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March  2001 RSS feed Archive for March, 2001

Making a Clear Case

by
Paula Santonocito
Mar 30, 2001

When you’re looking for professionals with ClearCase experience, there are several search methods that can yield results. Because most people with this experience put the term ClearCase on their resumes, you may want to start by using a search engine to find candidates. Going to Google

Google allows for easy, fast searches. One way to begin your search is by entering “clearcase resume” in the general search box. Doing so recently returned over 3000 pages, a large percentage of which were personal resumes.

Because homepages are often resumes, you may want to try entering clearcase homepage in the box as well. Using these keywords recently returned over 600 pages. Even though there weren’t as many personal pages as with the first search, there were many worth exploring. A Rational Search

keep reading…

Halo: Not Just for Angels

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
Mar 30, 2001

Did you ever wonder why advertisers use celebrities to promote their products? Do these often drug-addicted, marriage-impaired, narcissistic, wealthy, spoiled people really know more than we do about life? Sure. And Michael Jackson is going to open a chain of childcare centers for latchkey kids next year while Hannibal Lechter opens a gourmet restaurant. Advertisers use celebrities because of something called “halo.” Halos are fine for angels, but they get hiring managers and professionals in real trouble. Halo is a naturally occurring process. It seems to be in our genes. It happens every time we meet a likeable person, and then, without gathering additional data, make an assumption that this person must also be smart, successful, happy, coordinated, etc. Basically, we take a “snippet” of information from one pleasant characteristic and use it to make a pretty big leap of faith about totally unrelated skills and abilities. Most of the time halo is no big deal, but when your job requires making expensive recruiting and hiring decisions, it becomes a real problem. A few weeks ago, I discussed some research that showed the interview is very good at measuring three characteristics associated with getting to know the candidate. These are agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience. Your basic, “Gee, you sound like the kind of person I’d like to get to know better” person. But, if your goal as a hiring manager or recruiter is to “get to know the person,” then you better come to grips with the fact that halo is actively at work undermining your objectivity. Want to know more about how halo distorts the facts? So tell me about yourself. For one thing, all we have to go on from most candidates is self-reported data. Assuming the interviewer was not raised on another planet, we all know in our hearts that self-reported data tends to be self-serving. It’s human nature. Everyone tends to forget and minimize past mistakes, so you’ll seldom hear anything bad from applicants – just good news, frequent successes, and great achievements in the face of serious obstacles. What is our human tendency to get around all this self-promotion? “Inexperienced” recruiters try to use lists of “trick” questions like “Describe your greatest success” and “Tell me about your greatest weakness” as if somehow the applicant will fall for this trick and tell us bad things about themselves. (Don’t worry if you are still doing this, almost everyone starts here). It takes a while, but most of us figure out that only the dullest applicant will give negative answers to this type of question. The smart ones have rehearsed answers that tell us nothing about their skills for the job. Rehearsed answers add to applicant halo. Some interviewers eventually graduate from using their “favorite questions” and learn to use behavioral-based questions (Paul Green, Targeted Selection, Accuhire, etc.). These techniques probe deeply the applicant’s background looking for evidence of legitimate job achievement. Evidence helps to verify applicant answers by focusing on job-specific skills, but remember the data is still largely self- reported. Smarter people tend to have more halo and do better in interviews, but this does not necessarily lead to higher job performance. You have references? It would be helpful if past employers could verify applicant job performance, but our litigious society discourages legitimate job references. Fear of litigation tends to squelch past performance data to demographics like salary, title, and employment duration. Personal references? They’re not biased. Noooo. What’s left? How about panel interviews? Same difference. Just more people firing more questions. Hundreds of thousands of dollars invested based on the halo generated by agreeableness, extraversion and openness to experience. Sound like a problem to you? The Way Out I think it is insulting to suggest that recruiters in today’s market should “start” looking for qualified people. Was it okay to look for unqualified people yesterday? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that most recruiters want to do a good job, otherwise there would not be so many, “Anyone have a good question?” questions on the forum. But, before any recruiter can become really good at the job, he or she must use tools that minimize halo. For one thing, start using some form of behavioral or situational interviews. As I mentioned before, these will not do a good job discovering an applicant’s conscientiousness or emotional stability (I am not referring to emotional “intelligence”, that is an entirely different matter). But, they will do a better job of measuring applicant’s problem solving, planning and interpersonal competencies. But remember, any style of interview is limited to self-reported data and interviewer bias. If you want better than 10-15% interview accuracy, you need to use better tools – tools that look more like the job. If you are hiring a salesperson, manager, customer service rep, self-directed team member, or any other position where interpersonal skills are a critical part of the job, then only a simulation can measure one-on-one skills. Simulations are not the same practice events you suffered through in workshops. They are tests and should have all the controls of a good test. Forget the “sell me a pencil”, nonsense. Good simulations have about 60-70% job-skill predictability. Role-plays need uniform administration, controlled times, trained role-players, and uniform scoring guides. If you are a Targeted Selection graduate, you should be able to buy some decent role-plays from your vendor. If your vendor doesn’t know about role-plays, get another vendor. Role-plays are good examples of content-valid selection tools. If role-plays are the best measure of one-on-one skills, then what do you think are the best measures of mental ability? Right! Mental tests and exercises are the most accurate measures of mental ability. They are good tools to use whenever the applicant will face serious mental challenges and solve problems encountered in professional positions, technical customer service, some first line manages, mid and upper level managers. Be careful you don’t set the scores too high, though you only need scores high enough to be successful in the job. High scores tend to have adverse impact and may lead to turnover (people who are too smart for the job tend to get bored). Tests of problem-solving ability come in many types too numerous to mention, but they need criterion validation studies to set cutoff scores and find the balance point between screening out the qualified and screening in the unqualified. Mental alertness tests have about a 25% association with job performance. The last area is one I call AIMs – my acronym for attitudes, interests and motivations. These are the real “drivers” of performance. If you have the right one-on-one skills and a good head on your shoulders – your AIMs determine how you choose to use these abilities. You’ll seldom hear anything but good AIMs expressed during an interview. AIMs lay “under the waterline” and are rarely exposed to others or even expressed to oneself. A good AIM test tells you about three sides of performance:

  1. the applicant’s work standards,
  2. keep reading…

Keeping Your Sourcers and Sourcing Vendors Accountable

by
Audra Slinkey
Mar 29, 2001

Many of you have hired dedicated in-house people to search the Internet for resumes as well as names and numbers of candidates that match your requisitions. Some of you may have hired “sourcing teams,” while others have an individual “sourcer” who supports three or more recruiters. In either case, you know that Internet sourcing and name generation/networking are certainly among the most cost-effective ways to recruit candidates. But how do you know if you are getting the most from your sourcer? And what should your expectations be when it comes to this newly created position? If your sourcer is not coming up with results, do you question whether they’ve covered all of the available sites? With no structure or metrics for the sourcing position, how can you keep your sourcer accountable, and likewise reward them for their work? Below are some tips on how to assess the work your sourcers are doing and make sure they are accountable:

  1. You need to be the expert on sourcing. A good manager knows how to do the sourcer’s job better than the sourcers do. How can you train, mentor, and gauge results if you can’t get on the Internet and source yourself? It’s not enough to simply hire an entry-level individual, send them to an Internet training course, and expect that they are going to understand recruitment and sourcing. Sourcers will inevitably need guidance, and that guidance has to come from you.
  2. keep reading…

Binging & Purging People: Why a Talent Strategy is More Critical Than Ever

by
Kevin Wheeler
Mar 28, 2001

Most years ? not just this one, in which the media has made things seem even worse than usual ? corporations in the United States purge themselves of tens of thousands of workers. The Industry Standard reports that, as of March 27th, 79,749 people had been laid off at dot-coms alone. At the same time, others firms are binging and hiring thousands of workers in a frenzy, as they have done for the last two years. I believe that American firms are caught in a vicious cycle that seems almost impossible to break. While we can plan and fine-tune our factory production cycles with precision, we have no idea how to do this with people. An answer, however, may be forming. This is the concept of developing a talent strategy led by someone many are calling a Chief Talent Officer. Personally, I don’t care what we call this person, but it seems logical that we should have someone responsible for the overall supply of talent. At the ER Expo a couple of weeks ago, the theme that ran just below the surface was the economy, the bursting dot-com stock bubble, and, because of these factors, the need to have a more proactive approach to talent. The reactive recruiting that has ruled us for the past 50 years was a simple response to a very poorly understood supply and demand system. Let me ask you a few questions: How much is your firm planning to grow over the next five years? How many and what kinds of people will it need? Are these people out there? If so, where? If not, what are you going to do about it? Do you know who the most valuable contributors to your organizations’ success are? Do you have strategies in place to keep them? Do you know who your best hires were last year in terms of their contribution to your firm? Have you worked with management to develop an overall plan for the numbers and types of people your firm should employ? What percentage of employees should be fulltime regular employees vs. temporaries, part-timers or contractors? I could go on. I doubt many of us could answer these with honesty or any certainty. I am sure some of you have “guesstimates” of how many people you will need to hire due to turnover or growth. Maybe some of you even have an idea of how many of your projected hires will need to be engineers or computer scientists or some such professional. But we do not have a comprehensive picture of needs, nor do we have any kind of adequate picture of the potential supply. While some vendors such as FlipDog are beginning to provide job indexes and other metrics to help us understand at a macro level what kind of talent is available, no company that I am aware of has any precise data on a profession-by-profession base. We can derive, with work, some sense of the numbers who are seeking work by merging data from job boards, and we can look at government statistics on employment. But even if we have all of this data, we have to make sense out of it and figure out what is meaningful to our organization and situation. Here are some simple steps you can take to start the process of developing a talent strategy for your firm. Step #1: Forecast likely demand. Looking at all your internal growth projections and expected turnover, put together a picture of probable need. Break this down by occupations, skill sets, profession, or whatever makes sense. Constantly check this with line. Step #2: Develop knowledge of likely supply. Using tools such as FlipDog that I have already mentioned, job boards, local employment data, and competitive intelligence; put together a picture of likely supply. Include projected college graduates with the majors you are seeking and place a realistic guess, based on past experience, on how many experienced people you will be able to recruit from competitors and other sources. Take into account mergers and acquisitions and the excess people they may bring to your firm. Have contingency plans in place to deal with this through outplacement, internal redeployment or development. These supply projections, when subtracted from the demand estimates, will give you an idea of how big your gap is and what kind of people you will need. Step #3: Develop a methodology of getting at that supply or of changing the demand. Once you have this, you can begin to propose ways to get more of the people you need. Will you put in place internal development such as Cisco and IBM and HP have done for years to supply some of the people you will need? Or will your plan be to vigorously recruit from your competition in the hopes of getting what you need? You may also find that working to reduce demand or to change the focus of the demand will reap benefits. Why does everyone have to have an engineering degree, for example? Perhaps a technician would be adequate to do that job? There is no doubt that we have had degree inflation and many jobs that were previously performed by high school graduates now require people with degrees. We may have to readjust this concept. And, there may be ways to simply use automation or process engineering to make it possible to do the work without more people. These are all choices that recruiters should be involved with and they are the kinds of things a talent officer would be focused on. Step #4: Prioritize your needs and make line management aware. Prepare a talent strategy report that contains the supply and demand data I have discussed and that outlines your proposed approach to dealing with the issues. Use facts, figures, and business-oriented examples. Ask for the resources you will need, and guarantee a certain level of result. Step #5: Report on progress. Develop a set of metrics and facts that you can report regularly to senior management to keep them aware of the supply and demand balance and to let them know how you are doing. While this is only a quick overview of a complex process, I hope you get the idea that proactive planning is the only way to get the people cycles under control. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Building Employee Referral Programs that Work

by
Joe Slavin
Mar 27, 2001

Even in a slowing economy, the war for top talent remains as competitive as ever. Enlisting employees in the recruiting process is a smart – if not essential – practice for recruiting the best and brightest. Candidates hired through employee referrals stay longer and assimilate faster than those hired through other methods, including the Internet and headhunters. While many companies have outlined employee referral programs (“ERPs”) in their HR manual, awareness of and participation in them can unfortunately be very low. Some organizations have wisely increased finder’s fees to make these programs more appealing. And, we’ve all read more than a few stories about companies offering generous grand prizes, such as sports cars and luxury vacations, to lucky employees who successfully refer top candidates. While the lure of sizeable bounties and flashy prizes can be excellent ways to generate excitement and encourage referrals, there are other ways to build a top-notch employee referral program. Following are suggested techniques for building an ERP capable of doubling or even tripling the success rate of your current ERP:

  1. Start at the top: If senior management is not committed to the success of the program, it won’t work. ERPs must be clearly communicated from the top down to make it clear that it’s everyone’s job to actively search for talent.
  2. keep reading…

I Have Good News, And I Have Bad News

by
Ken Gaffey
Mar 27, 2001

Boy, let the stock market drop 873 points in one day and watch the panic. Lemmings are watching us right now with pure envy in their little rodent hearts. I mean, sure, they periodically rush headlong over cliffs into the sea for no apparent reason, but they have over one million years of evolution for their excuse. All we had was a bad week in the stock market and we all seem to be running around in every direction. “Chicken Little” would be proud. But, truth be told, many in the staffing industry suspect that these concerns may not be all that unfounded. For the time being it would seem a more cautious and negative outlook has eclipsed the “Golden Days.” Have you been to a Corporate Strategic Staff Planning meeting lately, chaired by your average “abandon ship” executive? Here’s what you might have heard them say:

  • “I have full faith and confidence in the future and a quick and speedy turn around. But, meanwhile, let’s cut back on advertising, job fairs, resumes boards, agency fees….”
  • keep reading…

The 20 “Rules” for Great Recruiting

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Mar 26, 2001

If you want to dominate your competitors in the talent “war,” you need to act a lot differently than they do. If you expect to win more than a majority of your head-to-head “battles” for talent, you must take a deliberate approach to recruiting. The following 20 rules outline just such a “deliberate” approach. They were developed in response to a request by the Electronic Recruiting Exchange to identify the “secrets to success” of world-class recruiting for their recent recruiting conference. For those that could not attend, here are “the rules” for dominating your industry in the talent wars! Recruiting Rule #1:

You must declare war and act like warriors in order to win. It takes an aggressive approach to get the best talent. Aggressive recruiting starts with competitive intelligence and a strong desire to win. It ends with the goal of continually improving everything you do so that you can stay ahead of the competitors. You must continually improve your recruiting processes on the assumption that your competitors are continuously copying your best practices and as a result, they will soon catch up. Warriors hate to lose, so every time you lose a head-to-head battle for top talent, you need to do a “post-mortem” in order to identify the reasons why you lost. A fast-changing world with an uncertain economy requires an agile approach if you are to stay on top. Unfortunately, HR often changes “at the speed of rock” – so changing things internally requires expert knowledge, hard proof, and most of all, enormous courage! Recruiting Rule #2:

The war for talent is over. And by the way? guess who won? As long as the unemployment rate is low, managers need to realize that the power has shifted from the company to the worker. Top performers must now be treated like free agents and all applicants must be treated like customers if you are to get them to leave a perfectly good job and accept yours. This means you must do extensive market research into identifying what these “customers” will and won’t accept. Because there are niche markets in recruiting just like in product marketing, chances are that you will have to “mass personalize” their jobs and their offers if you expect to sell them. Recruiting Rule #3:

keep reading…

Why the Internet Still Works Best for Recruiters

by
Lou Adler
Mar 23, 2001

In spite of all the bad news and worse projections, the Internet remains an extremely important resource for recruiters. Here are a few tips on making it work better for you and your clients:

  1. Treat candidates as customers, not subordinates. The Internet candidate is still in the driver’s seat. Even in a slowdown, it’s easy for candidates to find a new job, especially if they’re in the top 20%. Treating candidates as customers always made good sense. The slowdown makes it a requirement.
  2. keep reading…

Resources for Finding Human Resource Professionals

by
Paula Santonocito
Mar 23, 2001

In the wide world of information and job board specialization there are sites for almost every imaginable field, and human resources is no exception. Whether you’re seeking a payroll manager, a benefits administrator, a recruiter or another type of HR professional there are online locations that can help you locate candidates. Go to the Mall HRIM Mall is designed to be a “one-stop service” for human resource information. Two categories at HRIM Mall that can help connect you with HR professionals are “Job Op” and “Resource Center.” “Job Op” is a free job service. Using an online form, an employer or recruiter can post jobs to the site at no charge. A candidate searching for an HR position can either search by keyword or scroll through an alphabetical list of position titles that include posting dates and location information. There is also a “Find New Jobs Only” button. Clicking on it returns the most recently posted positions. Once a job seeker selects a position, a description containing contact information is returned. Recent postings at HRIM Mall included a wide variety of positions. There were listings for benefits analysts, HR directors, labor relations directors, recruiters and more. The site’s “Resource Center” is a section that can also lead you to candidates. There are lists of and links to “HR Publications,” “Other HR Sites” and “Professional Associations,” which are all places where people can be found. F-R-E-E If free is one of your favorite four-letter words, you’ll appreciate HRfree.com. At the site’s “About” section founders Bruce Rusiecki and Cheryl Hopkins state that they were getting frustrated with the number of HR sites that require a lengthy registration process and membership fees. Instead, they “envisioned a no-fee, no commitment site.” And HRfree.com is just that. The site is loaded with tools and information for HR professionals. Here you’ll find free forms, links to pages containing details about important human resource issues and a job board. Choose “Jobs” from the “Jump” drop-down menu to go to the career section of the site. The link under “Jobs Jobs Jobs!” returns the first page from the jobs database. Selecting a position from the list returns a detailed description of the job and contact information. Job seekers can also choose to receive email notification about applicable openings. Posting a position at HRfree.com is not only free, it’s easy. Selecting “Post an HR job to this page,” found at the top of each page of job listings, returns a form that, when completed, generates a posting. What a World The many features of HR World make it a place you’ll want to frequent when searching for HR professionals. Although membership registration is required in order to use the site, there are two free memberships. “Professional Membership” is for HR professionals/practitioners and provides access to basic sections of the site, but it does not allow for job postings. “Corporate Membership,” for HR departments and recruiters, includes postings. In addition to these free memberships, there are two other options that carry annual fees. “Recruitment Services Membership” offers several additional benefits to HR departments and recruiters, including access to the site’s resume database, while “Marketing Services Membership” is for vendors wishing to promote products and services. A job seeker can access job postings at HR World by selecting “HR Career Opportunities.” This returns a page where there are six position categories: “Human Resources Management,” “Compensation and Benefits,” “Recruitment,” “HR Systems,” “Training and Development” and “Entry Level.” A job seeker can then choose a category and scroll through a list of jobs, which includes detailed position descriptions and contact information. Positions are in order of posting date, with the most recent postings appearing first. “HR Forums,” which is the third item on the menu at the homepage, is another resource for candidates. Selecting it leads to a page where you can choose from five different forums: Human Resources Management, Compensation, Benefits and Insurance, Resource Planning and Acquisition, Information Systems and Technology or Training and Career Development. Selecting a forum category leads to a page of discussion threads where you can read messages about various topics. Email contact information is provided for each discussion group member. Candidate?s Exchange When searching for recruiters, don’t overlook the Electronic Recruiting Exchange “Jobs” section. Focused exclusively on the recruitment aspect of HR, ERE’s job board is easily accessible from the site’s homepage. The ER forum, available at the site and in digest form via email, is another resource for contacts. Re-”Mine”-Der Remember to use courtesy when contacting candidates mined from forums and mailing lists. If you’d like to correspond with a discussion group member about a job opportunity, don’t post a message to the forum or list itself. This is an unwritten (and sometimes written) rule of the membership community. Instead, write a carefully and politely crafted email to the individual. Not every passive candidate – not even those friendly HR folks – will be interested in speaking with you. But if you use a tempered approach, it’s likely you’ll make a favorable impression. Even though you may have more in common with HR professionals, the process is basically the same as with other candidates. By using the right resources and your recruitment skills, you’ll be more likely to find human resources to fill those HR positions. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Not All Search Engines Are Equal

by
Scott Hagen
Mar 22, 2001

If you use the Internet on a daily basis, then I am sure you use search engines as part of your regular routine to find information on the Internet. But the Internet is made up of millions and millions of pages, and it is almost impossible for one search engine to index them all. So it is critical to become familiar with more than one search engine, so you can capture the majority of the Internet. Below are some ideas on how to stay on top of the latest and greatest in terms of search engines. When selecting a search engine, there are several things to keep in mind ? these factors will help you to determine where you should search first:

  1. Size: In this case “size” relates to the amount of pages a particular search engine has indexed. Now I know you are saying, “How do I know how many pages a certain Search Engine has indexed?” Well, you are in luck. Go to Search Engine Watch to find out how the top search engines stack up against each other. The following graph, which is updated on Search Engine Watch, will give you a snapshot of the top Search Engines:

    keep reading…

Conference Attendees: What I Learned From Them At The ER Expo!

by
Karen Osofsky
Mar 22, 2001

After attending conferences people always ask me about the speakers and what new insights I gleaned from their presentations. Rarely does anyone ask me what I learned from the attendees. But when I attend a conference, like ER Expo in San Diego, I typically learn as much from the attendees as I do from the speakers. People attend recruiting conferences for different reasons. Some want to hear the industry leaders discuss trends from the 30,000-foot level, so they attend the keynotes. Some want learn about the newest techniques, so they attend the breakout sessions. Some want to research new technology, so they peruse the vendor floor. Others just want to network and party, so they attend the boat cruise, happy hour, and lunch. Then there are those who want to do it all. They burn the candle at both ends. I tend to fall into the latter category. Needless to say I was exhausted by the end of ER Expo. But I met people with all different reasons for attending, and I learned a lot about their diverse views of the industry and their personal recruiting challenges. Overwhelmingly the most prominent issues of interest to the attendees related to recruiting technology, best practices in Internet recruiting, and effectively integrating both into their current recruiting processes. Here’s a summary of some of my conversations at the conference and the key learning. Heard at the Conference: Conversations Related to Recruiting Technology “There are so many software products out there, all touting ‘end to end’ solutions. How do I determine which is the best for my needs?” “I am afraid that once I begin implementing a product, the vendor will go belly up – yet I can’t afford the products offered by the ‘big guys.’” “As soon as I think I’ve finally selected the right software for my company, I talk to someone who either thought the product didn’t work well or found that there were too many hidden costs or had a bad customer support experience. I am running out of software that I like. Is there anyone out there that does it all right?” It was very clear to me that recruiters know the importance of recruiting technology in managing their hiring efforts efficiently and cost-effectively. But there appears to be a general discontentment with most of the current products on the market. Two simultaneously occurring factors seem to be causing the frustration that I noticed at the conference. The first factor lies with the vendors. Many are so anxious to be the first to market with their “unique end-to-end” solutions that they often launch before all the bugs are worked out. When a system has bugs during the implementation phase, the recruiters lose confidence and patience. If they are not ironed out quickly, recruiters don’t want to use the product. No system is ever going to be perfect. Every type of organization and all software has its glitches. But if companies spend the time up front to map out their processes, understand the way their recruiters recruit and test every aspect of the vendor’s products, they will find something that works for their needs. Remember, demos are just that: demonstrations that are meant to sell the product. Companies need to have the recruiters who are in the trenches test each step of the process the software offers to determine if it matches their needs. If there are aspects of the product that do not fit exactly with the way a company recruits, then they need to assess the level of importance of that feature. If it ranks highly, then they should consider another vendor. If it is somewhat minor then they should consider adjusting their process to fit the format of the software. The second factor lies with recruiter expectations. Many recruiters want the products to solve all of their recruiting challenges. While most recruiters inherently know that CMS software is only a tool, they have spent so much time and money in selecting and implementing the product that they want it to perform miracles. The truth is, recruiters recruit – not software. The software helps the recruiter become more efficient so they can recruit better, faster, and ultimately cheaper. My advice to the vendors: releasing a product before it is ready is the kiss of death. Poor customer service is equally as damaging. Recruiters talk. When they have a good experience they tell 2 or 3 people. When they have a bad experience they tell 10 and then write about it in the ER Forum for 30,000 people to see. My advice to the recruiters: ultimately it is better to spend a few extra months up front evaluating the software products than rushing into something that might not be right for your organization’s needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the end, you are the one that has to use the product. If you are unhappy, then you’ve wasted your time and money. Ask the vendors about the current bugs of their system, the upgrades that are in the works and the estimated release time of these upgrades. If they immediately say that they don’t have any bugs, I would run, not walk, to the next vendor. They aren’t giving you a straight story. Even Microsoft admits to its software bugs. Conversations related to Internet Recruiting “I post to the major job boards and get inundated with a bunch of crap. I don’t have time to sort through it all. How do I resolve this?” “I hear that the niche boards will produce better results but I don’t know how to tell if they are good or not. How do I figure out which ones to use?” “I’d love to find passive candidates on the Internet but I don’t have time, nor do I know how to do it. Is there an easy way?” “I think we use Monster and Headhunter but I am not exactly sure. Someone in our corporate office handles that.” “I’ve tried those AIRS techniques but I can never get anyone to call me back – so what’s the use?” Whereas the issues with recruiting technology were fairly specific, the issues with Internet recruiting were all over the board. There seems to be a very broad range of knowledge, experience and understanding of how to use the Internet most efficiently to recruit. The good news is that everyone I met was enthusiastic and eager to learn. The bad news (for them) is that there is no magic bullet. Yes, posting to the major job boards will produce a lot of results. The level of “crap” you get back is somewhat proportional to the quality of your job ads. Spend the time upfront writing ads that tells the candidate about your company and the specific position, that sells your opportunity, and that compels them to submit their credentials. Take a look at Lou Adler’s Powerhiring information on writing killer job ads to assist. Compare your ads to your competitor’s ads. Which are better? When you write effective job postings, the percentage of quality responses will increase. Additionally, when posting ads to the general job boards set your expectations accordingly. Don’t expect more than 30-40% to be worth taking a second look at and only about 5-10% will make it to the interview stage. For the niche boards, the percentages should increase to 40-50% and 20%-25% respectively. In absolute numbers both the niche and general boards may produce the same results. Cast your net as wide as possible and cover as many boards as your budget will allow. Consider some of the prescreening tools on the market to help filter the responses. Many of the CMS systems offer them. When used right, they really make a huge difference in managing the results from job postings. Mining the Internet for passive candidates is time consuming, and if you don’t have the benefit of a research team to do it for you, it is best saved for those positions that produce very, very poor results from the job boards. However, I believe that every recruiter should know these techniques and should practice them on a regular basis. Recognizing that this is a very time consuming process, AIRS and some other vendors have developed products to “ease the pain.” heck out AIRS Search Station. It walks you through all the steps of the process of building effective search strings as well as helps you manage the results. Worried about the cost? If you make even 1 hire from the tool it will have more than paid for itself. To summarize, maybe there was some inherent bias by the virtue of the fact that they cared enough to take the time to attend the conference, but I found that the recruiters were eager to learn and were more and more energized about e-Recruiting as the conference progressed. In a rapidly growing company, recruiting is one of the most demanding positions and recruiters are rising to the occasion. They are finally earning the well-deserved respect and recognition from their senior management. I was truly impressed by the quality of the recruiters I met and the questions they asked of the speakers. Hats off to the ERE, the attendees, the speakers and the vendors for creating a fantastic conference! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

What’s Going On Out There: The Results

by
Kevin Wheeler
Mar 21, 2001

Last week I asked you to complete a questionnaire that asked some basic questions about what is going on in your recruitment world. Since then I have had numerous phone conversations and anecdotal stories from recruiters, colleagues, and students. What is emerging is an interesting story of how psychology and changing expectations can precipitate irrational behavior. Greenspan lowers the interest rates by one-half percent and the stock exchanges plunge. The media are showcasing every layoff announcement and every unmet earnings expectation, making it very hard to get a balanced view. Yet one recruiter at a very large Silicon Valley manufacturer told me that her multi-thousand announced layoffs were really “vapor layoffs.” This means that many of the reductions will be through retirements and voluntary attrition over many months. Some people will also be transferred into open positions and their old ones will not be filled – counting as a reduction. As usual, a lot of the numbers are statistical manipulations to pacify investors and “the street” rather than to meet a real need. Smaller firms seem to be hiring steadily and realize that this slack period is a golden opportunity. I get many phone calls from the so-called permanent recruiters left inside organizations telling me how they are stressed because they are still expected to hire the best technical people even though their workloads have increased. On the other hand, a lot of very seasoned contract recruiters have been let go, and, of course, they do not count in the layoff figures. This is actually exactly what is supposed to happen when firms use a contingent work force: the contractors and temporary staff go first so that regular employees can be retained. But the number of people in the contingent workforce has never been larger. We have never in my experience had so many free agents in the market at one time. The number of contract people that are (were?) being employed is much greater than it was a decade ago. In the late 1980s and early 1990s when things were really tough, many contract recruiters were kept very busy during the slow times because regular “permanent” staff was reduced. This time, it’s the other way around and no one really predicted that! Contract recruiters and free agents are the ones suffering this time. Whether this has any effect on the free agency phenomena is even harder to predict and will, of course, partly depend on how deep and how long this slowdown lasts. At the height of the current economic boom in 1998, there were 1.5 million layoffs according to the “Monthly Labor Review” published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS). I don’t know if we are going to get to this level, but I doubt it. So I urge you all to counsel calm and reason, not panic. Sure the economy is slower than the inflated numbers of the past 2 years. but it is still a strong economic environment. Your survey answers also indicate a recruiting environment that is a bit slower than in the past, but still strong. More than 200 of you responded to the survey (thanks, by the way!) and let us know what’s going on in your company. Overall, you are an optimistic bunch and also represent a wide cross-section of organizations. There was a slight bias toward service industries and recruiting agencies, but many of you also work for some of the nation’s largest manufacturing firms and telecomm companies. An overwhelming 81% are either optimistic or cautiously optimistic about the hiring situation and economy. I was amazed that only 5% of you were looking for other work or were pessimistic about the future. Your answers showed that 53% of your organizations are planning to hire more or the same number of people as last year. This really surprised me, as I thought for sure there would be far more reductions. About 45% of you said you were reducing hiring and over half said your firms were cutting the first quarter projected hiring numbers. And, 65% had all or most positions on hold for the first quarter. This seems reasonable and what I would expect given media-influenced management. But 64% of you are expanding in one or more areas and are adding sales, engineering, and IT technical staff, while reducing administrative and marketing people. This is most likely a good move, because NOW is the time to find those scarce techies and get them on board. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employment Policy Foundation project a shortage of 3-5 million workers by the end of 2008! Even if they are off by as much as half, this is a huge gap that will not be easily closed, and this slowdown will not affect the fact that there are just fewer people than there used to be. Balancing everything, I am still convinced that we recruiters have to be firm in our conviction and sure in our knowledge that these economic times are transitory and that we will all be competing viciously again for the same talent in a few months. If you are lucky enough to be in a firm that is hiring, use this time to bring on some really fine people. If your firm isn’t hiring, use the time to improve processes, build a better website, figure out how to recruit more smoothly and quickly, and how to get the hiring managers on board more strongly than before. Next week I’ll give you my impressions and thoughts about ER Expo. Meanwhile, keep smiling – it could be 1991, you know? <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

A Click in Time: Automating Processes

by
Gretchen Sturm
Mar 21, 2001

When tasks are automated, the assumption is that the automation of the task will save some time and allow the practitioner to complete more transactions better and faster. In recruiting automation, some systems have failed to live up to this assumption – with them some things improved, and others actually got worse. I’ve seen recruiters not use their systems because they claimed they could get the job done faster with a stack of paper resumes and a few colored folders. Yet, automation – well implemented and used – continues to improve and influence the recruitment process toward greater efficiencies and effectiveness. Let’s look at some specific recruiter desktop activities and see what measure of time savings are possible through automation. Prescreening Resumes Manually: A 528-Hour Proposition

One obvious time-consuming area for recruiters is viewing and sorting through loads of resumes. Let’s take an example of reviewing 50 resumes. (For now, this example will not factor in passive sourcing activity). I know some recruiters spend as little as five seconds per resume, and others spend several minutes per resume to determine if it’s a “keeper,” a “maybe,” or a “no way.” Say you are a top-notch recruiter, reviewing resumes at an average speed of 1 minute per resume. That’s nearly an hour to go through the first resumes for one position at one time (1 minute x 50 resumes = 50 minutes). Now suppose you have 40 active requisitions, and at any given time you’re reviewing resumes for a third of those either electronically or on paper or in e-mail – the point is you’re still reviewing to find the top candidates. A typical week might bring you direct activity of reviewing 650+ resumes, which translates into approximately 11 hours per week to do an initial review on resumes (40 req./3 = 13.3 x 50 = 667 minutes). If you multiply this time by the weeks available in the year (let’s say 48, subtracting a few for holidays, vacation and other work), that leaves you with devoting 528 hours, which equals 66 eight-hour working days, or basically 13 working weeks of your year reviewing resumes! For some recruiters, this is still a conservative estimate; for them, resume reviewing may occupy 50% of their overall work time. Automated Resume Prescreening – No Time at All Now let’s apply some automation to this process. In the early generation of automated applicant tracking, the “keyword” search was seen as the panacea for saving time on resume reviewing activity. The problem was that early attempts at this functionality caused recruiters to miss candidates, apply very subjective keyword searching skills, and often could take longer to retrieve and click through the resumes and keywords than, again, the ubiquitous paper version. Currently, automating this task has escalated to built-in prescreening technology that can operate at a very general level (like separating out candidates who can’t relocate right away), to more sophisticated prescreening (like displaying all candidates who have MCSE certifications and other required criteria at the top of the list) – thus eliminating significant reviewing time. This prescreening/sorting now can literally be done as fast as you can click! Email Correspondence A more subtle task for a recruiter is simply utilizing email and managing correspondence with candidates, hiring managers and other recruiters. Let’s say you don’t have an applicant tracking system that provides multi-event automatic emailing to these key groups in the recruiting process. Instead, you have to make the transition and enter the relevant data from one application to another, and then be able to keep track of the correspondence. What amount of time could you spend going from the place where you are viewing a resume to click on another application and enter the email? Using an estimate of 10 seconds to make this transaction 20 times per day, you could spend (read: waste) one working day per year on this single activity. Here again, seconds add up to minutes, to hours and cumulatively, consume significant time out of your recruiting week, month, and year. That’s time you’ve spent without getting any closer to your goal. Push Search and Push Source Now let’s say your system not only pre-screens candidates, sends out automated notices to all the pertinent players or provides auto-links to emails within the system, but also pre-searches your database at the moment a new requisition is entered and offers to push an introductory email to these potentially matching candidates. In addition, the system also sends out an alert to your email or phone/pager that let’s you know a top candidate has just applied to your position and provides their call back number. Just-in-time information like this could literally save hours of time with every occurrence. Now how much time are you saving with this automation? Applied to a full load of requisitions, the implications could translate into weeks of sourcing and searching activity time saved throughout the year. Time to Spare? If even some of this automation is present in your operation, you should experience times savings in your recruiting tasks – time that can you can apply to high value activities such as:

Candidate Customer Service and One-to-One Recruitment Marketing

by
Dave Lefkow
Mar 20, 2001

A black hole is a rare phenomenon in nature. According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, a star eventually collapses on itself, becoming infinitely dense and transforming into a so-called black hole. Any object that encounters one – including asteroids, Lincoln Continentals, entire suns and planets, and even light, cannot escape its infinite gravitational pull. Mr. Einstein would be very surprised to find that in recruiting, black holes are incredibly common. In consulting with companies on the creation of their employment websites, I have the opportunity to speak directly with several job seekers and recently hired employees about their job search experiences. With amazing consistency, the concept of “resume black holes” comes up in our conversations as their number one frustration with the way that companies hire. The conversation usually goes something like this: Recruiter: “How did you find out about and apply for the position at ‘Company X?’” Job Seeker: “I found it on the employment site and then submitted my resume using their resume form.” Recruiter: “How long did it take for someone to reply back to you?” Job Seeker: “I got one of those machine-generated emails back the next day, but I didn’t hear back from a live person for an interview for a month.” Recruiter: “How would you describe the experience of submitting your resume and waiting for a response?” Job Seeker: “Frustrating. Whenever I submit my resume somewhere, I feel like I’m submitting it into a black hole. I didn’t know whether the right person had gotten it, whether I was a fit for the actual position or when the position was filled. I had pretty much given up on it by the time they actually called me.” The Recruitment Transaction Compare the act of applying to an online purchase or customer transaction. To do this, imagine that you’re a customer buying a very important product, like a book you have to finish reading by the end of next week ? you have 14 frantic days to purchase and finish this 300-page book in order to give a presentation to senior management. You find a website that is selling the book in question ? www.books4hr.com. Unfortunately, this website doesn’t tell you up front how long it will take to get the book delivered. You are also dismayed to find that nowhere on the site are there links for Customer Service email address, Frequently Asked Questions or even a phone number to call for more information. Chances are that you would refuse to buy from the site since they’ve already broken almost every rule of online customer service. For the sake of argument though, let’s pretend that this website is the only place you can find this rare book, and you forge on to buy the product because you know you won’t find it anywhere else. Next, you enter your personal and credit card information into a form that takes 1/2 hour to complete, despite the fact that the site does not have a Privacy or Security Policy posted. This is really a fly-by-night company, you think! 3 days pass, and you haven’t gotten confirmation that a real human being got your purchase. You’re getting nervous. 2 more days pass. Now you’re really nervous. You call the company, and leave a voicemail with the one person in book sales with whom the operator will connect you. Pretty soon all 14 days have passed, you’ve got a presentation to give to senior management, and still no book. A week later – 21 days after you attempted to purchase the product – you get a postcard in the mail that tells you that the book was out of stock. The principles of customer service dictate that as a result of your bad experience, you will tell approximately 10 other people about this negative experience with the online bookseller. This sounds like an unrealistic scenario in the world of e-commerce, but it is quite normal in the world of recruiting. Besides the “hot” candidates you interviewed, how many other candidates did you actually respond to immediately or at all? How long were they left hanging about the status of their resume or the position for which they applied? Did you ever follow up with these candidates down the road to see if they still might be interested in your company or have enhanced their skills? Did you set their expectations up front about how long it would take before you contacted them? Resumes are personal, and HR communities are close-knit, meaning that there’s some privacy risks to the job seeker; did you provide job seekers with a Privacy Policy? If you’re like most employers, you did none of the above. A quote from “I’m First: Your Customer’s Message to You” by Linda Silverman Goldzimer is particularly appropriate here: “Would you do business with you?” Candidate Customer Service and One-to-one Recruitment Marketing

As the Internet increasingly becomes the main way that job seekers and companies communicate, candidates are screaming for higher levels of on- and offline customer service from the Recruiting community. The level of support they desire includes immediate emailed responses to their resumes, real-time updates on position status, ongoing communications inviting them to update their resumes or revisit your employment site, follow-up contact information, and more. Here are some of the existing resources that you can use to support candidates in addition to any customized candidate support tools that can be developed and added on to your website.

    keep reading…

Technology Tactics for a Human Capital-Centric World

by
Yves Lermusi
Mar 20, 2001

To win in a knowledge economy, you have to acquire the best knowledge. But the knowledge economy itself is evolving, and with it, the world of talent acquisition is undergoing drastic change. Knowledge is acquired by different means, some is leveraged by training your existing staff or redistributing it internally; other knowledge is obtained by externally acquiring new skills. Here we will not cover internal retraining, but focus on external acquisition of human capital. A Short History of Human Capital Acquisition At the beginning we had what we call today the referral system. “I know somebody who is looking to hire somebody like you.” That is still in action today. After that came the “signage” stage, to advertise that we were looking for somebody. This signage was extended from the physical world to the paper world and is called classifieds. That has been further extended to the online world with job boards, and is called online job posting. With the Internet, there are even more technologies now to find a job or inversely to find talent. How are corporations optimizing their need for talent? Today, companies use a combination of techniques in order to find, or source, talent. Advertising was the first way to find talent and the resume was the tool par excellence. Today the Internet as a communication channel changes many interactions and makes it easy for corporations to maintain relationships with prospective candidates. At iLogos, we are tracking the latest usage and best practices of large corporations in order to maximize the use of technology for talent acquisition. One of the key components is, of course, the corporate career website. The Link Between Communication & Process

Recruitment activity on the corporate website occurs at two concurrent levels: the communication level and the process level for both the corporate recruiter and the candidate. It is the place where candidate and recruiter meet, when communication migrates into a process. Recruiting seen at the process level can be divided in three main phases:

    keep reading…

Visionaries in Employment

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Mar 19, 2001

I’m often asked, who are the “visionaries and thought leaders” in employment? In most professions, identifying the leaders is relatively easy. But it?s not that easy in recruiting. I have found after over 30 years in employment that we are a unique profession. Employment has no official “father or mother,” and there are few formal ways of identifying or recognizing our own thought leaders. Well, recently I had the opportunity to refine my answer to the “visionary question”. I was asked by ERE to invite a distinguished panel of visionaries to speak at their recent ER Expo 2001. After weeks of thought, I decided it would only be fair to select from individuals that I have worked directly with. I know that there are many more visionaries that I missed but these are the ones that I have found through personal experience to be extraordinary thought leaders and people that I learn from. ?Sullivan?s List of Visionaries? The organization listed in the parenthesis represents their current affiliation. Michael McNeal (PureCarbon) – Michael was the visionary who organized the team that built the world-class staffing organization at Cisco systems. He started with limited resources, at an unknown firm (at that time), but in less than five years he built a recruiting machine that has hired over 30,000 people. It is arguably now the best employment brand in the world. His approach to recruiting has a strong marketing and market research focus. He virtually invented the terms “passive job seeker” and “employment brand.” He was the first to identify the hiring process as a “graceless process” that was totally lacking in customer service. Kevin Wheeler (Global Learning) – Kevin was formerly head of recruiting and training at Charles Schwab. He emphasizes the need for forecasting the future economic environment and changing your recruiting strategy as the unemployment rate and technology change. He invented the strategy that says that if employment functions are to be effective, they must treat all applicants as “investors” (because they invest a huge amount of their time). Kevin is also secretly an expert in developing corporate universities. Randall Birkwood (Cisco) – Randall is currently the Director of Employment at Cisco Systems. There he has focused his efforts on the continual improvement of the employment process during times of rapid growth. A widely sought after speaker, he uses his visibility to further build the Cisco brand. If you want to know how Cisco does it, he’s the one to ask! Eric Lane (Icarian) – Eric was the first to pioneer the use of the Intranet in the corporate recruiting environment. As director of employment at SGI he put all employment training and policies on the web. And he had the foresight to give managers access to all of it, making him a pioneer in what we now call manager self-service. He’s the only director of employment that I know that was actually “bid on” when he decided to leave NSC. Brian Gaspar (Juniper) – If there is a “rookie” on this team, it would have to be Brian. His relative youth brings with it a healthy dose of cynicism about most historical employment practices. Brian is an expert in using technology to improve staffing processes. While at Cisco he helped design some of their best internal staffing tools and systems. He knows more about strategy, technology and where recruiting needs to be then people twice his age. He helped to develop (with McKinsey) the “six stages of HR technology ” which is the definitive “thought piece” on the future of technology in HR. A true “rocket scientist”! Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler (CareerXroads) – Both Gerry and Mark made the huge jump from the technology void of recruitment advertising into the world of Web recruiting. In a short time they have become Web gurus. They were the first to categorize websites and develop criteria for excellence in Web recruiting. Their book, “CareerXroads,” was the first and continues to be the definitive source in “what’s hot” in Web recruiting. Addie Sullivan** (Agilent Technologies) – Addie is a behind the scenes strategist with “out of the box ideas”. She started an independent R&D function within employment, which allowed her to assess “what worked” and what didn’t work in recruiting. She has helped advise teams that developed innovative tools and strategies in the areas of competitive intelligence, best place to work branding, retention blocking strategies, WOW corporate web sites and world class employee referral programs. Most people know how things work, she also knows why! Kevin Klinvex (Select International) – Kevin is a true innovator in the “unsung” field of rapidly (and accurately) assessing candidates. Kevin was a pioneer in “one day hiring” and in measuring competencies and the quality of hire. While most on this list developed their innovations in large technology firms with massive budgets, he did it at a small consulting firm in a mostly manufacturing environment. Patrick Coulson (PureCarbon) – Patrick is a “behind the scenes” technology wizard. His work makes other people look good. He guided the technology team at SGI and later at Cisco to design the most innovative technology tools in the industry. If you have a question about where technology is going in recruiting, he has the answer. Janel Canepa (Ariba Software) – Another Cisco alum, Janel helped build their brand by offering benchmarking sessions and through extensive public speaking. Now at Ariba, she has developed truly innovative recruiting tools and strategies. And she did it with a limited budget by leveraging the resources of PR and marketing. A wise businessperson with a “take no prisoners” attitude. Hank Stringer (Hire.com) – Before ASP’s and outsourcing became hot, Hank and his team were the leaders and the driving force in building outsourced web pages for other firms. In addition, he has pioneered some of the most compelling marketing and sales approaches in the industry Conclusion Although not everyone could participate on the visionaries panel, most of these thought leaders did participate in some way at the ER Expo. It was truly an honor to be in the same building with so many of these thought leaders. If you ever want me to attend your event, just invite one or more of these thought leaders and I’ll be there. They are both inspirational and uncomforting (because they make you uncomfortable with where you are now). If you are in the market for a great director of employment, a consultant, a speaker, or just some great advice, you can’t go wrong with these people. My thanks to David Manaster (another innovator) and his team for bringing so many of them together. My apologies to the many thought leaders that I surely have omitted. I’ll catch you on my next list. ** My apologies for any underlying biases (Addie is my wife). <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

When You Need a Few Good Men and Women: Recruiting Former Members of the Military

by
Paula Santonocito
Mar 16, 2001

There are many benefits to recruiting military veterans. Because members of the armed forces tend to be well-trained individuals with a wide variety of transferable skills, they can bring much needed expertise to the workplace. Military veterans also tend to be reliable and task-oriented. In addition, they have a great deal of experience working as members of a team. Furthermore, because most have experienced mobility while in the military, you may find these candidates more flexible when it comes to positions that require relocation. It’s Your Destiny The Destiny Group works with companies to reach out to transitioning military personnel. Offering a number of features for employers, The Destiny System includes a searchable database of candidates with military experience and access to resumes and service records. There is also a job posting service and options that allow for online interviewing. Military veterans utilizing the services of The Destiny Group can access job postings by profession, geographic location or alphabetically by company name. In addition to its online services, The Destiny Group hosts recruitment events throughout the country where former military men and women can meet with company representatives “live.” A calendar of events posted at the site can be viewed by selecting “Meet the Companies” under the “Applicants” heading. Resume posting services are free to applicants and include the opportunity to include photos and “sound bytes.” Applicants can also opt to release their service records. A set of online interview questions is another option. The Destiny Group’s services are focused exclusively on military veterans and connecting these applicants with corporations. Recent job postings included positions at American Express, Cisco Systems and Prudential Securities, among other companies. In addition to providing employment connections for former members of the military, The Destiny Group Web site works with applicants to facilitate the employment process. As such, the site offers “Transition Advice,” “Interview Advice” and a listing of links that can assist with transition and career issues. Matching Vets with Jobs VetJobs.com is an employment site focused on meeting the job needs of former members of the military. Created by military veterans, VetJobs.com is a site for anyone who has served in the U.S. armed forces. While the main focus of the site is a job board, VetJobs.com also features two monthly newsletters, one for veterans and one for employers, which are available at the site or via email. Veterans have the option of posting their resumes at the VetJobs.com job board and/or searching for jobs in various industries and locations. While most jobs are based in the United States, a recent search returned several international opportunities as well. The “Search Jobs” section includes date posted, industry and location filters. There is also a keyword search box. There is no charge to veterans using the site. Employers can choose from five membership packages ranging from one that allows for a single job posting to one that includes full resume access and an unlimited number of users and postings. Custom pricing is available for large corporations. Standard pricing can be reviewed by selecting “Become a Member” under the “Employer” heading at the VetJobs.com homepage. Going Gray? Competitive Edge offers employers the opportunity to advertise in its Corporate Gray Series and features online links to the sites of sponsoring companies at Corporate Gray Online. Focused on transitioning military personnel, the Corporate Gray Series of books includes three publications: “From Army Green to Corporate Gray, A Career Transition Guide for Army Personnel”; “From Navy Blue to Corporate Gray, A Career Transition Guide for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel” and “From Air Force Blue to Corporate Gray, A Career Transition Guide for Air Force Personnel.” In total, the three publications will reach an estimated 250,000 people this year. Advertising information can be obtained at the Competitive Edge Web site. Under the umbrella of Corporate Gray, Competitive Edge also hosts a number of job fairs at various locations around the country. Although these job fairs are focused on former military personnel and their spouses, civilians are also eligible to attend. Information about upcoming events, including rates pertaining to participation, can be obtained by selecting “Corporate Gray Military Job Fairs” at the Competitive Edge homepage. The Edge Whether you choose to participate in onsite job fairs or do your recruiting online, reaching out to transitioning members of the military and veterans of the U.S. armed services is a strategy worth implementing. Doing so can help you win the battle for qualified employees. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

But, Doctor, It Just Won’t Die!

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
Mar 16, 2001

When an old king dies and a new king is crowned, his subjects acknowledge the continuity of power by chanting, “The king is dead. Long live the king!” That is, the old King is dead, but one breath later, the new King continues the tradition in an unbroken line. The same is true of the interview. The interview is dead. Long live the interview. And, the interview tradition continues and continues and continues, ad nauseum. Odds are, even though you intuitively know that interviews are a poor selection tool, you still use interviews to screen job applicants and hire new employees. But, how do you reconcile the fact that study after study shows unstructured interviews have no predictive accuracy! That’s right. You don’t have to waste time with face time. Line up applicants and flip a coin to get the same results! But you don’t need a research scientist to tell you that. All you have to do is walk around your organization and mentally separate people you interviewed into a “keep ‘em” and “lose ‘em” group. If the “lose ‘em” group is close in size to the “keep ‘em” group, it is time to accept some personal responsibility. Your hiring interview couldn’t tell the difference – “lose ‘ems” looked just like the “keep-em’s” before they were hired. The King Is Dead, Long Live The King OK, we see a large group of “lose ‘ems” walking around. Why didn’t we spot these people earlier? We really got to know them during the interview. And they looked good! Well, I think some researchers just might have discovered the answer. And it’s like a highly addictive recruiter’s drug. In Volume 53 of Personnel Psychology, Murray Barrick, Greg Patton, and Shanna Haugland reported results from their study of a group of 12 experienced interviewers. Each of these interviewers had over 12 years experience, were members of SHRM, and had received extensive interview training throughout their careers. Basically, they were about as seasoned and experienced as an interviewer could be. The study is very detailed, but here is a short list of some of its main points:

  • Interviewers were told to use the same interview style used in their organization
  • keep reading…

Why I Would Hire The Spy, Robert Hanssen

by
Kimberly Bedore
Mar 15, 2001

Sounds crazy right? Well, let me explain. Mr. Hanssen knew something the rest of us seem to have lost sight of. He was technologically astute, and could have used technology as a primary information delivery vehicle. Instead, he made the decision to use less technical, more traditional means of communication in his activities. In other words, he chose the right tool for the task. So what does this have to do with recruiting? It’s simple. Last week at ER Expo 2001 in San Diego, we heard many discussions and questions about the future of technology in our profession, about how we could use technology to replace more of our job functions. But we never stopped to consider the wisdom of automatically applying technological solutions to our problems. Let’s take the Internet as an example. It’s a familiar scenario. You spend $1,000 or more to learn the latest and greatest techniques such as flipping, x-raying, mining, Boolean searches, etc. Then you return to the office and begin to apply your new knowledge, forgetting about the telephone. Several hours and emails later, you have little to show for your efforts. Prior to this, you relied on the phone, networking skills and resourcefulness with much success. The end result is a decision that the Internet doesn’t work. So what went wrong? In this scenario, the recruiter chose to rely solely on technology, replacing the activities that contributed to past success, instead of looking at how the Internet could be leveraged to enhance other activities. So many recruiters go wrong when they learn the techniques, but lack the understanding of how to best apply them. Now let’s look at an example of strategically applying this tool to enhance other activities. In this “real world” example, one of our strategy teams faced the following challenge. The client was planning to under go a major sales force expansion and had to have it completed within six weeks. We were faced with a limited budget, and all candidates had to be from the local market. Our team went to work, taking the following steps:

  1. Identifying and calling sales candidates currently in the system and/or process
  2. keep reading…

What’s Going On Out There?: A Follow Up

by
Kevin Wheeler
Mar 14, 2001

Well, I asked for it and I got it! Last week’s survey got a strong reaction, indeed, as hundreds of you sent in responses. So many, in fact, that with ER Expo and other work I just haven’t had the time to collate them and draw conclusions. I will try my best to post a “special” column later this week or first thing next week letting you all in on what everyone is feeling about this downturn. If you still want to submit a survey, please take a look at last week’s column. You still have a day or so to get one in to me. It is interesting to see how our organizations are reacting to the slowing economy by laying people off in droves. Only a couple of months ago they were focused on the shortage of talent. This knee-jerk reaction of laying people off whenever an economic slowdown happens cannot last much longer. The population of the developed countries is getting smaller, many of us baby boomers will be retiring over the next decade and a half, and those left will be getting older. The supply is already less than the demand ? even in this economy today. Younger people are seeking more balance in their lives and fewer are willing to toil long hours for someone else. The layoffs only reinforce an already growing reluctance of these folks (and older ones, as well) to take full-time jobs and build corporate careers. Some say as many as a third of new workers are looking for some form of free agency status ? part-time, contract, or temporary work. It seems to me that these forms of work may be just as secure as the regular jobs and pay a lot better. For the prudent free agent, the slowdown means time to relax, study, or travel. I think the result of this slowdown will be an ever increasing number of free agents. We all know the talent shortage is very, very real. There are huge needs for IT people, sales, marketing and branding folks, and all the services jobs. This last months’ employment figures show an increase in the number of new jobs and an unemployment rate of 4.2%, which is unchanged from January. We are still in a fundamentally robust economy that is reacting to the numerous interest rate hikes Greenspan imposed last year, and to the “irrational exuberance” of the recent stock market mania. These manias have occurred throughout history. The recent dot-com boom is strikingly similar to the boom for railroad stocks in 1857 and 1873 in the United States and to new industry stocks in the 1920′s prior to the great crash. What is certain is that we will make it through this and that the market will rise again. Most of the experts I talk to feel this will happen within the next 8-10 months. Our corporations ? were they to really to believe what they have been saying ? would invest some cash and time into putting better talent strategies into place to get ready for the rebound. They would be looking at the long-term supply of the talent they need and be chartering you to find where the supply is and how big it is. How many C++ programmers are there in your city? How many do you think you might need over the next year or two? And is there a gap? Can you hire as many as you need or will the competition get some or most? What is your plan for dealing with this? Will you recruit differently? Will you decide to partner will local colleges to develop talent? Will you do it internally? These are the questions we should be posing to management. Their panic reaction is mostly to satisfy “the street.” Many do not realize that by laying people off they are jeopardizing their future ability to recruit the best talent. The social contracts and social capital that are broken and lost by these layoffs will be far, far more costly than any savings can justify. I remain upbeat and urge you to work with your clients and management to reinforce the message that for probably the first time in American history the demand for educated and skilled workers in the service sector far exceeds the supply. This trend is just beginning but will continue to grow over the ensuing decade. Layoffs are like bleeding a wounded man with leeches. Only good, in the long run, for the leech. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>