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Kevin Wheeler

Kevin Wheeler, the President and Founder of Global Learning Resources, Inc. , is a globally-known speaker, author, columnist, and consultant in human capital acquisition and development. Contact him at .

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Recruitment is Marketing: 3 Changes You Need to Make

by Jun 25, 2014, 12:04 am ET

Macy'sOnce upon a time we sold products much as we “sell” jobs and organizations today. At the turn of the 20th century, merchants waited for a potential buyer to show up. The buyer was supposed to know what they wanted and ask for it. Most of the merchandise was kept in drawers or under the counter. A customer had to ask for something specifically and the merchant showed them only one particular item. There was no engagement, no selling, and no touting the benefits of the product.

But, soon department stores like Macy’s changed all this by displaying items openly, running ads targeted, in particular, to women. It offered well-known socialites the newest fashions and relied on gossip and word of mouth to attract new referral customers. Window displays created dream worlds and played to emotions. They encouraged salespeople to engage with the customers, build relationships, and even try on clothes or demonstrate the product.

Recruitment has a lot to learn from this story and from marketing. keep reading…

Moving from Transactions to Engagement — 4 Recruiting Trends

by Mar 27, 2014, 5:09 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 3.08.18 PMRecruiting is finally moving away from transactional thinking and beginning to understand how to better connect and engage with relevant candidates. We are not there yet, and I may be too optimistic, but many recruiters are making the transition to engage candidates and improve their experience and are therefore making more hires, increasing candidate satisfaction, and bringing in people who become productive faster and stay longer. An exemplar here is Google that has dropped many of its previous job requirements and adopted ones based on data and results.

We are moving slowly through the hype of technology into the deeper waters of understanding candidate psychology and motivation.  Over the next five years I expect to see much less focus on tools and technology, and much more use of them to really engage candidates and improve the experience they have in finding the right use of their skills.

Here are the four trends I see unfolding. They will not all be competed in 2014 but they will certainly be well underway in many organizations.  I’d love your comments and feedback.

Engagement/Experience 2.0 keep reading…

Why MOOCs Might Revolutionize Your Recruiting Methods

by Mar 4, 2014, 12:00 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 12.58.52 PMWhile recruiters continue to gain skills in search techniques, candidates are elusive and wary of getting unsolicited emails, InMails, and efforts to get them engaged with your firm on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Recruiters should also be much smarter about how they find and engage with candidates. A really good candidate has no need for trivial engagement with you and knows that he or she can easily find another position. The best recruiters use a targeted strategy to identify which candidates are most likely to not only have the skills their organization needs, but which ones are staying current in their field, are learning new skills, and which ones are motivated to work hard.

Younger candidates are attracted to firms that offer access to learning opportunities and older candidates are anxious to gain current, relevant skills.

There may be no better way to do this than to look in-depth at what MOOCs have to offer. keep reading…

4 Reasons for Recruiting Leaders to Go to the ERE Conference in San Diego

by Feb 26, 2014, 5:50 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 7.45.24 AMAre you going to the ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo this year in San Diego?  If not, maybe you should consider it.

I have been to almost every conference since the first one in 2000. It’s hard to believe that 14 years have gone by and the conference is still the premier event for recruiters in the U.S. It presents a world-class roundup of great talent management speakers, thought leaders, and corporate talent executives.

Over the years, I have made lasting connections, forged relationships, met great recruiters and learned more than I thought I would or could! Each year I come away invigorated and more aware of the challenges and successes that have made the previous year unique.

If you have attended once and then decided not to return, I urge you to think again.

The format, agenda, and focus have changed to focus on how to be a better recruiting leader. Here are some concrete reasons to attend this year: keep reading…

Why Your Recruiting Needs to Go Mobile and How to Do It

by Nov 19, 2013, 6:24 am ET

If I were looking for a job and searched one at for your company on my mobile phone, what would I find? If you are like most firms, I will find a site heavy with text and hard to read on a phone screen. If I get even get to the stage of applying for a job, I would find it impossible without going to your career site.

If that describes your firm, you might want to think about developing a mobile-friendly recruiting process. keep reading…

Never Look a Candidate in the Eye

by Nov 12, 2013, 6:25 am ET

How much recruiting can be done virtually rather than face-to-face? Video interviewing, online simulations, talent communities, and the use of tools such as Twitter or Snapchat are heatedly debated for their value versus a face-to-face encounter. Is one way better than another?

What’s the real story? Can a recruiter effectively recruit top-quality people from entry level to mid and senior levels without any in-person interaction? keep reading…

Three Cool Products — Clear Company, Findly, and Wanted — Found at the HR Technology Conference, Las Vegas

by Oct 30, 2013, 5:34 am ET

Even though more than two weeks have passed since the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas ended, it seems that the positive vibes from the event continue.

As a futurist, whenever I attend I focus my attention on the technologies that are emerging rather than the mainstream ones that most HR professionals have heard of or that already have a large market presence. At HR Tech these are the folks at the back of hall in the small booths.

As I wandered the back of the hall, I noticed that almost every booth was populated with very young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Whether they were the founders, salespeople, or techies, they all had the energy and excitement that comes with an absolute belief in what they are doing and what their technologies will accomplish for the client.

The interesting technology is always at the edges — emerging, still forming, and often in beta, but showing us what will be capturing our attention in a few more years.

I have picked out three products in particular. keep reading…

No, We Actually Don’t Have a Shortage of Technical Talent

by Jul 26, 2013, 6:11 am ET

There have been ongoing debates for a decade or more over whether or not there is a talent shortage. If there were a real talent shortage we would have seen much different corporate behavior than we actually do see. If firms genuinely could not find the people they needed, they would have either raised wages to the point that the jobs became highly attractive or they would have invested significantly in training. Neither has happened. keep reading…

5 Ways to Build a Crowdsourcing Strategy to Uncover Hard-to-Find Talent

by May 2, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 12.12.58 PMHard-to-find talent isn’t interested in submitting resumes or engaging with career sites. These are busy people, deeply focused on a project or idea. Reaching them is not only difficult — it’s often next to impossible.

Many do not have an online presence. Most will not respond to emails, Tweets, or phone calls — if you are able to find them. They are known to their circle of friends and colleagues only, and participate online primarily in technical forums, professional sites, and through emails with associates.

An engineer I know is top in his chosen field. He is highly sought after by a small circle of technical experts for his depth of knowledge and experience. He has no LinkedIn profile, no Facebook page, and does not Tweet. He only answers his phone when he knows the caller personally. Yet, he regularly changes jobs depending on how interesting the project offered. He has never spoken with a recruiter (other than me as a friend). He finds his projects through his narrow but powerful network of fellow engineers.

How would a recruiter ever find him — or the hundreds of others who are similar? keep reading…

How to Create a Sourcing Strategy

by Mar 19, 2013, 5:40 am ET

While confusion seems to reign among recruiting leaders on how to build effective sourcing strategies, Donna Quintal at Sears Holdings Corporation has been able to craft a powerful set of analytics over the past few years to help predict where hiring will occur before the requisitions appear and what sorts of candidate communities should be cultivated to meet expected needs.

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 3.36.05 PMWhat Donna has done anyone can do — she started small, made a business case for what she did, and because of her practical and business-focused approach was able to get additional resources and expand the usefulness of her analytics.

It is not necessary to have sophisticated analytic tools or exceptional expertise. These are useful, but they are not necessary to get started. Even simple data can be powerful, and is often more useful in the beginning because it is easier to see the connection between the data and the results that business leaders respect.

Donna started with simple tools — just an Excel spreadsheet and Survey Monkey. She gathered basic data from surveys created in Survey Monkey. She gathered data about the needs and issues the hiring managers had, especially from areas where there were problems. Once she had this data, she was able to look for common issues and target areas for improvement. This was then shared with recruiters and HR for action.

I have laid out a simple model of how you could begin to set up a sourcing strategy that is both effective and that does not require great expertise. keep reading…

8 Traits of Successful Talent Leaders

by Feb 21, 2013, 5:36 am ET

What makes a person an outstanding talent leader? Is it the ability to set a vision, develop a strategy, or manage a budget? Or is it something much less visible and subtler?

Leadership is not something we are born with, although we may have a general aptitude. It takes insight into what leadership is all about and the desire to practice it in a deliberate, thoughtful, and consistent way to become good.

The points below amplify what I have learned from many successful leaders over the years.

Rule #1: You Are Not a Recruiter Anymore

keep reading…

5 Reasons Why Traditional Employment Is in Trouble

by May 9, 2012, 7:07 am ET

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 2.1 million people resigned their jobs in February, the most in any month since the start of the Great Recession.

This is startling given that the economy is not strong and that millions are out of work. The natural inclination would seem to me to be to hunker down and hang on to the job you have, no matter how bad it is. That is what happened in previous recessions. Yet these were disgruntled, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled people who voluntarily, many without other positions or jobs lined up, chose to leave.

In discussions with some of them, I heard talk about feeling they having been used to bolster executive salaries and inflate shareholder expectations unrealistically. Many felt unappreciated and disrespected — a word I hear a lot now and never used to hear at all.

And with eroding benefits and the potential of better access to health care, the hold that corporations used to have is loosening. keep reading…

6 Ways Recruiters Can Make a Difference

by Feb 28, 2012, 5:31 am ET

Never before has the time been riper for recruiters to make a real difference to the profitability of their firms. The differentiator between profits, innovative products, and long-term success is, very simply, the quality of talent.

As gatekeepers, your function is far from trivial. You are key to finding the best talent and therefore ultimately a core player in corporate success. But we continue to act like our job is about as important as sorting screws or stocking shelves. We are rarely influencers or early adopters of technology.

Influencers are noted for focus, their ability to make a case for what they want that is backed up with data, and for empowering others to act. In many cases, they also use the latest tools to raise awareness and efficiency.

If you want to be an influencer here are some ideas, concepts, and provocative moves you can use to transform your recruiting function.

Narrow the Field

Most recruiters have too large a scope and hence spread themselves very thinly, pleasing no one. keep reading…

5 Predictions for Recruitment 2012

by Jan 4, 2012, 2:31 pm ET

I was just reviewing the predictions I made for 2011 written at roughly this time a year ago. Much of what I thought would happen unfolded as expected, except for talent management. I had thought there would more focus on integrating the employee development and recruitment functions, and more internal hiring. I still think that’s on tap for this year. I was on target regarding hiring: There was no great uptick in the volume of hiring, and unemployment remained static. And I was on target with predicting that social media would be core to recruiting success and that RPOs would thrive.

Over the past two years, the way we think about work has changed. Perhaps accelerated by the recession, there is more focus now on finding satisfying and rewarding work than on just finding a job that pays the most.

More people are thinking about finding something interesting, challenging, and perhaps even fun to do that provides enough income. The key words here are interesting/challenging and enough. Fewer expect to get rich and there is less focus on the money. There is more focus on lifestyle, flexibility, free time to pursue other learning or hobbies or sports, and less interest in family. I’ll do more columns on these trends soon, but partly because of them here are the major changes that I see happening this year.

Internal Recruiting Goes Mainstream

Perhaps one of the most significant trends will be a greater focus on finding current employees to fill existing jobs. keep reading…

Eternally Stagnant Recruitment and Some Ideas to Overcome It

by Jan 3, 2012, 5:57 am ET

Roman ruins (photo - F. Tavares)Recruiting never seems to change very much. As I have often written, even with computers, smart phones, cheap video, big bandwidth, and years of accumulated experience, the way we look for people and select them looks very much the same as it looked 50 years ago.

The question is: why haven’t these tools and technologies made any significant difference?

If we look at other professions, it is clear that technology is not what makes the real difference. Take building as an example. Using only primitive hand tools, carpenters and masons from Roman times on crafted buildings that are enduring and emulated. The construction methods they used are studied and copied, while their tools gather dust in museums. Chinese accountants used abacuses to keep their books and sailors had glorified rowboats to explore the world’s oceans. It turns out that knowing how to do something is a far more critical skill than what tools are used to do it. Tools do not cause change and transformation, but methods and processes do.

The skills involved in building, accounting, or sailing are what make the difference between success and failure and often between life and death. Those who have improved the methods of building — the ones who figured out how to build skyscrapers and elevators — have contributed more to our progress than have the tools they used.

Technology saves labor and time and often lets us do things we could not do with our own muscles or brains, but it is not a substitute for core knowledge or for understanding how to do something or for human behavior.

And that is most likely why recruiting has not changed. While recruiters have many new tools, they are using traditional processes and methods without much innovation. This is most likely because, despite the hype about a talent shortage, there is really not a major problem finding talented people. If fact, most recruiters would be bored if their job became too easy — and many enjoy the hunt. Innovation usually occurs when there is an unsolvable problem or a major problem or a crisis, and recruiting has yet to run into any of those.

But what could be is still interesting. What would an efficient, updated recruiting process look like? Here are a few ideas that I think might work.

If anyone has already tried them or plans on giving them a try, I would like to hear from you in the comments section. keep reading…

Why You Should Care About Big Data

by Nov 8, 2011, 5:38 am ET

I am not sure about you, but I am reading more and more about the power of “big data.” Forrester, McKinsey, and IBM have all issued white papers or reports in the last month or two discussing the impact that the analysis of big data will have on business.

Big data refers to the totality of information available. This includes data in emails, instant messages, in video, and in audio files — all data that might help create a more complete understanding about an issue or person or provide an answer to some question. All the spreadsheets and databases we are currently using are made up of structured data, data that can be organized into columns or rows and then added or otherwise analyzed.

And, while this type of data is incredibly useful, access to unstructured data would add dimensions and depths that only the CIA can currently realize.

Historically, the volume and unstructured nature of so-called “big data” prevented much in way of analysis. An individual had to listen to the audio, watch the videos, read all the material, and integrate and analyze to form a conclusion. This is obviously very time-consuming, and requires training and the ability to assimilate many kinds of media. But we now have computers that are close to being able to look at large amounts of this kind of data and draw inferences, make suggestions, and provide summaries. The CIA and other government agencies undoubtedly already are using these tools to analyze email, voice mail, and phone calls in search of terrorists.

But these capabilities are about to be available to everyone. In the past few months Oracle announced it had acquired Endeca, a company that does dataanalysis and is building a Big Data Appliance — a computer specially designed to handle the volume of information found in unstructured data. IBM developed Watson, the computer that played against humans and won at Jeopardy, as a big data analysis machine.

HP announced a few days ago that it is integrating Autonomy, which it purchased earlier this year, into a new hardware platform for data analysis, SAS has developed a number of big-data applications, and EMC recently acquired Greenplum, another data analysis firm. Each of these firms is looking to mine the potential of the massive amounts of data that exist and that are being created.

Imagine the power these tools will potentially give to marketing and advertising folks. They may be able to specifically target individuals with messages that, based on the analysis of what they are writing or talking about, will entice them to buy a product or choose a suppler. On the more positive side, this level of understanding will make it possible for computers to take over call centers, much of customer support, and other jobs where knowing a lot about the caller as well as the products will be most useful.

What This Means for Recruiters

For recruiters, this may change everything about what we do and how we do it. keep reading…

Why Interviews Are a Waste of Time

by Sep 27, 2011, 5:38 am ET

Recruiters and hiring managers love interviews. I have never been sure why that’s the case, but it seems to satisfy a human need for power and control. An interviewer has power to recommend for a job or not. Sometimes an interviewer has the power to actually make the hiring decision, and by holding a person’s economic future and career success in your hands, you can feel very powerful.

So anyone wielding such a powerful tool should be certain of its validity and of their skill in using it. The EEOC considers the interview to be a selection test, and requires that it be validated before use. Yet, I would guesstimate that few interviews are validated at all, and the ones that are may not be delivered consistently or by a competent, trained interviewer.

Research has consistently shown that the typical unstructured interview is pretty unreliable. It does not consistently ensure that the most qualified person gets a job or that the person will perform any better than another candidate chosen with less care. In all the studies that I have looked at, the validity of choosing candidates by only using an unstructured interview process is about the same as simply picking someone at random.

Interviews are rarely done consistently from interviewer to interviewer or from candidate to candidate. Yet, we typically consider all the interview inputs for a candidate as if they were done in the same way. Therefore we are comparing apples to oranges, and the hairs we split and the time we spend agonizing over a small detail or a particular answer to an interview question is wasted.

No wonder that candidates often roll their eyes at the absurdity of the interview process. keep reading…

The Changing Nature of Work, Employment, and Recruiting

by Aug 17, 2011, 5:46 am ET

Negotiating the conditions of employment, hedging one job with another, being wary of accepting full-time jobs that put at risk other work or that compromise skill — those are becoming the normal patterns for accomplished professionals.

by fogcat5Individuals are finding new freedoms and exploring their own capacity and taste for change and entrepreneurism. Some organizations are looking for ways to adapt to all of this without endangering their own success, but it may be that these two different needs are not compatible. We will find out over the next 10 years or less. Certainly manufacturing firms and companies where hands-on work is required will not be able to be flexible enough to these changes. They will face friction between the workers whose jobs allow them to be virtual or part-time or flex-time and those whose work does not.

Here are some of the issues, paradoxes, and changes that employers, candidates, recruiters, and human resources are faced with. keep reading…

The Door Is Opening and People Are Leaving

by Jul 6, 2011, 5:22 am ET

There is going to be an exodus of workers soon from businesses all across the U.S. It seems that for all the work recruiters do at the front end, organizations are undoing it at the backend. Frustrated employees are seeking new opportunities in record numbers, but if you are prepared, your talent shortages may be over.

Earlier this week, Mercer released its What’s Working survey that found that “one in two U.S. employees [are] looking to leave or [have] checked out on the job.” Other surveys support these findings, including ones by Right Management.

Is this simply the grass-is-greener syndrome, or is there something else going on? Even though there are plenty of jobs for certain types of people — Amazon is adding 5,000 people, and McDonald’s, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are just a few others that have announced fairly large hiring plans — we are not actually out of this recession, and changing jobs is a risky business.

While money and benefits are not the primary reason people leave their employers in normal times, these times are very different. keep reading…

4 Ways to Learn if Candidates Fit Your Culture

by Jun 8, 2011, 5:04 pm ET

Have you ever hired that dream candidate who met every criteria of the position, was courted by the hiring manager, and who negotiated that huge sign-on bonus and then crashed and burned within a few months?

There are hundreds of stories like this. Candidates with great education, experience, and who have worked for all the right companies often fail miserably because they don’t fit into the culture of the company.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, believes his success has been in finding the right people — the ones who fit comfortably into the corporate culture. So do a growing number of recruiters, hiring managers, and CEOs. keep reading…