Those who follow my articles know that I frequently write on the positive trends and the big ideas that recruiting leaders need to be aware of. However, I have not often written about the biggest strategic challenges or problems that corporate recruiting leaders face. Of course no one wants to dwell on the negative. But since I am predicting that during the next few years we will all encounter a completely transformed world of recruiting, it only makes sense to at least be aware of our largest current and upcoming challenges. If you don’t act proactively to mitigate these major challenges, they unfortunately may grow out of control, causing exponential damage to your firm.
Dr. John Sullivan
How a state law becomes a recruiting issue
I recently visited Boulder, Colorado, and guess what: everyone there was talking about the new marijuana law. If you are recruiting leader for a large corporation, you may fail to realize how much the laws of individual states can either positively or negatively impact your recruiting in that region. Take this Colorado marijuana law, for example. As a result of the law and its related publicity, firms trying to attract talent to the state may get a noticeable increase in applicants from younger workers who view the new law as a positive thing, making the state a great place to work (For example, the University of Colorado had a 33 percent spike in freshman enrollments this year. Some have attempted to attribute the rise at least in part due to the publicity around the law).
But a recruiting leader shouldn’t be surprised to find out that state laws can also have a negative impact on recruiting. Once more using the Colorado example, there is already some indication that employees with families are having second thoughts about relocating there because they are unsure about living in a state where their children could be continually exposed to widespread marijuana use. And before you make the assumption that the recruiting implications of this law are unique, realize that the same positive and negative impacts may come from other state laws relating to high profile issues. Those might include local laws covering gay rights/marriage, abortion, access to voting, tax rates, and school choice and even, as happened in Florida, gun laws.
Recruiting Challenges in a 420 World keep reading…
What could be more important than having everyone on your team focused and on the same page? Unfortunately, in my interactions with corporate recruiting leaders, I am frequently surprised to find that they don’t have a formal set of strategic goals for their talent acquisition function. That’s a major problem because you certainly can’t be strategic unless you have a formal written strategy (most don’t) and a corresponding set of goals to make it clear to everyone what you’re trying to accomplish. Not having clearly defined, measurable, and communicated strategic goals can add to the confusion about “what is important” and “what is less important.”
While having goals provides focus and direction, their absence can cause team members to wander and to waste time and resources in low-value areas. So if you want your team to be laser focused on the important things, have clear goals that clarify your purpose and that specify what you’re trying to accomplish and what great results would look like.
In that light, this article provides a list of the strategic goals that truly effective corporate recruiting leaders can choose from. Reaching many of these recruiting goals is more complicated because the factors involved in reaching them are not 100 percent controlled by your team. However, it’s time for recruiting leaders to learn to follow the standard business practice of assuming the captain-of-the-ship role which assumes responsibility for meeting goals that you don’t have 100 percent control over.
The Possible Strategic Goals for the Recruiting Function keep reading…
A think piece designed to stimulate your thinking on competing against the top 1 percent firms for top talent
If you’re an executive interested in recruiting, here is a scary thought to consider. For the first time in your lifetime: As a result of their compelling approach to managing talent, the elite 1 percent of firms now have a powerful recruiting brand advantage. The resulting “recruiting brand gap” between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of firms is now so wide … that most firms have given up trying to match the talent approach of the 1 percent.
The Top 1 Percent of Firms Have Unique Talent Differentiators keep reading…
Forward-looking executives seeking truly big ideas understand the value of the Davos World Economic Forum, where only thought leaders and the most senior executives at top global firms are invited to attend. If there were to be a Davos-type “big-idea session” covering strategic recruiting, this article covers the big idea topics that I would propose for the agenda.
The hectic world of day-to-day recruiting is often dominated by having to solve tactical functional problems like cutting cost per hire or identifying the correct recruiter req load. However if you are a recruiting leader who wants to make quantum improvements of more than 25 percent in your results, step back and focus exclusively on a few big ideas. Big ideas by definition are potentially high-impact strategic actions that are barely emerging, that are extremely difficult to implement, and that may become essential as the business or recruiting environment evolves and changes. Also because they require a dramatic change in thinking, almost all big ideas are instantly rejected by shortsighted individuals in recruiting.
The Top 15 Future-focused Big Ideas for Recruiting Leaders to Contemplate keep reading…
In case you didn’t hear about it, college football powerhouse Alabama recently offered a scholarship to eighth-grade football player Dylan Moses and LSU offered a scholarship to a ninth grader. Before you react in shock as a parent might, consider the fact that teenage talent may be the last remaining untapped corporate recruiting pool. keep reading…
On Wednesday, Facebook announced its nearly $19 billion purchase of the instant-messaging firm WhatsApp. But the real news about the acquisition relates to the colossal recruiting failure that occurred a handful of years earlier (as reported by Forbes) when both WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook and were rejected (Acton was also rejected by Twitter).
As Brian Acton put it ,“We’re part of the Facebook reject club.” You could easily argue that this colossal “hiring miss” cost Facebook billions, and as a result, this hiring error has to rank near the top “not hired” errors, only rivaled by HP’s rejection of Steve Jobs for not having a college degree. If you are a corporate talent manager, this and similar errors should now become a critical part of your business case for fully funding an effective recruiting team and flawless hiring process.
The Top Eight “Billion-dollar Hiring Miss Lessons” for Talent Leaders keep reading…
As a professor in a large business school, I am frequently asked, “What is the most exciting and impactful job in the corporate world?” While others may answer differently, to me the most exciting and impactful job is clearly recruiting.
It is full of excitement because every day as a recruiter you are in a head-to-head competition to attract top talent, and fortunately you know definitively within 90 days whether you have beaten the competition. The impact of a recruiter is twofold: first, you can literally change the life of an individual by placing them in their dream job, and second, you can effectively change the direction and the success of a corporation with a single great hire in a key job (i.e. recruiting LeBron to your NBA team).
So if you’re a college student ready to select a career or someone who is considering shifting into a new career field, I have compiled a list of the many reasons why you should consider becoming a corporate recruiter. keep reading…
There is an emerging recruiting trend where traditional employee referral programs are being expanded to allow non-employees to submit referrals. I call these variation “friends of the firm” referrals (FOF) because it expands the number of individuals who are looking for top talent for your firm beyond the traditional employee base. So that those looking for talent now include family, vendors, and other individuals who both like your firm and understand its talent needs.
Benefits of a “Friends of the Firm” Referral Program keep reading…
A couple years back I was asked to outline “the future of talent management” in a talk at Google headquarters. Then as now, I predicted the future of talent management will follow the “professional sports model,” which many of you undoubtedly witnessed during yesterday’s Super Bowl.
Some in HR carelessly make the mistake of instantly dismissing sports analogies as irrelevant, but those individuals fail to understand that the NFL and its teams are multibillion-dollar businesses with the same economic bottom line and the need to dominate competitors as any other corporate businesses. So if you want some talent creds, tell your boss that you watched the Super Bowl not just for enjoyment, but also in order to learn some valuable talent management lessons. My top eight talent management takeaways from the Super Bowl are listed below. keep reading…
What could be more important than having everyone on your team focused and on the same page?
Unfortunately, in my interactions with corporate recruiting leaders, I am frequently surprised to find that they don’t have a formal set of strategic goals for their talent acquisition function. That’s a major problem because you certainly can’t be strategic unless you have a formal written strategy (most don’t) and a corresponding set of goals to make it clear to everyone what you’re trying to accomplish.
Not having clearly defined, measurable, and communicated strategic goals can add to the confusion about what is important and what is less important. While having goals provides focus and direction, their absence can cause team members to “wander” and to waste time and resources in low-value areas. So if you want your team to be laser focused on the important things, have clear goals that clarify your purpose and that specify what you’re trying to accomplish and what great results would look like.
In that light, this article provides a list of the strategic goals that truly effective corporate recruiting leaders can choose from. keep reading…
It might sound silly on the surface, but fishing and recruiting have a lot in common. Any seasoned fisherman or woman would tell you without hesitation that the same bait that effectively attracts small fish simply would have no impact on attracting the harder-to-land big fish.
In recruiting, the need to match your “bait” or attraction features to your target is no different. The job and company features that would attract the average Joe to a job (I call them “paycheck jobs”) would barely get the attention of top performers, techies, and innovators. For example, the average Joe might be excited about the fact that you have good benefits while an innovator may be more interested in how often you take risks and fund innovative ideas.
There lies the problem in corporate recruiting. Almost all the information provided by corporate recruiting is designed to be general to meet a larger audience. But unless there is a separate message on your site or external to it that has “bait” that is tailored to attract this more desirable and harder to land target, they will never view your firm as desirable. keep reading…
In professional sports, almost everyone readily agrees that a top-performing athlete is worth their weight in gold. That value is clearly reflected in their compensation, where for example a top-performing NFL quarterback can get paid 10 times more than the third-string quarterback on the same team. The value of adding a LeBron James, Peyton Manning, or Lionel Messi to your team can easily exceed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The same is true in entertainment, where adding the right actor to a film or rock star to a concert can easily double the gross over an unknown performer.
Unfortunately in the corporate world, the HR function has failed to come up with a credible method for quantifying the “performance differential” between an average employee and a top performer in the same job. And as a result of not having this economic justification, executives have all too often been reluctant to fund the leading-edge recruiting, retention, and management processes that are required in order to successfully attract and retain these highly desirable top performers and innovators. In last week’s article, I demonstrated how to calculate the negative costs associated with hiring and keeping weak performers, and in this companion article, I highlight how to calculate the performance multiplier of top performers.
Calculating the Performance Multiplier of a Top Performer keep reading…
Almost every manager, when asked, readily agrees that weak employees underperform average employees by a significant amount. We certainly know from sports teams, where performance is easily measured, that there is a huge performance differential (often double or triple) between the below average, average, and top performers in the same position.
From a talent management perspective, if the “performance differential” between the average employee and the worst employee is small (less than 5 percent), it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money on performance management programs. However, when weak performers produce more than 33 percent below the average, it makes clear business sense to invest in great performance management and recruiting in order to fix or replace weak performers.
And when your calculations reveal that employee actions can have a multimillion-dollar impact (in the negative direction, with the Edward Snowden NSA document leaking case, or in the positive direction, with the US Airways Sully Sullenberger safe landing on the Hudson River), you quickly realize the need to quantify the dollar impact of these bottom- and top-performing employees.
Begin Working With the King of Metrics keep reading…
The New Year is the perfect time to reexamine and refocus your talent efforts. The coming year will see a surge in economic growth, but it will occur in a business environment with continued volatility. Succeeding in this environment will require a new approach. So before all of the activity that accompanies any new year begins, take at least an afternoon off for some “strategic thinking and planning time.” In order to guide your thinking, I propose 10 talent resolutions or focus areas which are likely to have high strategic and business impacts.
10 Strategic Action Areas in Talent Management keep reading…
The combination of the popular “Despicable Me” movies and the Christmas season made me think about who in the recruiting process should get “a lump of coal” in their stockings for their naughty behavior. Obviously any list like this that identifies problem-causers involves some generalizations, because there are always some individual exceptions. However, in any field there are individuals who hold certain job titles that all-too-often remind me of the lead character Gru in the Despicable Me movies.
Those who qualify for the Despicable Me label on my list include recruiters, other individuals who impact recruiting, and even a few recruiting tools. I’d like to open what I hope is a continuing discussion with my personal “Despicable Me top 10+ list”. The list is broken into two categories: recruiters and those who contribute to the recruiting effort.
You May Be a Despicable Me Recruiter If You Are … keep reading…
If you are looking for a comprehensive list of the corporate recruiting trends and predictions for 2014, this two-part article covers the top 25 most likely trends. Part 1 included the first 14 trends that covered new recruiting opportunities and continuing recruiting trends. In this Part 2 of the series, I cover the 11 remaining trends, including recruiting challenges/problems that corporate recruiting will likely encounter during 2014 and some recruiting areas that will likely continue to diminish in importance. I have also included a separate section covering eight developing areas that have yet to peak.
Section 3: The Biggest Strategic Recruiting Challenges keep reading…
Even if you work in a corporate recruiting function with low resources or minimal expectations for change, every recruiter still has a professional obligation to maintain their awareness of the latest trends and predictions. I have grouped 25 predictions of the leading corporate recruiting trends for 2014 into four separate sections. Part 1 includes two sections that cover 14 new opportunities and continuing current trends. Part 2 (to be published next week) includes the final two sections, which cover 11 remaining trends that cover new challenges and areas that will continue to diminish in importance.
Section 1: The Hottest Recruiting Opportunities for 2014 keep reading…
The complete guide on how to use stay interviews to improve retention
Many firms use exit interviews to find out why employees are leaving their jobs. Unfortunately, asking an employee on their last day “why are you leaving?” doesn’t provide useful information in time to prevent the turnover. A superior approach that I’ve been recommending for over 20 years is a “stay interview.” I alternatively call it a “pre-exit interview,” because it occurs before there is any hint that an employee is about to exit the firm. A stay interview helps you understand why employees stay, so that those important factors can be reinforced.
Definition: A “stay interview” is a periodic one-on-one structured retention interview between a manager and a highly valued “at-risk-of-leaving employee” that identifies and then reinforces the factors that drive an employee to stay. It also identifies and minimizes any “triggers” that might cause them to consider quitting.
The Many Benefits of Why-do-You-Stay? Interviews keep reading…
If you assume that the best students only attend the top ranked schools, you are making a big mistake. keep reading…
SeeMore's 'Big Data' Prowess Is Now Available to Small Employers
Both developments involve Monster's cloud-based semantic search, SeeMore. Both are big news for the company, representing in the first instance a market push into the long tail of employers, while in the second, a broadening of its service offerings into non-English speaking Europe. But otherwise, the developments are unconnected.
Somewhat more than a year after Monster first launched SeeMore, Monster is now offering the service to companies with as few as 50 workers. It's not a stripped down version, Javid Muhammedali, Monster's director, Product Management, assured me. "We didn't slim down the feature set."
What the developers did do was to make some adjustments so employers without a technical staff could begin to use SeeMore right after they sign up. For instance, instead of using APIs, the SMB version of SeeMore is email-based. Send one resume, or Zip up hundreds.
Now, a moment to explain SeeMore, and why even employers with only a few dozen workers should at least consider giving it a try. First, SeeMore operates in the cloud, which means the data it stores is always available, anywhere there's an Internet connection
Since it was initially designed as a talent acquisition tool, that data is typically candidate resumes. In that sense, SeeMore looks a lot like a basic ATS. However, SeeMore incorporates Monster's 6Sense technology, which makes it a powerful tool for finding candidates who match, far more precisely than any keyword search can, just the combination of skills and experience a hiring manager wants. It's a semantic search, so if you are looking for a geneticist for your coffee plantation, you won't be delivered a bunch of Java programmers.
With almost any job posting getting hundreds of applications these days, SeeMore can cover its monthly fee -- rates start in the hundreds of dollars -- just in the time it saves hiring managers from having to start through every one of them. SeeMore's 6Sense ranks the resumes -- in already the database and those coming in response to a posting -- against the qualifications and requirements.
Consider this: It can actually improve the quality of hire simply because SeeMore does rank candidates. Hiring managers -- or generalists doing the recruiting -- overwhelmed by 200, 300, or more applications, may simply not be able to keep up or keep straight all the candidates.
For that matter, as Muhammedali observed, if you discover you already have candidates with the talents and background you want, you can skip the job posting altogether and save the fee.
Besides handling all the inbound applications, one of the other uses smart HR professionals have discovered is that SeeMore can help with internal talent management. Upload the resumes of your existing personnel, and they, too, become searchable and accessible. You can use SeeMore to identify everyone with critical skills, making it easy to see where your bench is thin. Or use it to spot internal candidates with the skills needed to move into new positions.
Candidates and employees can be accessed in any number of ways, and sorted into folders. If you want to build a relationship with a pipeline of promising candidates, SeeMore will export your list into a file that can be easily merged into a personalized Outlook email.
Because SeeMore for SMBs wasn't dumbed down, it retains the useful reporting capabilities of the enterprise version. Thus, at a glance, you can see how many accounting candidates with tax expertise who also reside locally are in your database.
"It's an underserved market," says Muhammedali. SMBs "need these tools. They just don't have many options" for managing data. The product's sweet spot -- the target market -- he added, are employers between 50 and 250 employees. Larger employers who don't need any special integration, say with an existing ATS or talent management program, can also use the SMB version.
This new version of SeeMore is available only in English for Australia, Canada, the U.K. and U.S. Until today, that was true of the enterprise version as well. Now, Monster launched a French version. In the coming months, German and Dutch language versions of SeeMore will be introduced.