I have officially lost control of the remote on Sundays, Saturdays, and Mondays. In 15 years of love and marriage with a football fanatic, I haven’t learned a whole lot about the whole pastime, but I have learned that most men know a lot about football and care about it a lot more than recruiting. I also have noticed that most men use football to talk to each other on holidays, campouts, and soccer games. I would imagine it accounts for about 70% of all guy small talk. So I started thinking about using football as a metaphor for getting managers to do what I want, which is help me sell the company, the candidate, and get me hires. I didn’t come up with this idea, and it isn’t very original, but by golly, it works. Here’s how to do it. keep reading…
Great people don’t make a job change for money. Great people have to be enticed to talk to a great organization. How I overcome this is by arguing that my “tribe” is a better fit for them than their current tribe. My tribe is cooler, funner, more interesting, faster, more successful, and contains less management-by-spreadsheet than their company. Come jump ship and work with us. This is the difference between “sourcing as selling” and resume mining.
I chose the word tribe because it is a good, short noun for the idea that “birds of a feather flock together.” And top managers can be a destination. They have their own posse and peeps who follow them wherever they work. I know: I work for one. But even the most incredible managers eventually run out of people to call when rounding up the usual suspects. This is where I come in. I sell the manager and the team. I look at the group that I am headhunting for and try to find some common denominators. keep reading…
The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson is about an emperor who hires two swindlers to create a new suit. The emperor presides over a kingdom of prosperity and peace and is pretty concerned about appearances. The swindlers manage to sell him a new suit of invisible material that they claim is visible only to those worthy to lay eyes upon him. Once it is “finished” they drape him in pantomime and he proceeds to swagger naked amongst his minions only to called out by a child who says “the emperor has no clothes!” The moral of the story is that none of his loyal inner circle bothered to tell him he was naked. It had to be a kid on the street who didn’t have anything to lose to point out his folly.
In today’s age, the fable is a metaphor for those in HR who are unwilling to state an obvious truth to a higher up out of fear of appearing stupid, sacrilegious, or politically “incorrect.” They would sooner let a company’s reputation stick out buck naked than tell the truth about the company culture and reputation. This is co-dependency with a superior who wants Yes-men, not accountable partners.
I arrived at this observation because I am always struck by the stark difference between what companies think their employees think about them and what they tell me when I interview them. I also am always shocked about what those employees will say on Twitter, Vault, and any other number of “pink slip” sites about these top-rated employers. I wonder if anyone in competitive intelligence, PR, marketing, or HR ever reads about the fallout of bad managers making bad decisions, including furloughs, reduced hours, wearing double hats, etc. When did having a bad reputation not count?
I’ll give you an example of something that happened to me at Wal-Mart. keep reading…
Originally published April 17, 2007.
In an earlier article, I made a case for cultivating a more civil attitude during the interview process as actually a means of growing a long-term referral base and to stem negative reverberation from bad candidate experiences.
In this article, I want to highlight some of the actions that drive candidates crazy so we can try to avoid them at all costs.
I am Generation X, one of the “slackers” who started out professionally frustrated, cynical, and as an underachiever. I read all about it throughout the 90s. I did not choose to be a part of this group; I simply was born into that time.
Somehow beating all expectations to the contrary, I got a real job. I pause here and explain this so you may decide right away how offended you may get by the gross oversimplification of people, time, and society that I am about to describe. In my mind, quite simply, there is nothing I can say about Generation Y that hasn’t already been said about X.
Once upon a time there was a recruiter who was bored at his desk and lacking candidates. To amuse himself, he went on to a resume website and typed in a few random keywords to find some lost-sheep candidates.
Once he found a few repeat offenders, he called out to all of his hiring managers and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! Here’s a candidate who is great and probably has multiple offers awaiting him!”
If you have read a newspaper, business journal, or online media outlet lately, you know we are in or on the brink of a serious candidate shortage.
The Beige Book, published by the 11th District of the Federal Reserve, said in December 2006 that, “worker shortages were reported by service, manufacturing, finance, and energy firms. A lack of labor is a capacity constraint for some firms and, in some areas, companies have resorted to using billboards in an attempt to attract workers. While the shortage extends to many types of skilled and semi-skilled workers, of particular note in this survey were reports of difficulty finding engineers, electricians, high-tech technicians, certified mechanics, and accountants.”
Even before “Legally Blonde 2,” I just knew I was born to be a lobbyist. After all, I have the heart of a debater and the dogged belief that I can think my way through anything. Then again, there are strong parallels between lobbyists and headhunters. The best ones are the most persuasive, informed, well-connected, and thick-skinned people on the planet. Sound like a great recruiter? Well that’s because lobbyists are ó they’re recruiting for their cause, and in their company’s best interest, just like us. How do you lobby a manager to consider your passive candidate? Consider the following:
- Political strength and level of commitment of leading sponsors and supporters. Before you present your candidate to your manager, line up your supporters for them. Who do does the candidate know internally who can vouch for their skills? Do they share an alma mater or have a common network, such as a previous employer? Besides your testimony, can you elicit a connection with the manager that goes beyond a verbal pitch? Consider the political ramifications of the referral. Is the employee referrer well-connected, or can you find someone better who can perform that function? Get it up front instead of trying to turn the tide in favor of the candidate after the interview.
Deep in the heart of darkness in the world of cutthroat recruiting, we all know that we can source the best candidates in the world, but they must meet a hiring manager to be hired. Today most managers are doing at least one job — traveling, managing, training, and selling in the consulting, semiconductor, and telecom world. Here are a few of the reasons that I hear that they cannot interview or talk to candidates:
- “I can’t commit to a specific day every week to talk or interview. Clients come first.”
We know we should go after targets to build a pipeline of candidates — but how do you do it? Let’s assume that you start with a list of 50 to 500 people who on paper have the titles that you want and are not off limits. Before you dial, assemble your tools:
- Hone the pitch. Write down a five-second elevator pitch such as the following: