23, 1999

In Part One, of this series, you were asked to circle your favorite selection method and estimate its effectiveness. The following chart illustrates the average effectiveness of each selection method using actual research evidence gathered from controlled studies.

keep reading…

BPR?for Recruiters (First in a Multi-Part Series)

by
Yves Lermusi
Dec 22, 1999

Strategic change within a corporation is prescribed in one of two situations: (1) things are going badly and modifications are necessary or (2) things are going well but the external world is changing. Although provoked by seemingly opposite conditions, there is a common thread here ? pressure. And in recruiting, the pressure is on! The good news is that study after study, and quote upon quote reinforce the importance recruiting has assumed. But, as the perceived value of recruiting has soared, so too has the pressure to recruit well, to recruit fast, to recruit cost-effectively. Take, for instance, the recent Watson Wyatt Worldwide Human Capital Index study based on an analysis of HR practices at more than 400 publicly traded companies. Those study results link ?recruiting excellence? to a 10.1% increase in market value(!). Pressure. And the comments from highly successful business leader Michael Dell that ?bringing in great talent should always be a top priority. It is also the hardest objective to meet.? Pressure. And the CEOs who, when asked about the source of their night terrors, have repeatedly responded that it?s recruiting and retention that worry them most. Pressure. Finding and keeping the right people have emerged as key corporate strategic issues. Recruiting is no longer a purely reactive function; but must now be considered as a significant component of corporate strategy. Pressure. Historically, recruiting has not received intense scrutiny at a strategic level. But?whether rooted in the perception that the good times are rolling/let?s capitalize fast or the more sober view that it?s a war out there/how can we win ? the times, they have changed. The stress the recruiting function is now under has created the need for a high-level re-evaluation of the entire recruiting process. That endeavor is known in the jargon as BPR, Business Process Re-engineering. Corporate recruiters, Human Resource and senior corporate management need to analyze their recruiting methods. What will hasten the recruiting process, provide superior sourcing and deliver it all at low costs? Advances in powerful technology tools have developed concurrent to the labor shortage. For example, the low supply, high demand for talent equation dictates a comprehensive review of candidate sourcing strategies. The Internet has provided an unprecedented new venue to identify and attract candidates. Here, taking the strategic view means understanding how to use that tool most effectively while integrating its use into the entire recruiting process. Haphazard job posting and scattered electronic resume input merely add more layers to an already inefficient process. Corporations are starting to understand how to attract talent to their website by using marketing techniques, but too often they are lacking the follow-through to capture and process that talent effectively. Strategic value is recognized when big picture issues are addressed. Companies need to see beyond the day-to-day applications of Internet recruiting and understand the implications: how can this powerful technology improve their recruiting process. So, before thinking about how to improve sourcing, first ask: How can I improve my process? Emerging opportunities can come in the form of utilizing automated applicant pre-screening, centralized information databases and candidate skills profiles. These kinds of solutions present a strategic response to the prevailing pressure. When businesses are prompted to review their key practices, buzzwords quickly materialize. The lexicon for strategic discussions can include workflow management, just-in-time inventories, change management and business process re-engineering. So how does this apply to recruiting? For recruiters, business process re-engineering (BPR) means changing the existing methods in order to hire the best talent for the task?quickly and economically. As the Human Capital Index study proves, recruiting?s corporate impact is a Big Picture issue. For recruiters under pressure, BPR: Business Process Re-engineering should translate into BPR: a Better Process of Recruiting. Think BPR, Think Better Process of Recruiting!

A Holiday Work of Pure Fiction (Sort Of)

by
Ken Gaffey
Dec 21, 1999

Dear Santa: I know it has been a while since I have written, about 35 years. But, I figured you used to listen to my requests and usually got me what I wanted. That seemed to happen less and less in my life after I stopped writing to you. (By the way, thanks for the bike in 1962. For it’s day, it was a beauty. But, seven speeds shy of even being considered “roadworthy” today.) For the last seven years, the Staffing Industry (that’s right, I grew up, got a job, and everything) has been getting tougher and tougher. I mean, you read the papers, right? I mean, you do get papers in the North Pole, don’t you? Heck, you are probably on the WEB by now. How could you not be and compete in a global economy? Well anyway, the economy is booming — has been for quite some time. Everybody wants to build and grow their organizations. We have become increasingly technical and complex and as a result, so have the jobs, and consequently, so have the candidates. The staffing industry has gone from a profession of occasional “crunches” and busy periods into a business of sustained stress. On any given day there are 3 million open jobs in this economy and on any given day there are only 300,000 candidates. One of the most popular free resume WEB sites has only 50,000 more candidates than openings (150K vs. 200K). It has been like this for a while and continues to get worse year by year. There is no let up in sight. Plus, the let up would be a recession and most experts agree that even a minor recession would only “slightly alleviate” the hiring gap. I mean, great news if your secret life’s ambition is a daily stress attack or mild coronary. Hiring managers want “perfect fit” candidates within the budget constraints, today! Candidates have multiple companies making multiple offers with hiring bonuses, stock options, paid “acceptance weekends” in Key West, or some other resort town. The same candidate has six agencies working to find them an interview, a job(s), and as many counter-offers as they can carry in a wheel barrow. Everybody has a “pet theory” on how to attract the “passive” candidate. A figure assuming such mythical proportions as to replace “Bigfoot” as the most sought after upright bi-pedal mammal in North America. Career Fairs have had instances of tumbleweeds blowing down the aisles. In one instance the sole candidate at a three hundred booth fair was almost crushed to death by recruiters flinging coffee cups, company felt tips, and logo-imprinted note pads at the poor fool. It later turned out that not only did the candidate have actual skills, but he had been at his current job for a full two months. That’s right, eight whole weeks. However, he was so demoralized by the incident, he went to a venture capitalist and got 35 million dollars in funding to start some sort of “dot com” company. He failed, of course. Could not get staff. But I digress. Can you see where I am going with this, Santa. We have a mission to deliver the best possible candidates to our companies or clients, in the most advantageous manner from a position of cost, as quickly as can be done — and still do it with quality. Quality hiring has suddenly become quite the seasonal gift. Better than gift certificates and more useful than kitchen gadgets. So, Santa, here’s the point of this letter. Do you have resumes? I mean, can I ask for a box of resumes this Christmas? A nice assortment of professional and technical resumes would be nice. A really, really, big box of resumes would be really neat. With lots of programmers and systems administrators, and customer service specialists and everything. I promise, if you give me this box of resumes I will never ask for anything ever again. Ever! Well, except for maybe a WEB site with a decent search engine at the front end. But that would be all. Unless of course you have an ad agency with some ideas they have not already used 29 other times. Maybe a couple of 3rd parties who charge only 15%. How about non-resignation clauses on employment contracts. How about do-it-yourself conversion kits for 1099 to W2 makeovers? But, at least the resumes, OK Santa. At least the resumes. Yours truly, Kenneth T. Gaffey XXXXXXXXXX Dear Kenny; It was nice hearing from you after all these years. I was so pleased to hear that you went into staffing. Maybe you could help old Santa out with a problem. We are really busy up here at the North Pole, and we seem to be having trouble finding elves with the right motivation and experience. I was wondering if you could find me…………. HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A PROSPEROUS (ALBEIT EXTREMELY BUSY AND FRUSTRATING) NEW YEAR.

Clue #1: Vaulting to the Top

by
Jennifer Hicks
Dec 20, 1999

As you already know, people with top-notch skills are hard to find. Job seekers know they’re in demand and don’t feel the need to beg for a job nowadays. Nor do job seekers want to frequent the vast amount of job sites on the Internet. The large number of job site choices has become so overwhelming that the sites tend to blend into one indiscriminate Web page for the job seeker. Unless, of course, the job site has the ability to Distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. That’s exactly the leap that Vault.com is trying to make. Vault.com has created two different avenues for the job seeker to explore. First is the Vault.com Electronic WaterCooler, the Internet’s first network of company-specific message boards for employees. The WaterCooler delves into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to work at top US corporations and also offers an inside track on specific company culture. The report gives the job seeker a heads-up on difficult interviewing questions, tips on pay, promotion and benefits, and the overall company dirt. P.O.V. magazine noted that “the job searching public can’t get enough of Vault’s fly-on-the-wall approach.” The valuable information within the guides can make or break a job seeker’s decision to pursue the company. Electronic Recruiting News advised employers that “If you’re not tracking the Vault.com WaterCooler boards on your company, it’s time to start.” Besides offering office gossip, Vault has recently doubled its traffic to 500,000 and increased membership with the release of its research publications. The 130-plus publications were previously only available in printed editions, sold either on Vault’s Web site or in bookstores. Now the online guides are free. With half a million job seekers making the decision to use Vault.com as an integral aspect of their job search you’ll want to take a look too.

Add Competitive Intelligence Gathering to Your Role as a Recruiter!

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 17, 1999

Many recruiters look at what they do in an extremely narrow perspective. One glaring example of this is the failure of most recruiters to realize that a key element of their success is based on how well they gather “competitive intelligence!” WHAT IS COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE?

Competitive intelligence is the process of gathering valuable information about our firm’s direct competitors including strategies, plans, practices, or people. Competitive intelligence (a.k.a. CI) enables us to better anticipate and counter our competitor’s next recruiting move. In the area of recruiting, CI specifically means identifying or finding out one or more of the following things:

Santa’s Workshop Affected by Tight Labor Market

by
Karen Osofsky
Dec 16, 1999

What a year it’s been! Every company has been affected in some way by the tight labor market and the growth of small companies focused on the emerging technologies. Even Santa Claus has felt the crunch for the first time in hundreds of years. It’s been a challenging and exhausting year for Santa and thanks to the great recruiting communities on the web. Even up in the North Pole Santa has been able to stay abreast of the changing needs of companies and has been able to thwart what could have been a potentially disastrous 1999 Christmas. It all started just after the New Year in 1999. It had been a banner year for Santa and everyone reaped the benefits. Bonuses were quite lucrative. Beginning February 1, after the annual post holiday shutdown, Santa noticed that the elves were all a “buzz.” Apparently they were receiving e-mails and voice mails from the emerging online toy companies like toytime.com, etoys.com, and toysmart.com. They all wanted to hire the elves away from Santa. Offering lucrative signing bonuses, generous stock options, flexible work hours, car allowances, and other great perks — not to mention location, Santa ran the risk of losing his best elves. He recognized that, faced with such lucrative offers, their loyalty would only take them so far. Turnover rates were beginning to creep up. For Santa, historical rates had been less than 5%. Now they were doubled. While 10% is low by Silicon Valley standards, this trend was very unnerving for Santa. Even Santa was approached by an executive search firm, who asked him to consider heading up one of these dotcom companies. Mrs. Claus, feeling some of her rheumatism from the cold almost convinced him to consider the opportunity — as warmer climates were looking more and more appealing to her. Fortunately he wasn’t enticed. However, it did make him realize that recruiting and retention had to be top on his list for 1999. He didn’t wait a moment. After going online and reading as much information as he could about current trends in recruiting, Santa focused on 10 key improvements in his recruiting processes. Much of his insight came from the ERE forums and articles by regular Daily contributors like Professor John Sullivan, Kevin Wheeler, and Jennifer Hicks. Here is Santa’s top 10:

  1. Hired a top notch Talent manager. Recruiting had always been one of the many roles of the HR representatives along with compensation, benefits, EEOC, company events, 401K admin, etc… Santa recognized that the recruiting function needed dedicated support. After posting his recruiting (talent manager) position on technicalrecruiter.com, jobs4hr, and the SHRM site, Santa was able to hire an incredibly talented recruiting manager. The managers role was both recruiting and retention as Santa views these as equally important. The manager hired a staff of 4 to support the recruiting/retention functions.
  2. keep reading…

Never Lose a Candidate to Bureaucracy! Some Ideas on Streamlining Your Processes

by
Kevin Wheeler
Dec 15, 1999

Recruiter Bill found Candidate Joe around 3 PM on a Thursday afternoon as a result of an on-line search. He responded positively to the cold call and seemed very interested. Candidate Joe was employed by a competitor, had all the right skills and experience, and faxed a bio over almost immediately after being contacted. He didn’t have a “real” resume to fax, as he hadn’t been looking for another job. Recruiter Bill suggested he take the weekend, prepare a resume, and then fax it to him. They agreed to have a telephone conversation on Monday morning. Around 2:30 PM Monday afternoon Recruiter Bill remembered that Candidate Joe hadn’t called. He dialed the phone. Candidate Joe said: “Oh, a friend of mine saw me working on my resume Saturday morning. He referred me to his boss on Sunday and we met this morning. I think I’m going to go work for them. Thanks for the interest.” Has this or something similar happened to you? This scenario is common today, especially with technically skilled candidates. And it means that traditional recruiting methods have to change. Do you know how long the average, non-technical candidate is available and willing to listen to offers? How about the tough-to-find technical candidate? If you said 7 days and 3 days you win the prize! And, in the case above it was even less. As countless other experts and I have said: “This is a seller’s market.” The candidate is king and makes decisions in minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Your processes have to reflect this need for speedy decision-making and efficient processes. Here are several ideas on how to streamline your processes and make your recruiting zip along with the best in class. Idea #1:

Empower key people to make instant decisions about candidates. Let managers and recruiters make offers on the spot, perhaps contingent on final approval from HR, but still real and realistic. As a recruiter, make sure managers have salary information and prepare materials that let them make quick, yet policy-compliant, and legal offers. This is particularly true with technical candidates like Candidate Joe above. It is particularly true with job fair candidates. One executive I know has hired 2 senior level people on airplanes at 35,000 feet. Just the idea of being offered a job in an airplane seat is enough to get candidates to say yes. He says the candidates were really serious, showed up for final interviews and application processing, and are both working in his firm today. As I have said over and over, screen people INTO your firm by finding them a job that fits their skills and desires, and do not screen people OUT by the traditional methods of endless interviews and unclear job duties. Idea #2:

Get rid of bureaucracy. Remove approval layers and reduce the number of interviews to just 2-3 at the most. Make sure you have a probationary period and terminate poor performers, if you have any, quickly. While it is nice to make slow and certain decisions about people, this marketplace does not make that a very practical policy. I recommend using tests to check on technical skills, if those are critical to the work. There are many firms that offer skills testing such as Brain Bench, Inter-Q, and Skilltest. Testing is accurate, legally OK and used by thousands of companies to verify skill levels. It can go a long way to convincing management that it is OK to drop interviews and go for these on-line, quick, and accurate tests. Idea #3:

keep reading…

How Good Are You at Evaluating People? Part One

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
Dec 14, 1999

We all have a tendency to think we are a good judge of people… in spite of the fact that most of us have a pretty shabby track record. For example, how many of us are on a second marriage, have mistakenly promoted a technician or sales person to a management position, or over estimated a friend’s job skills. It’s normal for people to make mistakes in judgment. The reasons can be found deep in the human psyche where emotions carry more weight than rational thought. Did you ever hear that impressions are made within the first 30 seconds of meeting? After 30 seconds, the ‘halo’ from our initial impression affects all further decisions about that person – from their choice of clothing to their skills on the job. You see, our brains come pre-programmed to evaluate others based on whether they are “threatening” or not. (Some say this is another Microsoft anti-competitive strategy, but I doubt this is true). Friendly people are “good” and unfriendly people are “bad.” Why else do you think people dress up and prepare smooth answers for an interview? This tendency to pre-judge others might have protected us as children, but it is a highly inaccurate way to measure job skills. Look over the following list of selection methods. Circle your favorite method(s) for measuring job skills. Then, estimate its accuracy using a zero to 100% rating. The “% Chance” column is the difference between your accuracy estimate and 100%

keep reading…

Job Sites With a Clue Part 1 of 3

by
Jennifer Hicks
Dec 13, 1999

The latest estimates from NUA Surveys put the number of Internet users around the world at about 201 million. That’s a lot of people. In the US alone, there are more than 112 million. Think about what this means. Yes, it gives you potential access to more people than you’ll even need to hire. But, unless you understand the medium you’ll still trail behind. The Internet, by virtue of how it is accessed, is an individual experience. Each one of its millions of users, sits alone, in front of a computer monitor, isolated. Sometimes frustrated. Most often, able to communicate only through typewritten words. A solitary, potentially lonely experience to be sure. Think about the automated telephone systems in use today in many businesses across the US. You call with a question or a complaint. You listen to a pre-recorded menu offering several choices and try to guess which option will put you in touch with the person you need. You punch the appropriate number. You get queued into another pre-recorded message. A sub-menu this time. You listen, choose again, and the cycle spins on. When (if) you do reach a person, often it is within the wrong department, and you are transferred back to recorded hell. The same potential exists on the Web, too. Think about those sites you’ve encountered with no contact name, no phone number, no way to correspond with a real person. The sites whose pages refresh automatically and keep you from effectively using the back button. Do you stay long? Neither do people who are looking for new career opportunities. For the most part, we are social beings who thrive on human contact and exchange. We have the need to express our ideas, share our experiences, and understand that we are not alone. Yet many of us now live in areas where we don’t know our neighbors. We work in cubicles with walls so high we can’t see our co-workers. And we sit at computers, do our solitary work, and wonder at the malaise that besets us. Yes, there is a shortage of workers. But there is no shortage of people. If you had access to even 1/1000th of all the people on the ‘Net, you’d have plenty of applicants to choose from. So, why is it so hard to find them? Look at the job boards. They’re all the same. They post jobs. They run articles about skill development, career enhancement, dealing with subordinates and bosses. After a while, they all blur and it’s hard to figure out why yet another group of people thought creating yet another job site was a worthwhile use of their time. Then, look at the popularity of the newsgroups, of online games, even of email discussion lists. In each of those, the computer is the medium, but the participants are real. They are people interacting with other people. If job boards could recognize this need for interaction think what the results could be… There are a few job sites that understand. Yes, of course, they offer job postings. And resume databases. And the requisite career advice. But, they also offer the prospective candidate a reason to visit – virtual human contact. A place to interact, to theorize, share, talk, complain, congratulate, learn, express, and meet other human beings. Without that, the site is static, deadly, and, in essence, useless to the people you most want to attract. In the next two weeks, we’ll look at two particular job posting sites that understand the Internet medium – that understand people need contact – and use that understanding to create advantages for the recruiter. One is a pay posting site, the other is free.

News Flash – Recruiting Has the Highest Impact on a Firm’s Shareholder Value

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 10, 1999

Ever wonder why recruiting gets so little respect by top management? In my work (regardless of the size of the company or no matter what industry) I find that the reason that recruiting gets no respect is because it fails to quantify its impact (in dollars) on the bottom line! Recruiters regularly use relatively silly metrics to describe their successes. Examples:

Looking for IT Talent: Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Hire Military Veterans

by
Bill Gaul
Dec 9, 1999

Here are some points to consider when your latest offer has just been rejected (for the third time, or more) for the “qualified computer professional position” that is in such demand today. Or maybe your openings exceed the quantity of high potential applicants within your grasp. Break free of convention, and check out this talent pool:

  1. Military veterans are graduates of the world’s largest system of specialized professional and technical training schools — those operated by the Department of Defense. Veterans of active duty military service are one of the nation’s most important sources of well-educated, highly trained, and strongly motivated employees who possess a wide range of technical and professional skills.
  2. keep reading…

How To Organize Your Recruiting Function Or Who Owns What?

by
Kevin Wheeler
Dec 8, 1999

Last week a VP of HR asked me a simple question: “How should I organize the recruiting function? We’ve had it centralized and then decentralized and then centralized again, but neither way has really worked.” In larger companies this is a big concern, but even smaller companies have issues as they grow. As the newly public companies mature and as tiny companies become bigger ones, the issue of structural organization always comes up. As you plan your recruiting strategy for the coming year(s), you may want to think about who reports where and why. Here are a few thoughts from years of dealing with this issue. I hope they help guide your own thinking process. Before anything else, the recruiting function must be responsive to the hiring managers. They are the prime customers and should be the focus of all recruiting efforts whether in a corporate setting or in an agency setting. The recruiters may report elsewhere, but the hiring manager is “king” and “queen.” THE CENTRAL APPROACH: The benefits of centralized reporting are two: consistent procedures and processes and lack of duplication of effort (usually). The downside is often slower execution, confusion over who is “king” or “queen,” and inconsistency. Hiring managers tend to get upset over what they perceive as inefficient recruiting or over high-perceived costs. And, when this happens the recruiting function responds by spending precious time defending themselves and proving how good they are. All of this detracts from the central goal of finding and recruiting great people. While this is the most common organizing method, companies often swing between a central and a decentralized approach over and over, trying each approach for a while and then switching back. THE DECENTRALIZED APPROACH: On the other hand, a decentralized function is very responsive to the hiring managers because the recruiters report directly to them. The recruiters are focused and often well respected by the managers they work with. However, decentralized functions sometimes have little insight on how the company as a whole is doing in regard to minority hiring or efficient recruiting methods, and can’t leverage scale to achieve cost reductions. Budgets are so decentralized that it is tough to get agreement from everyone on purchasing important software or other tools to aid in the recruiting cycle. Recruiter skills upgrading is neglected and no one really knows if a particular recruiter is good or not. Metrics are not consolidated or even tracked, in many cases. Of all the methods, the decentralized approach has the most potential downside. So how else can a function be organized? Is there a better way? In a small company with a single division or product or in a medium sized company without complexity, I would recommend a centralized function with the recruiters being physically located close to the hiring managers. This promotes communication and builds rapport. The recruiters should also be focused on working with one or two managers or with a specific group of managers so they can get to know and understand the competencies required in that area. With dotted-line reporting to a central organization which recruits for the corporate positions and provides some economy of scale, this method works well. But, in large companies with complex structures or many product groups or divisions, I recommend a different approach. THE FEDERAL APPROACH: Long advocated by management theorists like Charles Handy and exemplified most clearly by our own United States, the federal approach to organizing works extremely well. In this approach, the various business units have their own recruiting functions and recruiters. These recruiters work directly for the product groups, but agree to allow a strong central recruiting function to exist and provide several services in common. This central group, analogous to the federal government of the US, develops an overall strategy for recruiting, writes procedures for everyone to follow, tracks legal compliance, educates and supports individual recruiters, and collects and reports metrics to the corporation’s management team. Of course, they do all of this in cooperation and with the help of the people in the businesses and this is how it differs from the decentralized approach. In the federal model, the groups come together and agree on what the central function should do because it makes sense. For example, it makes sense to have a single software package/system for recruiting. This can best be purchased and maintained centrally, but used in a decentralized manner. It makes sense to consolidate metrics, so the central group does this. But, whatever is done is by permission and with the consensus of the divisions. This is very different from other approaches. The beauty of this method is that the hiring managers remain in charge and have a great deal of control over the recruiting done in their function. But, the recruiters still get functional development and education, can vie for promotions and transfers internally, and the company gets the benefit of consistently applied procedures. A central budget also allows the purchase of common systems. While there is no perfect way to organize, the federal model works better than any other that I have seen. You can read more about this in the books written by Charles Handy. His best book on this subject is called “The Age of Unreason.”

Are you a Hunter, Fisherman, or Farmer? (Or maybe all three?)

by
Ken Gaffey
Dec 7, 1999

In essence, life is food gathering. As our world becomes more complicated and the issues more confusing, there is an inner calm when you remember it all boils down to gathering food to feed our family, our tribe, or our social collective. However, as we have become more complicated, affluent, and prosperous as individuals, species, or culture ?food? has come to include: summer homes on Cape Cod, 25 foot Chris Craft bow riders, a Lexus or Infiniti (or both), an aggressive stock portfolio, and a family (or tribal) vacation in Paris (where I am certain food will be gathered). The ?food? may have become a metaphor for whatever sustains us or pays us a salary, but that is the logical extension of mankind?s development and suits the purpose of this author in general, and this article in particular. If you are a agency headhunter, a contract staffing specialist or an internal HR staffing professional, recruiting is in essence, food gathering. We are seeking the sustenance we need to maintain our corporate or personal strength, growth, and survival. There have always been three basic components to food gathering: hunting, farming, and fishing. Each with different approaches to food gathering, certainly different diet requirements, and motivated by different needs. However, all share a common outcome, survival. But, each uses different tools. If you are going to work in the garden, keep the bow and arrow in the game room. If you are going fishing, you have little need for that bag of mulch. If you are going to go hunting, what are you doing with that spade shovel? If you are going recruiting, shouldn?t you first decide what it is you hope to find? Because it makes little sense to plant turnips in the morning, if you want Codfish for diner tonight. My motivation for this little piece? I guess I have sat in too many meetings where the topic was the best resources for recruiting. Opinions were stated before the goal was mentioned. For example, are you planning a long-term strategic hiring program with a diverse requirement for several skills at various levels of experience? On the other hand, do you have a specific position with specific requirements? Are you on a hiring hold, but want to maintain a market presence for the future? Are you staffed, but there may always be a better ?mousetrap? out there? How can you possibly choose the best method or methods of recruiting before you know what you are recruiting for, or how much time you have, or how important the position is to the company? The answer ? you cannot. So let?s first discuss the three basic elements of recruiting: farming, hunting, and fishing. Farming is a long view approach to recruiting. This is what a business planner would consider strategic. You know what you are going to need to sustain your growth and development for a sustained period of time. There may be changes, alterations, and unforeseen variables. However, with past practice, in-house knowledge and experience, a reasonable business plan and marketing forecast, and general ?gut? knowledge, you have a panting season to prepare. Hunting is recruiting for the moment. You have a targeted or specific requirement that needs to be found and found today! You have several options as a hunter in the long term, you are not restricted in the strategic sense. Nevertheless, you start each day with a specific requirement in mind. If you were sent for deer, you do not bring your duck call. Fishing is a little of the previous two modes of recruiting. You have a diverse need like the farmer, but you have an immediate goal, like the hunter. You cast a net and hope for the ?catch of the day.? A farmer is going to be more open to college recruiting. It may require a greater investment in training, a function of both money and time, but it allows a company to be more selective based on a candidate?s potential rather than immediate value. It is low cost hiring with a greater back-end investment. It allows diverse recruiting for all areas of modern companies proposed needs. A farmer is also more likely to go to trade shows, professional organizations and networking-orientated activities. Few if any of the candidates will have their resumes. Most of the contact conversations will end, ??well, you can always give us a call if things change for you!? A certain percentage of these contacts will call?eventually. You also may need to plan to stay in touch, follow up. You see a farmer not only plants seeds, the farmer also has to tend the fields while waiting for the first signs of growth. The key elements to farming are low cost, moderate resume flow, a wide range of requirements, and limited urgency. A Hunter is most often a third party. The need is immediate and specific. It may even be a few ?chosen? specific targets that are sought. However, like any customized product or service, it is also the most expensive, relatively speaking. If you have to pay a 25% – 30% fee for your new SVP of Marketing, that is a lot of cash. If the new SVP launches your new 25 million-dollar product line into the wrong market due to lack of experience, you have to wonder why you tried to save money on that particular hire. An agency recruiter will use many sources, resources, and tools. But they are targeted on a specific need, or group of needs. However, a lot of paper and emails go into the wastebasket because candidates lack the specific skill set, or skill sets, needed today. Now, agency recruiters are not the only ?hunters? out there. However, they have represented the largest percentage of ?orange vested? recruiters in the past. The essence of a good hunter is they find the skill specific candidates that are not looking, fast. The key elements to hunting are: high cost, slight resume flow, specified requirements, and time urgency. A Fisherman is looking at a variety of needs like the farmer. Nevertheless, they also face immediate goals like the hunter. Therefore, you are more likely to find them at a career fair, running a newspaper ad, using the WEB, or casting other ?nets? for those candidates currently seeking a new career. They differ from the farmer in that they are less likely to wait for the ?crop? to come. But, unlike the hunter, they are more likely to wait and see what?s ?in the net.? The key elements to fishing are: moderate cost, heavy resume flow, diverse requirements, and several diverse levels of urgency. Although I mentioned specific ?likely? tools to be used by all three types of recruiting methodologies, the tools can be interchangeable. It is the method of application that can sometimes determines if the hunter, farmer, or fisherman is using them appropriately. A recruiter buys a database of professionals from a professional organization and sends an e-mail to each of the names, inviting them to view the company WEB site to consider potential career opportunities. This is farming, as you are not certain if these professionals are searching for a job at this time. To make it fishing, you would have bought a database of resumes, or access to a database of resumes, knowing they were all looking at this time. To become a hunter, you would have reviewed the resumes, looking for the needed skill sets. You then would call, and call, and call, until you spoke to the candidate and gave them your best pitch. If you go to a career fair and sit in your booth inviting every candidate walking by to submit a resume, based on your long-term needs, you may be fishing or farming. But you are not hunting. Unless, you are seeking a Sales and Marketing professional in the high tech industry and this career fair is part of COMDEX and you are ?hitting? the other booths. A quality and well thought out hiring program contains all three elements of staffing and uses all, or at least most, of the available recruiting tools. Does it make sense to use an agency to fill eight entry level positions in the first quarter, when the need was forecasted for over a twelve month period and a lot of training money had been set aside? Is it the best use of time, money, and tools to go to a career fair in the hopes that a skill profile you desperately require ?swims by?? You farm for the long term hoping to reduce the need for fishing and hunting. You fish to compensate for the lacking in your farming program and you hunt to fulfill urgent or unforeseen needs. The best way to plan you recruiting year is to look at the past. Determine the types of needs, how many, and how often they have appeared. Then formulate a staffing plan based on those previous needs. Pick the recruiting modes and the corresponding tools that have best supported those needs, or would have if properly identified and the right recruiting tools applied. So the next time you are tempted to mention the ?best method of recruiting? make sure you know what?s for diner. Then decide if you should hunt, fish, or farm. After all, in the staffing world of the 1990s, the needs are critical, the challenges are real, and food is scarce.

Free Job Posting Sites: National Sites – Part 6 of 6

by
Jennifer Hicks
Dec 6, 1999

If you have loads of reqs. to fill across a vast array of locations, state and city searches may not be enough. You may want to broaden your candidate search and go national. When this is the case, try some or all of these sites: For non-profit organizations committed to diversity, willing to partner with the Minorities’ Job Bank, check out: http://www.minorities-jb.com/native/partners/partnering.html If you have a job that requires a bilingual candidate (Spanish or Portuguese and English) – try LatPro at: http://www.latpro.com If you’re a corporate recruiter, post your job page at Career Exposure at: http://www.careerexposure.com/index2.html Jobland USA may not be the premiere free site, but it offers three different ways to get your jobs out there. First, there’s a classified section where you can post for free according to work category at: http://jobland.com/classifieds/

Then, if you have the jobs posted on your own site, you can add that URL to their database at: http://jobland.com/websearch/AddURL.html

Or, from: http://jobland.com/websearch/urlser.html you can even submit your postings page to over 20 different search engines, including Northern Light, AltaVista, HotBot, and Google. You can also try Big Jobs at: http://www.bigjobs.net/post.htm Or Career File at: http://www.careerfile.com/ Or Professional Careers Network deals with the top 34 industries and you can post your jobs for free at: http://www.jobs-careers.com/visit.html The Job Resource is terrific if you need entry-level, college-educated workers. Try it at: http://www.TheJobResource.com/prospects/ Then, too, there is SearchEase at: http://www.searchease.com/cgi-bin/wc.dll?EEnter~?PostJobs Of course, don’t forget Yahoo! Classifieds at: http://classifieds.yahoo.com/ If you can’t find any local candidates and are willing to sponsor an immigrant, post at Visa Jobs at: http://209.35.112.66/html/employers.html

keep reading…

Death By Interview

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 3, 1999

“Too much of a good thing is bad for you” is true for both “sweets” and for interviews. I was at Agilent Technologies the other day when one of their many talented HR reps described “over interviewing” with the accurate and humorous phrase “death by interview.” I laughed and I couldn’t have agreed more! Because of the threats of lawsuits, HR departments have become increasingly conservative in how they screen candidates. Physical ability, mental ability, personality and even skill tests have gone by the wayside as a result of this fear. All that is left from a once broad array of screening devices is the resume scan, the reference check and the interview. Now one can argue the point about the predictive value of interviews (as I often do) but the real issue here is that, in many cases, companies have increased the number of interviews to make up for the absence of these other screening tools. Unfortunately what has occurred is a dramatic growth in the number of interviews that candidates are subjected to before they can be offered a job. The number of interviews has proliferated like rabbits. Where one or two interviews used to be common, one firm I know now demands 5 – 10 while another averaged over 17 before realizing the disastrous consequences. If a few are good … more must be better – What’s wrong with too many interviews? SPEED OF HIRE:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the top candidates for nearly any job are gone within anywhere from 1 day to 10 days. Although the interviews themselves might not be that long, the actual scheduling of them can in itself be a time-consuming process. During a time when almost all candidates are currently working at another job, finding time when both the manager and the candidate are available can mean days, weeks and even months may be necessary in order to schedule a series of different interviews. Unfortunately such delays will mean that all of the top candidates will likely be gone after only a few weeks of delays. WILL THEY EVEN SHOW UP?

When candidates are unemployed they are more than willing to come in for a series of interviews because they are unemployed and are probably at home. However in times of low unemployment most people are at work and they are likely to find it difficult and sometimes impossible to come in more than once. Interviews that require long distance travel are getting increasingly impossible to schedule because currently employed people can’t make up a “believable story” about why they will need to be away from work for multiple days. DEATH BY REPETITION:

keep reading…

Employee Retention 2000 Follow Up

by
Audra Slinkey
Dec 2, 1999

Thank you ERE Members for the excellent feedback and insight you provided me on Employee Retention. We can all learn from each other and immediately after writing Employee Retention 2000 (October 28th) you sent me some terrific feedback on reasons you have found that employees leave as well as some successful methods you have used to combat employee turnover. Here are some of the fun things you have used as well as I have seen that help to create an enjoyable, low stress and fun work environment. It’s The Little Things… “We buy bagels for everyone on the first day of their employment and put them on the new hires desk so everyone has to introduce themselves as they grab a bagel…this allows the employee to get to know everyone in the office.” “We take a new employee to Costco on their first day so that they can pick out their own executive chair…this shows that their comfort is important to us.” “We offer retention bonuses based on their salary and reward them for the longevity with our firm.” “We put a lot of time and effort into our employee orientation as well as train our managers to ‘do something special for the new hire’ on their first day…rewarding our managers for their creativity.” “We have ongoing contests that allows the employees to earn ‘auction dollars’ so that once every 3 months we have an auction of fun, small prizes that all employees can bid for.” “Since all of our employees needs are different we have our managers sit down with each employee and let the employee set their goals as well as the reward they would like to receive for meeting that goal i.e. Dinner for two at the companies expense or a free 1/2 day off…” “Company wide meetings held more than once a year so that employees can feel involved in the overall success of the organization.” “Company sponsored ‘brown bag lunch’ meetings that features a variety of speakers and employees.” “We offered a PTO plan that gave the employees almost 30 days off during the year and boy, did my recruiting get a lot easier! I found that people value their time more than money these days!” “We have a masseuse come in every so often to give our employees neck and shoulder massages while they work.” “We give magazine subscriptions or Amazon.com gift certificates to our valued employees.” A recent article in the October 19, 1999 Inc. Magazine features other great ideas companies have used to retain their employees. Overall, there is much we can do, we just need to take the lead and develop the processes while training our managers on implementing these little yet vital methods on keeping our employees satisfied in our workplaces.

Finding Great People: Which Methods Work Best?

by
Kevin Wheeler
Dec 1, 1999

Sourcing gets a lot of attention these days. High tech firms are looking for programmers and HTML experts and IT professionals of all stripes. Pharmaceuticals are looking for biochemists and medical doctors. Consumer firms seek marketers and product launch specialists. And every one of these people is hard to find and has multiple offers. Never before have these words been truer: finding people is easy. Finding the RIGHT people is difficult. And finding GREAT people takes a strategy. The only way a firm can develop a robust sourcing strategy is to look at the long term with the same vigor it looks at the short term. Successful companies focus on achieving current recruiting goals using all the traditional methods, as well as on developing longer-term strategies to build pools of candidates that can be tapped later. The tactical and more immediate methods include searching job boards, using the corporate web site, placing ads, offering lucrative employee referral programs, searching the web using robots or by flipping competitors web sites, and by the old methods of collecting resumes at job fairs and via the mail, electronic or snail. Lets look at some of these in depth: job boards are certainly a plentiful source of candidates. Some boards such as Monster.com and CareerMosaic are very broad in scope and contain all kinds of skills and competencies. Others, like DICE and Technies.com are more focused on high tech or IT professionals. Virtually every job type has a job board dedicated to it. Using these boards can lead to success, but it is increasingly difficult to sort through the volume. The prices to access them are rising and many of the people posted on the boards are not the very best. As a source of the best candidates I would rate most job boards as a “C”. Really good people are usually (not always) working and not actively seeking a new job. This makes it more important to develop ways to attract this so-called passive job seeker. Job boards aren’t the place to do that. Even worse for effectiveness are display or classified ads. For jobs in a particular locale and for positions where there are sufficient applicants, these ads can be cost effective. However, for professionals they are a waste of time – period. If you use print ads for professionals, focus the content on driving people to your web site. In fact, I recommend an aggressive campaign to get people to your web site, which is where you can offer them lots of information and get them really excited about your organization. This is what many firms are going to be doing on television during SuperBowl this coming January. Thirty-second spots are selling for $2 million and are completely gone! And every one of these ads will be focused on driving consumers to web sites. Your corporate web site should be the place where you focus a lot of time and money. It needs to be interactive, exciting and dynamic. I have written about corporate web sites recently and refer you to the archives for more depth. Suffice it to say that I think your own web site should be the most important part of your recruiting strategy. It rates an off-the-scale “A” in terms of effectiveness and cost. Employee referral programs rank second in my list of importance. Well structured referral programs can bring in quality candidates that are already “sold” to some degree on working for you and who already have a supporter in the person who recommended them. No matter what you pay the employee for the referral, it will end up being the cheapest recruiting you can do. It’s much cheaper than the 20-30% fees agencies charge, and it’s cheaper than the hours of time it takes to find and screen the unknown candidate. These programs rate an “A” for effectiveness and cost. Cisco gets almost half of its hires from employee referral programs. The average organization with a good referral program gets around 40% of its hires from them! Pretty impressive, very cheap, and an added benefit is that those hired from job referrals tend to stay longer than other hires. Recruiters who are skillful at mining the web using robots, search engines and techniques such as site flipping can find an impressive array of potential employees. Many of these will be working for competitors and will have skills compatible with your needs. Other ERE columnists cover the use of these tools and techniques on a weekly basis. I refer you to the many columns by Jennifer Hicks to develop skills and expertise in this. In the hands of experience, these techniques rate a “B” in my scale of importance. In the hands of a beginner this drops quickly to a “D”. I recommend firms with large hiring needs employ a skilled electronic sourcer, whom I call an e-sourcer, to feed potential candidates to recruiters with less Internet skill. Not every recruiter needs to be an expert on the Internet, although all of them should have some familiarity with it and know the basics of how to use it. Job fairs are minimally effective for most firms. A few targeted job fairs such as those put on by Westec are useful and can serve to market your firm as well as to locate good people. The keys to effective job fair participation include having a booth staffed with technically savvy people who can answer the questions techies often have, an interactive and exciting demo of the products you offer and of the company, and a clear marketing and branding image to attract people. I often speak of differentiation of your company from another. At job fairs this is particularly important. Why would anyone walking along stop at your booth? What would make them remember you a day or two later? Companies need a well thought out and implemented approach to job fairs. If you don’t have this, skip the whole thing. It will only create negative memories for candidates. Over time, to be really effective you will have to develop a long-term strategy for attracting people. These include developing internship and college recruiting programs, relationship building programs for working professionals, and talent development programs, internally and externally. Next week I will talk about the longer term strategic approach to sourcing.