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July  2000 RSS feed Archive for July, 2000

One-Day Hiring Made Easy: Part II

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jul 31, 2000

What Is One-Day Hiring? One-day hiring is a deliberate strategy for improving both the quality and the number of hires by making hiring decisions on top candidates in one-day! Steps In One-Day Hiring One-day hiring means making a one-day decision–but not a quick and uniformed decision. The steps you need to take in order to make great and fast hiring decisions include the following:

  1. Decide which jobs qualify as one-day hire jobs. One-day hiring is not for all jobs. It works best in the 10% to 25% of jobs that are really “hard to fill.” In these jobs there is always a shortage of talent, and the candidates that you do attract are likely to have multiple offers.
  2. keep reading…

Where’s Waldo? Check the White Pages!

by
Paula Santonocito
Jul 28, 2000

What do you do when you have the name of a terrific potential candidate, but lack the necessary information to get in touch with him or her? Why not try a search or two? Online White Pages can often provide telephone number and address information to help you track down that elusive candidate. There are several resources that can assist you. But, before you traverse the United States, there are also a few tips to keep in mind. As with all searches, the more information you enter, the more focused your results will be. Indicating “Chicago” and “Illinois,” for example, will yield fewer returns than searching the entire state of Illinois. Specificity also applies to names. If the person for whom you’re searching is referred to in an article as “Chuck Smith,” chances are he goes by the name “Chuck,” as opposed to “Charles,” but you may need to check the listing for both in telephone directories. AT&T Anywho Info lets you search for people or businesses in a White Pages directory. Entering information in several optional fields, “First Name,” “Last Name,” “Street Name, “City or Zip,” and selecting a state from a scroll menu will return results, provided the telephone number is a published number. Yahoo! People Search includes similar search options. The fields “First Name,” “Last Name,” “City/Town,” and “State.” The only required information in order to search at Yahoo is “Last Name.” The “State” field requires entering the appropriate two-letter abbreviation, should you wish to search by state. Clicking on the word “State” returns a listing of abbreviations for all 50 states. Yahoo also includes an email search where, by entering a first and last name, you may be able to obtain an email address. However, such a search usually requires more information. By clicking on the word “Advanced,” you’ll be provided with additional fields. Completing as many of these as possible will facilitate your search. Switchboard.com’s “Find a Person White Pages” is similar to Yahoo in that the “State” field also requires a two-letter abbreviation, which can be obtained by clicking on the word “State” and viewing a list. In addition to a person’s phone number and address, a search result from Switchboard includes a category called “Email, Maps, and What’s Nearby.” Clicking on this may provide an email address. “People Search” at Bigfoot.com allows you to search “White Pages” and/or “Email” listings. Check one or both boxes, and enter information in the “First Name,” “Last Name,” and “City” fields. A state can be chosen from a scroll menu, which also includes the option “Any State.” As with all search tools, the more specific your entered information, the fewer?and most likely the more appropriate?your returned items. When searching “White Pages” and “Email” simultaneously, separate lists are returned. While the “White Pages” list returns only people with last names spelled exactly as entered, the “Email” list returns variations of the spelling as well. An independent search for an email address does not result in any additional specificity. Although this feature has its drawbacks, it also has advantages. If you’re not certain as to the spelling of someone’s last name, you may still be able to find the person’s email address using Bigfoot. Remember, as with printed directories, online White Pages vary in content. Because each directory can yield different results, it’s advisable to search through more than one when trying to locate information. And, since locating information might mean locating a candidate, paging through White Pages can be time well spent.

Be a Buyer, Not a Seller

by
Lou Adler
Jul 28, 2000

Recruiting is the single most important part of the hiring process. It’s not something you do at the end of an interview: it starts the moment you begin the interviewing process. If you can’t attract the best people, everything else has been a waste of time. You know you have problems if you’re consistently paying too much or if candidates frequently say, “I have to think about it,” after receiving an offer. Problems occur because many managers stop interviewing and begin selling as soon as they find someone they like. Once you start selling, you stop learning. Recruiting is much more about buying than selling. If you oversell, over-talk and under-listen, you’ll either lose the best candidates or pay too much for them. From this point onward, you won’t learn anything new about the candidate other than what he or she wants you to know. You talk more and the candidate talks less. You lose complete control of the interview. This cheapens the job and makes the candidate more expensive. But if you create a compelling opportunity and make the candidate earn the job, candidates will sell you. Here are some tips about staying a buyer, not a seller:

  1. Create a compelling vision of the job with a carefully-written Performance Profile. If you present the job, without pressure, as a significant long-term and exciting opportunity, candidates will want to sell or convince you about their skills, instead of you having to sell them.
  2. keep reading…

Are Your Hiring Managers Making You Look Bad?

by
Audra Slinkey
Jul 27, 2000

I often hear complaints from recruiters about hiring managers. Hiring managers can indeed be very difficult and hard to please. Some times a requisition is held up simply because the hiring manager took over a week to review the resumes. The candidates were long gone by the time you called them, so like a hamster on wheel you’re forced to start running through the sourcing process again. I’ve heard other recruiters say that their hiring managers insist on deciding where to source, even though the recruiter disagrees. Following the hiring manager’s wishes, the frustrated recruiter throws away thousands of dollars while knowing that this is not the best source to recruit from. Either way, we’ve all at some point had a “nightmare” hiring manager, one who makes our days to fill a position astronomically high because he or she is continually holding up the process. One thing I have learned in the course of working with hundreds of organizations is that if you encounter one difficult hiring manager, the odds are other hiring managers in the same organization are difficult as well. It is the company culture that breeds the difficult managers who do not put hiring as a priority. Likewise, it is a company culture reinforced by top managers where hiring is top priority that breeds managers who are cooperative, appreciative, and helpful. Yes, there are probably some isolated incidents of difficult hiring managers in a positive culture, but overall, the attitude of the manager toward the recruiter seems to come with the territory/culture to which they belong. So what can a recruiter do to change a difficult hiring manager? It will take some time, but a recruiter can ultimately able turn around a difficult hiring manager by following these helpful steps:

  • Be the expert you are. You are the expert in recruiting, not the hiring manager. Give the hiring manager advice and feedback even if it hurts. If you are recruiting for a position that has unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky expectations, let the hiring manager know. Don’t let the hiring manager tell you where to recruit, that is your job. Be confident, do your research, listen well and ask the right questions. I remember when I first started recruiting, I was a bit intimidated when dealing with VP-level individuals. Do not let your intimidation show. You are there to help them.
  • keep reading…

A Student’s View of Time

by
Maggie Ruvoldt
Jul 27, 2000

We’re all very busy these days and rarely does anyone get to everything on the daily “to do” list. However, we all know that in recruiting, time is a precious thing and candidates can be off the job market quickly. Although college students technically have longer to find and decide upon a job, they are receiving offers in shorter time frames. Their perception of time is also different. What is a short time for us, say 2 weeks, can seem like an eternity to a college student. This greatly impacts the timing of your communications with them. Understanding a Senior’s Priorities Although they are concerned about classes, finding a job consumes a large part of a senior’s time and attention until the process is finished. Even though they face one of the most promising job markets ever, many students are convinced that they will miss out on that dream job. With finding a job so high on the priority list, their perception of how long they have been waiting to hear from you is distorted. No matter how well you communicate the timing of your process, they will expect to hear some feedback very quickly. More organizations are catching onto this fact and responding with call backs or offered within a day or two of an interview.

How Their View of Time Affects Your Need to Communicate Their view of time and your competitors’ ability to respond to it create a need for you to adjust your communications. Although few college students accept the first offer that comes along without thinking about it, the first offer is the one against which others will be measured. Even if you can’t make a decision as quickly as other firms, you can still be in on the game very effectively. Keep the lines of communication open. A simple email update is enough. The student’s primary concern is that he or she is still in the running and that you consider them important enough to follow up on a regular basis. This whole process is about relationship building. The better your relationship is with the student, the more likely it is that your recruiting efforts will be successful. They want an answer fast, but also want time to think about it themselves. Here is where the whole process gets a little weird. Although you must respond quickly to these candidates, you’ll find that they want more time to consider your offer. This might seem a bit unfair, but not if you remember the people with whom you are dealing. These students are making their first big career decision and feel the pressure of parents, friends, professors, family and themselves weighing heavily. They have not had the experience of making a career choice that will impact them this greatly. Along with the magnitude of this decision comes the number of choices they have before them. Chances are great that your offer is not the only one the student is considering, and he or she might be waiting to hear back from another company. This is not to say you are the second choice, but students want to know all of their options before making a decision. The upside to this for you is that once the decision is made, the student will be that much more committed to it for having been given the time to decide. Students who are pressured into decisions will be less happy and might even renege on an acceptance later. Understanding how time is different on a college campus compared to a corporate office will help you avoid confusion, and will greatly increase the success of your college recruiting programs.

Skills-Based Recruiting: Not “What?” But “When?”

by
Alice Snell
Jul 25, 2000

There has been a lot of buzz lately about “skills-based recruiting.” Is this yet another management fad pushed down from above? With scant time in the day to even read last week’s email, a busy recruiter might worry about finding the time for professional development to brush up on another new recruiting methodology. The good news is there’s no need to take a seminar or certify for anything new. Recruiters have been using skills-based recruiting all along! Skills-based recruiting is the term given to the recruiter-driven process of matching skills to a perceived hiring need. The emphasis is on the recruiter driving the process, actively pursuing the information he or she needs to assess a match between the candidate’s skills and the requirements of the job position. Who’s Driving? Perhaps the best way to appreciate the subtle shift in emphasis placed by skills-based recruiting is to consider the difference between an interview and a resume. An interview is quintessentially recruiter-driven; the recruiter asks the questions, and generally determines the course of the interview. Skills assessment is one of the most important functions of an interview. Situational and behavioral interview techniques are two methods for assessing skills in job situations. (Even reference checks fit the definition of a recruiter-driven skills-assessing process.) The content of a resume, on the other hand, is wholly determined by the candidate. In the traditional recruiting cycle, the resume is the first means by which a recruiter can assess the match between the candidate’s skills and the requirements of the job position. However, (candidate-driven) resumes generally do not contain the right information. In reviewing a resume, the recruiter must look for clues that indicate whether it is worthwhile to bring the hiring process to the next step-to the (recruiter-driven) skills-based recruiting interview. Skills-Based Prescreening A software company recently ran a classified ad that contained a short piece of computer code. The ad stated the function of the code, and asked readers if they could improve upon it. This is an example of skills-based prescreening being introduced as early as possible?to the ad creative. Past work experience and duties, past education, and other information typically pushed from a candidate to a recruiter is secondary. What is important is a skill that is directly applicable to job performance?whether the potential candidate understands the computer code, and can improve upon it. Which will the software company recruiter look at first: the resume or the suggestion for improving the computer code? Skills-based recruiting can also be pushed towards the beginning of the recruiting process through automated pre-screening. Sophisticated hiring management systems provide the application through which recruiters can glean candidate skills information through online questionnaires during the first contact. So initial questions can automatically gather the fundamental skills information up front. And, the recruiter’s valuable time is spent conducting a more in-depth, thorough interviews of the most qualified candidates. Early and Automated In skills-based recruiting, the recruiter is driving the process to get the information that is sufficient to assess the match between the candidate’s skills and the requirements of the job position. With traditional resume-based recruiting, skills-based recruiting is performed but delayed. That delay, which comes from an inadequate and inefficient process, can ultimately result in bad decision-making. The lack of critical information at the right moment in the process may even mean the recruiter hits the proverbial dead end?no opportunity for thorough skills-based recruiting procedures. Moving skills-based recruiting activities earlier in the recruiting process through automated pre-screening systems enables the recruiter to use his or her own skills most effectively. All recruiters practice skills-based recruiting?some just do it earlier than others!

One Day Hiring Made Easy: Part I

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jul 24, 2000

In a war for talent it is essential that you differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you want to wow top candidates (who have the potential to get multiple offers), you must act differently. Making same day offers will certainly get the candidates attention. What Is One Day Hiring? One day hiring is not for all jobs or candidates. It is designed for people that we have pre-assessed and for those that clearly exceed the qualifications for the position. The premise of one day hiring is that if you build an effective decision process that responds in a day, you will capture superstars candidates before the competitor can even schedule an interview! In a war for talent, you need to differentiate yourself. You can’t gain a competitive advantage if you use the same tools and strategies as your competitors. One day hiring is deliberate strategy for improving both the quality and the number of hires by making hiring decisions on top candidates (and an offer) in one day! Why Do One Day Hiring?

There is no evidence that slow hiring produces better hires. But there is clear evidence that the most desirable candidates are on the job market for “as little as a day.” The key is to identify ways to shorten the process of getting people hired. Most hiring takes between 30 and 100 days, with the latter being a more common number. Delays in hiring can also cause managers (and candidates) to get frustrated and lose interest, because they see no immediate rewards of making hiring a priority. Interviewing and making an offer in one day is a strategy to make your firm appear decisive. Making an offer on the same day as the interview excites candidates and makes them feel important. Making a same day offer sends a clear message to the candidate that they are “special” and highly regarded. Fast hiring is a great image builder. It reinforces your firm’s image as a rapid decision maker. How a firm acts during the selection process is also often seen as a reflection of how companies manage on the job The reason most hiring decisions take so long are varied but the primary reason is that most hiring systems were developed to hire “unemployed people” that have the time to go through an arduous process. However, employed people and top candidates have little time or inclination to go through a long drawn out process. This is especially true internationally or when coast to coast travel is required. These candidates can’t take two days off from their job (and “fib” to their boss about being away at the dentist for more than one day). It’s time to face facts. In a low unemployment period… fast is better! Slow hiring means vacancies. The cost of a vacant position can be extremely high. One computer firm calculates it at $7,000 a day and another at $1 million a week for key positions. Slow hiring delays product time to market and vacancies may frustrate other team members and increase their chances of them leaving also. One day hiring (ODH) gets hires on board faster. Advantages Of One Day Hiring

Dot-Com Candidates: Good and Plenty

by
Paula Santonocito
Jul 21, 2000

While most companies would eagerly lay out the welcome mat for much-needed new hires, some companies are showing slews of skilled employees the exit door. According to The Industry Standard, in the six-month period from December 29, 1999 to June 30, 2000, 80 dot-com companies have laid off at least 5,855 employees. The upheaval in e-commerce, which has become known as the dot-com shakeout, is an ongoing source of speculation and commentary. For recruiters, it is also a source for candidates. There are several places on the Internet where information can be found about dot-com layoffs. DotCom.Failures provides online summary information regarding various dot-com woes. Layoff figures, when applicable, are included. DotCom.Failures also provides access to complete news articles about individual companies. These articles are accessible by clicking on an individual company’s name from the home page summary. Selecting a specific company takes you to a second page where the same summary appears, but this time with a link to the article. On this second page you can also post comments. Because Dotcom.Failures chronicles all technology failures, you will find information about companies that are technically oriented, several of which are not “technically” dot.coms. Hewlett Packard, Sony, and Oracle have all been subjects of past summaries. The term “failure” is perhaps a bit of a misnomer with regard to some of the information presented at DotCom.Failures. The Oracle summary dated June 16, for example, mentions management changes. Still, under a subheading also entitled “Failures,” you will find very worthwhile information. “Stats” includes cumulative data and industry comparisons, while “The Dead List” is an alphabetical listing of companies that have closed their doors. “Tech Recruiters” is a place where a technical recruiter can hang a shingle, as well as a Web site link. Simply select “Insert Recruiter” and enter your information. Yahoo! News covers dot-com and other layoff activity at its “Business: Downsizing and Layoffs” page. Under the heading “News Stories” you’ll find a chronological listing of news articles with links to each. Utilizing news sources from around the country, Yahoo!’s news is nationwide in scope. With a focus on mostly East Coast downsizings, Timesizing Associates draws on The New York Times and the Boston Globe for its information. Here you’ll find summaries of various corporate activity, dot-com and otherwise, with references to the original articles and the sections of the newspapers where the articles can be found. Although there are no direct links to these articles, Timesizing summaries are in chronological order and enough detail is provided so that should you choose to access the original sources, you can locate the information with relative ease. JWT Specialized Communications offers “Layoff Updates” that are organized chronologically by week. Although JWT information is always two weeks behind breaking news stories, each week’s information is arranged by industry, which makes it easy to search for a specific organization. Including both dot-com and other companies, JWT provides layoff summaries and cites the original sources of the information. Summaries begin with the name of the company and the name of the city or cities where the layoffs will or have occurred. Following a brief recounting of the activity leading to the layoffs, the number of workers affected at each company is provided. Although the prospect of contacting an individual who has just received bad news may be cause for an initial feeling of discomfort, keep in mind that you have the opportunity to be the bearer of good news. With open positions to fill and the potential to place a displaced person in a new job, the situation really couldn’t be more ideal. And with thousands of people feeling the effects of the dot-com shakeout, this situation can play itself over and over…dot dot dot…and over again. Author’s Note: AIRS also publishes an Outplacement Report, summarizing employers that have announced downsizing initiatives over the past week, at http://www.airsdirectory.com/news/layoffs/.

Search for Passive Candidates Without Even Searching

by
Scott Hagen
Jul 21, 2000

What if there was a tool on the Internet that could tell you what professionals in your industry or potential job seekers are saying about your company? What if this tool also assisted you in locating some of those difficult to find passive candidates by monitoring Usenet newsgroups? Would you want to use it? You probably think that it sounds great, but that it must be expensive. Well, I recently discovered the tool myself, and to my surprise it was actually free. Read on to find out all the details. This useful new tool is called Tracerlock. It was designed by Peacefire.org, an organization that promotes free speech on the Internet. The way that the tool works is it allows you to put key words or terms into the system, and whenever this information appears on a site that Alta Vista has indexed you will be sent an email. The email will notify you that the key words or terms that you have put into the system have been found. The second function that this tool offers is that it can monitor Usenet newsgroups for you automatically. It works in the same fashion as the function that monitors Alta Vista. These two functions can be invaluable tools to any recruiter who is interested in locating passive candidates or is interested in retaining their current employees. The first, and probably the most valuable use for this tool is the ability to monitor Usenet newsgroups. Let’s say you are looking for Java developers. This tool will allow you to put in terms that are related to Java, such as javabeans or JSP. Anytime there is a discussion that includes your key terms, you will be notified by e-mail that this discussion has taken place. This will allow you to closely evaluate this targeted discussion and determine if there are any potential candidates involved in this particular discussion that have the skills you are looking for. I would particularly look for those who answer the questions in these discussions as opposed to the people who ask them. The people who answer questions in a newsgroup tend to be the more knowledgeable and would probably make better candidates. The best feature of this tool is that you don’t have to search these newsgroups daily because they will come to you! The second use of this tool can be geared toward retention. If you are concerned that your company may have a bad reputation in the industry, all you need to do is simply put in your company name and wait to see if there are any discussions going on that include your company name. Monitoring these conversations can help you understand how your company is perceived by the outside world. This tool is not intended to check up on what your current employees are saying about your company, but rather what the overall perception is about your company. This can help you determine if your reputation in your industry is affecting both the retention of your current employees as well as the recruitment of new employees. The beauty of this tool is it is free and very easy to use. Once you set up your user profile all you need to do is input the key words or terms, sit back and wait to see what comes your way. This system allows you to be proactive without having to spend hours searching the Internet or newsgroups to find a specific discussion or information.

Summer Sizzle: Keeping the Momentum

by
Karen Osofsky
Jul 20, 2000

During the summer things tend to “slack off” a bit in recruiting. When the days are longer, children are out of school, and the weather is hot, we all lose our motivation to deliver 110%. We work fewer hours, take more vacations, and typically adopt that childlike, summer vacation attitude. This is not bad. We all need and should take time to relax and slow up the pace. Likewise, candidates are less motivated to dedicate the time to job search. They too take more vacations, are out more often in the evenings, are harder to reach, and are generally more hesitant to make a job switch until mid-September. Unfortunately, with today’s staffing needs we can’t afford to be less productive in the summer. Here are a few tips to keeping the recruiting momentum going during the summer, while still enjoying the best that the summer has to offer. Keep Recruiters Motivated Recruiters can still deliver 110% and take advantage of the summer. One way is by offering a more flexible work schedule. As long as there is coverage during the key business hours, offer the recruiters more scheduling flexibility than normal. Allow some to come in at 6 A.M. and work until 2 in the afternoon. Allow others to work from 3-10. Recruiting is a morning, afternoon and evening type of job, particularly when recruiting candidates across three time zones. Offering more flexibility allows the recruiters to get the job done and enjoy the aspects of summer that are most important to them. Energize Candidate Development It is always critical to keep the pipeline filled with great candidates. In the summer, we are most apt to let this part of the job slide. With a small pipeline, fall hiring will take a nosedive. Here are a few ways to build the pipeline while still having some fun.

  • Special Events: Evening open houses with cubed cheese, chips, salsa, beer, and wine will not draw a big crowd during the summer months. However, there are other fun events that will draw a crowd. Consider sponsoring a summer event for a local user group or several user groups. It could be a boat cruise, margarita night on the patio of a local Mexican restaurant, or a BBQ/softball game. This will attract a crowd, encourage mingling and socializing between current employees and potential candidates, and add goodwill to your support of local user groups. Technical employees are treated with a fun night out, recruiters have the opportunity to build candidate relationships, and a local non-profit technical group can offer its constituents a free social event. It’s a win, win, win situation.
  • keep reading…

What About the Other Half?

by
Bill Gaul
Jul 20, 2000

For some time, I have used this venue to expound on the virtues of attracting and hiring applicants that have served in the military, and have appreciated the laudatory comments from readers citing positive examples of their own successful military recruitment strategies. As everyone seeks new talent pools to access, yet another community of applicants deserves your attention: the military spouses. Often, it is the military spouse that makes the greatest sacrifices of all, being left to be both mother and father to the family, responsible at a moment’s notice to take on their duties as the service member heads off to an assignment whose outcome is unsure. In the process, the spouse learns to deal with stress, developing conflict resolution skills and uncovering hidden talents to meet the challenges. It’s important to note that the spousal community is an extremely tight-knit one, and highly networked out of necessity, making it an easy target to develop, for the right recruiter. Even during peacetime, the life of a military spouse is not easy, with a new assignment requiring a complete household move every three years or so, it’s hard to develop a resume that makes sense, unless you appreciate the “hidden skills” that one develops in coping with constant change, creating new support networks, and taking on responsibilities one didn’t bargain for. Such talents are directly transferable in today’s corporate environment. The life of a military spouse may or may not take them away from the home in order to create a better quality of life for their family; however, spouses are not purely “domestic engineers.” Before entering the military life themselves, their education and experiences may have been as computer programmers, healthcare workers, sales professionals or a variety of other occupations. Even without a formal education, applicants with a strong work ethic, excellent people skills, and proven time/stress management techniques are much in demand. Similar to their military service member counterpart, they also share the desire to succeed, not merely survive. In that quest, new skills are obtained and perfected, but it takes an “investigative recruiter” to see how these talented individuals could be an asset to any organization. Especially in this era of cyber-recruiting and telecommuting, this pool of applicants scattered in sometimes remote locations have few alternatives to develop potential career alternatives. Either in a transitioning or accompanying spouse role, this talent pool should not be overlooked simply because their resumes don’t read right?it’s what you don’t see on the resume that really counts.

Sell, Don’t Tell: A Follow-up From Last Week

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jul 19, 2000

Well, I was pleasantly surprised by all your responses to last week’s column. And I was slightly encouraged by the creativity and pizzazz exhibited by many of the sites you referred me to. One of you thought the job description I quoted in last week’s article was, indeed, a useful tool for a BSME and that the information was helpful in evaluating the job. I don’t disagree, but I am pretty sure that it could have been written in a way that is far more exciting and enticing then that dry, boring pabulum. Just being descriptive and accurate is not enough. We all have to put on our marketing hats to be successful in this competitive time. Another few of you referred me to the website for the Motley Fool. One immediate problem I had was finding the @#$*! career section of their website. After 3-4 minutes of trying to guess where they hid it, I found a dropdown menu and figured out that the “Help Wanted” section was on the list. Score a minus 5 for the Fool. Once there, I found a page of TEXT – not very inviting and definitely graphically challenged – but the job descriptions themselves are okay. They are, as I was promised, lightly written with a twist of humor. The descriptions are above average. Absolutely worth a look and they should give you some ideas for improving your own descriptions. I also liked the ability to NOT pick a specific job and just send in a resume. One point that I would like to make about almost every recruiting job site is that most are hard to find. If the candidate is not a very active one, he or she will never find most career sites. When most candidates are passive, it just makes good business sense to put the careers button on page numero uno! Another recommended site was the one for CyberSight. First impression at logging in was good. The employment section was clearly labeled and very easy to find. Once at the employment page, I was greeted with a list of jobs in VERY tiny type. But, after picking a few I did enjoy the pop-up window with short job descriptions that are very nicely done. A quote from one: “Big clients, big budgets, big minds (not heads). Passion is good, so is vision, hustle, thinking on your feet.” Much better than the usual stuff. A plus 5 for these guys. I just wish they would add a little info about the company, the culture, benefits and other useful things to know. Boy, I know I’m hard to please! Moving on…SmartPrice, an Austin, Texas, company, was recommended. I also had some brief difficulty in finding the employment section (why can’t we all just agree to put a button called “Careers” or “Employment” on the first page of our website?). Once there, the text is light and definitely would be attractive. The job descriptions are brief and to the point. It’s not a GREAT recruiting web site, but it’s in the above average category. The most fun, most creative, and most effective site that was recommended to me was the one for a company called Art & Logic. Great link to the career section on the first page of the site. Cool use of programming-like syntax to demarcate the career page. And, even though at first I thought the job descriptions were a return to corp-speak, they are okay. They are also followed by examples of projects the company has completed, which give anyone a good sense of what they would be involved in. A plus 10 to these guys and gals. Also check out what happens when you click on “No.” There are quite a few honorable mentions. These are websites that sort of halfway got the message, but at least are trying. The site for Aston IT Group has a great page describing the culture and enticing you to join. But the job descriptions are generic and just urge you to email in a resume. Come on, guys. You can do better. So, to sum up our exercise I would conclude that there aren’t very many great job descriptions out there. A few organizations are trying hard to get noticed and differentiate themselves from the pack. Thanks for the effort and keep on trying. For those of you who haven’t got a clue, check out some of these sites and don’t give up on trying to make recruiting different. Thanks to everyone who responded. I really appreciate your efforts and willingness to share your experiences.

A Cure for the Summertime Blues

by
Ken Gaffey
Jul 18, 2000

Every year, it is with mixed emotions that I watch summer draw closer. The horticulturist in me cannot wait to spend warm evenings and weekends in the garden. I love cool cocktails and late nights with neighbors on the porch talking about pretty much nothing in particular and everything else of little importance. I start dreaming of days at the beach with warm sandwiches and sun baked Coca-Cola. Then there is the fun of planning a week on the Maine Coast, or maybe the White Mountains. Life just sort of becomes a TV commercial for lemonade. And then there is the other side of the coin, figuring out how you’re going to do your job and get the staffing done! Managers are not available for interviews. Candidates do not return calls, or they return them a week later when they get back from their trip to Washington, D.C. (“Weather lovely, roads congested, Billy got car sick. Love to all, see you when we get home.”) The simplest process becomes complicated due to the fact that it remains undone waiting for input from somebody currently in Key West singing “Margaritaville” at 2:00 AM in Mallory Square. Sometimes, I just hate the summer. Why does this always happen, and can you prevent it? (And why didn’t I write this in April when it could have helped!) The “why” is easy; everybody is on vacation, or:

  • Working hard to get caught up so they can go on a vacation.
  • keep reading…

Steal Their Recruiters!

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Jul 17, 2000

Winning the war for talent requires an aggressive approach. Unfortunately, many HR types are rather passive “bambi” types that often shy away from using aggressive recruiting tactics. Recruiting and retaining top talent isn’t a “tea party.” It’s a war?and that means aggressive tactics and strategies. There are very few laws governing how you compete against other firms in recruiting and retention, so most of the reluctance on the part of HR and line managers to be aggressive falls into the “lack of courage” category. So if you want to be aggressive and show your boldness here is an example of a winning strategy: Steal Their Best Recruiters: Recruiting When you compete head-to-head with a competitor in the recruiting war and you end up losing more than your share of the time…it’s time to play hard ball. When you lose a top recruit, call them up and ask them directly for the name of the recruiter that convinced them to say yes. If they are reluctant to answer, wait three months and call them again. Next ask your top talent which recruiters call them on a regular basis (and who also make great sales pitches). Once you have identified the best recruiters that are targeting you, it’s either “Tonya Harding time” (joking, of course) or time to recruit them away from their current firm. Compared to the damage they can do, good recruiters are relatively cheap and they are almost always willing to listen to a better offer. Advantages for recruiting the best recruiters:

  • It sends a message to the competitor that you play hard ball when you are attacked.
  • keep reading…

The Pieces of the Puzzle: The Job, The Candidate, and The Fit

by
Paula Santonocito
Jul 14, 2000

Where recruiting was once a matter of matching “Candidate X” with “Job Y,” today the process is more complex. Not only are there more “Y’s” than “X’s,” but those “X’s,” well, they have expectations. And some of these go beyond the normal scope of salary, advancement, and benefits packages. Issues you’ve been accustomed to addressing have suddenly become less relevant or, in some cases, totally irrelevant. So how do you place candidates whose motivational factors seem to defy the very logic on which you’ve built your recruiting foundation? The first step is to accept the fact that the workplace has changed. People have varying priorities and they want their individual priorities addressed. As a recruiter, you need to understand who your candidate is and what he or she wants from a job. If salary is less important than flexible hours, for example, hammering your point about a $7,500 salary increase is likely to do little more than give yourself a headache. On the other hand, by understanding that a flexible work schedule is a motivator for your candidate, and finding a job that offers this, you may be on your way to placing him or her in a position. As simple as it sounds, the answers can be found by talking to your candidate and listening?really listening?to his or her responses. There are many reasons a candidate may take (or leave) a job. While for some people it’s about money, and for others it’s about security, today many people are also looking for work situations that fit with larger aspects of their lives. This can mean anything from working for a socially responsible company to the opportunity to travel. Ask your candidate questions that will reveal his or her preferences. It’s quite possible that a passive candidate, a person who isn’t actively seeking a job, may not have given much thought to what would prompt a job change. If you ask, “What would motivate you to change jobs?” he or she might not know. But questions such as “What do you like most about your present position?” and “What do you like least?” can provide some insight into what a person values. So can questions about location. If a candidate has always lived in Hometown, USA, and tells you that every member of his family for six generations has lived within a four-mile radius, the odds are probably against him taking a job that requires relocating to Chicago. On the other hand, if he starts griping about the harsh winters in the Northeast, maybe a position in Tampa would appeal to him. As a recruiter, you are offering a candidate more than job placement. You are suggesting a change which can significantly impact a person’s life. As such, it’s important to know about the company for which you’re recruiting. What is the work environment like? Is there on-site childcare? What about educational opportunities? How does the company rank within its industry? Using the Internet, it’s easy to obtain information regarding an organization, an industry, or a geographical location. By understanding what a candidate wants from a job, and providing appropriate feedback, you are likely to increase your placement success.

The Control Freak’s Guide to Interviewing

by
Lou Adler
Jul 14, 2000

There’s nothing uglier in the world of recruiting than an interview that spins out of control. Trust me, it’s not something you want to see-from any angle. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you get to know your own interviewing style, so that you can keep it under control. We all have a tendency to seek out aspects of ourselves in the people we choose-not necessarily a bad thing, but it can sometimes lead to a kind of tunnel vision that excludes other possibilities. By taking a hard look at your own interviewing techniques, you open yourself up to a wider range of talents and abilities. There are three basic styles of interviewing: emotional, intuitive and technical. Which one describes you? If you make fast decisions (usually in less than five minutes) based on things like first impressions and personal biases about personality and appearance, then you’re definitely in the emotional group. If it takes you up to 15 minutes to decide, and you base your judgement on your “gut” feeling about a few critical traits, you’re an intuitive interviewer. Technical people take a longer time (over an hour) to come to a positive decision, basing it on a candidate’s strong skills, experiences, and methodologies. Think of your internal decision-making mechanism as a three-way switch, with “Yes” at one end, “No” at the other, and “Maybe” in the middle. It’s important to keep your switch at the “Maybe” position for as long as possible. Moving to “Yes” too early might make you feel relaxed, but it’s also likely to end in tears-causing you to ignore negative data, to globalize strengths, to slip into a selling mode and (worst of all) to stop listening. A premature “No” can be equally dangerous: biases about age, physical characteristics, even race can easily override a candidate’s strong points. Try to remember that nobody is really at their best during an interview: even the seasoned professionals get anxious or tense. The good news is that these effects usually wear off after 15 or 20 minutes. Hopefully, your switch will still be in the “Maybe” position when that happens. Here are ten quick tips to help keep you in control during an interview:

  1. Fight with yourself to stay objective. Recognize when you feel either too relaxed or uncomfortable-keep your buying switch in the “Maybe” position.
  2. keep reading…

Partnering for Success: The First Impression

by
Audra Slinkey
Jul 13, 2000

In the “Partnering for Success” series, we are exploring ways you can develop a top-notch recruitment strategy by partnering internally or externally with experts that can assist you in a variety of areas. In this article we will look at your website and develop strategies to make a great first impression, while gathering all the information you need from your candidates as well as organizing that information into a searchable database. Do me a favor. Go to your website and pretend you are a job seeker. Do you have job search functionality or are you scrolling to the bottom of a very long page of jobs? Are all of your jobs updated and written in such a way that would entice you to apply? Is it easy for you to apply to the jobs you like? How long is the application process? Can you just cut and paste your resume or does it insist you fill out a resume form? Hopefully you have gone onto your site before but my guess is you are too busy to make sure the site is updated-much less quality check it. I cannot stress enough the importance of a well-organized, informative, and easy-to-use website. Your website is your first impression to your candidates. What does it say about your company? If you tout a technology environment that is exciting to work in, then you better have a technologically savvy web site! If you have the time, then I suggest you partner with your internal webmaster to create a site that is user-friendly on the front end and can easily organize your results on the back end. Most of us do not have the time it takes to develop this huge project ourselves, but luckily there is a new breed of vendor who will do this for you. Some new players in the marketplace are BrassRing’s Joboo, Ideal Hire, Hire.com and Intralect’s Job Planet. While I have not been able to review all of the vendors in this field, most offer functionality I find crucial to a successful website. Here are some key reasons to consider using these kinds of services to make your job a lot easier:

  1. Convenient Time Savers: Many of these vendors can have the career section of your site up and running within 10 days. The section would include a job search engine as well as an easy method for candidates to apply to your positions by either building a resume or cutting and pasting theirs in. These web pages have the “look and feel” of your site (they usually will have a “powered by…” logo in the corner somewhere) and can be somewhat customizable.
  2. keep reading…

College Professors: Your Partners in Recruiting

by
Maggie Ruvoldt
Jul 13, 2000

Some of your most powerful advocates, best recruiters, and greatest sources for information on candidates will never work for you. They are professors at the universities and colleges where you recruit. They have access to students that allows them to assess their work ethic and performance, ability to work in teams, openness to learning, and ability to meet deadlines. In short, they have all the information we wish we had about candidates before we hire them. So here are a few tips on how you tap into that great resource. Finding the Professors If you are unfamiliar with the professors at a college or university, there are a number of ways you can tap into their resources. Your best source for information on professors are your current employees. Find alumni from the university you are targeting. Tell them you are interested in tapping into the faculty to find good candidates. Ask them who the best professors are and who they might know who would be interested in such an opportunity. You may even want to enlist those alumni to make the initial contact with the professor. Educators love to hear from former students, and are often willing to help them. This is also an excellent way to get alumni involved in recruiting on campus. If you don’t have any alumni to make such recommendations, turn to the Career Services facility at the university. They will have recommendations on professors who are focused on student opportunities beyond the classroom. While you want the best professors in the departments, you also want those who are interested in their students’ career opportunities. Career Services will know which faculty will be the best resources. Another source for faculty recommendations are the department heads. Involvement with corporate life used to be frowned upon in academia, but today it is seen as an essential part of academic life. From either the college website or other materials, you can find out which professor heads up the department you’re interested in, and contact him or her directly. By starting from the top, you are more likely to get in touch with the best people and provide them for incentive to become involved with your organization. If you can find a cooperative department head, you will find the contacts you need. Preparing for First Contact Once you have found the names, do some research on the professors before making that first contact. Get to know which courses they teach and in which areas of research they are involved. The more you know about the professor before that first phone call, the more ideas you will be able to generate on partnering with them. A professor’s main concern will be what will be required of them and how you can contribute to their students. Professors will be most cooperative with an informed recruiter who is honest about his or her intentions, but is also willing to give back to the university. It is fine that you are interested in recruiting their students. However, you should also be interested in working with the university to prepare those students for life after college. Have ideas prepared of how you are going to accomplish this before you pick up the phone. The types of activities you should be developing are guest speakers, job shadowing, plant or company visits, panels or sponsoring research projects. The First Contact The timing of that first phone call and content is important in making that first impression. The middle and end of each semester are not good times to call. Professors are busy writing and grading exams at those times and will have little time to spend with you. Find out the schedule for the university and contact professors between midterms and finals. At this time they will have more time to speak with you and will be open to talk about involvement. They will also be interested in talking to you about the next semester’s classes, so plan ahead and around your recruiting calendar. In that first phone call, you are just looking to make an impression, and your goal should be to set up a meeting in person. Let the professor know what you are looking to do and ask them if they would be interested in discussing it further. At the in person meeting you should come prepared to talk about specific ideas. Once you have made the initial contact, the relationship should develop based on mutual needs and goals. One person in your organization should be assigned to managing that relationship. Although you will have multiple people who work on activities, the professor should always have a main contact within your organization. Over time, you’ll find that professors are an invaluable resource in recruiting. The more involved you become with them and their classes or research, the better candidates they will be able to send you. This result will grow out of a deeper understanding of what you are looking for and greater integration of your recruiting efforts in the classroom.

Sell, Don’t Tell: A Quest for the Great Job Description

by
Kevin Wheeler
Jul 12, 2000

Twenty-five years ago American businesses faced a very different set of problems than they do now. The basic issue then was to screen out the excess of candidates that usually applied for any given job. Job descriptions, as old as American industry and as obsolete as the telegraph, were statements of fact, descriptive of a job and a set of skills. They were used as the filter against which to do this screening. In today’s market there are few jobs with excess qualified candidates, although there may be more applicants than ever given how easy it is to apply using the Internet. The problem has changed. Today’s candidates have multiple job offers, choices galore and are probably unclear as to why they should work for your company as opposed to other. Most professionals know what skills are needed to accomplish a particular job. Programmers know what code they need to know and at approximately what level if they are clear in the desired outcomes. What people want to know is how doing whatever it is they do at your company will be better, or more fun, or more fulfilling, or more challenging than where they are now. People want inside information, anecdotes, stories about work life, and examples of what a day’s work looks like. Unfortunately, almost no one provides that. What we get is the wooden tripe produced so skillfully by bureaucrats everywhere. Here’s an example from the web site of a well-known firm. Doesn’t this description make you want to immediately apply for the job? “Job Description: Mechanical engineering position involving all aspects of electronic enclosure design for the internet and enterprise computing markets. Responsibilities include physical system partitioning, sheet metal and plastic part design, heat transfer solutions, and EMI shielding solutions. The position also involves racking system design, PCB mechanical and interconnect features, cable management, and user interface design. Minimum Qualifications BSME required. CAD and CAE tools are used extensively in the design process. These include solid modeling, stress analysis, and thermal analysis tools. The position requires knowledge of metal fabrication processes, injection molding process, design for manufacturability, and strength of materials. Interaction with other functional areas (marketing, manufacturing, field support, other engineering groups and divisions) is a requirement of the job. Good communication skills are crucial.” Have you ever seen a job description that asked for poor communication skills? Was this a useful tool if you were a potential job seeker? What do you know now that you didn’t know before you read it? Good descriptions should showcase desired outputs, should create a dream, instill some excitement and perhaps even generate some questions that need to be answered. This may motivate someone to send an email, apply for the job, or at least inquire. I’d also like to open this up to suggestions from YOU. What are some great websites that have great job description? What kind of descriptions excite you and make you wish you worked for that company instead of the one you do work for? I have searched all over and I haven’t found even ONE site that really has descriptions that excite me. Actually the best ones I’ve seen so far are the snowboarding company in Vermont, Burton at http://www.burton.com, and the Goldman-Sachs site at http://www.goldmansachs.com. Help me (and the rest of us) and let’s see if we can define and perhaps find examples of companies that have great descriptions of jobs online?descriptions or stories or whatever that make us say “I’ve got to apply here.” I look forward to your responses. I will summarize any responses and publish the results in an upcoming column. Good hunting.

Who’s Knocking at the Door?

by
Yves Lermusi
Jul 11, 2000

How well do you know your website visitors? As recruiting becomes more of an online activity, it starts to resemble Web marketing. Web marketers know the different kinds of people who come to a website. So too must recruiters, in order to recognize and benefit from the potential goldmine of candidates within that traffic. For large companies, which enjoy significant branding and high traffic volume, this is especially true. People visiting large company websites know the Web address from seeing it in advertising, on the company’s product, or in other marketing material. Perhaps they have followed a link or a banner ad, or can guess the URL without querying a search engine. The company’s brand both off and on the Web is clearly established, and is being reinforced continuously. Visitors to a company website therefore have some prior knowledge of the company. For recruiters’ purposes, the traffic coming to a company website can be generally grouped into three major categories: jobseekers, customers, competitors. Each group has a particular interest in the company, and represents a rich recruiting source…if you’re ready. Today we will cover only one group of visitors: your customers. Customers The most common function of a corporate website is to convey information on products and services, and therefore customers (also including vendors) comprise the largest group of site visitors. Customers already have a certain amount of goodwill towards the company since inherent in a purchasing decision is an elemental endorsement of a company and its product or service. Familiarity with a company and its products or services can become a first step to becoming an employee. Customers may become candidates if their website visit includes a stop at an appealing Careers section that provides intriguing information about company employment and positions. For e-commerce sites, an invitation to the Careers section once the transaction is performed is a good way to optimize the cost per client transaction. Targeted Messages It has been known in the industry for a while that the most aggressive companies are tailoring their banners’ messages according to the visitor’s origin. For instance if one visitor is coming from a competitor network you can show a message customized according to his or her interest. To the same extent, visitors to specific parts of your site are already filtered by the nature of the content where they are, and a tailored job banner at this location is the natural and efficient action. When you think about traffic and banners, think first of those that are already on your site and where CPM is free! Another Category of Customer A related group to customers, especially for large public companies, is shareholders. A common function of a corporate website is to serve investor relations. Most, if not all, Fortune 2000 companies provide information for shareholders and potential investors such as SEC filings, stock quotes, financials, and messages from the CEO. Investors have a highly motivating financial interest in the company, and come to the website to check up on its health. Human resources issues are increasingly recognized as central to the success of a company. The shareholders themselves may be prime candidates for new hires, and certainly can be an invaluable source of referrals. It is advantageous to show investors and potential investors that recruiting and retention is a major corporate focus, and provide the functionality on your website to leverage their desire for the company to prosper. Again, a prominent and attractive Careers section with features such as “Refer this job to a friend” can go a long way towards recruiting from and through this group. Knocking at the Door Regardless of the primary reason for their visit, your corporate website visitors are a ripe pool for you to recruit from. It is imperative that you understand the characteristics of your visitors, and provide an interface that invites each in as a candidate. To get the most out of this stream of potential candidates, your corporate website careers section should be designed to handle large volumes of traffic. Built-in functionality should facilitate capturing the largest candidate pool possible, in addition to the obvious “active” jobseekers. For example, competitors and customers–”passive” candidates–are rarely resume-ready, but can utilize a Resume Builder online or better yet, provide their skills-based profile through a specialized questionnaire. These website visitors are already “knocking on your door.” The Careers section of your corporate website should have the interface to open the door and welcome candidates drawn from ALL of your website visitors.