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May  2001 RSS feed Archive for May, 2001

Look For The Motivated Candidates

by
Lou Adler
May 31, 2001

These are some of the questions I’ve been asked recently:

  1. “How come I hire so many candidates who are competent and appear motivated during the interview, but are unmotivated once on the job?”
  2. keep reading…

College-Hire Orientation and Assimilation: The Key to Productivity and Retention

by
Kevin Wheeler
May 30, 2001

At Applied Materials Corporations in California, new college graduates find themselves entering a rich program designed to help them become productive, networked, and knowledgeable about the products and services Applied offers. They are placed in a special program, work for several different “bosses, and rotate through a number of jobs during the year they participate. National Semiconductor has a similar program. The result is that college-hire turnover is very low. As companies trip over themselves to entice the about-to-graduate college student to come work for them, most neglect the ongoing effort it takes to keep good students. The result is that many of these graduates will only stay with their first employer for a couple of years before moving on. In some firms, 30% of the college hires leave within the first 2 years. While there are many reasons that college hires give for leaving, there are really only two that stand out. The first is that they are not happy with their manager or assignment. And the second is that they don’t see any opportunity to advance to greater responsibilities. These are really two sides of the same coin, and either reason may cause the other one to become reality. This generation of college students is very different from those of past years. As I have pointed out in previous articles on the generations at work, the things that motivate those workers from the ages of 26 on down are quite different from the things that motivated those who are older. And the older you are, the more difficult it is for you to understand the degrees of difference. A well-designed assimilation program can help to avoid the situations that lead to turnover by equipping new graduates with career and organizational skills to help them manage their careers within your organization. The best programs are collaboratively designed with a team of recent graduates, line managers, internal employee communications staff and people representing both recruiting and development. This team should focus on the things that connect directly to helping the new college hire do a better job. This means that new employees should understand the products and services that your organization offers; they should appreciate the history and roots of the company so that they can evaluate customer and product issues in light of this history; and they should know who the key contributors are in the organization. Here are a few tips on constructing a world-class program to assimilate or orient your new college hires.

  1. Use e-learning and the Internet extensively. This is the generation born of bits and bytes. They hardly read (look at newspaper readership among this group, which is the lowest it has ever been). They watch lots of television, go to lots of movies, use the Internet all the time and probably all play some sort of video game. This generation is the one that will define where e-learning goes and how fast. This is a generation that sends electronic postcards and email messages to family and friends. They don’t even know where to buy a postage stamp. They like to learn from each other informally over the Internet and your efforts to impart culture and history should be embedded in some sort of e-learning format.
  2. keep reading…

Will you marry me? Part II: The Commitment

by
Gretchen Sturm
May 29, 2001

The relationship between a customer and a system vendor can be complex, fulfilling, and occasionally disappointing ? not unlike, as I pointed out in Part 1 of this series, a marriage. In Part 1, we examined the stages of “identity” and “dating” in the selection process of an appropriate Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Hiring Management System (HMS). The goal: a long-term, mutually satisfying relationship. Now let’s take this relationship to the next level and look at the steps leading to commitment. Courting After narrowing the list to one or two vendors comes the courting stage. During this stage each party discovers more of what the vendor and customer is about and what they are made of. Hopefully, you wouldn’t marry someone after just a few dates, when people are on their best behavior and everything looks and sounds great. Yet many companies end up in high-tech matrimony after just a few sales visits and some Q&A sessions. A true courtship period allows individuals to observe one another’s behavior when faced with different situations and challenges. Likewise, companies and vendors should spend the time to get to know one another beneath the surface to truly find the right “fit.” This is a painful time for vendors, as they may “invest” a lot of heart and soul into engaging with a new customer, only to be turned down at the altar. I’ve seen more than one company head down the vendor commitment aisle bearing a legal contract only to change their mind at the last minute (some very thankful they didn’t take the plunge and say “I do”). This goes both ways. Some vendors simply don’t want to take on certain clients that don’t align with their value proposition, product offering, or vision. Prenuptial Research But if you’re a potential customer and you’re not actually utilizing the system in your own environment, how do you know what it’s really going to be like to “live” with this vendor on a day-to-day basis? While it’s almost impossible to predict how any relationship will eventually turn out, here are some strategies that will help you get a better feel for a vendor before you take the plunge:

  1. Visit a client or two: Use the vendor to identify a willing reference client that will host at least one if not a few visits from your team. Have the reference client show you the system in action. Shadow some recruiters as they use the system, and sit down with the technical people to get the technical angle on everything.
  2. keep reading…

Take Advantage of the Bear, Because the Bull is Coming

by
Audra Slinkey
May 25, 2001

Three months ago I was sourcing for a very difficult position and was lucky to find two candidates who fit my specifications. I performed the same search this week and found more than six candidates who fit my specifications, most of whom were asking for less money than their previous counterparts. I’m sure you have all noticed this phenomenon to some degree within the last couple months. Is this d?j? vu? Are we back in the early 1990s when candidates were plentiful? According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy dropped nearly a quarter of a million jobs in April, its worst monthly performance in a decade (1990s again?) ? pushing the jobless rate up to 4.5%. The recent numbers haven’t been good, but before you embrace that hiring freeze or layoff those extra recruiters, there are some important economic factors to be considered:

  • Past Federal Reserve Actions. The central bank has cut short-term interest rates five times this year for a total reduction of 2.5 percentage points in less than five months. According to many economists, the Fed has created almost unprecedented liquidity this year. Even though corporate fundamentals are poor and stock prices are still high, that liquidity has to go somewhere.
  • keep reading…

Walking the Talk

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
May 24, 2001

Every so often, we get an opportunity to conduct a little practical research to help make a point. This is a story about the value of different selection tools. A few months ago, a gentleman who was having a problem with his selection system contacted me. It seems that his company was using a well-known behavioral interview process to select new employees. As we talked, I learned that his operation was heavily oriented toward teamwork, and close interaction was critical to deliver high-quality product. An outside organization had done a job analysis, defined competencies, developed interview guides, and trained a large number of people to use behavioral interview technology. However, while his organization only hired people who passed the interview with good teamwork scores, a large number of employees still had decidedly un-teamwork “attitudes.” The interview technology was sound; the interviewers were trained; but the interview did not reliably screen out people unwilling or unable to work effectively in teams. My contact and I reasoned that we needed additional tools to measure teamwork skills, but we were not sure whether the problem was a lack of motivation or a lack of skill. So we decided to set up an experiment. We asked frontline managers to individually rank all employees based on their teamwork behavior (combining scores from many managers helped us reduce individual rating bias). This gave us a starting list of over 40 people. From that list, we asked for volunteers to participate in two short exercises. One exercise required completion of a 100-question measure of attitudes, interests, and motivations (AIM test), and the second exercise required participation in a controlled role-play requiring teamwork skills. Nineteen people volunteered. Two people from the organization were trained to administer and score the AIM test (attitudes, interests and motivations) and to administer and score the role-play. We were ready to go! All nineteen people completed the test and role-play. Scores from three of these people were excluded because their truthfulness test score was out of the acceptable range (this is why good selection tests have truthfulness scales). This left sixteen people to work with ? not enough to conduct a statistically valid study, but enough to rationally examine the data for large differences in scores. The remaining sixteen people were assigned to either a high-teamwork or low-teamwork group based on managers’ teamwork rankings. Scores from the AIM test and role-play were averaged based on group membership. Here are the results: Figure 1.

keep reading…

A Case for Using Your Technology Tools

by
Karen Osofsky
May 24, 2001

The recent economic slowdown has caused some significant reactions by recruiting departments – many of which seem to be knee jerk. Advertising budgets are being cut, contract recruiters eliminated, and, in many cases, full-time recruiters laid off. The result is that many of the remaining recruiters are as frenzied as they were during the height of the hiring boom. Just as recruiters were hoping for the time to serve their clients more thoroughly, and possibly leave the office at a reasonable hour, they now have picked up all the work of their former co-workers/contractors. While these recruiters may have fewer requisitions to fill in total, the number of clients they are supporting and disciplines they need to recruit for has increased, putting them in a position that is equally as challenging as it was in high growth times. In the past, when crunched for time to source candidates, recruiters turned to agencies for support. Now, with slashed budgets, that option is gone as well. On the flip side, some companies have been fortunate enough (or forward-thinking enough) to be able to keep their staffs intact during this period of slower hiring. These companies are utilizing their recruiters’ time for special projects that will help cut costs, improve efficiencies, and foster employee retention. Their recruiters are working on projects like agency reviews, new-hire orientation programs, and revamped employee referral programs. In both situations, recruiters are looking for ways to save money and become more efficient. But whether you are the recruiter who suddenly has minimal support and more clients to service, or the recruiter who is working on a special cost-reduction project, the first place to go to achieve your goals is literally right at your fingertips. Over the last several years many companies have implemented Applicant Tracking Systems, candidate management systems or other sourcing/screening tools that have not been used to their fullest capacity or for the purposes for which they were intended. Now more than ever is the time to embrace their functionality. Log on to your current recruiting technology tools. Explore their functionality, test their options, search their databases, create and analyze some reports. You will be amazed at the results. In some cases you may even become the company hero by uncovering untapped candidates or producing actionable reports that lead to thousands of dollars of savings for your company. As an industry consultant, I have had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of recruiters from organizations as diverse as Fortune 50 corporations, small start-ups, government agencies, and non-profits. The breadth of recruiting technology they use is equally diverse. I am amazed at the polarization of opinions on the effectiveness, ease of use, and total value of tools companies have implemented. When I talk to recruiters within the same companies their opinions about these their tools are often so different that I feel like I am talking to people from different planets. Some of the “water cooler” conversations I’ve heard include things like:

  • “The system is too cumbersome. I get my work done faster on my own.”
  • keep reading…

Referral Programs: The Highest Return for a Dollar Spent

by
Kevin Wheeler
May 23, 2001

Referral Programs inherently have a compelling value proposition: hire better people who will stay longer, and have higher job satisfaction, reduce your recruiting expenditures and create more value for employees. Most of you already know that referrals are your best and most cost-effective source of acquiring new employees. Many of the recruiters I talk with prefer to source candidates through referrals more than any other method. But what I find to be ironic is that less that 2% of all recruiting budgets are allocated toward referral programs. A recent survey from Remark Solutions, a Referral Solutions Company, found a direct correlation between allocation of resources and effectiveness of an organization’s referral program. Respondents who spent 10% or more of their recruiting budget on their referral program yielded 30% or more of their new hires this way. This may sound obvious, “more money and more time spent will produce better results,” but why do so few companies focus on enlisting all of their employees into the recruiting effort. Companies should learn from Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SRA International, Akamai Technologies and others that hire nearly half of their employees this way. There is no greater ROI. Let me explain. Why focus on referrals?

  1. Reduce cost. According to the EMA Cost Per Hire Survey 2001, referrals are the least expensive method to acquire new employees. Compare the average referral bonus of $640/hire versus $18,374/hire for contingency search. Now, these are figures are national averages. Do your own math. What do you typically spend to hire a candidate per channel? I am confident that you will find that every hire that comes through a referral is a direct savings. Not to mention that a referral bonus is only paid when a candidate is hired. Try getting a pay-for-performance from a classified ad or job board.
  2. keep reading…

Just the FAQs, Ma’am: RFP Questions Everyone Should Ask

by
John Logan
May 22, 2001

The recent demise of companies that had extolled themselves as “the leading providers of recruiting solutions to the Fortune 1000″ ? as well as quiet announcements of several layoffs at others ? has sent shivers down the spines of CFOs across the land, whose companies were gearing up to spend some serious bucks on web-based recruiting tools. I myself could detect a collective “Whoa!” from the financial gatekeepers, as questions like “What guarantee do we have that you’ll be in business in two years?” starting appearing on the Requests for Information and Requests for Proposals that we answer on a daily basis. In my experience, there are few real guarantees; however, there are precautions that any prudent businessperson should take when investing in products and/or services provided by another company. Most are common sense, but many are often overlooked. This two part series of articles will provide some pointers in preparing Requests For Proposals for Applicant Tracking Systems (on any scale) that cover those areas that people funding these projects really want to know. Part One will focus on the financials. Part Two will provide questions of structure, technology and strategy that drive the financial well-being of companies in this market. Researching The Company First, do some investigating on your own. If the companies that you’re considering are public, there is plenty of financial information to be had through any number of sources like Hoovers Online. Some basic financial information for private companies can also be found at Dun & Bradstreet. The D&B D-U-N-S Number is an internationally recognized common company identifier in EDI and global electronic commerce transactions. Companies are allocated this number as a way of identifying a particular company as well as linking many companies worldwide. Match this information against information that the company provides from audited financial statements that you request. Prospects should do careful research on companies without a DNB number. Questions To Ask Next, lets get down to brass tacks. Every RFP should contain these or similar questions:

  1. Describe your organization’s history, product(s) and services offered. Include all partner companies and subsidiary relationship(s). What you’re looking for here are dependencies on third parties. For example: Does the company do its own implementations? If not, you’ll need to do the same research on the implementer. Or does some major function rely on third-party software? Then the same research needs to be done on that provider. The last thing any project manager wants is to get 99% complete and have the rug pulled out due to some external factors over which she has no control.
  2. keep reading…

Recruiting In Any Economy: The New Customer

by
Ken Gaffey
May 22, 2001

Ring! Ring! “Hello, this is Harry Hiring Manager. How can I help you?” “Uh, Harry? Ricky Recruiter here, I was wondering if I could be of any help to you today?” “Ah, sure Ricky, what is it you want?” “Well, I am a professional recruiter and I was calling to see if you needed any help filling any of your current needs? Do you accept resumes from agencies?” “Yeah, always.” “Oh great, whew! Not a lot of people are hiring. What kind of needs do you have?” “Listen, I am really busy right now so why don’t you head over to my website and check out my openings and send me any resumes you have that fit.” (Geez, my coffee is getting cold.) “Great, I know I will have really great people for you, a lot of people are looking for work right now.” “Yeah, great.” (I’ll bet my bagels cold now too!) “I do not know if we have a signed agreement with you? But our agreement is pretty standard…” “Yeah, yeah, I don’t think that will be a problem. Listen, got to go, send me those resumes.” Do you smell a future placement here? I don’t think so. The economy is slowing down and bad sales skills are making it look even worse. For the last ten years in general, and the last five in particular, getting a job requisition was not a big deal:

How to Hire a Great Recruiter

by
Dr. John Sullivan
May 21, 2001

The most crucial step in developing a world-class corporate recruiting function is to attract and retain top recruiters. There are many types of recruiters in the world, but the best are aggressive recruiters with excellent research and selling skills. I call them “warrior” recruiters. If you owned a sports franchise, it would be easy to see and measure the impact that a great recruiter can have on the bottom line. For one top firm I calculated the impact on revenue of a single world-class recruiter to be over $20 million. In contrast, a poor recruiter can negatively impact your image as well as your revenue. If you want to hire the very best “warrior” recruiters here are some tips to follow:

  1. Recruiter referrals. There are no secret great recruiters. Because the best recruiters compete almost daily in head-to-head competition for top talent, great recruiters know who the other great recruiters are. Start by developing a recruiter referral system. Reward your recruiters for both identifying and referring the best. Develop a “who’s who” of recruiters database and use it to identify the recruiters that you will target for hiring during the next year or two.
  2. keep reading…

Setting Your Sites on Company Alumni

by
Paula Santonocito
May 18, 2001

A corporate alumni program allows an organization to keep in touch with former staff members. Besides generating goodwill, an alumni program can be a source of future employees. Company alumni sometimes return to the fold themselves, and they often refer friends and family members to their former organizations. Alumni programs run the gamut from basic, on- and offline newsletters to full-blown alumni websites or sections of sites. Communication may be supplemented with events that allow for “live” interaction with ex-employees. Selecting A Solution SelectMinds is a company that designs and implements corporate alumni solutions. SelectMinds’ Corporate Management Alumni Software (CAMS) includes such features as an alumni directory, messaging, news, events and content publishing. The software module’s custom interface enables an organization to create an alumni site that adheres to the look and feel of its main Web presence. Another advantage of the SelectMinds program is that it facilitates alumni interaction. For example, alumni are invited to sign up and create accounts and profiles. Understanding that people may be reluctant to share personal data on the Web, the SelectMinds system has a secure login to protect member privacy. This comfort level encourages participation which, in turns, means that more information will be available for management use. But SelectMinds goes beyond software. The company offers a complete solution that involves coordinating all phases of an alumni program. SelectMinds staff members will help a company find and contact former employees, work with management to develop alumni Web site content, manage site inquiries and analyze data to determine potential hires. SelectMinds will also plan and manage alumni events. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the SelectMinds Web site, where a demo and a quick tour of the software product are also available. A Sense Of Community Corporate Alumni builds, manages and hosts online corporate alumni communities. According to Corporate Alumni Community Manager Eric Zack, communities can be created by companies or by former employees. At Corporate Alumni, communities are arranged by industry, and fall into one of four categories: “Hi Tech East,” “Hi Tech West,” “Investment Banking” and “Other Communities.” Selecting a category leads to a list of participating companies. Choosing an individual company name takes a former employee to a page where he or she can log in and access the community. However, an alumus or alumna wishing to enter a community must first register and obtain a password. There is an online form for employment verification purposes. Hire and termination dates and a supervisor’s name are among the data entry areas. Once a former employee is a member of a Corporate Alumni community, he or she can elect to post a profile. Selecting the section called “My Profile” generates a template, which will create a detailed document that contains, among other things, a general statement in paragraph form written by the member. It also includes fields where current employment information gets entered, as well as sections for personal information, like hobby preferences. A Corporate Alumni community features a directory of members, a listing of events, members’ yellow pages, a discussion forum, a jobs section, and a news area, where a member can post news items. There is also a section called “Alma Mater,” where a company can post corporate news. Members participate in a Corporate Alumni community to keep in contact with former colleagues, but they also use the online location to share job leads and job listings. These get posted at the community jobs section, known as the “Career Center.” Outside companies and recruiters can also post jobs to individual communities by contacting Corporate Alumni. There is a fee for this service. Alums Are Chums According to Zack, the Corporate Alumni concept depends largely on referrals, and that current members refer most new members to Corporate Alumni communities. He says a community can be a source of boomerang hiring for an organization, as well as a network for new business opportunities. An alumni program allows a former employee to maintain an affiliation with a previous employer by putting him or her in touch with former “comp”adres. While getting together online may not be quite the same as getting together at the job, the basic concept is the same. Former employees are networking on the ‘Net. And, by utilizing an alumni program, a company may net some candidates. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Who is in Charge of your Recruiting Process?

by
Scott Hagen
May 18, 2001

With the recent shift in the economy, many things have changed in the job market, but the most evident change we’ve seen is who is in control. Last year, it was the job seekers who could just about write their own ticket and choose from multiple offers as to their next career move. As the economy changed, so did the balance of power. Recently laid-off job seekers are now scrambling to find a new home. The power has now shifted to the employers. It sounds like a recruiter’s dream, but many recruiters have found this type of market to be just as difficult to manage — if for different reasons. Nowadays, it’s being inundated with a flood of resumes that’s causing problems for recruiters. So how do you cope in this new job market? Below are some suggestions on how to keep order on your desk during these chaotic times: Review Your Postings Job postings are a staple of a recruiter’s recruiting plan. Postings can yield great results, but if you are not careful, you can be overrun by a flood of unqualified resumes. When writing a posting, it is more important than ever to be very specific in terms of the skills and experience that is required for your position. If you are vague and list intangible skills as opposed to hard skills, you will probably become the latest victim of resume overload. Clarify Needs There is nothing worse than working your tail off to find candidates for a specific opening only to find out that the position is being put on hold. Meet with your hiring managers to determine which positions are “mission critical” for the success of the company and which positions are not as high on the priority list. The positions with less priority will most likely be the next ones to be put on hold if hiring is scaled back. By focusing most of your energy on the high priority positions, you will most likely have more success in filling them, which will in turn increase your value to your company. We all know that Recruiting and Human Resources is usually the first place companies cut in slower economic times. By making critical hires, you are not only filling an important opening but at the same time you are solidifying your standing with your company as an asset as opposed to overhead. Source Candidates Now is not the time to get lazy and have the attitude that candidates will be beating down your doors to come work for your company. Candidates may be beating down your doors, but they may not be the right candidates. If your recruiting strategy is more reactive (postings, job fairs, newspapers ads, etc.) then you are probably one of the recruiters who are getting overwhelmed by resumes. If you are allowing candidates to determine if they are qualified for a position or not, the control over quality and quantity has now been turned over to the candidates, and you have no control over who is applying. I recently spoke with a company that only uses job postings, and they now have over 25,000 resumes that are sitting in an email box that no one has looked at. Sound like a waste of money? By taking a proactive approach, such as sourcing, you will ensure more quality and less quantity. Sourcing takes back the control and allows you, the expert, to decide who is qualified for a position and who is not. Since there are more job seekers today than in the last five years, you are more than likely to find the “quality candidates” that eight months ago you would have died to find. Also, these candidates have much more realistic expectations in terms of compensation, relocation, stock options and benefits. Build Relationships In an employer’s market, like what we are experiencing today, it is a great opportunity to capitalize on building future candidate relationships. With so many candidates looking for work, now is a great time to implement a candidate relationship program. If you set up an automated monthly newsletter about your company to candidates that applied for positions at your company, you will be building a pipeline for the future. Not all of the candidates will be qualified for a position at your company today, but if you maintain contact with them during slower economic times, when things turn around, who do you think these candidates are going to remember when they start getting calls from recruiters? The recruiter from a company that sent them a “thanks for applying letter,” or the recruiter that acknowledged them for applying and then kept in contact with them via e-mail? You be the judge. Conclusion As you can see, there are many things that you can do to ensure success during these times. Take a look at how you are recruiting and think outside the box. If you are able to, then when the market heats up again, you will be sitting pretty with a full pipeline of candidates ready to go! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Why Not Hire the Best?

by
Lou Adler
May 17, 2001

Everybody says they want to hire superior people. So why do most corporate HR and staffing departments still do everything they can to prevent getting the best person hired? As I met with third-party recruiters, staffing managers, vendors and company executives at the Kennedy eCruiting conference in Las Vegas last week, this yawning gap took on awesome dimensions. On one extreme were the “Top Talent is King” people: John Sullivan, Peter Weddle, me, and every recruiter who knows that it takes hard work to hire top talent. The opposing camp consisted of those corporate staffing managers who believe that data management, reporting, filling positions, and the systems that serve them are the driving forces. The person who really suffers here is the hiring manager. How many companies have invested the time and money to insure that their hiring managers are exceptional interviewers and exceptional managers? If hiring top people really was important, this is the first step that would be taken – but it’s not. The result is hiring managers who often don’t know the real job, and are weak interviewers – assessing on beliefs, biases, and personal perceptions, with little insight on what it really takes to hire the best. There’s good news for recruiters in all this. It represents an opportunity for recruiters to step up and fill the void. If done properly, your role in the hiring process will expand. You’ll become a sought-after advisor, not a necessary evil. In the process you’ll be able to sustain your business during the current slowdown, and build it for the for the next recovery. Here are some ideas on how to change your systems to attract the best.

  1. Define the real job. Ask the hiring manager what the person taking the job needs to do to be successful. Every job has 5-8 deliverables that determine job success. Here’s one example: hire three key engineers and launch the prototype of the new color PDA by next spring. It’s certainly more relevant than searching for a BSEE and five years’ electronics background.
  2. keep reading…

Recruiting the Generations: Different Strokes for Different Folks

by
Kevin Wheeler
May 16, 2001

“Bill was attracted by the huge stock options that we offered and the chance to earn a significant bonus if he achieved certain goals. On the other hand, Harold was much more concerned about the amount of time off he would have and the flexibility of his work schedule. In fact, he said he would trade salary or options for more time off!” This was a statement I heard from a recruiter-client at a medium-sized high tech firm a few weeks ago. In probing a bit, I found out that Bill was 38 and Harold was 23. And, understanding the generational differences this represented, it all made sense. How about this situation? Thirty-year-old Tim is a blunt, facts-only guy. He demands that his employees provide quantitative data about almost everything they propose and he tells them his thoughts straight out. He doesn’t like speculation and guesswork, and he focuses on results, working 10-12 hour days to get things done. On the other hand, twenty-two year old John is devoted to his work and loves what he does, but he leaves everyday at 5 pm sharp for his exercise class. He is very diplomatic and careful not to offend any co-workers, but he often clashes with Tim because of Tim’s blunt style and his demands for much more work every day than John cares to do. What’s happening here? Every time I meet with clients, I hear about incidents like this – incidents that may be more a clash of generations than a clash of personalities. We often make the mistake of blaming personality for attitudes that are generational. At the EMA conference in Chicago a few weeks ago, Claire Raines, a writer and speaker on generational differences in America, gave an insightful keynote presentation about the different generations in America today, and what the behavioral and cultural differences are. I have added the lesson for recruiters that comes from understanding these generations. Successful recruiters know that understanding generational differences is very important in developing enticing marketing messages, in educating managers about how to attract each generation, and in deciding what specifics will work best to get them to say “yes” to an offer. According to Ms. Raines, there are four generations that are participating in the workforce: the almost entirely retired World War II generation, the getting-ready-to-retire Baby Boomers, the mainstream Gen-Xers and the emerging Gen Yers. These generations are not exactly defined, but there are patterns that emerge around the behaviors and attitudes of people who are within a decade or so of each other. Most demographers define the WWII generation as those born before 1946, the Baby Boomers those born from 1946 to about 1960, the Gen-Xers those born between 1961 and 1981, and the Gen-Yers as those born after 1981. All of these dates are rough guides to generational styles and anyone at the ends of a generation is a blend of the two. Anyone born in the middle of these time periods will be closest to the definitions and characteristics Ms. Raines and others have put forward. Baby Boomers (Ages 41-54) Boomers were born to post-WWII parents who raised them to believe that they could be and do anything. They are a huge generation, making up as much as 28% of the population, and were pushed by their World War II parents to achieve. This was the first generation that was expected to go to college, to get good jobs, and to “make a difference” in this world. The baby boomers were also the first generation to have the Pill, and chose to have fewer children than previous generations. They are idealistic and found much fault with their parents’ beliefs and heroes. They are the protest generation and still march to their own music, often choosing to drop out as much as to get engaged with society. In their working lives they have become focused on career path and upward advancement. This is the generation that feverishly wants to become managers, directors, or higher so they can make an impact on their organizations. Recruiting tactics and messages: Career advancement is of key importance, as are promotional opportunities and the chance to make a real impact. This is a generation that is desperate to do something meaningful before they retire. They want to be remembered and are enticed by opportunities to do something significant. Offer them security and career opportunities, upward mobility, and status. Money is a minor enticement and they are not focused on “doing their own thing” as much as on gaining some sort of status. Gen X (Ages 22-40) Their children – mostly the group that we call Gen X – were a small generation and are between 40 and 22 years old. In fact, Gen X is the thinnest generation in numbers that America has had in some time, making up only 16% of our population. The members of this generation were brought up in times of rapid social change. They lived in the era of Watergate and the time when the private lives of public officials became public. This has made them skeptical and cynical. Divorce was high in this generation’s formative years. According to the U.S. Public Health Service, the percentage of all children involved in divorce increased by 300% from 1940 to 1980. The skeptical, realistic, blunt cartoon character Bart Simpson perhaps best portrays their generation. They are skeptical of the integrity of almost all institutions, and believe they have to fend for themselves. They believe their mission in life is to clean up everyone else’s mess. They were the first, and only, generation of latch-key kids. Xers are one of the most diverse generations in America’s history. The 1990 census found that almost 35 percent of those in the 10-29 age group were nonwhite or Hispanic. Recruiting tactics and messages: This is the generation that is skeptical of any offers of security or long-term commitments. Leaders are suspect and cynicism common. They will leave you for a nickel, as the saying goes. Offer them money, stock options, and the chance to do what they want to do. They are excited by project work and by the chance to earn based on what they do rather than on what a boss says they should earn. They are to the point and expect to be treated that way, too. Don’t be too diplomatic or try to get them excited because of who they will be working for. Gen Y (Ages birth to 21) Gen Y, the large (25% of the population) emerging generation of twenty-somethings, is very different. Their parents are acutely aware of the problems that an unsupervised latch-key environment created, and they have been increasingly protected and supervised. They are taught very early to conform and to be like others. They are a generation of “Baby on Board” car stickers, safety seats, air bags, superb medical care, and orthodontics. They are more likely to believe that it is possible to have a perfect world than their incredulous Gen X elders. They are diplomatic and are taught to work out a solution to issues peacefully, not with fight as previous generations might have done. Parents intervene on their behalf frequently, and they have not been expected to take care of themselves as the Gen Xers were. In fact, this is a generation much like the WWII generation. They are concerned with government and with making sacrifices for society and community. They are family-oriented and look for a balance between work and family, between material goods and spiritual happiness. Gone is the skeptical, self-centered nature of Gen X and the protesting, idealism of the Baby Boomers. This is a “go do it” generation of compromisers believing in community and family. They look up to leaders and expect guidance and some protection from them. Recruiting tactics and messages: This is a generation that values balance and moderation. They want time to be with family and friends. They are conformists and team players – more than any other generation. And, they respect to leaders and want someone to look up to. Offer them flexible schedules, lots of time off and the chance to take long periods of time (without pay) to travel or do community service. Let them work for WWII or senior baby boomers that they respect. Honor their parents – this generation actually listens to them! Generational differences may not provide all the answers to successful recruiting, but if you are aware of the differences you will make more hires, raise your retention, and have more fun. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Caution: Internet Recruitment Could Be Risky to Your Organization

by
Kimberly Bedore
May 16, 2001

As recruiters, we continuously look for new and better ways to use the Internet in our sourcing and recruiting efforts. Rarely, however, do we stop to consider the legal issues that have emerged. The Internet has definitely changed the way we recruit, but it has opened up some additional risks as well. While I am not attempting to give legal advice here, I would like to create awareness of some potential traps for recruiters who rely on the Internet as a recruiting medium. Defining an Applicant The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) defines an applicant as anyone who expresses an interest in employment, whether it be verbal or written. For most of us this not practical, especially when we are inundated daily with resumes via the Internet, many of which fail to meet the stated requirements. We’ve all expressed this frustration at one time or another – resumes are submitted with no regard to the posted position. Our team suggests something similar to the following example guidelines:

  1. An applicant is an expression of interest from someone who is not currently employed by the company. There must be an open position. The applicant must first meet minimum requisite skills to fulfill the required functions of the job. A company-approved application for employment must be filled out and a voluntary self-declaration form providing race and gender should also be filled out.
  2. keep reading…

Applicant Tracking Is Not Workflow

by
Alice Snell
May 15, 2001

In discussions of technology and Hiring Management Systems, the terms “applicant tracking” and “workflow” are often tossed around as if they are interchangeable. But they are not. Understanding the distinctions in the meanings of these two terms is an important step in comprehending the real differences in application software they are used to describe. Tracking Tracking is the use of a computerized system to maintain a record of activities and events as they occur in a process. These activities and events are recorded as data, and in many systems, can be manipulated through a variety of search and retrieval methods. Today’s sophisticated databases can handle very large numbers of records and have made data tracking more manageable than ever before. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) utilize the powerful functionality of robust databases to catalog information on candidates and the disposition of their candidacy. Resumes are stored, correspondence is noted, interviews are documented, recruiters’ notes are filed. Additional data elements, such as candidate sources, may be included; candidates may be connected to specific requisitions and/or recruiters and hiring managers; systems might be linked to online posting procedures; and reporting tools may provide information to measure the efficacy of the process. Workflow Many software vendors claim to incorporate something called “workflow” into their application. But what does this mean? “Workflow” is a catchall term business management gurus have coined to describe the procedures and activities within a business process. True workflow management is process-oriented, not data-oriented, and focuses on driving information toward some goal or objective. Workflow provides a holistic view of the end-to-end recruiting business process. It incorporates the notion of detailed routing as well as an understanding of the participants involved at each step of the process. For a software application to support or automate workflow, it must map out each step, procedure, and business rule in the process. This requires doing task analysis and workflow modeling first. Key enablers to workflow automation are databases, database rules and email, to tie people to information. Workflow Automation In recruiting, examples of workflow are applicant routing or requisition routing throughout phases such as definition, approval, sourcing, screening, etc. As each milestone is reached throughout the process, workflow will automatically push the relevant data to the various stakeholders involved at the next step(s). This is information “push” as opposed to information “pull” in a simpler “tracking” model, where each stakeholder has to query the system proactively or fetch the data to progress throughout the process. A good analogy is found within the courier industry. A decade ago, large courier companies had package tracking systems in place. When you shipped a package using their services you could call to figure out where your package was – although there was limited ability to provide accurate information on how and when your package would be delivered, which was, after all, the only objective. Today, courier companies have workflow automation systems in place. When you ship a package from A to Z, there is an immediate understanding of the various milestones throughout the process. So that nothing is forgotten, information gets pushed to the various players involved in real time, rather than in batches. As a result, courier companies have become much faster and much more reliable. Data Tracking vs. Automated Workflow It is a common misconception that a recruiting software system incorporates automated workflow if it records a date-stamp every time a recruiter moves a candidate from one status to another. This is a tracking of some sort, but cannot be considered workflow automation. The tracking of activities falls within workflow, but in itself does not drive the process and create efficiency. Features such as the automated forwarding of information and documents to persons responsible for the next task(s); and automated reminders, alerts, alarms, and escalation when stages are delayed are examples of workflow automation, not merely tracking data. Benefits Of Workflow Automation The benefits of workflow-enabled applications are immense, especially within large corporations:

  • Workflow automation shifts business processes such as recruiting to a real-time, on-going flow vs. the traditional batch process, hence reducing cycle-time dramatically.
  • keep reading…

What Your Website Is Telling You

by
Dave Lefkow
May 15, 2001

There’s something you might not know about your website. While people are in the process of researching your company or applying for jobs, your website is very busy tracking their every move and generating detailed reports on their activities. Used properly, these reports can be a very valuable recruitment tool that will help you analyze Return on Investment, find new ways to promote your employment section, make informed site content decisions, and identify the number of individual competitors’ employees who are visiting your site. At the very least, a small amount of data collection is probably taking place behind the scenes of your site already. The most common Web servers – Apache, Microsoft IIS, and Netscape – typically include a scaled-down version of data collection software that gets a minimum of information, called “Web Logs.” At most, robust software from vendors like WebTrends and NetGenesis are being used to generate much more detailed Web Log analyses and reports that can track everything from which keywords someone used to find your site to which of your competitions’ employees are visiting most. Here’s a real-world example. By looking at a past WebTrends report of one of TMP’s client’s sites, we discovered the following vital information (among many other things):

  • They had approximately 4,500 unique visitors to their site last month
  • keep reading…

Questions From Hell: Developing/Assessing a College Recruiting Program

by
Dr. John Sullivan
May 14, 2001

If you are going to start (or improve) a college recruiting program, it’s essential that you look at what most firms do with a cynical eye. Almost all college programs follow a cookie-cutter approach. They are run on emotion and tradition. Few, if any, have any hard evidence that they produce quality hires. I’ve advised numerous firms and I’ve yet to find one that can answer even half of the questions I’ve listed below. But ignorance is not bliss; I find college programs are often cut during economic downturns because college relations managers are not “experts” in their own field. In a rapidly changing world it is essential that you use a data-driven approach if you are to gain a competitive advantage in college recruiting. Even if you can’t answer the following questions, it is still important to use them as a tool that will force you to rethink your approach. I hope the list will also give you some ideas on how a business (data-driven) approach to college programs can aid you in making dramatic improvements in your program. When gathering answers to these questions, remember not to generalize between schools, majors, regions and between top performers and the average college student! General

  1. Is there any evidence that the ROI for college hires (CH) is higher than experienced hires (EH)?
  2. keep reading…

Spending Smartly in a Slowing Economy

by
Audra Slinkey
May 11, 2001

With the economy slowing and unemployment rates rising, now is the time to review your costs as a recruitment department in order to keep your company afloat during the dry times. Staying “under the radar” from the CFO and CEO when it comes to overhead costs will help keep your department intact and in better shape to bounce back and react once the economy turns positive again. Creating a spending-savvy department is a team effort. The big difficulty with reviewing and cutting costs in a recruitment department is that the decision-makers in most instances (VP/Director) are not the users (recruiters), so they usually have no idea of what the users find valuable or what is working. In many cases, the decision-makers are unaware of what the users are spending on, particularly in a decentralized recruiting department. If you are one of those rare organizations who have kept good metrics, cutting excess fat from your department in terms of vendor costs should be a breeze. This article is probably not for you. If you are one of the other 95% of organizations who have not been able to develop detailed metrics, cutting the fat will be a far more difficult process. But here are some tips to get your department through this transition period:

  • Work as a team to map your current processes. Each recruiter should be able to give you a general idea of their recruiting process for various levels of positions. Ask the question, at what point is the recruiter going straight to more “high cost” recruiting methods vs. trying “low cost” methods first? This is also a good time to map out the time factor going into each vendor product or service. Time is money, so if you are considering buying an Applicant Tracking System that involves extensive training and administrative time, think twice.
  • keep reading…

Angel’s Dancing: Separating Truth From Almost Truth From Fiction

by
Dr. Wendell Williams
May 10, 2001

There is a major disconnect between the world of research and the world of business. Research majors in minors. Business minors in majors. (Think about it). We often read articles written by our peers lamenting, “I/O Psychologists don’t get no respect.” I wonder if the propeller-head who agreed with that statement also wrote the article, “Method effects of positive affectivity, negative affectivity, and impression management in self-reports of work attitudes.” Does anyone see a logical disconnect here? I’m sure the ‘Method effects’ article is a good one, well researched, thoroughly documented, and all that. I may even plan to read it someday myself someday. But, the bottom line was then, is now, and will be in the future, “So what?” The debate that arose from my last article (Sense, Common Sense, and Nonsense) underlines the dual components of silliness and seriousness that my colleagues (and I) are guilty of each and every day. For every research article that claims interviews have a correlation of .30 with performance, there is another article that claims the figure is closer to .40. And, every so often, there is a great-big summary of articles that claims the figure is closer to .35. So what? This kind of argument reminds me of theologians who argue how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin. (I didn’t know Angels could dance, let alone use a pinhead as a dance floor!) Psychology tries hard to defend itself as a “science.” But common sense tells us that predicting behavior or job skills is a very “iffy” process and should be thought of more as a persuasive trend than a replicable experiment. If rocket scientists worked with the same “mushy” concepts that we do, the Mars Global Surveyor would right now be systematically investigating New Jersey. What we offer is a general confirmation that helps end users separate claims into “nonsense” and “makes sense” groups. Take for example, interviews (my favorite topic): Research Question: Does an interview accurately predict job performance? Common Sense Answer: Maybe. Question: What do you mean, “Maybe?” Common Sense Answer: Well, “Yes” if you clearly know what answers you need, if you know exactly what questions to ask, if the applicant is perfectly truthful, if you get comprehensive answers, if the past job is precisely like the future job, if the interviewer is perfectly objective, and if the interview thoroughly covers each important job domain. Common Sense Response: File that under “Never.” Conclusion: Interviews are effective at dividing people into two groups: 1) Alien life forms, and 2) I don’t see any tentacles. I’m willing to bet my company’s money and take a chance. It is not really important to know statistical terms and be able to quote research studies chapter and verse. If you have the time, they make fascinating reading as long as you don’t get too bogged-down in the ugly details. But, if you care about doing a good job, you do, however, need to know how to master some basics:

  • Lack of job analyses data leads to job assumptions and that leads to mistakes (Clue: Does it take multiple “test balloon” candidates before the hiring manager agrees you understand what he or she is looking for?)
  • keep reading…