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November  2008 RSS feed Archive for November, 2008

Monster Founder Dies At 74

John Zappe
Nov 28, 2008, 12:05 pm ET

Andrew J. McKelvey, the man who built into a worldwide job search brand, died Thursday in New York City from pancreatic cancer.

In the 1990s, the 74-year-old billionaire fashioned what is today Monster Worldwide from a Yellow Pages advertising firm and two of the earliest online job boards, The Monster Board and Online Career Center. McKelvey got into the advertising business in 1967 when he founded Telephone Marketing Program, which would later lend its acronym to the fledgling advertising conglomerate, TMP Worldwide.

In the early years, the Yellow Pages advertising division was the financial engine for the business. But by 2003, in acknowledgment of the direction the company was headed, TMP Worldwide became Monster Worldwide. Three years later the division was sold off piecemeal with capital fund management firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson getting the North American portion.

By then McKelvey was on his way out as chairman and CEO of the company he founded. He resigned in late 2006 in the midst of an investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission into the backdating of stock options by the company. McKelvey later admitted to playing a role in authorizing the backdating and paid a cash settlement. Because of his already advanced cancer, prosecutors agreed to postpone further court action.

Less well known is McKelvey’s philanthropy. The Associated Press says that since 2001, he has donated $25 million to the Andrew J. McKelvey Lung Transplantation Center at Emory University in Atlanta and has given $3 million to the Andrew J. McKelvey Lower School at the Hewitt School in New York.

His McKelvey Foundation has supported over 600 college students across the country, and he has provided funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and for the Andrew J. McKelvey Campus Center at his alma mater, Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa.

McKelvey is survived by his children, Geoffrey, Stuart, Christine, Amanda, as well as six grandchildren.

Resources for Recruiting Military Men and Women

Todd Raphael
Nov 28, 2008, 5:58 am ET

At ERE’s conference last month in Hollywood, Florida, a panel of recruiters from Sodexo, Wal-Mart, and elsewhere, as well as an employment-law attorney from Ogletree Deakins, discussed the hiring of men and women who had served in the military. Here are some of the notes jotted down from that session — websites that might be useful. Thanks to John Amodeo and HireVelocity for compiling it.

keep reading…

Thanksgiving, the Economy and Recruiting

Kevin Wheeler
Nov 26, 2008, 3:37 pm ET

As we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner (here in the United States), let us be thankful for the new era that is dawning.

This economic slowdown is not just about the failure of our banking system or of the credit markets. This failure is a symptom of the major changes that are occurring as we enter a new century. The Depression of the 1930s redefined the agriculturally based banking and finance world and made it competitive and efficient for an industrial age.

We are now in a similar period.

keep reading…

Google Terminating Contractors Including 500 Recruiters

John Zappe
Nov 26, 2008, 1:04 pm ET

Reports are surfacing that Google has begun eliminating some of its 10,000 contract workers, trimming expenses in the face of a declining stock price and slow online ad growth. Included in that number, according to several sources, including Daya Baran, president of The Web Guild, are 500 recruiters.

The company signaled in October during its third quarter financial presentation that it intended to reduce expenses. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told The (San Jose) Mercury News that the company had a plan to reduce its contract workforce by improving its vendor management, converting some contractors to employees and “other approaches.” “It’s really high,” the newspaper quoted Brin as saying of the number of contractors.
Google reported in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has 20,123 employees. Among the 10,000 contractors are cafeteria workers, bus drivers, groundskeepers, off- and on-site programmers, and technical workers and others.
In a CNET story this week, Google spokeswoman Jane Penner didn’t provide a specific number of the contractors to be let go, but was quoted saying, “We have 10,000, and we have had a plan in place for awhile to significantly reduce that number.”
While the news may be hitting contractors hard, it’s creating opportunity for recruiters. A few have started posting contact information on sites where stories about the layoffs are appearing.
As for the laid off recruiters, one person posted to the Web Guild blog that they signed non-disclosure agreements prohibiting them from discussing their work with Google and, presumably, the terms of their termination.

Square Pegs and Round Holes

Dr. Wendell Williams
Nov 26, 2008, 5:58 am ET

The idea of redirecting recruiters toward internal movement and succession planning seems like a good one, but I’m afraid it is another dead-end recruiting street unless some basic principles are applied.

Wrong-Way Thinking

There is a common fallacy among a significant number of people that anyone can do anything: a good-looking applicant will make a high performing employee; a high performing employee will make a good manager; or, a highly skilled employee in Job A will also be a highly skilled employee in Job B.

Sorry, folks. We all know from experience this is general nonsense. Stories are legend about a top salesperson or technical whiz who failed as a manager; or, about a marketing whiz-kid who fast-tracked into the executive suite only to crash and burn on the job.

Let’s put this puppy to bed. The only time that past performance in Job A accurately predicts future performance in Job B is when both jobs are require virtually the same competencies. If Job B is different, requires more competencies or better quality ones, all bets are off. In fact, the only reliable way someone might even guess at future performance is to know the employee screwed up his or her last job.

Consider the Peter Principle. If you don’t know the term, either Google “Peter Principle” or look it up here. In short, Dr. Laurence Peter gave multiple examples of how employees tend to rise in the organization until they reach their natural level of incompetence. His message: every time that job requirements change — or an employee changes jobs — there is a strong probability that they will not be competent in the new role. Although Peter uses corporate ladder-climbing as his examples, his principles apply equally to all people holding jobs. The Peter Principle is a classic must-read for every recruiter or hiring manager.

In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain why the Peter-Principle is alive and well.

keep reading…

Looking for a New Job? Follow the Money

Leslie Stevens
Nov 25, 2008, 12:52 pm ET

When the economy took a turn for the worse in October, many recruiters began fearing for their own jobs. The good news is that some companies are still thriving. To predict a company’s financial health and penchant for hiring, look no further than its customer base.

“This downturn is really a mosaic, not a uniform event,” says Kip Cassino, VP of research for Borrell Associates. “You can’t just look at the national trends to judge which industries or companies might be hiring; you’ll have to do some rigorous homework.”

Here’s an example of what Cassino is describing.

keep reading…

Three Minutes of Advice On Social Networks For Recruiters

John Zappe
Nov 25, 2008, 5:23 am ET

You’ve read about them. You’ve heard about them at conferences. Glenn Gutmacher did a webinar (still available, scroll down) on them. In fact there’s even an entire conference dedicated to corporate social networks.

With the growing number of providers, starting a private label corporate network or participating in a MySpace or Facebook is about as easy as launching a blog. And just like a blog, social networks need thought, planning and work to be successful.

“It’s important,” says Karen Lash, regional director / interactive strategy at TMP Worldwide, “when you are engaging with the social networks that you do have a strategy.”

So what sorts of things should a recruiter consider before launching a corporate network? We asked Lash and Ryan Esits, senior vice president a chief talent strategist at NAS Recruitment, for their advice. Here, in 2 minutes and 48 seconds, are the basics: keep reading…

Authoria Gets New CEO

John Zappe
Nov 25, 2008, 1:09 am ET

A former CFO and computer software executive is assuming the reins at Authoria (profile; site) in a move that may signal a drive to expand the company’s footprint through acquisition as well as organic growth.

James J. McDevitt has already taken over as president and chief executive officer, replacing Tod Loofbourrow, who sold the company in September to Bedford Funding, a private equity fund. Loofbourrow, who founded Authoria in 1997, will serve as chairman of its board of directors.

McDevitt comes to Authoria from CDC Software, a $360 million division of CDC Corp. and a global provider of enterprise software solutions and services to medium and large businesses. He joined the company in May 2007 as senior vice president and general manager of Global Services, its IT consulting and outsourcing division. He was promoted to chief operating officer in April 2008.

Charles S. Jones, managing partner of Bedford Funding and McDevitt’s former boss when the two were at Geac Computer Corp., praised him as a “proven executive who has a notable track record of defining opportunity and building businesses.”

keep reading…

When Social Networking Works

Todd Raphael
Nov 24, 2008, 5:30 pm ET

Social networks like Facebook and others are good for building relationships and for keeping track of all 156,977 of your closest friends — but no one really gets hired from them, right?

Tell that to nGenera. It has hired 63 people through its employee and recruiter social networks, which accounts for 70% of its 91 hires since last December. For those 63 people, that means no job boards. No third-party recruiters.

nGenera started in March 2007, and acquired six companies in one year. The company’s products (while hard to understand from its website) include call-center software, incentive compensation software, simulation software, and more.

Katie Carty Tierney (pictured) manages the recruiting function for the Austin, Texas, company, which has just under 300 employees, most virtual. “Our recruiters were relying heavily on job boards in the past, and we wanted them to look beyond that,” she says. “They weren’t necessarily getting the right candidates. They weren’t necessarily getting the right matches. There was a lot of turnover. That’s not the way to hire people.”

keep reading…

Good times at the ERE Dallas Meetup!

David Manaster
Nov 24, 2008, 11:26 am ET

Last Thursday, I got to spend some time with a great group of recruiters at the ERE Meetup in Dallas, TX.

We’re going to do more meetups in the coming months – they are a good chance for recruiters to hang out, chat and compare notes with their peers over a few drinks.

If you want us to come to your city or have any suggestions, let us hear it in the comments!

Managing During an Economic Downturn Using a Talent Swapping Strategy

Dr. John Sullivan
Nov 24, 2008, 5:11 am ET

During tough economic times it is essential that every corporate function become more strategic.

Cost containment is easy and is by no means strategic, but leveraging limited resources and restructuring activities to accomplish things you couldn’t do previously can be. Unfortunately, most corporate recruiting managers and many line recruiters are more reactive and incapable of looking at staffing more holistically.

Managing strategically requires recruiters to think beyond immediate requisition loads and transactional sourcing; it requires that recruiters think more proactively, and identify strategic talent opportunities.

One opportunity that routinely presents itself during economic contractions is the opportunity to trade up the caliber of talent in the organization by swapping in top talent into roles currently occupied by average or below-average talent. For socialists and poor performers this strategy seems harsh, but for anyone who has ever played a competitive sport, it makes perfect sense.

As global markets open up, competition on every front in business is becoming more cutthroat. In an era where an organization’s sustainability and innovation capability are largely tied to acquiring, developing, deploying, and motivating talent, a talent-swapping strategy could mean the difference between mediocre business performance and explosive business performance.

What Is A Talent Swapping Strategy?

The concept of talent swapping is borrowed from the professional sports industry. In sports, winning is everything, and it is a common practice for team management to externally seek out a “superior” player in a key position to replace a struggling player. When the team finds an available star, they “SWAP” or replace their struggling player. After the swap, the team still has the same number of players (no additional headcount), but has also dramatically improved its chances of winning.

When applied to the corporate world, a SWAP (Strategically Waving Average Performers) initiative proactively replaces poor performers in a key job only when an arguably/measurably better candidate has been identified and successfully recruited by the talent management function.

Factors Making Talent Swapping Possible

Talent swapping is a strategy that can be employed anytime, but it is much easier for organizations during times of economic contraction for a number of reasons, including:

keep reading…

Don’t Sell the Job, Sell the Next Step!

Lou Adler
Nov 21, 2008, 6:00 am ET

Too many recruiters rush the closing process, trying to push the candidate across the finish line before the race has even started. If you want to win the recruiting game, stop the Hail Mary’s.

Instead, consider successful recruiting more like a well-planned football drive, where time of possession is key. If you’re not into football analogies, the idea here is that top people don’t make critical career decisions on the first call or after the first interview. And if you try to push too hard to get a commitment you’ll drive the best away. This is equivalent to a turnover.

With a great football weekend ahead, here’s what it takes to turn a successful drive into a touchdown:

keep reading…

Steve Lavin on Recruiting

Brendan Shields
Nov 20, 2008, 10:02 am ET

You may know Steve Lavin from his broadcasts on ESPN or his former role as the head basketball coach at UCLA. Lavin recently spoke at the ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida, sharing his anecdotes and wisdom with the audience. Although not a recruiter, his lessons rang true for everyone and there was much to take away from his game plan for overcoming life’s challenges.

Watch the highlights below.

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5 Steps to Thrive in This Recession

Kevin Wheeler
Nov 20, 2008, 6:00 am ET

Organizations rapidly adjust headcount the moment orders slow. As early as last June, the statistics on Monster, CareerBuilder, and other job boards began to show a decline in postings and traffic. The number of jobs listed on corporate career sites also declined, indicating less demand.

I am not sure if recruiters noticed, but several analysts did. I recently read an analyst’s report that compared several high-tech companies on the number of open positions they had as an indicator of long-term earnings and profit.

Given that analysts are doing this, we should be, too. We should be very sensitive to what our own management is thinking, how orders are shaping up, what the sales team is projecting, and then adjusting our own efforts accordingly.

If you don’t have access to this information you have two ways to get it. First of all, go to your manager and ask him or her for help. They will hopefully share what they can with you or help you find it. Second, cultivate your own sources by making friends with someone in sales or another part of your organization where people have that “inside” information that gives you an early indication of how things are going.

With that information in hand, here are five specific actions you can take to increase the odds of surviving, and even thriving, in this down economy.

Action Item #1: Get in Shape

You can’t make much progress in building credibility with management until your own function is in good shape. Recruiters who saw the signs of a recession could have begun trimming the fat in their processes months ago. Get aligned with your management team and cut when they cut, slow down when they slow down, and show them you are aware and responsible.

keep reading…

Sign of the Times?

David Manaster
Nov 19, 2008, 11:44 am ET

I passed my local library last night, and I took a few pictures of the display in the front window.

When the local library is pitching in to help people find jobs, I see it as a sign of the times.

What do you think?

Jan Hopkins’ Sweep of America

Brendan Shields
Nov 19, 2008, 9:59 am ET

Former CNN anchor Jan Hopkins presented an inspiring view of our economic struggles at the ERE Expo on October 29.

Although admitting that our current economic situation was unprecedented, Hopkins retained a positive outlook on the situation. Both looking to the past and to our future, she provides information on what has led our economy to the state it is in now, and what the recruiting industry must do to profit in these difficult times. Watch these highlights to learn more.
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College Football’s Recruiting Meat Market

Leslie Stevens
Nov 19, 2008, 5:25 am ET

ESPN’s Bruce Feldman’s new book “Meat Market” chronicles the business of recruiting in big-time college football, with a focus on Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron. In his talk with ERE, you may get ideas (including when he discusses “negative recruiting”) that can work in the corporate America.

keep reading…

Recruiting is Valued (Barely)

Todd Raphael
Nov 19, 2008, 5:24 am ET

All-too-slim majorities of recruiters feel that their organizations view recruiting as strategic and valuable, according to data from the Recruiting Rountable.

The pie chart below shows the percentages of the 4,000 recruiters surveyed who said that “recruiting is viewed as a strategic priority at my organization.”

keep reading…

Profs Downbeat on ’09, But Urge Caution When Cutting

Todd Raphael
Nov 18, 2008, 5:36 am ET

For the next issue of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, I asked business, econ, and finance professors what they expect out of the 2009 economy. They weren’t too cheery about the overall economy. But, when it came to the labor market, they suggested what recruiters already know: that the competition for top talent won’t let up much.

Here are some excerpts from that upcoming Journal.

From John Worrall, Rutgers University (pictured):

“My back-of-the-envelope guess is the unemployment rate will be North of 7% in 2009. Do I expect it to be at depression levels? No, I don’t.

I think HR managers will be deluding themselves if they think there will be less competition for talent simply because the unemployment rate is high. There’s a temptation to let people go during downturns — the stronger the downturn, the stronger the propensity for layoffs. They would be well-advised to consider carefully how much they have invested not just in key people but across the management spectrum. They’ve invested a ton in training formal and otherwise. That’s gone if they lose those people in a recession. They might not get them back.”

keep reading…

A Passage to India

Raghav Singh
Nov 18, 2008, 5:23 am ET

In 1605 Joseph Jacobs wrote a story titled Dick Whittington’s Cat, about a boy who’s told about the great city of London where the streets are paved with gold. Eagerly he sets out, only to find that while London has a lot of opportunity, it isn’t quite the promised land he was told it was — and the streets are paved with dust. That parallels the experience of a lot of companies that have made their way to India in the hopes of tapping the vast pool of talent the country has to offer. As most have found setting up shop in India and hiring employees has major benefits, but also poses some significant challenges.

keep reading…