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January  2000 RSS feed Archive for January, 2000

Take An Accounting: Sites For Locating Accounting and Finance Professionals

by
Kim Gifford
Jan 31, 2000

When you are recruiting talent on the Internet, sifting through the host of career sites and finding the best place to start can be half the battle. The following are some suggestions to help you begin that search for accounting and finance professionals. Accounting Pro2Net

This site, billed as “a complete online resource for accounting professionals,” features accounting news, research, products and a virtual community, consisting of a forum and relevant links to associations and the following job site: Accounting and Finance Jobs

The result of a partnership between Pro2Net and Career Mosaic, this site provides access to Career Mosaic’s JOBS database. Jobs posted here also appear on CareerMosaic’s site. The cost of each posting for the employer is $160 per month. Jobsinthemoney

keep reading…

Poaching Tools / Techniques Part 2 of a 2 part series

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jan 28, 2000

Recruiters must realize that (unlike in the past, when the “pool” of unemployed people contained some top performers) the current group of unemployed people is short on top talent. Currently the only remaining viable option is to source, raid, or poach top talent from other firms. Unfortunately most recruiting tools were developed to attract unemployed people that were actively looking for jobs. If you expect to be a successful “poacher,” you’ll need new tools. The following is a list of some of the poaching tools you might want to try. GENERAL “POACHING” TOOLS – IDENTIFYING WHO TO POACH

  1. Ask new hires on the first day “who else is looking/ or is good” at their previous firm.
  2. keep reading…

The Proof is in the Pudding

by
Audra Slinkey
Jan 27, 2000

How many of you have hired individuals who “exaggerated” their skills in a particular area? I would guess that this has happened to most all of us at one point in our career. Years ago I worked for a temporary agency and our livelihood depended on testing each and every individual who came into our office on their levels of knowledge in different software applications. Ironically, it was always the applicants who swore up and down they were “advanced” who ended up “beginner” at best, when tested! Can you imagine if I sent temporaries out on advanced word processing assignments without testing them on their skills? The client would never use us again and very likely I would get into serious trouble with my boss, if not fired! Sadly, this happens everyday in the recruiting world. What do you rely on to get concrete skill information from a candidate besides what they tell you? As recruiters, we hope that the hiring manager will be able to “quiz” these individuals on their particular skills in the interview process – but realistically does this happen? Do your hiring managers use direct sets of questions to verify an individual’s level of knowledge in different areas or is the hiring manager depending on the Recruiter to get this information? Let’s face it; it is very easy for a candidate to exaggerate or flat out “lie” in the interview process to get a job. In this technology driven society where the success and failure of a company is directly related to the technology skills of their staff, I would imagine this will become an increasingly important issue! Not only is “Skills Testing” very important in the selection process of a candidate but what about “Personality Testing” or “Reliability Testing” or “Team Building Testing.” Each of these types of “intangible skills” may or may not play a significant role in the job at hand but if they do, should we use a type of personality test to assist us in the hiring process. How valid is a Personality test in measuring a particular individual’s performance on the job? If a typical interview yields a 14% accuracy rating (Industrial Psychologist 20, 34-36) in the selection of a candidate then how much more helpful can a personality test be? Secretly, I believe most of us Human Resource individuals are quasi-psychologists in that we are drawn to what makes people tick as well as human issues. I have always been fascinated with personality tests from the moment I took my first Myers Briggs test my senior year in college. I was surprised at the accuracy of the test and disappointed I didn’t take the test my freshman year when I chose my major! Over my next few articles, we will be exploring the art of “testing” individuals during the hiring process as well as the legalities, implications, and effectiveness of specific tests. There are several types of tests an HR individual can administer: Skill Testing, Personality Testing or even Reliability or Team Building Testing. Any feedback or assistance you can offer in this exploration is much appreciated! Please feel to email me at aslinkey@recruiters-aid.com.

How Effective is Your College Recruiting Effort? Do You Really Know?

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jan 26, 2000

What makes your college recruiting function a success? Very simply, it should be getting as many hires into your organization as needed who excel over time and become the star managers, inventors, scientists, programmers, or whatever of your firm. In order to accomplish this on a regular and predictable basis, two things are required. The first is to know what is and is not working with your web site on campus, in the interviewing process, in the offer process, and in the assimilation and development of the people you hire. To do this you need to measure and survey everything and everybody. The second thing you need is to track these results over a significant period of time – at least 3 years, and hopefully more. A system or a process is required to do these two things. It is only fair for a recruiter to provide this. As I work with clients, I often ask for the facts: the statistics and measurements that will tell me how well they are doing or where they need some help. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 will have anything resembling a comprehensive set of data. Most have anecdotes (which can be useful) and spotty data. They all know how many they hired, which is a good thing, but not many know if the hiring managers are really satisfied or what the students thought of their recruiting experience. One suggestion I often give to recruiting groups is to team up with some function in your organization that is good at establishing process and at tracking things. This may be your financial folks, your manufacturing Personnel, or the people in the quality function. It doesn’t matter who, just that you establish clear metrics and procedures to gather and report those metrics on a regular basis. By doing this you will have laid the foundation for a program that can be continuously improved, and you will have made an ally with this other department. Often when you team up like this, you gain credibility because it appears that a neutral party is tracking how well you do. If we ever hope to have our recruiting efforts respected, we need to develop the discipline that other functions mastered long ago. We have to accept responsibility and face up to the things we can be held accountable for. The best way is to propose our won measures and not wait for others to impose them on us. One company in the San Francisco Bay Area has started something that I hope catches on and becomes popular. As a first effort at establishing what really works in recruiting, a San Francisco company called WetFeet.com has published a report called “The WetFeet.com Student Recruitment Report, 1999: Understanding the Student Perspective.” WetFeet.com surveyed well over 300 students at dozens of undergraduate and graduate schools in the United States. Part of the survey was a quantitative survey distributed over the Internet. The second part consisted of 22 in-depth telephone interviews with a sampling of the students who had participated in the quantitative study. The results are interesting (a few findings are quoted below) but what makes this even more valuable is that you can now benchmark your own surveys and findings against these. My understanding is that they will continue to produce updates and offer an on-going look into the thought process of students. KEY FINDINGS

  • A challenging job, good training and good colleagues were important factors in deciding to work for a particular company. These factors outweighed all economic factors.
  • keep reading…

Don’t Hire BOB

by
Alice Snell
Jan 25, 2000

Unemployment is at record low levels. Corporate growth and the stock market appear healthy; job hopping is in vogue. As the first quarter of the year 2000 gets underway, recruiting remains prominent on the corporate radar screen. Hiring managers are generating numerous requisitions both for replacements and to fill newly created positions. Corporate recruiters are straining under increasing workloads, and the pressure is on to get positions filled faster and faster. The pace of business demands it, CEOs and corporate board members (who now acknowledge recruiting as a key strategic function) require it, and the “here-today/hired elsewhere tomorrow” candidates dictate it. But, don’t succumb to the pressure and make a hire just to bring a Body On Board – that is, don’t hire BOB. Although BOB will close another open requisition, it’s a short-sighted and often short-term solution. Recruiting speed alone isn’t enough – it’s the match that counts. It’s no secret that a candidate who is well matched to his or her position will contribute sooner, contribute more and stay longer. Great recruiting is directly linked to high retention, and makes everyone a hero.

  • The corporation spends less on recruiting and training, and reaps the benefits of a loyal and productive workforce.
  • keep reading…

Good Keywords

by
T.J. Ripley
Jan 24, 2000

Q.: I’m looking for an accountant. What are some good keywords to use in such a search on the Internet? A.: Good keywords are critical for conducting any search. You want to come up with words and phrases that only Qualified candidates will use on their resumes. If your search terms are too broad or common, you’ll get lots of irrelevant pages. The best way to come up with such terms is to spend time reviewing the req’s, talking to the hiring manager, and doing some investigation on the Web. Ask yourself questions about the functions the candidate must perform. Are you looking for a general accounting position or someone who is a registered public accountant or a CPA? Different states classify accountants in different ways. Or do you need someone with tax experience; perhaps a commercial preparer or an enrolled agent? Maybe what you’re really after is a payroll clerk or a bookkeeper. To find candidates you need to know exactly who you’re after. Consider the types of programs that are used in this position. Excel and Lotus might not be useful keywords but Peachtree, ACCPAC or MYOB might be. Look into professional associations and organizations as well, such as AICPA and NSPA. The Internet offers many resources, take advantage of them. When you’re ready to start searching, make sure you use a search engine that does a good job of examining the Web, one that will provide you with lots of fresh, relevant links. For example, engines such as AltaVista and Northern Light are good ones to use because they are updated frequently and have large databases. Finally, spend some time learning how to use the search engine properly. Each one works differently and requires the use of specific syntax and commands. If you don’t know how to describe what you’re looking for, you can’t expect a search engine to bring back the results you want.

“Poaching” Isn’t Just For Salmon Anymore (Part 1 of a series – Arguments against poaching)

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jan 21, 2000

“Poaching” is the term recruiters use for directly recruiting (raiding) the employees of another firm. Poaching is considered unethical by some but any graduate of the “Gordon Gecko” school of business could easily fail to find any ethical issues in poaching employees. Especially, because, with only 4% of the population actively looking for work, the only way to get any volume of talent is to take it directly from other firms. ARGUMENTS AGAINST “POACHING” EMPLOYEES FROM OTHER FIRMS Not in my neighborhood – Some managers say it’s OK to steal employees, just not from our direct competitors or from other firms in our geographic region. Both approaches are foolish. Failing to hire from the competitors from within your industry deprives you of the valuable competitive intelligence that you can gain by interrogating the new hires on their first day. We get better, they get worse – Failing to poach means that our new hires will be unfamiliar with our industry and our problems. It also means that it is a zero sum game. When we gain a great hire from a competitor the other firm will simultaneously lose a great employee. Retaliation – Still others worry that if they “poach” employees, others will retaliate and do the same thing to them. In reality, in the war for talent everyone is fair game and being “polite” is often only seen as a sign of weakness. And being seen as weak almost assures that others will poach from you. Being a strong poacher might actually discourage others from taking your employees and if they do take them, strong poaching helps to make the win loss ratio closer to neutral. Partners – In reality, even strategic business partners poach from each other. I know one high tech firm that hires 15% of its employees from a strategic partner, even though they have a clear “no-hire” agreement. Their retort to this apparent violation is that we “don’t actively seek them out” but if they call us… it’s a different game! Some strategic partners complain vigorously when their talent is poached. For example the new CEO of a large computer firm called up to CEO of its strategic partner and asked them directly not “to steal” their employees. The CEO of the poaching firm politely agreed but a more accurate answer would have been “treat your employees better and they will stay, no matter what we offer.” Customers – Poaching employees from wholesale customers and suppliers can be a risky business if you do enough poaching so that they notice. Recruiters and managers need to remain vigilant to ensure that great recruiting doesn’t cost us a great customer. It’s hard work – Poaching, although necessary if you are to remain competitive, requires sophisticated skills and tools. Poaching is analogous to convincing a happily married person to leave their current spouse for another one across tandem. While single people might readily except almost any offer poaching happy employee individual requires a sophisticated approach if you expect them to even listen your offer. And then of course, the offer must be clearly superior to their current situation in order to entice them take a risk and leave their current employment relationship. Legal arguments – although poaching is not illegal there are certain cases that can get you in legal jeopardy. For example if you were to attempt to hire an intact team you might face a legal challenge on the premise that you are purposely attempting to harm the other firm by interfering with its employment relations, stealing its trade secrets, or unfairly competing. The second area of concern is when you hire an employee with a high level of technical skills that could be used directly by the competitor to gain an unfair advantage. Although these cases are relatively rare, they are increasing in number. Another issue can arise when you poach an employee that has signed a non-compete agreement. It is always pays to ask new hires if they have recently signed any of these agreements. Although many non-compete agreements are unenforceable it is always wise to be cautious and to check with legal counsel. Next week Poaching tools

Why Care About Metrics? Part 1

by
Karen Osofsky
Jan 20, 2000

Why care about metrics? Metrics help us make better business decisions. The numbers themselves are not as critical as how we interpret and use those numbers. Now that “human capital” and the value it adds to an organization’s bottom line has made it to the top of the list in company boardrooms, measuring that value has become increasingly important. The result. Recruiters are scrambling to collect data. They are collecting data on everything they can think of: number of requisitions, requisitions per recruiter, cost per hire, hires per recruiter, responses from the Internet, responses from the company career site, responses from each individual job board, hires from each job board, cost of an employee referral program, print response rates, # of hires from job fairs, turnover rates, time to hire, relocation costs, and on and on…This data collection is great but don’t become metric myopic. Being able to recite internal recruiting statistics only demonstrates that you have a memory for numbers and interesting bits of recruiting trivia. The real value in those numbers is knowing how to use them to your advantage. How are you going to dissect them to understand your “real” issues? Are the actual numbers critically important or are the trends they represent most important? What decisions can you now make by using the analysis of these metrics? A hot issue among recruiting departments nowadays is measuring the effectiveness of its recruiting programs. Before a company can do that, it needs to determine its organization’s definition of “effectiveness.” Typically effectiveness is measured on two key criteria: time and money. The ideal is for a company to be able to hire the best talent, in the shortest period of time, for the least amount of money. (The person that can come up with this magic formula and market it will be a very wealthy individual.) Realistically, a company needs to determine which of these two criteria is most important for the current business need and how much weight they want to place on each. This weighting could change from year to year or from initiative to initiative. The decision is really dependent on the impact to the bottom line. Once a company determines its most important “effectiveness” criteria, the recruiters can begin to collect and evaluate the appropriate metrics. As an example, a company in a high growth, highly competitive market, with aggressive deliverable commitments to investors may care more about time than money. The bottom line will suffer more from leaving mission critical positions open then it will from the cost to get the right people in place fast. In this scenario, the company may choose to spend a sizable amount of money to source qualified candidates, utilizing every resource available. Their key issue is that they need to get the right hires in place, fast, or the investors will begin to get nervous. Assuming that the money is being spent strategically (always an assumption), and that the candidate flow is strong, the recruiters in this company are most concerned with managing that flow. The type of metrics they would want to collect would be related to internal process and the length of time it takes to move a candidate through the system. These metrics include:

  • Length of time it takes to pre-screen resumes to determine viable candidates
  • keep reading…

The Manager’s Role in Measuring Recruiting Success Guidelines for Hiring Managers

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jan 19, 2000

How do you measure the success of your recruiters’ efforts? In a quick survey of the companies I work with, the shocking fact is that most of you don’t measure whether your recruiters are doing their job or not. Some of you measure the number of people hired, or the time it took. Others focus more on cost. And a few of you measure retention over some time period. While tracking the number of people hired is a nice administrative activity, it adds no value. Time to hire is a useful measure of efficiency and satisfaction, but only if those hired turn out to be good employees after some time. There is only one real measure of the success of your recruiting: how well the people recruited perform. The problem with this measure is that it takes time to see if the people are good performers or not. And, both the recruiters and those of you who mange recruiters want to get some idea of success as quickly as possible. And, measuring performance also means that a company has to have a process for defining performance and a way to assess each employee. Only a handful of companies that I have worked with have a robust system. So, given this, how DO you measure the success of a recruiter? Here are a few ways:

  • Does your recruiter spend time with you defining your needs? A good recruiter will take as much time as needed to clearly define the job the person will have to perform. However, you have to be a major participant in this process and ensure that you are focusing on the few critical skills you need and not the many “nice” ones you’d like to have. Most of us treat recruiting sort of like Christmas. We make a wish list of impossible or unlikely things we would like, knowing we will get less. Far better to rigorously analyze what skills and traits your best performers have and then try to find others with the same skills and traits.
  • keep reading…

When Did “Vendor” and “Client” Become Four Letter Words?

by
Ken Gaffey
Jan 18, 2000

I have had the advantage of working in all three areas of staffing in my long (sigh) career. I have been an inside Corporate HR type, an Agency Recruiter (Contingency and Search), and now for the last ten plus years, a Consultant. I have struggled to maintain my ability to see situations from not only the perspective of the moment, but also as things appeared when I stood in other shoes. Recently, several e-mails dealt with yet another of the age old issues that arise between Agencies and Clients over resume ownership. Of equal interest was the “tone” as well as substance of some of the responses. We all too often forget, I think, that the relationship is a SALES relationship. From that perceived need to understand roles and relationships, I pen these comments. When someone does not “buy” from you, the important thing is not that they were unfair, unreasonable, uncooperative, or unprofessional. The important thing is that they did not buy from you. This is about making money, not scoring points in the “Us vs. Them Right-A-Thon.” Besides, correctness is always, as much a function of whether or not people agree with us as it is anything else. I am always amazed at how bright and intelligent my clients are, and how quickly my prospects seem to be learning, and how “fence post” stupid all the rest seem to be. After all, it has got to be them, right? It cannot be me! Now, you may be waiting for the other shoe to drop. The client isn’t always perfect either, are they? A lot of good agencies and a lot of good recruiters have been treated badly over the years by unprofessional corporate recruiters and unprofessional or unfairly applied corporate policies or guidelines, isn’t that right? OK, now that we said it, so what! When a recruiter is declared a victim by a court of their peers, the recruiter still does not get the fee. If you are in recruiting, you are in sales. If you are in sales, you are paid based on performance as a sales professional, not the value and worthiness of your views of who was right and who was wrong in a client issue. So there are a few rules of recruiting I think all agency recruiters need hanging on their walls:

  1. It’s business – do not take it personally.

    keep reading…

User Groups

by
T.J. Ripley
Jan 17, 2000

When you?re looking for candidates on the Internet, you want to think about the places that they are likely to visit and gather. For candidates who have experience with a particular application, one good place to investigate is a user group. User groups are set up and run by people who use a specific hardware or software product. Its members share experiences and ideas with one another and with the manufacturer to improve understanding and design. They attract a wide range of users, from beginners seeking knowledge to experts who serve as product evangelists. There are user groups for lots of software applications, as well as for a variety of operating systems, such as Linux, OS/2, Mac and Windows NT. A recent search for PowerBuilder user groups yielded links to many such user groups across the country from San Francisco (http://www.sfpbug.org) to Orlando (http://www.wedowebs.com/opbug/) and from Columbus (http://www.cmhpbug.com) to Seattle (http://www.cascadia-sw.com/nwpbug). When user groups set up homepages, they take advantage of the community aspects of the Internet. In addition to providing contact information and lists of officers, their Web sites frequently include links to related resources that can help you find candidates. Exploring user groups is a simple way to get information and make contact with the people who possess the skill-set you need. The bottom line: when you find user groups, you find candidates.

Diversity Recruiting — The Compelling Business Case

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jan 14, 2000

There are many excellent legal and social arguments for recruiting diverse employees. However the most powerful and effective arguments that I have made for excellence in diversity recruiting relate to the business and the dollar impact that diversity recruiting can have on the bottom line. Does having a workforce with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas have impact on the firm’s profitability? Well the answer is a resounding yes! The dollar amounts of the impact of diversity do vary somewhat between firms depending on several factors (including geographic location and who the customer is) but overall the dollar impact of diversity is relatively easy to demonstrate. The following are the prime factors that can be used to demonstrate the dollar impact of having a diverse workforce. HOW DIVERSITY CAN AFFECT THE BUSINESS:

  • Product sales – Sales can increase as a result of decisions made by executives with a broader and more diverse background. (A recent AMA study demonstrated a clear correlation between diversity at the executive level and an increase in sales).
  • keep reading…

Transitioning Military: How to Comprehend a Militaristic Resume

by
Bill Gaul
Jan 13, 2000

Suppose you have an opening for a sales professional, and you just happen to come across a resume of someone that has sales experience (in your industry/product line) AND served in the military at one time. Jackpot: the best of all worlds! However, how do you identify and tap those DIRECTLY transitioning from the military (taking advantage of their free relocation benefits) for your openings? All too often, military applicants are overlooked for opportunities since their resumes don’t express the candidate’s true potential and skill sets in a language easily understood by a hiring manager without a military background. Attempts by some transitioning military members to “civilianize” their resume may miss the mark due to the applicant’s lack of experience in the civilian world. So how can we make the two worlds mesh? One of two ways. One way is to utilize the experience of some of your existing employees that have served in the military and should be able to interpret for you both resumes and annual evaluation reports of transitioning military. Or if you are not so lucky that you have such a resource, (and not prepared to sign up for a short stint in the military yourself), you may want to read on: In today’s world of resume tracking systems, the all-important “keywords” may not work unless you are specifically seeking someone with military experience in your database. Even then, the keywords that are used, relate to military jargon and equipment, and may not translate well. By developing a targeted military hiring program, you target leadership, core values, and potential; not necessarily an employee that has worked in your industry. This is a transition program, and you are attempting to identify the top performers and recruit the very best of the applicants available. Military applicants can fill a variety of occupations, from sales to engineering, logistics to IT, etc., and at a variety of experience levels. To identify the very best of available applicants, it may be useful to use the same guidelines/criteria that you use for college/MBA programs. Similar to those applicants, military candidates have a lot to learn in your industry yet bring valuable knowledge to a gaining organization. Specifically, one lesson that is hard to teach in a classroom setting is how to develop teamwork to accomplish a mission. Regardless of the industry, this is a valuable skill whether you are the coach/supervisor or the team player/technician, leadership is an acquired skill that is honed quite well under the stressful conditions in the military service. Let’s discuss how you can identify this skill in a military resume: EDUCATION – Look at not only the school the applicant went to, but how they financed their education (service), extracurricular activities (responsibilities), curriculum, and GPA. Look at the military schools the applicant was selected for–these are sometimes very competitive and rank the graduation order. Schools like airborne or ranger training may not have any significance to your industry, but if you understood the rigorous requirements in order to graduate, you would have a greater understanding of the person’s tenacity and drive. RANK – All military applicants will be classified as either an officer, warrant officer, enlisted, or non-commissioned officer/Petty Officer. Within these classifications, there are junior, mid-level, and senior ratings, and obtaining rank unlike in the civilian world is gained primarily through time in grade coupled with proven performance. Officers (O) are usually considered supervisors (all will have a college degree) and senior enlisted or non-commissioned officers/Petty Officers (E) are considered “the backbone” of the military service. In most cases, these individuals have many years of “hands on experience” and acquired a college/graduate degree. Warrant officers are considered the technical experts in a particular field, and are designated so (W). Approximately, within each of these groups, the junior grades (-1 through -3) are within the first 5 years or initial enlistment/service requirement, mid-level (-4 through -5) have between 5-15 years of service and your senior grades (-6 through -10) have served 15-30 years in the military. Considering that military service is entered between the age of 18-21, even after “retiring,” they are at the ripe “old” age of 38, still in their prime, anxious to learn new skills and apply what they have already experienced. Most exit after their first enlistment or service obligation is completed (3-5 years). UNITS/ASSIGNMENTS – Not all are created equal. Some are extremely elite, and you must qualify or be nominated for selection. While in a chosen role, you will receive a formal written annual evaluation ranking the applicant among their peers. Although these evaluations can sometimes be inflated, there is much to be gleamed from the narratives and the rank/profile of the senior rater. ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Usually indicates if the mission was met or exceeded within certain budgets or timelines. If this skill is acquired and demonstrated repeatedly, would it not be a value to your organization even if the parameters of the situation were changed? SECURITY CLEARANCES – The level obtained is an indication of the trustworthiness and credibility of the individual. LANGUAGE SKILLS – Whether native or acquired while serving in a foreign land, also is an indication of cultural diversity understanding/training. Some resumes contain much more, such as awards/decorations, articles written for professional trade journals, technical skills/certifications, and sometimes even ‘keywords’ so their resumes will be picked up in your scan. The next time you have the opportunity to view a military resume instead of eliminating it, look beyond the edge of the resume to consider the true potential of the applicant. Consider the person, the commitment, and their service. Hiring military veterans is smart business.

Job Descriptions Don’t Have to be Boring 4 ways to Make Your Job Descriptions More Powerful

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jan 12, 2000

Here is part of a job description I took off the Internet. I have edited it for anonymity and to shorten it a bit, but it is typical of most that I see. And, while there is nothing “wrong” with it, I don’t believe it does as good a job as it could of exciting – even interesting – someone in the job. I am sure that the descriptions of the qualifications and responsibilities are correct, but there is no passion. Here is a job with a modern and exciting title, yet the body of this description is as dusty and dry as yesterday. Title:

E-Servicing Leader Description:

QUALIFICATIONS:

keep reading…

New Job Board Taps into High-Tech Transitioning Military and Veteran Labor Pool

by
Kim Gifford
Jan 10, 2000

Looking for responsible team players from a ready-made, highly skilled talent pool? Consider military veterans. Approximately 180,000 veterans enter the civilian job market each year, all well qualified from their military training to compete in today’s high-tech business arena. Additionally, there are 8.5 million veterans currently in the work force, which has remained an untapped resource. This steady stream of potential employees brings with it a desirable level of skills ranging from computer competency and managerial experience to specialized training in a wide-range of fields including medicine, engineering, information technology, and human resources. Their military experience puts most veterans on the cutting edge both technically and professionally, having been exposed to some of the nation’s most sophisticated equipment and training techniques. Capable of making quick decisions, devising and implementing strategic plans, and functioning both independently and within a team, veterans comprise a motivated and undeniably valuable workforce. A new job board, VetJobs.com, now makes the task of reaching this large market of transitioning military and military veterans easier. Launched by two Navy veterans on Veterans Day, 1999, VetJobs.com gives access to resumes of both officers and enlisted personnel who are transitioning out of the military as well as the millions of veterans currently in the workforce. Since their launch in November, the site has had over a million hits, received thousands of resumes, and has over fifty companies posting jobs to the site. An annual fee of $5,000 secures employers unlimited job postings, unlimited refreshing of job postings, unlimited resume access, as well as a hot link of each company’s logo on each job they post. Lesser annual fees limit either job postings or access to the resume database. The site also features employer resources including links to employer forums, salary surveys, and military information such as base locations. There is no charge for veterans to use the site. VetJobs.com also offers “12 Good Reasons” and an employer’s perspective on why to hire a veteran. These resources underscore the computer expertise of most veterans: 73% of military personnel use desktop computers; 51% have experience with Local Area Networks, and 17% are familiar with mainframes. Additionally, they point out, most veterans are “highly-mobile” and receptive to relocation, and include a strong selection of minority candidates. Most notably, VetJobs.com gives employer members direct toll-free access to a counselor capable of assessing and translating veteran skills to civilian occupations. This feature helps eliminate confusion over military jargon that could interfere with the adequate appraisal of a potential candidate for a specific job.

Torture By Resume

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jan 7, 2000

Managers hate being presented with a “stack” of resumes. One of any manager’s worst nightmares is when a recruiter drops off a “stack” of resumes to be read “right away.” No matter how well intentioned managers may be, the reality is that they will postpone looking through the stack for days or even weeks.

Why Do Managers Hate Stacks of Resumes?

The answer is simple! Everyone hates “stacks” of resumes! Recruiters don’t like to sort through them any more than managers do. Some other reasons that managers hate piles of resumes include:

keep reading…

Employee Retention 2000 Follow Up

by
Audra Slinkey
Jan 6, 2000

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.” An 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.

The Issue of Rapid Sourcing – 7 Ideas to Find People Fast

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jan 5, 2000

Need people yesterday? What do you do? Obviously, you should have a longer-term strategy to feed your sourcing needs. The elements of a long-term strategy include developing a competitive intelligence database so you can find people at your competitors, using a well-built web site that attracts candidates and develops relationships with them over time, creating an on-going employee referral program, developing relationships with local schools and colleges to attract interns that can be screened and converted, and putting in place a school-to-career program or similar program to attract and develop young people. But, when it comes to finding people right now, here are a few ideas:

  1. Use every advertising medium you can afford and find. This means using print, locally and carefully, to attract attention to your firm and to the kinds of positions you have available. The real value of print comes in driving traffic to your web site. Even an average web site is better at attracting candidates than an advertisement by itself. Many firms find that advertising in newspapers for entry-level people is both effective and inexpensive. Firms like Charles Schwab use a lot of print (i.e. newspaper) advertising to attract candidates for jobs in customer service at the local level. Other advertising media include billboards, which are extensively used in California, to get the attention of candidates stuck in traffic. The radio and television also offer good ways to get the word out that you are recruiting. Be sure to include your web site address and make this the focus of your message. You can also get your employees to pass out “business cards” as they commute or to friends and fellow church or club members. These cards have your web site URL as well as a phone number and name of a recruiter. The card urges people to check out the job opportunities your firm has and send a resume or call. This costs practically nothing and is highly effective in generating leads. You can also put your web site and a short recruiting message on a variety of freebies such as key chains, ice cream wrappers, and so forth and pass them out at sports events or other public gatherings.
  2. keep reading…

Counter the Counter Offer – Before It Is Given!

by
Ken Gaffey
Jan 4, 2000

In horror movies, the lights go out, the thunder crashes, and the actor who we all refer to as “the idiot,” walks into the room where the sound of a buzz saw and screaming was just heard. In staffing and recruiting, you get that exact same feeling when you get a telephone call from the candidate who has accepted an offer from you one week ago. They leave a message saying that they “have to talk to you,” it is “real important.” Nobody has to tell you, you know already. It is a counter offer. Suddenly you wish all you had to worry about was a homicidal maniac with a buzz saw. If at this moment you realize that you never once discussed, counseled, or spoke to the candidate about counter offers, well, there is a new victim in this movie. But we will be nice and refrain from using the term “idiot.” It is said that you cannot “un-ring a bell.” Believe me, you may not be able to un-ring a bell, but you will be amazed how fast you can “un-spend” a commission from your agency, or a compliment from your hiring manager. For the last couple of weeks a lot of time in the Forum has been dedicated to discussing the “evil counter offer.” There has been some good data and some myth busting. But let’s look at the situation, top to bottom. Counter offers are the nightmares of agency and corporate recruiters alike. To the agency recruiter – there is a lost fee. To the corporate recruiter – you have to run into the hiring manager’s office and tell them not to worry if the PC for the new employee takes a couple of more weeks to arrive, “Gotta go. Bye” – slam – run. We all hate them, counter offers, they make us look bad or cost us money. So what can you do about it. ITEM ONE: If you wait until there is a counter offer to mention it, it’s already too late. In the fourth quarter, it is a far better situation to have a 10 or 12 point lead, than a history of recoveries. In poker, hope you draw four aces, but bet knowing that it will only be “trip-threes.” Always be polite to people with “skull and cross bone” tattoos, and always, always assume the candidate you are shaking hands with for the first time will get a counter offer. One of the reasons for an interview is to see what is making a person leave their current employer. Because that is exactly what the counter offer will be on that fateful day. If a candidate tells you he/she is underpaid and was not given a deserved promotion, the counter offer will be a pay increase to go with that fancy new job title. How do you know this is going to happen? Well, on the day they gave notice to their boss, they told him/her the same thing they told you. If the company wants to keep the employee, the counter offer will contain elements of what the employee said is lacking in their current situation. You had plenty of advance warning, use it. ITEM TWO: Prepare the client or hiring manager during the offer process for the likelihood of a counter offer. When you set up the offer meeting with your client or hiring manager, tell them the truth. Let’s try that again for effect, tell them the truth. If a counter offer is made after your offer, and you want to keep the commission or the closed requisition credit, prepare the client or hiring manager on the very real likelihood that this candidate will get a counter-offer. The candidate has a greater value than their current salary, probably more than the new offer. A prepared manager is more likely to counter-the-counter offer than a surprised one. Or more importantly, an angry one. ITEM THREE: Be clairvoyant, predict the future for the candidate. Too many recruiters do not talk about counter offers because they think if they do not bring it up, nobody else will. However, by seeming so experienced that you can accurately predict the future for the candidate will impress them and lend weight to your words. “Don’t be surprised when everything you wanted for the last 6 months suddenly appears when you resign! Too bad you had to hold a gun to their head to get what you deserved. Now, let’s see if we can find a company that appreciates your potential now!” These words will echo in the candidate’s head as they are given their counter offer. The value of the counter-offer is diminished by your advanced warning. It is like a good “I told you so.” ITEM FOUR: Do not take Counter Offers personally. Candidates who accept counter offers are not low lives, ungrateful, foolish or “doomed.” They are people who were made a better offer. If you are selling your home, are you obligated to sell to the first, or the best offer? What really has made us angry about counter offers is what they have done to US, not what may or may not happen to the candidate’s career. The candidate in question has been offered money to continue to show up where they had already been showing up for years. If you get angry, you will get sloppy, even hostile, and any hope of dealing with the situation is gone. If you were a car salesperson and a potential buyer came back and told you the deal was off, you do not tell them how shocked and disappointed you are, you SELL. But you cannot sell your personal anger. Put it away. ITEM FIVE: You cannot counter a better deal, so do not try and sell candidate’s bad deals. All too often in staffing we consider the best opportunity for the candidate to also be the one that closes the requisition or makes us the biggest or fastest fee. If you have set up quick and easy interviews, focused on your easy clients, or just did poor matching, you probably have lost already. If you have presented the candidate with a better career opportunity, you may be able to sell around the money. But, if you did your job badly, you’re cooked. Save the offer by making it the right offer, for a good opportunity. Not the one that was merely best for you. ITEM SIX: Do not turn a counter offer into a bidding war. Do not assume that the fact that a candidate has come back with a counter-offer means they have to be “bought.” Have some empathy. They just want to make sure they are not bought cheap. They still may feel your opportunity, or your client’s, is the best. However, if they get the best opportunity, and get paid a couple of dollars more a year, is it wrong for them to bargain? If it were you, would you say, “No, keep the 5K, you are offering me plenty as it is!” Yah, right. Often, I find that by going to the manager or client and seeing if we might have a few extra thousand in petty cash, or a hiring bonus, a little stock, whatever is feasible to make the offer better, is enough. That is provided we are a good opportunity, fairly presented. Tell the candidate the truth. That you honestly felt your offer was initially fair. That you feel you offer the best long-term alternative. But, to keep money from having too much influence we will match, or come a close as possible, to the counter-offer. It sends the signal that you are trying to be fair and equitable and that there is no more money to be had by continuing the process. ITEM SEVEN: We try and make the candidates believe they will be hurt in the long run, but they know it is ourselves we are worried about. All the data concerning counter-offers has been complied, analyzed, reviewed and reported by us, the people who are hurt by them. Therefore, we often fail to see the flaws in our arguments. For example, candidate “A” is making 45K a year. They get an offer for 47K a year and then a counter offer from their current employer for 49K a year. They stay, but end up leaving six months later. We would point that out as proof that counter-offers are not good. But, if you do the math, candidate “A” during those six months picked up an extra 2K for the same job they were doing, and went back into the job market six months later with a base salary 4K higher than it was when they started. If you are a 1990s profile employee who has long given up hope for a 25-year job with a gold watch – this was a successful exercise in marketing themselves. If you want to succeed in getting people to stop focusing on money, try finding the value in their making the right decision. Stay off the old lines about evil counter-offers, we are the only ones who still believe them. We are not social workers. The people who come to us in the staffing process have lives and obligations outside our mission. The biggest thing that bothers us about counter offers is that is messes up our plans. Be honest with yourself about your motivation for countering the counter-offer and be honest with the candidate. If you prepared the candidate, did your job well and to the best of your ability based on your understanding of the candidate’s needs and not your own, you will probably overcome the counter-offer crisis. If you failed in the above, then it isn’t the counter-offer that is making you lose hirers. Is it!

Clue #2: Understanding a Niche Market

by
Jennifer Hicks
Jan 3, 2000

As important as a community is, so too are sub-communities – niches where we feel most comfortable, most understood, and most likely to find something in common with another group member. Some of us find this in a religious arena, others on an athletic field, and others at Minorities’ Job Bank. Yes, it’s another job board. And yes, you can post your jobs and search a hefty resume database – for a fee. But, in addition to providing the requisite job postings and career information, Minorities’ Job Bank creates ethnic communities – one each for: