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December  2009 RSS feed Archive for December, 2009

Bungee Jump Into the New Year With HFI Execs

John Zappe
Dec 30, 2009, 3:41 pm ET

Image354As we count down the final hours of 2009 — an “Amen” seems in order here — there are a few fun, and even one or two useful pieces of recruitalia that have turned up to help us close out the year.

The first reminds me of that expression about drinking your own Kool-Aid. It’s a video starring Human Factor International’s Managing Director Jeffrey Jones. Human Factor International is an executive coaching and transcultural leadership training firm. The company says its process “is designed to help executives close the gap between where they are and where they want to be in their personal and professional lives.”

Now watch the video and you’ll see why I extracted that phrase from the company website, though I don’t believe HFI meant to imply the process accelerates at 32 ft/sec squared. keep reading…

7 Things You Should Communicate

Stephen Balzac
Dec 30, 2009, 11:37 am ET

crl_mastheadIt’s not enough to say that if you want to keep the best people when the economy improves, you just need to communicate more. It matters what you say and how and when you say it. Communication occurs in the context that you’ve created over time, and how your communications will be received will depend a great deal on that context. If you want to keep your best people, then you need to do your homework. (Or, conversely, if you want to recruit someone else’s key people, find companies that did not do the homework suggested in this article.)

Fortunately, it isn’t terribly difficult to communicate better. It does, however, require recognizing that emotion, not logic, is the driving force, and it requires starting now — not next week, next month, or next year. If you wait until people are leaving, it’s too late.

So how do you highlight someone’s contributions? I offer more, detailed suggestions in the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, but for now, I suggest the following in brief. keep reading…

Survey Adds To Positive Hiring Outlook

John Zappe
Dec 29, 2009, 4:24 pm ET

CareerBuilderThere’s a bit more to celebrate tomorrow night than the start of a new year. A report from CareerBuilder today says more employers are looking to hire next year; fewer are predicting layoffs.

It’s not a going-gangbusters report, so don’t spring for the top-shelf toasts. CareerBuilder’s survey of 2,700 hiring managers and HR professionals found 20 percent of them expect to add full-time employees in the new year. Last year 14 percent expected to hire. Still, that is a 43 percent.

Meanwhile, only nine percent are anticipating layoffs, a 44 percent decrease from the 16 percent last year who told CareerBuilder they expected to cut staff in 2009.

A positive sign to be sure. But with 61 percent of the respondents saying they foresee no change in staffing levels (10 percent didn’t know what to expect), job recovery is going to be measured in single-digit improvement. keep reading…

The End of a Decade, the Good Recruiter, and Technology

Kevin Wheeler
Dec 29, 2009, 5:38 am ET

Picture 2The first decade of the 21st century is ending in a few days, and what a ride it has been! It opened with the gloom of the dot-com bust and Y2K and ended with the gloom of a banking system bust and a major recession. It was not a good decade, as decades go.

How did recruiting fare over the decade? Did things get better for recruiters and candidates? keep reading…

Monster Director Resigns Suddenly

John Zappe
Dec 28, 2009, 7:02 pm ET

Monster LogoRonald J. Kramer, an almost 10-year member of Monster’s board of directors, resigned Sunday.

The only mention of his departure came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 8-K report (a reference to the SEC provision requiring publicly held companies to report unscheduled material events and changes) says Kramer’s resignation was effective immediately and “did not involved any disagreement on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Kramer is CEO and board vice chairman of Griffon Corp., a $1.2 billion building products and advanced telephonics manufacturing company. Before taking that job in 2008, Kramer had been president and a director of casino owner and operator Wynn Resorts.

According to, Kramer earned $301,701 in cash and stock from Monster in 2008.

Neither Kramer nor a Monster spokesman could be reached.

Yahoo Recruits On Google; HotJobs Officially For Sale

John Zappe
Dec 28, 2009, 1:27 pm ET

The technology insider website TechCrunch says Yahoo has launched a curious recruitment advertising program that involves buying keywords against the names of former employees.Shachter

Just before Christmas, TechCrunch reported that Delicious founder and former Yahoo executive Joshua Schachter discovered that searching on his name on Google brought up a recruitment ad for Yahoo. He announced in a tweet saying “yahoo’s running recruiting ads against my name. classy.”

Schachter joined Yahoo when it bought Delicious in 2005. He left three years later, part of a mass exodus of top talent that left the company reeling .

Turns out that Schachter isn’t the only ex-Yahooer to find ads popping up on their Google search results pages.  TechCrunch said PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf is among the keyworded. keep reading…

A Think Piece: Why Is Recruiting So Low on the Corporate Power Scale?

Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 28, 2009, 5:02 am ET

scaleThis is one of a series of what I call “think-pieces.” Instead of casual reading, these articles are intended to stimulate some in-depth thinking and to pose some strategic questions that recruiting leaders should ponder. The questions raised here are, at least in part, designed to make you uncomfortable” with your current approach to recruiting.

It’s December 2009 and it’s the end of the “decade from hell” during which the recruiting and talent management function endured some ugly times. Rather than bemoaning what happened, why not take a few minutes or so and rethink your approach to recruiting. The topic for this particular think-piece is corporate power and why recruiting seems to have so little of it. keep reading…

Our Internal Executive Search Function Made Us a True Business Partner

Mat Apodaca
Dec 23, 2009, 12:02 pm ET

money spentMy company, Lockton, is a sales-led company that has a very intriguing setup.  Salespeople at Lockton are very well-regarded, and an office can be built around a highly successful one.

Our model is a high-risk, high-reward type of opportunity that offers great financial success once you reach a certain level. Traditionally HR has not been involved at all in the sourcing and recruitment of these individuals. That all changed when in fall 2008 Lockton engaged in a sales recruiting experiment that I was fortunate enough to get involved with. keep reading…

Aussie Military Looks to Manpower RPO To Fill Ranks

John Zappe
Dec 22, 2009, 4:06 pm ET

manpower logoThere’s an interesting discussion going on over at the Video 2.0 for Recruitment blog about the U.S. Army’s $33 million investment in a recruiting video game.

Ernest Feiteira picked up on an item I posted and started a conversation about the value of such recruiting tools. A couple others chimed in about the ROI, something I’m looking into for a future article.

At this point in the discussion, there’s no resolution to the question of how you would calculate the ROI.

However, Down Under, the Aussies must believe that outsourcing their military recruiting pays off because they have been doing it for some years. I know that because I talked with a Manpower spokeswoman about a press release announcing that the Milwaukee  firm just won a $200 million recruiting contract from the Australian  Defence Force.  keep reading…

Social Media Recruiting Paying Off at Crowe Horwath

John Zappe
Dec 22, 2009, 2:09 pm ET

Crowe Horwath has a social media strategy, a plan, and now evidence that its investment in social media recruiting is paying off.

Crowe Horwath 6 mos source of hireA just-completed mid-term report by  Crowe Horwath’s strategic sourcing leader, Michele Porfilio, shows that in the first six months of the company’s fiscal year (which begins April 1) 20 percent of the hires came from  non-traditional recruiting methods.

Those methods include search engine marketing and optimization, the use of job aggregators (principally Indeed and SimplyHired) and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. For company purposes, those sources are grouped as either SEO/SEM/Job Aggregators or Social Networks.

The cost of the hires who came in through these sources is about a third of what the company spends on job boards.

“I would say,” Porfilio reports, “that overall, we’re getting better candidates from these social media sources and we have a much better ROI.” keep reading…

The Godot Effect

Stephen Balzac
Dec 22, 2009, 5:35 am ET

Personally, I wouldn’t even know him if I saw him.  –Estragon, Waiting for Godot

Some years ago I was sitting in a product design meeting. The discussion kept circling around some particularly knotty issues that no one in the room actually knew much about.

In one sense, this wasn’t a serious problem given that the company was still actively hiring and there was a recognition that more people were needed. Someone finally commented that we’d have to make sure to hire someone with the particular expertise in question, and in one fell swoop, that task was assigned to a non-existent person. Again, this is not necessarily a problem … yet. It became a problem, however, as the meeting progressed:

“We don’t have anyone on the team who can handle […technology…] either.”

“That’ll be the next hire.”

“Wasn’t the next hire supposed to be […original problem…]?”

“We’ll need someone who can do both.”

And so it went, with each problem that came up being assigned to the same non-existent person. Each problem would be dealt with when the right person was hired. Unfortunately, each individual present had a very different idea of what that right person looked like and the necessary skills that he or she would possess. Those who have ever read a college catalog might have noticed the vast number of courses in a wide range of subjects taught by Staff. Well, by the end of that meeting, Dr. Staff was probably the only person who could have handled the job.

More recently, I was conducting a training exercise. The exercise was focused on leadership, negotiation, and creative problem-solving. Part of the structure involved people being given a problem and a list of names of people who might be able to help them. Only some of those people are actually present. The objective is to figure out alternate solutions that do not involve the missing people. What was particularly fascinating is that every time I’ve conducted this exercise, a significant number of participants become fixated on the missing people, convinced that if those people were present, all the problems would immediately evaporate. They spend the entire exercise waiting for help that never arrives.

When I ask at the end, “Why do you think that [missing] person will actually help you? What if they have their own agenda?” the participants are taken aback. They had never considered the fact that Godot might have his own wants and needs, even if he should happen to show up. I’ve run this exercise with managers, college students, psychologists, engineers, and so forth, and the same behaviors emerge every time. In each case, the person who is not present becomes the repository of the hopes and dreams of the rest of the group. In the end, that “person” has become a tool whose only purpose for existing is to solve the problems of the group.

The difficulty, of course, is that the longer this behavior persists, the harder it is for the organization to find anyone they are willing to hire. First, none of the people they are looking at actually fits the mental image that they’ve developed: a person with some of the desired skills is simply not recognized or passed over for a future someone who will have all the skills. Unfortunately, Dr. Staff is a very busy person, and is somewhat less likely to show up than Santa Claus. Also, Dr. Staff is not only expected to show up eventually, but to be totally and completely enthusiastic about working for the company. People who do not exhibit that mindless enthusiasm are deemed to be not serious candidates.

Hiring, however, is a two-way street: part of the job of the existing employees is to help get the candidate excited about the company. To be fair, the search rarely lasts forever. Eventually, people get tired of interviewing candidates and someone does get hired. Often, though, it’s the last person to walk through the door, as opposed to the most qualified of the people who came through.

A Focus on Goals, Objectives keep reading…

A Christmas Thank You for the Under-Appreciated Recruiter

Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 21, 2009, 5:54 am ET

Picture 2It’s hard to argue against the fact that 2009 has been a rough year for corporate recruiters. Budgets have been slashed, training has been all but eliminated, and even with reduced recruiting activity, requisition loads are still onerous.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but as it falls at the end of the year, it is an opportune time to take a minute and to thank those who have helped you throughout the year. While executive recruiters used to get huge paychecks and bonuses, corporate recruiters in most organizations can only be classified as under-appreciated.

Hiring managers, often busy trying to meet end-of-year deadlines, rarely find the time to send out a well-written thank you or take you to lunch to express their gratitude for all the work that you’ve done on their behalf.

New hires are acclimating to their job, which more often than not isn’t exactly what they thought it would be, so thanks are not on the top of their minds.

Every year come December, I start to envision what it would be like in a perfect world where the efforts of corporate recruiters were recognized with a real thank you. Recruiters may not get as many “thank yous” as they deserve, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that recruiters have a profound impact on people’s work and private lives.

A “thank you note” from a grateful new hire… keep reading…

How to Recruit Passive Candidates and Early Birds

Lou Adler
Dec 18, 2009, 5:47 am ET

h6520piMaximizing your use of time is the key to hiring more top performers. In a recent webinar with Jobs2Web, I described the sourcing sweet-spot. This is the point just before and just after a fully employed person decides to consider looking for another position. This time-frame represents the window of opportunity to hire the best passive candidates and early-birds with less effort and salary premiums than any other point.

If you get to these top people first, you’ll have no competition, and they’ll be much easier to recruit since they’ve already made the decision to pursue a new job. However, it’s what you do when you first connect that will determine whether you’re successful or not in hiring them. This involves a number of critical recruiting key skills. These are described below.

If you’re a recruiting manager, evaluate your current crop of recruiters and any new hires to determine whether they have these skills or the ability to learn them. If you’re a recruiter and you want to hire more top performers, you need to be exceptional in these areas. As you’ll see, hiring top performers without paying unnecessary compensation premiums requires great recruiters, great opportunities, and great hiring managers. Without these, it just becomes a numbers game. But as Chicken Little, or some other similar authority, once said, “the early bird catches the worm, as long as you have a good fishing pole.”

Passive candidates and those just entering the job market — the early-birds — are a different breed of prospect. For one thing, they’re not desperate. This changes the game entirely from those who have been looking for more extended periods of time. More important, if they’re good, they’ll be very choosy and they will get multiple offers. But since you’re first, and if you play your cards well, you should be able to reel in these top performers in greater numbers than those recruiters who find them after you do. In this case, your competition has to play catch-up. This is a great position to be in. But to pull it off you have to be an exceptional recruiter. Here are the key recruiting skills needed to turn these top candidates and prospects into great hires.

Recruiting Skills Required to Turn Hot Prospects Into Great Employees keep reading…

Jobless Claims Rise Surprising Economists

John Zappe
Dec 17, 2009, 2:31 pm ET

dpartment of labor logoFirst-time unemployment filings rose last week, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, surprising economists who had expected a decline to 465,000.

Initial jobless claims rose to 480,000 for the week ending Dec. 12, from 473,000 the previous week. It’s the second week in a row that new filings increased. However, the four-week moving average fell for the 15th week straight. The Labor Department says on average, in each of the last four weeks, 467,500 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed.

The Labor Department report says 5.186 million Americans filed a continuing claim during the week. That’s an increase of 5,000 from the previous week, but over the previous four weeks, the weekly average of continuing claims was down.

Is it Just Jigsaw That’s in ZoomInfo’s Sights?

John Zappe
Dec 16, 2009, 5:13 pm ET

ZoomInfoWhat do you suppose ZoomInfo is up to?

The company launched Fresh Contacts a month ago offering participants two months free access to the ZoomInfo database just for uploading their personal contacts. Upload one or one thousand contacts, it’s all the same – two months’ access to the 45 million contacts and 5 million company profiles ZoomInfo claims.

Without a doubt, it’s a shot over the bow of competitor Jigsaw, which built its leads business on an early faith in crowdsourcing.

But as you’ll see shortly, there could be more afoot here than a front-on challenge to a competitor. keep reading…

Your Internship Program: A Look Back Before Looking Ahead

Lauren Berger
Dec 16, 2009, 4:01 pm ET

crl_masthead(this is part of a larger feature on internships in the next Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership)

For the first time in years, there are new things to be said about the quality and quantity of internship programs. Interns should run social media campaigns. Employers should advertise for interns on Twitter. An entire unit of interns should be brought on to achieve A, B, and C.

Internship programs are on the rise. Take a look back before looking forward. Yes, many improvements can be made to any internship program. But, how is your company’s internship program to begin with? How does it run? Do the students enjoy it? What do they get out of it? Are employees properly using interns?

I question the current internship programs at companies across the United States. I question if all employees, from CEO to entry-level assistant, are really aware of their internship programs and how they run. Are clear goals defined within the company to outline the purpose of hosting interns? How are these students managed and used on a day-to-day basis?

With that in mind, here are some suggested quick fixes to your internship program:

keep reading…

Over-hiring Is Company Suicide

Stephen Lowisz
Dec 16, 2009, 3:08 pm ET

plant mgrWe have all heard the recent statistics of rising unemployment rates, along with candidate-to-position ratios being the highest we have seen in decades. Almost every time I open the paper there is a depressing story of how one job posting attracted hundreds of applications. One story even told us of a job posting for a single position that attracted more than 14,000 applications in five business days — almost 3,000 applications a day!

What is even more interesting than the actual volume of candidates is the response I hear from business leaders as to how they are dealing with this issue. keep reading…

What to Expect From the Assessment World in 2010

Dr. Charles Handler
Dec 16, 2009, 5:15 am ET

Picture 2It may be a stretch to say that 2009 was a good year for assessment. The impact of the downturn definitely hit vendors of assessment just as hard as it did those in other areas of recruitment and staffing. Most of the vendors I have spoken with over the year definitely felt the impact in terms of booking less new business during the first two to three quarters of this year. This makes sense, as the overall pace of hiring slowed to the lowest point in decades during the majority of 2009.

Despite a slowdown in new business, most vendors have been able to continue to generate revenue from their existing client base. Vendors who have assessments that can be used for both hiring and development are finding their ability to diversify beyond hiring to be a serious asset. This makes sense given the fact that many companies have chosen to invest more in their existing employees instead of investing in hiring new ones.

Many vendors I have spoken with have taken this past year to concentrate on developing new products and ideas to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running once things start to pick up. From what I have seen, the evolution of assessment tools has continued in a very positive direction.

Most of my conversations with vendors over the past few months have been more positive then they have in some time. Everyone is starting to see some movement in a positive direction, with pipelines starting to fill up with increased opportunities.

I am a glass-half-full kind of guy. So, here are a few reasons why I feel very optimistic about what we can expect in terms of assessment uptake in 2010. keep reading…

The Wow Moment

Raghav Singh
Dec 15, 2009, 5:39 am ET

Picture 2The recent unemployment report showed that the loss of jobs for November was only 11,000, and average hours worked increased from 33 per week to 33.2. The Dow surged 130 points, and some analysts described it as a “wow” moment — explaining that the loss was so much less than expected.


We really do live in a world of lowered expectations when news like this is considered cause for celebration. I guess it’s all relative. The news must be good because it isn’t so bad.


So while some see bad news as good news, we still have 10% unemployment and an anemic recovery. But have no fear: the government has a solution. After all, it doesn’t take much to create jobs. According to the government’s own data on the effects of the stimulus, an order worth $890 to Moore’s Shoe Service in Kentucky resulted in the creation of nine jobs. And a Minnesota company that makes lawn-care equipment created (or saved) 50 jobs for $1,047. So, between ordering some more boots and lawn mowers we’ll have the unemployment problem solved. And for good measure we’ll have the “Cash for Caulkers” program: a tax credit for weatherizing your home.

The Definition of Madness keep reading…

A Video, A Video Game, And Vault

John Zappe
Dec 14, 2009, 5:28 pm ET

Today brings news of the U.S. Army’s $38 million recruiting video games, a recruiting marketing video that is surprisingly fresh and entertaining and should be required watching for anyone considering an HR career as a recruiter, and a change at Vault.

America’s Army

America's ArmyWhen you’re recruiting for an organization where the expression “taking potshots” is no mere idiom, you have to be innovative in your approach, not to mention cutting edge to reach the 17-25 year olds who are your (pardon the expression) target. keep reading…