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May  2012 RSS feed Archive for May, 2012

Signs Point to Slower Hiring, as May Numbers Disappoint

John Zappe
May 31, 2012, 4:33 pm ET

This morning’s jobs report from ADP is prompting worries that hiring may be slowing, damping hopes that the anemic recovery may be hitting a rough spot, if not stalling.

ADP, which processes payrolls for some 500,000 U.S. firms, said private employment grew by 133,000 jobs in May. The company, and its analytics partner, Macroeconomic Advisers, also adjusted down by 6,000 its initial 119,000 April job estimate.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News were expecting the May ADP report to show about 150,000 new jobs. Bloomberg also said the expectation is for the official Labor Department report to show 160,000 new jobs during the month. That report is scheduled to be released tomorrow morning.

“While May’s increase was the 28th consecutive monthly advance, it nonetheless reflected a notable slowdown in the recent pace of hiring,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers.

Nearly all the new jobs came from the service sector, with small and medium companies in the sector — those with fewer than 500 employees — creating all but 15,000. Manufacturing, which had been growing until April, when it lost 6,000 jobs, lost 2,000 more, according to the ADP report. keep reading…

Recruiting By the Numbers — Analyze This! (Part 2 of 2)

Nancy Parks
May 31, 2012, 5:56 am ET

In Part 1, we looked at the importance of “knowing your numbers.” To be successful in meeting demand from hiring managers, great recruiters need to know how to move “suspects” (think: passive candidates) through a sales funnel, or pipeline, quickly, and effectively. And they need to know their conversion rates throughout the process.

In this article, we turn our focus away from the recruiter’s activities and look more closely at the passive candidate’s activities. In order to be effective at moving people through a sales funnel or pipeline, know the key factors that affect whether a person is open to moving forward or not.

So what makes a person even want to move from being a “suspect” to a “prospect”? From “prospect” to “candidate”?  There are three key decisions that your suspects, prospects, and candidates need to make in this “change process.” Let’s look at each of these.

Key Decision #1: Is This Worth My Time? keep reading…

A Tale of Two Cities: The Merging of Sourcing and Recruiting

Lou Adler
May 31, 2012, 12:15 am ET

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.  – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Of course, Dickens was referring to sourcing and recruiting circa 2012. What Dickens was really saying is that with the emergence of LinkedIn and related networking tools, sourcing should not be split apart from the full-cycle recruiting process. The work involved in both now overlaps to such a degree that you can’t logically separate the two without compromising performance. Reading between the lines of his epic novel, here’s why Dickens believes this way. keep reading…

2 Things You Should Know About the Skills Shortage

Ira Wolfe
May 30, 2012, 3:18 pm ET

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t read a blog, LinkedIn discussion, or business article challenging the existence of a skilled worker shortage.

Just last week I presented a keynote address to the Executive Women’s Roundtable in Dallas, Texas. Most of the attendees were shocked by the statistics and trends I presented about skilled worker shortages. As suspected, I encountered a few objections. Most of the arguments targeted employers. The antagonists say that management in many companies simply refuses to pay qualified workers what they are worth. I can’t argue with them on that accusation. That is absolutely true.

Some employers still don’t get it — that high unemployment does not equal more qualified workers in this new global and technology-driven economy. The bar for minimum requirements has been raised substantially. Many previously employed and experienced workers now fall under the bar. To recruit and retain skilled workers, employers will need to re-examine how they compensate their workforce.

Supply and demand also plays a part. The supply of workers — domestic and international — available to do many task-oriented jobs far exceeds demand. Jobs that were once a sure bet to middle-class wages can now be performed at a fraction of a cost in developing countries or by automation.  For those workers holding a high school diploma or less with no secondary education or trade school experience, I see low-wage, low-skill positions in your future.

But none of these arguments negates the fact that the U.S. has a significant and growing skills shortage. You need look no further than educational attainment, high school dropout rates, and basic literacy to see that U.S. employers are facing an acute shortage of skilled workers.

I can summarize my “case” for skilled worker shortages with two points. keep reading…

The China Syndrome: Recruiting Can Be Tough When There Are Only a Billion People Available

Raghav Singh
May 30, 2012, 5:46 am ET

I recently helped a client hire some engineers in China. The company had first tried to fill the jobs themselves, but had no success. When we started working on the job the hiring manager was shocked at hearing that candidates expected increases of 30 percent or more to accept a job, and even at that level there were not a lot of them. This was supposed to be easy — there are more than a billion people in the country. Chinese universities produce more than 2.5 million college graduates every year, including 30,000 doctorates and 650,000 engineers. How can it be difficult to fill any job?

CIA photo of entranceway to Shibaozhai complex via swinging foot bridge

Despite these amazing numbers, China is short of talent. Some of the shortage is the result of high demand from thousands of companies from all over the world setting up shop in China, to make, buy, or sell stuff. But much of the problem stems from two factors: education, or the lack of, and demographics. The World Economic Forum estimates that demand for talent in China will grow by 5% annually through 2020. Meeting that demand will require the country to spend 4% of GDP on education.

The government’s own estimates put spending at 2.7%, or an annual shortfall of $65 billion.

Demographics Are Destiny

There’s an old joke about China. keep reading…

Recruiting By the Numbers — Analyze This! (Part 1 of 2)

Nancy Parks
May 30, 2012, 5:38 am ET

Many great recruiting departments and organizations pride themselves on being “metrics-focused” or “metrics-driven” — And for good reason. There’s plenty of research that confirms the value of having clear strategic and operational targets.

Generic recruiting pipeline

In addition, employees appreciate having expectations (think: metrics) that are “SMART” (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound). In the recruiting world, some common metrics include time to find, time to hire, survey scores (from hiring managers and candidates), as well as various quality of hire metrics.

How confident are you that you can “hit your numbers”? Are you able to consistently and quickly deliver qualified candidates to your hiring managers? If you are highly confident in your ability to meet or exceed the expectations of your hiring managers, that’s great! Chances are, then, you “know your numbers” very, very well.

This article focuses on one specific aspect of managing opportunities — knowing some key metrics. The next article in this two-part series will focus on some specific techniques for moving individuals through your funnel, or pipeline.

What Have You Done for Me Lately? keep reading…

Referrals on the Rise at eBay as it Ponders How to Handle Pipeline

Todd Raphael
May 29, 2012, 5:30 am ET

Employee referrals are up at eBay, the owner of such brands as PayPal and StubHub, up enough that it has candidates in a pipeline that is hasn’t gotten to yet.

The percentage of hires coming via referral is about 32% at eBay, up about 5-8%, according to Debbie Roeder, the global talent attraction programs manager who oversees branding and messaging activities, referral and other programs, and works with the company’s recruitment advertising agency, TMP.

Roeder’s basic belief is that employee referrals are generally a better source of hires for all companies, hers included. She says people who know someone on the staff are typically “more suited to the culture,” more likely to fit in, and have quicker ramp-up times, partly because they may get help from the friend who referred them. Also, she says, they tend to stay longer. Part of the reason for all that, she says, is that the candidate wants to make it work because their friend gave them the lead. And, they’re probably going to be good or wouldn’t have been recommended. “I don’t just refer anybody,” she says. keep reading…

4 Reasons Why Gatekeepers Reject You

Maureen Sharib
May 29, 2012, 3:50 am ET

There are many reasons why gatekeepers reject your efforts to breach their lines. I’m going to go over four of them with you in this article, but first I want to tell you a story. keep reading…

The 14 Components of an Agile Talent Management Strategy

Dr. John Sullivan
May 28, 2012, 5:06 am ET

In business, it is becoming more apparent every day that a large-size company is less of an advantage than speed and agility. There are new stories every month about how smaller firms like Facebook, Zynga, Instagram, and Zappos dominate over larger firms in their same space.

The same shift in critical success factors toward speed and agility is also occurring in the areas of talent management and recruiting. keep reading…

Report: U.S Falling Behind Talent War, Immigration Changes Needed

Todd Raphael
May 25, 2012, 6:57 pm ET

A new report looks at U.S. immigration policies, compares them to Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, and the UK, and says changes are needed to keep America from falling being in the global battle over skilled employees.

The PDF comes from a group called the “Partnership for a New American Economy,” whose leaders include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group says the U.S. needs more young workers, and more science-math-technology types. It suggests, among other things, awarding more visas to graduates in science and math; awarding more green cards based on the needs of the American economy; and letting companies and local governments hire more people from overseas. More here.

Winning The War For Talent: 10 Ways to Build a Killer College Recruiting Program

Brendan Shields
May 25, 2012, 3:01 pm ET

The war for top university talent is on. In less than two years, Generation Y will make up more than 50% of the workforce, and the winners in the war for talent will be the organizations that hire and inspire the most driven, adaptable, and agile young professionals – regardless of company size. But what does “talent” really mean, and how do you create a world class college recruiting program to attract, recruit, develop, and retain your future key business leaders?

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


Mom! I Got a Job in This Week’s Roundup

John Zappe and Todd Raphael
May 25, 2012, 1:34 am ET

Technology prowess in Nashville; purpose at work; StrengthFinders; Mom! I Got a Job, Bamamba, and much more. Yes, it’s this week’s roundup.

Nashville: A Tech Power

Seriously? Forbes says the home of the Grand Ole Opry and its environs is one of the hottest metro areas in the U.S. for tech jobs. Umm. OK. If you say so. (We liked the pictures.) The Forbes list includes all the usual suspects, in addition to the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee area, and the equally unexpected Jacksonville, Florida area.

They made the list because Forbes ranked cities on their percentage of growth, which gives an edge to areas with few tech jobs that see a spurt. That may be why Austin, Texas, and metro Boston failed to make the list.

Purpose-driven Jobs   keep reading…

Mixing Your Messages: Getting People on Social Networks Interested in Jobs

Raghav Singh
May 24, 2012, 5:18 am ET

Quick, what’s the last ad you saw on Facebook? Don’t start thinking — just say it. Can’t think of one? Well then, what’s the most interesting post you read in the last week? The one that made you click on “like.” I’ll bet you remember that.

There’s an object lesson on the reality of social networks. Just before the Facebook IPO last week, GM announced that it was stopping all ads on Facebook, citing poor results; in other words, sales. What wasn’t mentioned is that GM is just the most recent company to abandon Facebook, following the lead of Gamestop, J.C. Penney, The Gap, Nordstrom, and Banana Republic. That’s not very surprising. The social media ad platform company Mediabrix estimates that the click through rate for ads on Facebook is just 0.05%. It’s a little better on Twitter — the company’s estimates are that retweets of commercial messages are about 3% – 5%, but of course that’s among a much smaller user base than Facebook.

Many companies are finding that advertising and social media don’t mix well. While it’s still early, the evidence so far suggests that social media users respond more to engagement than commercial messages.

But engagement isn’t easy either. It requires having to develop a conversation with people in your network in order to get your message across, and that can be a lot of work. In a BusinessWeek interview a GM executive said that Twitter ads during the Super Bowl nearly doubled the company’s followers, but added that maintaining such a campaign was far too resource-intensive for the company because a company tweet “can’t look like it came from some corporate thing” in order to be effective. It’s very labor intensive and it can’t be automated.

Product Placement

If you’re going to try and sell people on social networks, then it should be like product placement in the movies — subtle, not intrusive. keep reading…

What Motivates a Geek to Take a Job

Elizabeth Black
May 23, 2012, 5:15 am ET

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg marries his long-time girlfriend and the Washington Post writes, “Another reason, ladies, to give those college geeks a shot.”

Yes, geeks are hot. Particularly in the job market.

John Bischke, an advisor to several tech startups reports, “At a party recently a startup founder told me ‘If you could find me five great engineers in the next 90 days I’d pay you $400,000.’ Which is crazy talk. Unless you stop to consider that Instagram’s team (mostly engineers) was valued at almost $80 million per employee or that corporate development heads often value engineers at startups they are acquiring at a half-million to million dollars per person.” 

In fact, Bischke, in TechCrunch, goes on to report that coding is as hot as it’s ever been. IT recruiters tell us that “purple squirrels” (techies with very specific, very hard-to-find skills in technologies that are in very short supply) are still the bane of their existence.  Software developers in the newest technologies such as Python, Ruby, or Scala and even “older” .Net are still as scarce as the other species of purple squirrel.

Let’s take a look at the job market for these folks, and then get to what you can do about it. keep reading…

6 Ways to Blend New Employees in Better

Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest
May 22, 2012, 6:57 am ET

The integration of new talent, whether promoted from within or hired from outside the organization, represents a critical career inflection point for the new employee. Too often this process is overlooked in small businesses or simplified in larger organizations through a quick orientation or onboarding process.

This leaves people to fend for themselves and attempt to adjust to their new organization and role essentially on their own. It will negatively influence their productivity and personal experience. It will lower your new employees’ perception about your company, and ultimately your top talent will leave. They will leave because they have options. Employees want to feel important, and they want to feel that they have been given a good opportunity to integrate into their new organization.

As the recruiter, your job is to find high-potential talent. You seek candidates who are well suited to your organization both in qualification and fit. People with a high potential for talent have a lot of opportunities, as clearly seen with technical and clinical people, making the race and “fight” for these employees especially challenging. What your company offers in terms of integration, both into the position and into the company, can be, if done correctly, a competitive advantage. keep reading…

The Death of the Cubicle — and the Killers Are Collaboration and Innovation

Dr. John Sullivan
May 21, 2012, 5:51 am ET

You might think of your desk or cubicle as simply a place to do work, but forward-looking executives have found that the physical workspace has a profound impact on increasing not just productivity but also innovation. Silicon Valley didn’t invent the cubicle, but it certainly made it an integral part of not only high-tech but also business life. You may even work at a cubicle right now, but you might be surprised to know that the cubicle is dying and going the way of the fax machine and the file cabinet.

This is a gradual death, so don’t expect to see an announcement in the obituaries. The death of the cubicle began at Google and Facebook and is now spreading to numerous startups in the Bay Area. There is no need for a CSI investigation to determine the culprit, because the killer of the cubicle is the higher order need for collaboration and innovation.  keep reading…

Monster Adds Social Connections to Job Board Listings

John Zappe
May 21, 2012, 5:33 am ET

Monster took another step last week in its drive to become more social adding a “friends” connection to the thousands of listings on its jobs board.

Almost a year after launching BeKnown, its Facebook-based business network and competitor to BranchOut, Monster is now enabling its network members to see who they know at companies offering jobs on

It works just as you expect: Job seekers searching Monster are invited to “See who you know.” A click pops up a list of their BeKnown connections who work at the company. Those not already on BeKnown get an invitation to join, needing only a Facebook login. keep reading…

Saying Meetings Futile, SHRM Transparency Group Issues Survey

John Zappe
May 20, 2012, 8:41 pm ET

An insurgent group of former SHRM leaders and current members has declared that attempting to resolve differences with the current SHRM board in face-to-face meetings is futile, and is asking for help in deciding next steps.

In an email sent Sunday, the SHRM Members For Transparency said “it has become apparent — as many of you suggested it would — that continuing to meet is unlikely to be a successful means to achieving our goals.”

At this point, says the unsigned email, “We are reaching out to you now because we need your feedback to help determine SMFT’s future direction.” Encouraging the members and the SHRM regional, state, and local leaders who also were sent the email to complete a questionnaire, SMFT says, “your responses are critical and will guide us in identifying our next steps.  In many ways, your feedback may determine the future of SHRM.” keep reading…

It May Be Worth $100 Billion, But How Many Hires Will Facebook Get You?

John Zappe
May 18, 2012, 8:30 am ET

As the investment world watches Facebook’s historic IPO today, marketers are beginning to wonder if advertising on the 900-million-member social network is going to yield anything close to the bonanza of its initial stock offering.

Just this week, General Motors confirmed it was cancelling $10 million worth of ads on the site because, said the Wall Street Journal, it found they “had little impact on consumers.”

The article arrived like a bombshell, coming just days before the IPO. It set off all sorts of debate in the marketing community — and beyond, of course — as experts weighed in on both sides. Rival carmaker Ford even jumped in, firing a shot on Twitter saying, “It’s all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content & innovation.” Remember that part about “engaging content & innovation.”

For recruiters, this is more than just an interesting sidebar to the stock sale story; which, is opening (but won’t stay) at $38 a share, giving Facebook a market value of $108 billion. Rather, the General Motors withdrawal raises anew the whole issue of the effectiveness of social media recruiting, and Facebook specifically.  keep reading…

Great Expectations: The Reality of Finding Talent on Facebook

Raghav Singh
May 18, 2012, 8:15 am ET

As Facebook went public came two interesting pieces of news. The first was a CNBC poll that shows that about half of all Americans consider Facebook to be a fad that will fade away as new things come along. The second was an announcement from GM that it plans to stop advertising on the social network.

The auto manufacturer says it no longer believes that the ads produce much in the way of sales. This seems to be supported by the CNBC survey in which 8 out of 10 respondents said they hardly ever or never click on online advertising or sponsored content when using the site.

This has some implications for recruiters using social media as a sourcing channel. With users essentially ignoring ads, job postings are not likely to be effective. Even employers that have accumulated large numbers of fans for the Facebook pages are likely to reach only a small portion of them with their job postings – one analysis found that the average page post only reaches 17 percent of the page’s fans. Five out of six of a page’s fans never see it, unless supported by new likes and comments for every new post. So even if you have built up a large fan base of prospective candidates, the vast majority of them will never see your jobs.

It’s About Engagement keep reading…