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Matt Lowney

Matt Lowney is currently EVP of talent & operations at The Buntin Group, Tennessee’s largest advertising agency. Previously he was director of recruiting for HealthSpring and recruiting manager at DaVita. Connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattlowney

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Better Candidate Communication

by
Matt Lowney
Oct 9, 2013, 6:45 am ET

As a client I try to provide my agency partners transparent and honest feedback regarding their candidates. Agencies hate hearing that a candidate was not a “cultural fit” or the team just didn’t “see it.” So I try not to be that type of client. This open feedback, though, needs to be filtered when delivering the negative news to the candidate. Just because I said something to the recruiter doesn’t mean it should be said to the candidate. The candidate invested time and energy to come visit with my team so I want to be respectful of their effort. However, some candidates don’t have the maturity to accept the feedback in the spirit of professional improvement in which is intended.

Recently, I shared with a recruiter that his candidate just didn’t seem engaged with the interview (which he wasn’t). The candidate couldn’t focus on discussion and at times seemed like he was annoyed with some of my questions. The interview didn’t go well and I provided detailed feedback to the recruiter. My parting comment to the recruiter was that “I’m not sure the candidate even wanted the position.” This was an accurate summary of our interaction with his candidate. Additionally I asked the recruiter to cushion the feedback, which was pointed (and won’t be shared here). Instead the recruiter chose to deliver the message almost verbatim. The resulting follow up email to me and our leadership team was less than well received.

The lessons learned from this situation are threefold: keep reading…

What Drives Me Nuts About Staffing Agencies (and How They Can Work as a Better Partner)

by
Matt Lowney
Aug 2, 2012, 5:26 am ET

(Editor’s note: With so many new ERE members coming on all the time, we thought that each week we’d republish one popular classic post. Here’s one, below.)

Over the last several years I’ve sat through no less than 100 staffing agency “pitches” in person or over the phone. At this point these meetings have begun to all sound very similar, so I’ll bucket agency sales pitches in to these three areas.

“We’re Different.” Almost every agency says they have a special/unique process for reviewing resumes, sourcing candidates, and access to candidates that sets them apart from their competitors. From my experience I’ve not really seen the impact of their “unique” process in the candidates they’ve submitted. Additionally, most agencies don’t appear to have a thorough understanding of their competition. At some point in almost every vendor meeting someone says that they don’t push paper like “everyone else.” I would encourage vendors to have a much more in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape before they make such broad sweeping indictments of their competitors.

“We Build Relationships.” Every vendor I’ve ever sat down with has said they build meaningful relationships with managers and they “get” our business unlike any other vendor in town. As a result they tell me they have the ability to make a cultural fit for our organization. To this statement I like to ask: “Give me an example as to how you screen for cultural fit.” I’ve been underwhelmed by all responses to this point.

“We Have a Proprietary Database.” I’ve heard this one a million times. Vendor ABC has a database of millions of qualified/ interested candidates at their beck and call to fill contract needs. I don’t doubt they have a long list of former contractors they’ve placed, but in my experience most contractors don’t feel the same level of loyalty to their staffing agency. Most contractors are more interested in the type of work, the end client, and compensation. And before you rebuke, I will concede there are notable exceptions to this point, but overall, it’s correct.

Overall my experience is that candidate screening is indeed not that different; that staffing agencies do not have a special candidate database (why, then do I get the same candidate submitted by different vendors all the time?); and your partnership with me is not that strong. In fact, too many vendors treat me as someone to work around than to work with.

Here are my suggestions. keep reading…

Unearthing Employment Brand

by
Matt Lowney
Mar 22, 2012, 5:02 am ET

Until recently I was not a huge believer in putting a lot of effort, money, or time into driving company employment branding initiatives. It felt a little fluffy to me, and, honestly, I thought recruiting was a hands-on discipline (cold calling, relationship building, networking, etc.) measured in end results like time to fill, cost per hire, time to source, etc. I didn’t understand the place employer branding held in an overall corporate recruiting strategy. Frankly I was not that engaged in the branding efforts either. My gut tells me there are a lot of recruiters out there that feel the same way.

I would also add that employment advertising started to all sound and look the same. I think “employer of choice” or “competitive salary and benefits” are phrases that have lost any real meaning. And in healthcare (my background), all ads seemed to look the same — smiling multi-cultural clinicians in scrub standing in front of a nurse’s station (if you haven’t noticed … it’s true — check it out).

Recently this perspective changed for me. I’ve taken a talent leadership role with an advertising agency (full disclosure: my company does not handle employment advertising) and I would say that I now “get it” …  at least way more than I ever did before. To this point, my exposure to employment branding has concentrated on coming up with clever job postings that sounded cool or trying to figure out the best place to post a position. That’s why employment branding didn’t connect to me.

Let’s talk about what employment branding is and is not: keep reading…

Are There Too Many Staffing Agencies?

by
Matt Lowney
Nov 16, 2011, 5:59 am ET

Staffing agencies struggle to differentiate their brand message and uniqueness in a sea of competition. In my dealings with staffing agencies, their pitches all begin to sound the same, but they also recognize that the sheer volume of competitors makes it difficult to sound different, if they truly are. In most local markets there are a handful of solid players and a larger number of peripheral staffing firms that tend to create the “noise” (read: sales calls). Here are some thoughts on being a top staffing agency player in your market. keep reading…

Only 1 Way to Recruit Talent

by
Matt Lowney
Nov 9, 2011, 5:48 am ET

For a thought experiment (and to encourage creative conversation), I recently asked a few recruiting friends, “If you were left with only one method or tool for recruiting talent, what would you use?”

I’ve listed a few responses below and included some dialogue regarding pros and cons of each. Hopefully this discussion will help recruiters and recruiting leaders focus their energies on those tools that actually bring value to their organizations. keep reading…

Why Corporate Recruiting Departments (Sometimes) Struggle

by
Matt Lowney
Oct 19, 2011, 5:11 am ET

Most corporate recruiting departments struggle to fully support the recruiting needs of their organizations. This is not to say that there aren’t strong recruiting functions or recruiters on the corporate side, but corporate recruiting does struggle with an image issue that is at least somewhat deserved. A couple weeks ago I published an article that stirred up conversation between corporate and third party recruiters, so I thought I’d follow up with a more detailed understanding of the corporate recruiter’s role. This perspective should be beneficial for some agency recruiters to understand why their corporate recruiting counterparts sometimes struggle to fill openings, and also suggests what corporate recruiting leaders should be fixing.  keep reading…

Connecting Recruiter Activity to Recruiting Vision

by
Matt Lowney
May 3, 2011, 5:10 am ET

Does your recruiting department have a vision statement? Do you have a clear strategy to accomplish this vision? If you are like most in recruiting functions, you probably do not (and likely should). How else will your recruiters know how their daily activities tie to departmental and organizational success?

At DaVita, our recruiting team has crafted a strategic intent that states, “We create competitive advantage through recruiting excellence, ultimately reflected in leading patient & financial outcomes.”

Additionally, we focus on five core areas to implement this strategy: Alignment with Operations, Top Players, Clear Brand Differentiation, Relentless Sourcing, and Service Excellence. These five core principals drive our team’s daily recruiting practices and project assignments. As a recruiting leadership team, we check back regularly to ensure that we don’t lose sight of our strategic intent and make sure these are still the right areas of focus. Below is an explanation of our five core principals. keep reading…