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December  2010 RSS feed Archive for December, 2010

Unemployment Claims Take Big Drop As Seesaw Year Nears End

John Zappe
Dec 30, 2010, 2:29 pm ET

U.S. unemployment claims dropped to their lowest level in two years last week, offering some good news to close out a year marked by roller-coastering economic indicators.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that 388,000 (seasonally adjusted) new claims for unemployment were filed last week, a drop of 34,000 from the previous week. Reuters reported that the average of economists estimates was 415,000. The one-week peak came in March 2009 when 651,000 people filed for initial benefits.

Some economists questioned the accuracy of the numbers, pointing out that most state offices were closed for at least part of the week and that holiday travel and other factors may have deterred some from filing. Government economists said the seasonal adjustments takes those issues into account. keep reading…

Experts Predict Slow Growth but Competitive Recruiting in 2011

Todd Raphael
Dec 30, 2010, 5:21 am ET

Slow growth, hesitancy, and nervousness will continue into 2011, but the competition for employees will continue to be vigorous for many positions.

That’s the upshot of what a panel of recruiting leaders, consultants, and professors are saying. Their detailed advice for corporate recruiting leaders is in the December 2010 / January 2011 Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.

For now, some highlights:

keep reading…

Housing Prices Sink as Consumers Mixed on Jobs, Economy

John Zappe
Dec 28, 2010, 5:08 pm ET

Even as American consumers were opening their wallets, they were telling The Conference Board they just weren’t very optimistic about 2011. The organization’s Consumer Confidence Index declined in December to 52.5 from November’s revised 54.3.

According to Bloomberg News, the decline was greater than the most pessimistic forecast of the economists it surveyed.

Some analysts viewed the decline with more than a little skepticism, considering the surprisingly robust sales numbers that are starting to come in. keep reading…

Hiring Salespeople You Only Dreamed About (Part 2)

Dr. Wendell Williams
Dec 28, 2010, 2:25 pm ET

from the A. C. Clarke foundation

I ended Part 1 with Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, “Any sufficiently advanced (hiring) technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It’s a play on words, but describes the same reaction I get from almost everyone unfamiliar with the best-practices outlined in 1978 in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Typical question, “How do I know this really works?”

Typical reply, “You tell me. If instead of working from a job description and doing a casual interview, I thoroughly define job skills, then use a variety of hard-to-fake accurate tools that evaluate whether a candidate has those specific skills, what do you think?”


After assessing hundreds of salespeople and sales managers (i.e., observing a full complement of their sales and management skills), I began to recognize some specific trends (I’m a slow learner). keep reading…

PETA Complains About CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl Plans

John Zappe
Dec 27, 2010, 4:01 pm ET

Five years ago, during Super Bowl XL, CareerBuilder aired its first Super Bowl commercials and made advertising history.

Featuring a troop of chimpanzees running an office, the three 30-second spots ranked in the top-10 best Super Bowl commercials. An online component called Monk-e-Mail went viral. In the first four months of the campaign, almost 30 million individual users visited the site sending millions of monkey-themed emails. Still today, the site receives visitors.

AdAge called it “history’s third-greatest human achievement, after only democracy and Velcro.” The Wall Street Journal named the Monk-e-Mail campaign the best of 2006. And it won a Webby for best viral marketing campaign.

Now, five years later, CareerBuilder is bringing back the monkeys. keep reading…

Hiring Salespeople You Only Dreamed About (Part 1)

Dr. Wendell Williams
Dec 27, 2010, 3:24 pm ET

Senior managers, at least the ones I know, think spending $10 today to get $100 back is a no-brainer. They think getting $100 back, over and over, is even better. That’s what happens when organizations invest in best-practice hiring and promotion methods. (By the way, I did not invent either assessment or best practices. They have been around since the earliest male checked out a female and asked, “’Hey, Babe! Wanna see my petrograph?”… and, the earliest female replied, “Get a life, Hairball!”)

Unless they just fell off the turnip truck, everyone who hires a new salesperson, puts an employee into a different job, or makes a promotion decision hopes for the best, but knows success will be hit or miss. Meanwhile, in the weeks and months between “hire the wunderkind” and “fire the jerk!” opportunities are lost; legal challenges increase; costly decisions are made; recruiting expenses continue; and, customers are lost.

It’s just another day at the office. keep reading…

Make 2011 the Year of Blue Ocean Recruitment

Jason Warner
Dec 27, 2010, 5:26 am ET

I read a lot, and one of my favorite books that I read in 2010 is Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. I have no relationship to the authors, and no vested interest in whether you buy the book or not, but I recommend that staffing leaders and recruiters read it as part of their New Year’s Resolution. This is one of those books that will make you smarter. It’s actually a few years old, but has become quite a phenomena, being translated into over 40 languages and winning a huge amount of accolades. Like being voted as one of the 40 most influential books in the history of the People’s Republic of China.

It’s worth reading.

The basic premise of the book is that many companies that win in the marketplace do so in ways that make their competition irrelevant. The name of the book comes from two concepts describing the competitive landscape in nearly all industries: Red Oceans represent the fiercely competitive arena where most companies compete. Blue Oceans are open and not filled with competitors — uncontested market space in other words, which help drive margins and market share while receding competitors remain in Red Oceans competing on price, value, and other replicable product or service traits.

The concept is the result of a decade-long study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 30 industries over 100 years (1880-2000). In simple terms, the goal of Blue Ocean strategy is to not outperform your competition in a particular industry, but to create a new market:  a Blue Ocean.

There are a lot of predictions flying around about what will come in 2011 as it relates to recruitment. And I recommend that we all heed the probable changes that are likely to arrive as 2011 will surely mark an inflection point on what has been a relatively stagnant period in terms of human capital management and recruitment. But it’s not just ‘getting ready to do more of the same that will allow your company to win in the marketplace for talent. The truly game-changing strategies are the ones that will lead your company out of the spaces where most companies compete for talent and into the Blue Ocean of less (or un) contested market spaces for talent.

Here are some thoughts on how smart companies will arrive at a Blue Ocean with regard to the talent for which they compete. keep reading…

You’ll Figure it Out

Maureen Sharib
Dec 23, 2010, 12:20 pm ET

A holiday message …

I’ve been thinking all year about something our accountant said when he visited us in February of this year to have us sign the final paperwork for our taxes.

During our meeting Bob had been moaning about how our 2009 business was off so much over 2008 and things just seemed to be dragging along interminably. I usually sit through our meetings quietly, ask a couple questions about tax issues I’ve read about, sign the paperwork, and leave the two of them to talk about guns or whatever it is two guys talk about.

This time was different. I joined into Bob’s alarmed cacophony, looking to someone anxiously for answers to something I’ve never experienced being in business for myself these last 35 years. keep reading…

Newly Aggressive EEOC Sues Over Credit Checks

John Zappe
Dec 22, 2010, 4:03 pm ET

With the U.S. beginning its fourth year of a sour economy that is taking its toll on consumer credit scores, the EEOC signaled this week that it is taking a hard look at employers who use credit checks as a screening tool.

Kaplan Higher Education Corp. was sued Tuesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its use of credit checks. The suit claims Kaplan denied jobs based on credit histories in such a way that it had a disparate impact on blacks.

The EEOC said Kaplan “engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide.”

“This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity.” The types of jobs at issue weren’t disclosed.

A company spokeswoman denied the charge, saying background checks are conducted on all potential employees. Credit checks are part of the screening for jobs involving financial matters, including advising students on financial aid. keep reading…

Serious Recruiting Games: 6 Tips for Using Games and Simulations for Recruiting Success

Kevin Wheeler
Dec 22, 2010, 5:07 am ET

Maybe all you need for an attraction and sourcing strategy is a good game.

The U.S. Army was one of the first organizations to pioneer video games for attracting potential recruits. A couple of years ago the Army launched its highly successful recruiting game called America’s Army, which has significantly helped raise recruitments. The Army has also created a multi-million dollar U.S. Army Experience Center located in Philadelphia where potential recruits, using computers and Xbox 360 controllers, explore different army bases and occupations using video games.

L’Oreal has launched Brandstorm, which is a competition across national boundaries to help candidates determine their marketing skills. Many other organizations have launched interactive games, including IBM’s game that has made the press recently with its free simulation, CityOne, an interactive game targeted at business leaders, city planners, and government agencies. The game allows players to react to a variety of crises and see how their decisions affect outcomes.

Realistic job previews, video tours, and game-like activities are becoming standard on leading recruiting sites because more candidates come and stay longer when the process of learning about your organization and your open positions is fun and engaging. Recruiters are learning from the game world that elements such as awarding points, giving out badges, showing progress toward a goal, or using an avatar increase results. keep reading…

Is LinkedIn Becoming a 21st Century Job Board?

John Zappe
Dec 21, 2010, 5:11 am ET

LinkedIn introduced a resume building tool a while ago that, even though it’s slick, simple to use, and creates attractive resumes, would be otherwise unremarkable.

Except that it’s LinkedIn offering it. And it’s a step better than what Monster and CareerBuilder offer. And, more to the point, it’s another step in the LinkedIn transformation from a business-oriented social network to … something else, like a job board for the 21st century.

The LinkedIn people don’t necessarily agree with that. Francois Dufour, senior director of marketing, LinkedIn Hiring Solutions, wrote to tell me that “LinkedIn is a professional network.” It’s “a platform for helping professionals manage their careers.” keep reading…

At Cisco, Many Top Recruits Are Already on the Payroll

Todd Raphael
Dec 20, 2010, 3:29 pm ET

Cisco Systems has been quietly doubling up on its recruiting efforts, but with a twist: the target market is made up of the company’s own employees. In particular, it has been making it easier for employees to get promoted into different departments, rather than first moving laterally from one division to another and then getting promoted.

This all began in November of 2008 when people like then-staffing-chief and now Chief Learning Officer Don McLaughlin, the HR SVP Brian Schipper, and others realized it really needed to keep the talent it had as the company grew in areas like virtual healthcare and smart grids. In January 2009, Heather YurkoAmy Buck, and a 30-person team of others in Cisco — from the compensation, staffing, operations, and other departments — ran a prototype test. If all went well, the program, called TalentConnection, would expand.

It went well, and it did. keep reading…

What’s Wrong With Reference Checking? Pretty Much Everything (Part 2)

Dr. John Sullivan
Dec 20, 2010, 5:29 am ET

This article addresses five questions raised in response to Part 1 of this series published last week. It addresses the best ways to assess candidate performance pre-hire and when to use references.

Question 1 — What are the most accurate indicators of past, current and future performance?

Finding accurate real world predictors of future performance is difficult but not impossible. Professional sports teams find that the best predictor of a new hire’s potential performance is their performance on the field in practice and preseason games — i.e., a work sample. Google looks at a multitude of factors that can be combined by an algorithm to successfully predict both future on-the-job performance and retention risk. The U.S. military and numerous firms in industries with extreme operational risk like airlines and chemical production facilities rely on sophisticated simulations to assess how a candidate would react in various situations.

There are literally hundreds of potential tools and approaches that can be used. Unfortunately, the vast majority of research on the subject is questionable at best.   keep reading…

Change Your Hiring Manager’s POV to Eliminate 50% of All Hiring Errors and Have a Happy Holiday Season

Lou Adler
Dec 17, 2010, 5:51 am ET

I have a brilliant nephew — Harvard grad, etc., — who is, shall we say, a bit left of center. He has an executive position in the California state government, which is enough to further pinpoint his political persuasion. While I love him dearly, during the holiday season we have some rather contentious discussions regarding the politics of the moment, given I’m his somewhat right-of-center uncle. While civil, at least in most cases, these discussions involve a bit of one-upsmanship on both our parts, but never involve ad hominem. At least for me, this Thanksgiving was a real hoot and I looked forward to it with glee, given the recent election results, and all. However, all did not go as expected. Which gets me to the point of this article. Decisions with respect to hiring candidates occur long before any evidence the candidate is capable of doing the work are made.

keep reading…

10 Ways To Recalibrate Your Recruiting Process And Technology

Brendan Shields
Dec 16, 2010, 3:38 pm ET

In the latest installment of our ongoing webinar series we covered ten steps you can start making today in order to prepare fro the new year. Elaine Orler joined our program once again to expand on these steps to improve your workplace and technology for a better performance in 2011.

For more podcasts, webinars, and articles on recruiting be sure to check out!


A Nagging Question: What Happens if Facebook Decides to Shut You Down?

Marvin Smith
Dec 16, 2010, 2:41 pm ET
I had just finished a presentation at ERE and was walking though the event reception area when a voice from behind me asked “what happens if Facebook decides to shut you down?” I turned to see who had asked such a bold question. I recognized the inquiring voice to be John Sumser. I thought to myself: ‘we are Microsoft, why would they want to shut us down?’ After all, Microsoft owns part of Facebook, which would not make sense. My reply to John was: “great question, John, but I have not really thought much about it. I am not really worried about it.” After a few more minutes of cordial conversation, I departed to the adventures of the day. But over the next months, I was nagged by the question which I really did not have an answer.
Now, I have an answer. I know firsthand what happens when Facebook decides to shut you down. keep reading…

A New Year’s Resolution: Stop Talking Nice About Your Company …

Nancy Parks
Dec 16, 2010, 5:41 am ET

(…and start asking questions instead).

Why? Simply stated: Because people need to know they’ve been heard and understood. Today’s top sales performers know that it’s more important to understand than to persuade.

So what does this have to do with recruiting? Good question. Perhaps you can begin by answering these three questions yourself: keep reading…

But That’s Not My Job: the Benefits of Owning Your Own Business

Maureen Sharib
Dec 16, 2010, 5:40 am ET

Any small business can fail.

A small business that has been in existence for more than five years has a sizable advantage over a business that you start yourself if you can afford to purchase it.

Most people can’t.

In lieu of that route there are ways to start your own business that don’t require large outlays of cash and there is (probably) considerable cash already in your budget that you could use to start your business. keep reading…

New Tool Ranks Job Listings Using Social Media Data

Todd Raphael
Dec 15, 2010, 3:44 pm ET

Employee referrals and social media were already merging more quickly than Brangelina. A new tool from Bernard Hodes aims to make referrals and social media more tightly knit, and more personalized.

Hodes started thinking about all this at the end of 2008, going into the beginning of 2009. It has spent the last three months developing a tool companies could put on their corporate career sites, giving job candidates a personal suggestion of the jobs that might be best for them.

Here’s how it works.

keep reading…

Glassdoor Lists the Best (Yes, Really!) Places to Work

John Zappe
Dec 15, 2010, 12:05 am ET

From a site best known as the home of the disgruntled worker comes “The 50 Best Places to Work” list.

It’s true. It’s true. Glassdoor actually has loads of reviewers who like where they work, are happy there, and are telling the world about it. Their favorite employer? Facebook by a nose.

The social networking site made the Glassdoor list for the first time with a 4.6 rating. Next was Southwest Airlines, which headed the list last year.

This is the third year Glassdoor has released a best-places-to-work list. Based on a survey of at least 25 company employees, the list demonstrates pretty convincingly that not every one who posts to the employer review site is angry, bitter, or unhappy. keep reading…