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Ed Newman

Recruiting expert Ed Newman has more than two decades of HR and talent management experience. As vice president of strategy at iMomentous, Newman is responsible for developing the innovative mobile recruitment technology strategies that ensure the company’s leadership position. He previously founded The Newman Group, a consulting firm specializing in the delivery of talent management solutions, and served as president from 1999 through 2010.

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How Does Your Mobile Strategy Compare to the Fortune 500?

by Jan 7, 2014, 12:09 am ET

What do companies like McDonalds, Macy’s, Dow Chemical, General Motors, AT&T, and Wal-Mart have in common? Well, aside from being some of the world’s most successful companies, with internationally recognized brands and billions in annual revenue, these are the only six companies who met all of the criteria in the third edition of the “Corporate Mobile Readiness Report.” This report is the third installment in an ongoing study conducted by iMomentous to specifically analyze the Fortune 500 regarding how prepared they are for the increasing volume of mobile job seekers.

The most shocking result of the research is that 95 percent of the Fortune 500 doesn’t have a mobile optimized job application process for candidates. keep reading…

An Exciting Time for the Florida Expo

by Jun 22, 2012, 6:55 am ET

As the Spring conference season comes to a close, it is hard to believe that in just a few months it will be September and time for the Fall ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida. And the summer is just getting started! If you do not have this one on your calendar, you should figure out a way to get there, and it’s not just because I will be the conference chairperson.

In my 25 years in the recruiting industry, I cannot remember a more exciting time. As the technology landscape shifts from traditional Web-based applications to the social and mobile web, the recruiting space is leading the charge. It seems like there are new recruiting solutions emerging every week, giving us all opportunities to improve, advance, and evolve our profession. With all of the exciting innovations and new solutions for recruiters, now is the time to get out and interact with your colleagues in the industry to make sure you are part of the conversation.

If that is not enough to get you there, here are few highlights from the agenda to whet your appetite: keep reading…

Improving the Internal Recruiting Process, Part 2

by Apr 19, 2005

HR has come a long way over the past decade in terms of utilizing technologies and reaching out to employees with vital career information. But despite advances in technology, most companies rely on a similar approach to internal recruiting that they used twenty years ago: post a job (this time on a website rather than a bulletin board), and then let the employee identify the opportunity that is right for him or her. This process is known as the “self-nomination approach,” and as I discussed in my last article, it has many shortcomings. The result of these shortcomings is that many employees find it easier to look for jobs outside of the company than to look for them within. The good news is that internal recruiting processes can be changed. The HR decision-maker can lead that change, and in the process allow HR to take on a more strategic role with respect to talent management. So how can a company begin to implement a more proactive recruiting process ó one that gives the company the ability to find the right employee for an opportunity, just as it gives employees the ability to reach out for opportunities that suit them? The simple answer is to institute an internal recruiting program where the HR representatives or recruiters are permitted to proactively look for candidates among the employee population to fill vacancies. Proactive internal recruiting is not a new concept. On the surface it does not appear to be overly complicated, but it is very difficult to gain the organizational buy-in to actually implement the idea. This is the most important hurdle for organizations to overcome when attempting to create a talent management mindset. One challenge will be the perception that current succession planning, leadership development, and self-nomination programs are adequate and that there is no problem. In order to drive this type of change, it will be critical to define the program in such a way that it is focused on a tangible business need and backed by data. The first step will be to identify the business issue and then provide a measure that will articulate why something needs to be done about it. Create a Retention Index to Set Goals and Measure Effectiveness The issue of retention has received a lot of attention lately, particularly with the speculation that as the economic recovery continues more people will begin searching for new job opportunities. The cost of turnover is a well-documented metric, and most companies tabulate both voluntary and involuntary turnover rates. The typical approach is to focus on voluntary turnover and try to reduce the number as much as possible. By examining exit interviews, the reasons for leaving are tabulated and programs are developed to mitigate them. While tracking turnover rates and conducting exit interviews may be helpful in identifying potential issues, a new dimension of analysis may provide a better picture of what part of the company is turning over and what part of the company is being retained. I call that measure “the retention index.” The retention index is a measure comparing the average total turnover rate for all employees to the rate of turnover within a specific demographic category. The first step in determining a retention index is to select a demographic. In the example in the first table below, employees are grouped according to performance rating. To calculate the retention index, take the average turnover rate for all employees and subtract the turnover rate of the employees within each performance category. The resulting retention index will be either a positive or negative number. If the rate of turnover within a performance category is greater than the average rate of turnover for all employees, then the retention index will be negative. This indicates a segment of the talent population that is being retained at a lower rate than the average. If the turnover rate within a performance category is less than the average rate of turnover, the index will be positive, indicating that this segment of your talent pool is being retained at a higher rate than average. To observe the total impact on a selected demographic, it is important that both voluntary and involuntary turnover be included in this analysis. Table 1 compares the retention index for employees of different levels of performance. For employees in the “far exceeds expectations” performance group, the retention index is 0%. This means the company is retaining employees in this category at the same rate as the average. For “Exceeds Expectations,” there is a retention index of negative 10%, indicating that the company is retaining employees who exceed expectations at a rate 10% below the average. The “meets expectations” and “needs improvement” categories are both positive, indicating that the company is retaining employees in these categories at 8% and 5% above the average respectively. This can be interpreted as a leak of quality talent, because the company is retaining more employees in the lower performance categories than in the higher.

keep reading…

Improving the Internal Recruiting Process: A Strategic Opportunity for HR

by Mar 29, 2005

Over the last 20 years, there has been a tremendous amount of change in human resources and recruiting. When I first got started in the field, we were called the “personnel” department, and the only computer in the office was a mainframe terminal tucked away in the storage room that gave us look-up access to payroll records. The most effective way to communicate was to type a memo on a typewriter, make a few copies, stuff them in envelopes, and distribute via interoffice mail (is there such a thing as interoffice mail anymore?). Internal job postings were printed and posted on bulletin boards near the cafeteria or break room. We used to route resumes via courier and were amazed when we got a fax machine (okay, now I am dating myself). Today, a PC or laptop sits on every desk; corporate email servers send gigabytes of data in seconds; web portals provide employees with access to all the information they could ever want; and there are enough self-service applications to make you wonder why there is still a human resources department. Despite these advancements in technology, when it comes down to organizational behavior and human nature, some things never change. Hiring managers still complain that recruiters send too many resumes that don’t fit their requirements. Recruiters think managers never provide timely feedback on candidates, and HR is still busy trying to become a strategic business partner. Most surprisingly, there has been remarkably little change in the way corporate human resources handles the internal transfer process. For HR managers and recruiters, however, this can be good news. By taking a careful look at the internal transfer process, HR can reveal new opportunities for improvement and can take on a strategic role in bringing those opportunities to fruition for the company. Is Employee Self-Nomination the Best Approach to Internal Transfers? Also known as the “internal job posting process” or “internal mobility,” internal transfer refers to the way in which employees seek out new career opportunities within the company. Today, most employees can access a corporate website with online job listings. They can search for jobs by keyword, department, or location, all in real time. In many cases they can even set up an alert that will notify them when a job gets posted that matches their interests. These are all vast improvements to the old paper-based internal transfer process; however, the vast majority of corporations still rely exclusively on a self-nomination approach for internal movement of talent. This means it is up to the employee to identify needs and opportunities on their own. Self-nomination job posting systems are important tools that give employees the ability to take their career advancement into their own hands. Unfortunately, corporations do little more than post job opportunities to identify internal employees to fill vacant positions. There is little control over whether the best employees are aware of the opportunities available or that they feel confident to pursue those opportunities. Succession planning processes and leadership development programs typically focus on the top 10% of the company, but the majority of positions that are filled internally are left to the self-service approach. This self-nomination approach to internal mobility has significantly limited the effectiveness of the HR function and presents one of the best opportunities for the HR executive to drive change and truly become a strategic business partner. Significant value is lost when a great employee chooses to leave the company for growth opportunities, particularly when there was most likely a job opening that could have provided that same opportunity internally. For the HR decision-maker, reversing that trend requires a strategy that moves beyond self-nomination and includes a more proactive approach to internal mobility. To identify opportunities for change, it is important to consider the organizational dynamics that make self-nomination the dominant methodology and its impact on a company. These include:

  • The influence of the compliance culture on internal recruiting
  • keep reading…

Change Management for Recruiting and HR

by Feb 22, 2005

Not long ago, you were hired as the director of recruiting for a Fortune 1000 firm. You were excited about your new job, because your first task was to select and roll out a new recruiting technology platform. By your estimates, your recruiters were going to save up to two hours a day with the introduction of new technology, primarily because they would no longer need to handle paper resumes ó all candidate submittals would be managed online through the corporate career site. Training has proceeded without a hitch, and your recruiters are loving the new system and all those great features. It even looks like you will be going live on time and under budget ó a true success story. During the last training session for field recruiters, you kick off the day with an overview of the project. You end your presentation with your favorite part of the new system: the fact that all applicants will be coming through the career site, directly into the database, and allowing recruiters to realize a 20% gain in productivity. “Any questions?” you ask. One of your recruiters raises her hand and asks whether hiring managers in the field will have access to the candidates in the system. You quickly explain that while the system could be configured for that, the project team did not feel it was appropriate to give them direct access, due to data privacy concerns and so forth. “But if all of the candidates will be coming directly into this system, and if my managers won’t have access to it,” she responds, “then my workload will double, because about 50% of the jobs that are posted on our website today are being filled by the managers directly. Does this mean we will be hiring more recruiters?” This little story is just to illustrate how big of an impact one tiny facet of your recruiting process can have on a major investment like the purchase of an applicant tracking system. Over the years, I have learned from observation that making an investment in recruiting technology does not automatically guarantee positive returns. While some corporations have managed the selection and implementation process well, countless other projects have ended in buyer’s remorse ó and most often the disaster is blamed on the software or vendor. If I had a nickel for every time a client asked me, “Did we pick the right system?” ó I probably wouldn’t need to be writing this article! While picking the “right system” (a solution that best meets your business requirements) is an important factor, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Implementations rarely fail due to a poor selection process. The culprit is more likely to be a failure on the part of the organization to anticipate and manage change. So what’s the solution? Change management. Change management is one of those buzzwords you hear everyone talking about. But what does it really mean? One thing is certain: change happens whether you like it or not, and people will react to it. So change management is really about how well you anticipate change and proactively manage the reactions to it. The most common reaction to change is resistance to it. This resistance can take on many forms: whining, complaining, or worse, people avoiding the change altogether and continuing to operate the way they always have. In some organizations, resistance to change can take the shape of a highly sophisticated political system where emails and voicemails are used to create subterfuge, cast and deflect blame, and generate more “CYA” material than one can possibly imagine. But no matter how sophisticated the resistance, there are also people who will embrace change and look for opportunities to capitalize on it and create positive outcomes. If these positive outcomes are identified early and if they are communicated effectively, this resistance can be significantly reduced. The scenario I described at the beginning of this article is based on a true story. The biggest issue here was the failure on the director of recruiting’s part to recognize that the positive change of capturing the candidates through a web portal created a gap in how candidates would be delivered to hiring managers in the field. Fortunately, in the case of the real life story, this gap was identified early in the process and the problem was avoided by executing on comprehensive change management strategy. So how do you develop a change management strategy? Here are a few practical change management tips for you to consider in your current or next recruiting technology initiative. 1. Ensure you have the authority to inflict change. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the authority to make the policy and procedure changes that are necessary to achieve the expected outcomes. For example, many business cases justify the purchase of a recruiting system by the expected benefit of greatly reduced staffing agency costs. But if you don’t have the authority to make a policy change that will prevent hiring managers from using headhunters, you won’t be very successful in modifying that behavior. It’s equally important to be able to implement incentives and rewards to reinforce the desired behavior. As a project manager you will rarely be granted this type of authority, so you need to make sure you get close to the person who does and make them aware of the key issues where you will need their support. If you can’t get their support, run away. Run as fast as you can. 2. Create a change grid. The purpose of a change grid is to thoroughly document and track the change issues that are identified. The change grid is a very simple document, but it’s extremely useful in helping you identify and communicate change. It will become the foundation of your change and communication strategy. You can create this grid as a table in a Word document or a spreadsheet, whichever your preference. An example change grid would look like this:

keep reading…

Recruiting Technology Trends for 2003

by Jan 7, 2003

With another year on the books and a new one staring us in the face, now is the usual time to evaluate the past and make predictions for the future. Predicting the future is always a tricky thing as it can quite often backfire on you if you are wrong. So for this article I will focus more on some specific trends that we have seen and discuss how they might impact the recruiting technology market in the coming year. 2002 was a year that brought major changes in the size and structure of recruiting departments in corporate America. For the most part recruiting departments were significantly reduced, if not completely decimated. As the economic recovery continues, the process of rebuilding will begin, which will definitely include the utilization of technology. The following three trends will play a critical role in the development and deployment of technology and tools to support the recruiting function. The Recruiting Model The recruiting model within companies will frequently change like a pendulum. Centralized recruiting functions often move toward decentralized models to provide more customer contact. Decentralized recruiting models move toward centralization to gain economies of scale. When and how the pendulum begins to swing depends greatly on what’s happening at each corporation, but for the most part the trend had been moving toward a decentralized model ó even as far as putting recruiting in the hands of the hiring manager. During the late 1990s recruiting departments grew in size, centralized, and in many cases became a separate entity from HR to address the tight labor market. During this peak, hiring managers were still screaming that they were not getting enough candidates to fill their positions. But in the last 18 months, with the change in economy, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. With the elimination of recruiters, many hiring managers have been asked to pick up the slack. During this time, while the number of recruiters has been drastically reduced, the volume of available candidates has exploded. This dynamic is creating a lot more work for fewer people to handle, and Hiring Managers are finding themselves inundated with resumes of un-screened candidates. This trend will clearly increase the demand for tools and technology that assist in the pre-screening and assessment process. I expect there to be more of this functionality added to core applicant tracking systems and for more integration opportunities to become available with niche vendors providing pre-screening and assessment services. But as the pendulum begins to swing back toward center, a focus on the recruiters and the value they can bring to an organization will resurface. As companies begin to hire more recruiters, there will be a greater emphasis on their ability to establish a network and cultivate relationships, and less emphasis on how well they can search the Internet. Hourly and Event-Based Recruiting The IT labor market shortage in the 1990s had less to do with a shrinking labor pool than it did with the number of college graduates in that particular field. As we go from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers and beyond, the real labor shortage will impact the firms that rely on hourly workers to deliver their products and services. Historically, the focus of recruitment technology has been on professional-level staffing and people with resumes. But within the last few years, many corporations are beginning to focus on ways to improve the method in which they acquire hourly workers. There are several issues that complicate hourly recruiting. In retail, the recruiting process is distributed out to the store level where the “help wanted” sign and walk-in traffic is the primary source of candidates. Many store locations are not equipped with technology and often fall outside the corporate networks. Companies often find candidates who are terminated or rejected from one location walking in and getting hired at another. In other industries, issues include the need to hire large quantities of workers for one or two profiles, such as staffing a call center, customer service operation, plant workers, or a new hotel. These require more of an event-based and candidate-centric recruiting process rather than one that is requisition based. In the last few years we have seen some new tools emerge that cater to some of these specific needs, primarily focused on the retail sector. However, it is becoming clear that larger enterprises are seeking a single solution to address all styles of recruiting, whether it is professional, profile-based, hourly, or college. Online application forms distributed through low-cost kiosks, basic and simplified assessment tools, collecting applicant data offline and synchronizing, and the ability to manage applicants by job category rather than by requisition are all features we expect to be developed further to address this growing need. The ERP Debate The discussion around major ERP vendors offering competitive applicant tracking and recruiting tools is not a new one. There has been plenty of speculation that one day the ERP players would dominate this space. It seems that every year the drum beat gets louder and louder, but still the “best in class” vendors continue to grow, prosper, and, yes, multiply! So will this prediction ever materialize? 2003 will be a pivotal year in this debate. Since the downturn in the market the influence for buying new technology has shifted back from the user to the IT department. In a recent article, I wrote about “the 800-pound gorilla” phenomenon, where in some cases the decisions about recruiting technology are being made by the CIO regardless of functionality or business requirements. I believe the reason for this is that since the CIO has already invested tens of millions of dollars into an ERP system, it is only natural for him or her to want to increase the value of that investment and add on the recruiting component. While the cost might be equal to or more than a “best in class” solution, when it is buried within the gargantuan budget of the ERP it is almost inconsequential. On the other hand, when the CIO looks at the prospect of buying a “best in class,” the costs are magnified and clearly incremental because it requires forming a relationship with a new vendor. There are several companies who have already decided to become early adopters and move ahead with the ERP recruiting tool set. Some are in the implementation process and others are simply waiting for better budget conditions. There are a few other companies who are moving ahead with “best in class” as a temporary solution until their ERP supplier can develop their tools a bit further. And of course, there are still an abundance of organizations fully committed to the “best in class” solution. How will this story end? Nobody knows. But one thing is for sure, it will greatly depend on how successful the ERP early adopters are this year. In 2002 there was great anticipation for a fall out and consolidation in the recruiting technology market, but at the end of the day there were really no major casualties. How is it that so many vendors can sustain themselves in a market this size? I personally believe that there is plenty of room because the industry has been growing into something much more than just applicant tracking systems. There is now such a broad spectrum of functionality to meet such a wide variance in business requirements that we are in an environment where the best product for one company may not be for another. The real driving force behind the survival of the vendors will be whether or not they pursue a business model that yields a profit. No matter what happens, 2003 is certainly shaping up to be an interesting year.

ERP Vendors: The 800-Pound Gorillas

by Sep 10, 2002

You were recently hired as the director of staffing for a major corporation. One of the main reasons you accepted the position was because you would be leading the initiative to select and implement a new recruiting technology platform. You form an internal team to define requirements, canvass the market, and come up with a short list of half of a dozen vendors. With the assistance of the procurement department you develop a 50-page RFP and are ready to distribute it ó when you get the call. It’s your boss. He tells you the project is cancelled, because your ERP vendor just demonstrated its latest applicant tracking module to the CIO. The solution won’t cost anything…because you already own it! The e-recruiting market exploded in the last five years, and it is expected to grow by billions of dollars in the coming years. From the beginning, this market was dominated by a few niche suppliers ó the applicant tracking software vendors. With the evolution of the Internet the market proliferated, and where there used to be very few vendors, there are now very many, including a wide variety of products and services ranging from job boards to online assessments to background checks. There are currently well over 100 applicant tracking systems available in the market, and about eight to twelve that are competing for the Fortune 500 accounts. They each have something unique to offer. Vendor Selection 101 tells us that success can only come from a detailed comparison of business requirements to system functionality. But now that the ERP vendors (such as PeopleSoft, Oracle, and SAP) are beginning to offer e-recruiting products and services, the situation described above is becoming more commonplace. The rationale for this autocratic decision-making usually includes the fact that a huge investment has already been made with the ERP vendor and that the applicant tracking module is already integrated with the HRMS. The internal pressure from the IT organization can be so intense that many HR professionals have no choice but to go along with the decision site unseen. While this might make your life easier in the short term, the long term impact could easily dismantle your staffing team. So what should you do when you find yourself up against the 800-pound-gorilla ERP vendors? Here are a few suggestions on how you can weather the storm:

  • Avoid an emotional response. The natural tendency is to get red in the face and scream NO WAY! ó and then begin to list all the reasons the ERP solution will fail. After all, you have a lot invested in this, and now someone is throwing a wrench in your plans. But it is very important to take the emotion out of your response. This is and always will be a business decision, and you had better treat it that way if you want to gain the respect of the organization, particularly the CIO. You also need to be careful of how you position your objections. If you protest that the ERP solution will never work, you will come across as biased, because you have just begun your RFP process and you are already casting judgment. The more valid objection here is the fact that circumventing the process and making a business decision without gathering and analyzing all of the facts is a bad idea. You can say, “The CIO has raised some valid business reasons to include the ERP solution in the selection process, and we plan to include them. However, no decision can be made until we have completed our objective analysis.” It’s hard to make this argument when you’re red in the face. The fact of the matter is, you need to be truly open to the idea that the ERP solution may in fact meet your overall needs the best. But the only way to find that out is to complete the process.
  • keep reading…

Recruiting Technology: Managing the Battle Within

by Jul 16, 2002

Imagine that last year your company spent hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of dollars to overhaul the technology platform that supports the recruiting function. As the director of recruiting operations for this company, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all the recruiters are using the systems and tools correctly and that the data required for reporting is there. But it seems like every week you have to manually adjust the reports to make the numbers gel. You hear that some division manager is complaining that he is being charged for a system his recruiters don’t use. You just found out that another division is out evaluating new recruiting software packages. You have provided training, you have put out detailed user guides, you have offered one on one support. “Why can’t those lazy recruiters get it?” you think. Sound familiar? It just might, because it’s happening at more and more companies these days. The battle lines between the corporate recruiting operations function and the recruiters on the front line have been drawn for some time now, but recently the stakes have gotten much higher. The spotlight is being shown on the recruiting function, as companies are demanding more accountability and demonstrable returns for the sizeable investments they’re making in recruiting technology. The recruiters who are aligned with the business have been faced with a tight labor market, a scarcity of top talent, and are under increased pressure to deliver the goods. They’ve even been forced to use the dreaded staffing agency and pay contingency fees (well, maybe not as much as of late). But the operations team is pushing the line recruiters more and more to enforce utilization and reduce those agency fees, while the recruiters themselves could care less about the system ó their main concern being how they will fill their vacancies. Recruiting operations thinks the recruiters are just lazy, too afraid to change, or not very computer literate, while recruiters think that operations has its head up in the clouds or has no clue about the needs of the business. The heat of this battle may rage at different temperatures in any given organization; however, some degree of friction almost always exists. The mere fact that one of the purposes of a recruiting operations group is to monitor system usage and compliance practically guarantees it. But I have been involved in hundreds of recruitment automation projects over the last 12 years, and I’ve found that the effectiveness of the operational support group (or individual, as the case may be) will make or break the success of a system implementation. So what can be done to mitigate this risk and stop the infighting? Here are some approaches and techniques that I have found to be essential in creating operational effectiveness. Customer Service There is no other way of looking at a recruiting operation group other than as a customer service center. In the heat of battle we often lose site of this and start pointing out all the things that recruiters are doing wrong. Well, a long time ago I learned some rules from a wise man. Rule number 1: The customer is always right. Rule number 2: If the customer is wrong, see rule number 1. Over the last ten years, with the evolution of the various shades of TQM, most of us have been taught how to identify who our internal customers are and how to identify and address their needs. These techniques should be applied to the recruiting operation. The most effective way to get your operation to turn out better customer support is to make sure the person running it has been a customer before. If you have been a recruiter, it is much easier to know what would be acceptable when it comes to system usage and procedures. Someone who has been a recruiter will have better ability to get creative and do their own acceptance testing before rolling out ideas to the team. It is a difficult position to fill because it can be a thankless job, and the compensation range for the role is nearly never enough to get the quality you need. When you finally get the right person in the role, they will eventually want to advance and move on. You can address this issue by making it a rotational assignment so that all your recruiters get to appreciate what its like on the other side of the fence. If all else fails you can outsource it. Alignment I cannot stress enough the importance of aligning the people, the process and the technology to reduce friction. If the tools are not in alignment with the way recruiters do business, they will slowly but surely slip back to their own means to track candidates. The good news is that we are doing a much better job of process alignment during the implementation in recent years. Alignment is not an event, however. It’s a continuous and never-ending task. Don’t underestimate the complexity of the dynamics embedded in recruiting. The details of a recruiting process will vary by business unit within a company, they will vary by candidate type (college vs. experienced, etc.), and the will vary by the experience and personality of a recruiter and the chemistry they create with a hiring manager. We can map processes by business, we can map by candidate type, but just try to predict the chemistry that will exist between a given recruiter and a manager. I am not suggesting that we need to cater to every idiosyncrasy, but we must identify the obstacles on an individual level and make every attempt to remove them and to find the “best practice” for that situation. But as always, one recruiter’s “best practice” can be another recruiter’s worst nightmare. There are a lot of recruiters out there who can be extremely successful with or without your technology, so you have to help them figure out how they can use your tools to be even more effective, or else the battle will rage on. Change Management One thing is certain, change is imminent. Whether it is mergers and acquisitions, re-organizations, or the turnover within recruiting ranks, this change must be managed to create any long-term success. Here we are in the middle of 2002, the dust is starting to settle, and everyone is anticipating the next wave. Over the last 12 months many organizations have decimated their recruiting organizations, and recruiting operations most likely was the first to go. For those companies that had a well-defined operational support plan, it will be relatively painless to pick up where they left off. For those without one, it will be like starting all over. It might take 3-4 months before anyone realizes there are systems in place to support them, but once someone needs to sign off on the maintenance bill or monthly fee, you can be sure a mandate will follow: “Thou must use the system, now!” This of course is the battle cry that will put the operation and recruiters at odds once again. During mergers, acquisitions, and re-orgs, the operations group should be heavily involved and sophisticated enough to make sure the new organization can be supported effectively. Innovation If we have learned anything in the last decade it’s that there will always be an onslaught of new tools in the market. The people who believe early adopters will gain the most benefit will race to acquire the latest gadgets and gizmos. The more conservative will wait for the early adopters to figure out what gets the best results and follow. Either way, if your recruiting operations group is not constantly monitoring these innovations and figuring out ways to integrate them into your technology platform, your recruiters will figure out how to use them outside of your system. Recruiting operations should also proactively benchmark how other companies are using these tools, stay plugged into user groups, and foster the sharing of information and success stories within the recruiter community. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the true value of the role of recruiting operations, and very rarely is there an adequate budget to staff it correctly. But it is the single most important success factor for attaining and sustaining your desired return on investment. By investing properly in the recruiting operations function, you can prevent your state of the art recruiting technology from becoming obsolete.

Is Talent Acquisition a Human Resources or Procurement Function?

by May 14, 2002

Three managers within the same department of the same company identify a requirement to hire a project manager simultaneously. The first manager spends about $5,000 and fills the vacancy in approximately 60 days. The second spends about $15,000 and fills the job in 20 days. The third manager fills the position in a week and spends about $24,000 spread out over the course of six months. Is this story possible? How could it be? The reality is, this could happen in just about any major corporation today. Here’s how:

  1. The first manager called HR, spent $5,000 on a newspaper ad and a posting on some Internet job boards, and maybe even got a few candidates from a job fair.
  2. keep reading…

Getting Your Recruiters To Use Your ATS

by Mar 19, 2002

Imagine you are the director of recruiting for a Fortune 1000 company. You have just completed what appears to have been a very successful implementation of a leading applicant tracking system (ATS). It was a major investment: six figures at least, maybe even seven. But the project was on time and close to budget; you have received accolades all around; the vendor uses you as a reference account; and you have been asked to speak at some upcoming HR conferences to share your success story. About nine months later you get a call from the director of EEO/diversity. She tells you that there is a problem with the reports. There are an inordinate number of jobs that were filled with only one applicant. There are an excessive number of new hired employees that do not appear on the applicant flow reports from the new, expensive system. An auditor will be coming in within the next two weeks, and you will need to go back and correct this data ASAP. Sound like a terrible nightmare? Over the past 12 years I’ve been involved in over 100 ATS implementations. Many of the projects I’ve worked on have been post implementation, taking place months or even years after a system has been installed. From my experience, I can tell you that this turns out to be a very common story. The reason? Recruiters aren’t actually using the applicant tracking system. Even when I am assisting clients in the selection of a new system, one of the most important factors is always “ease of use.” Of course, this is because the recruiters would not use the last system, leading most organizations to assume that the last system was “difficult to use.” But no matter which system you choose, it’s clear that getting your recruiters to actually use it is an important part of the implementation process. So why is it so hard to get your recruiters to use an applicant tracking system? In a nutshell, it’s because recruiters are creatures who follow the path of least resistance. In today’s e-world, all a recruiter really needs to be effective is access to the Internet, an email account (preferably using Microsoft Outlook), and a telephone. So even if you put the latest, full-functioning ATS, complete with all the bells and whistles, in front of them, if it creates more friction than those basic tools, you are already fighting an uphill battle. What can you do to avoid this phenomenon and still get a return on your investment? If you just inherited a failed implementation or you’re about to implement a new one, here are a few pointers I have found effective in encouraging recruiters to use the system:

  1. Process alignment. I define this differently than a traditional process re-engineering. Sometimes companies will flip the applecart and reinvent their recruiting process completely, but still end up with lots of friction. The key here is to align your process, the roles of the people carrying out the process, and the technology so there is as little friction as possible. A good example here is when recruiters get blamed for not entering interview dates, even though the recruiter is not involved in scheduling or participating in the interview. If the interview scheduling is pushed out to the hiring manager and his or her admin, then so should the responsibility for updating the system. Recruiters are not data entry clerks, and they hate being treated that way. The goal is to align these components in such a way that the people involved in the process use the tools to get their job done ó and as a byproduct, the data you need is captured.
  2. keep reading…