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Mr. Background Check’s Checkup

by Oct 15, 2014, 12:55 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.51.03 PMScene: Antiseptic, hospital room filled with the latest diagnostic equipment. Mr. Background Check lies happily in bed, not a care in the world. By his side are his nurse and doctor.

Nurse cheerily: Good morning Doctor. How is Mr. Background Check today?

Doctor checking an exam chart: Well, let’s see … no heartbeat, no pulse, no brain waves

Nurse raises back of hand to mouth: You mean he’s …

Doctor interrupts: No, no, Mr. Background Check is alive and well.

Nurse: But how can that be? With no brain waves I’d have predicted he ‘d be (pause) gone.

Doctor: No surprise really. We could never predict very much from the information we get from Mr. Background Check

Nurse: Then why do we collect the information?

Doctor pauses, then angrily: Because we always have. That’s why.

Stage direction: Doctor quickly exits stage left in a huff. Nurse looks at Mr. Background Check, shrugs her shoulders and exits stage right.

Do you rely on the information garnered in background checks to make employment decisions? Most of us do. But, the research on selection methods’ ability to predict job success puts background checks near the bottom of the list. keep reading…

No Country for Young Men (and Women)

by Jul 29, 2014, 12:38 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.06.40 PMThe youth of America are finding it difficult to get jobs. Unemployment for those ages 18-29 reached 13.2 percent in May — about double the general unemployment figure. The lack of jobs for the young has many causes: fewer job opportunities overall; more older people taking jobs that would have been filled by younger workers; and a mismatch between available jobs and people available to fill them.

Fewer Full-Time Jobs

America the land of opportunity is not what it was. keep reading…

The Obsession with College Degrees: Are Too Many People Seeking a Degree for the Wrong Reasons?

by Jul 2, 2014, 12:40 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 8.46.54 PMI saw an interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz where he announced that the company would pay for most employees to get a degree online from Arizona State University. This seems like a benefit few of the company’s employees would need. Aren’t most of their baristas already people with worthless degrees?

The type I’ve described as Generation U (unemployed and underemployed). But it seems that Mr. Schultz is just echoing a sentiment that suggest that a college degree is required for most people to have a good career. This starts at the very top in America — the White House’s education imperative states that “Earning a post-secondary degree or credential is a prerequisite for 21st century jobs.”

But while a laudable goal, the pursuit of this means ignoring reality. keep reading…

What to Do If You Rely on Trained Employees

by Jul 2, 2014, 12:06 am ET

fed reserve chicagoRecently I got to be a fly-on-the-wall at the quarterly Industrial Roundtable luncheon at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Yes, it was a fancy lunch in a fancy boardroom, and I was very impressed — but that’s not the point. In the room, there were about 20 leading Midwestern industrial manufacturers and distributors updating the Fed’s staff economists on the state of their businesses and industries.

I’m neither an economist nor an expert in manufacturing, so many of the details of their reports were a bit over my head. I can say that no one in the room was particularly excited or worried by the economic situation. The general consensus was that modest growth was expected to continue for the near future.

I did hear some disturbing concerns, though. keep reading…

Stop the Excuses — a Frustrated STEM Woman’s Simple Solutions to The Diversity Recruiting Problem

by Jun 25, 2014, 4:02 pm ET

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.57.48 PMThere is a huge issue in the tech world where firms like Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook are having great difficulty recruiting technically trained diverse women (known as “diverse STEM woman” or DSW). As a STEM diverse woman myself living in the Silicon Valley, I know and have experienced firsthand the many barriers that diverse woman face. And because of my recruiting background, I have also concluded that individual firms cannot find enough women to fill these technical roles because they have continuously used the wrong recruiting approaches that fail to address the barriers that restrict the movement of the DSW between jobs.

If you are a male corporate leader working in the tech industry, you will benefit from reading this article. keep reading…

Why I Left Corporate Recruiting

by May 28, 2014, 5:59 am ET

As many of you may have read in my previous post, “What Drives Me Nuts About Staffing Agencies,” my belief is that there’s not strong differentiation in the staffing vendor world. Too often sales pitches don’t strongly reinforce their key differences in building a business case. Said another way, most firms seem to be focused on business development and not recruiting quality.

That’s a broad brush to paint the industry with and there are certainly several very strong local and national firms, but that seems to be the overall client perspective of staffing firms. With that in mind, I recently decided to move out of corporate recruiting and start a recruiting practice (actually two different firms) with an eye to doing things differently.

Our primary business which makes outbound candidate cold calls to licensed professionals, primarily in healthcare. Our second firm is a contingency practice focused on the dental space.

I decided to make the move to: keep reading…

Credit Reports in the Hiring Process: How to Bring Clarity to the Confusion

by Apr 25, 2014, 5:26 am ET

Employers use credit reports to assess a candidate’s stability and their propensity to be dishonest or commit fraud. But this implies that the HR/recruiting representative understands how to analyze derogatory items on a credit report to determine whether they are the result of unfortunate circumstances or financial mismanagement. Oftentimes the interpretation tends to be a little off. keep reading…

Stop Throwing Recruiting Under the Bus!

by Feb 18, 2014, 12:27 am ET

There are thousands of startups in Silicon Valley who all aspire to be the next Google. Unlike Google, they don’t pro-actively invest in the resources to succeed or partner with recruiting to achieve this success. Instead they expect recruiters to work miracles in attracting top tier talent to their tiny ventures that are “disruptive.” keep reading…

The ATS World: Coming Up Short

by Feb 5, 2014, 12:57 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 8.56.59 PMIn the early 2000s, I had just started working in recruiting and didn’t know anything about the industry or its tools. My first week on the job, the company was implementing a new applicant tracking system. Dave, the guy who was leading the implementation, didn’t show up my second day on the job. Soon the announcement was made that Dave had left the company and was moving.

I walked into the CEO’s office and boldly stated, “I don’t know what an ATS is, but if you’ll make me the admin on it, I’ll learn everything there is to know about it, finish the implementation, and have it running as smooth as butter.” For some reason, he believed me. I followed through with my declaration — finished the implementation and knew the system (and the business reasons) inside and out.

Over the next several years, I have implemented numerous ATS’s. I’ve also been a user on many other client systems.  I say all of this to let you know that my knowledge and expertise when it comes to an ATS is deep. I’m not just a casual observer of these systems. I know them.

What I have discovered over the years is that many of these tools shouldn’t even be available (an Excel spreadsheet would be more useful than what some offer), but there are some that get so close to hitting the mark …but then they leave out, forget, or ignore something so simple, so logical, that would make it far more useful and effective.

So here are a few of the things that should be included in every ATS … keep reading…

Social Recruiting: Too Important for Interns

by Feb 4, 2014, 12:33 am ET

At ah HR event earlier this month, I advised organizations on adding more social media to their 2014 talent acquisition efforts. Since then, I’ve heard from many organizations who told me, “We’ve assigned our intern to handle that.”

That’s a mistake. Here’s why. keep reading…

Jobs Are Available for Those Who Want to Work Hard

by Jan 29, 2014, 12:09 am ET

unemployment.jpgAs I watched the news the past couple of days, the newest hot debate is over extending unemployment benefits. The previous extension has expired, and the politicians — as always — are looking for a “winning” argument to score political points for the next election. It seems like the easiest thing to do for a politician is go around saying that the pursuit of happiness includes a free house, free healthcare, free education, free car, free smartphones, free money to everyone … who wouldn’t be for getting all of those things for free?

The problem is, they aren’t free even when a politician labels it that way. The money has to come from somewhere … as with extending unemployment benefits. So the Democrats are saying that they need to extend them again and give the unemployed a safety net (even though it was previously a 99-week safety net), and the Republicans are saying that they aren’t opposed to extending unemployment benefits, but they need to be paid for somehow.

This debate continues throughout the media as well. Analyst come on and say that extending unemployment benefits causes people to be less eager to get back to work. Why not exhaust all of the “free money” that you can get, relax a bit, and then buckle down and get back to work? There’s no doubt that some play the system in this manner. I admit that there may be some reason why some would need 99 weeks to find a job, but I would think those cases should be very rare. People can get a job doing something, or maybe even a second or third job — I’ve worked three jobs before in the past. They may not be the jobs that they are accustomed to or want, but when it comes to providing for your family, you take what you can get.

But then today, I heard the debate that said there are approximately 4 million jobs available in the U.S., so why is unemployment still high? I have a couple of thoughts on that: keep reading…

When We Connect the ‘Global Integration’ Dots, Recruiters Risk Being Defined Here by Their Practices There

by Jan 8, 2014, 12:44 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 2.42.37 PMThe hiring process has no minimum acceptable (or unacceptable) standard of practice. Anything goes and many recruiters prefer it that way. Perhaps intuitively we know that people who think of themselves as recruiters (or enjoy being seen as successful recruiters by others), are highly individualistic and, if occasionally a line is crossed, it’s easy enough to distance the professionals on the right side from those who fall outside that broad norm.

That “norm” however is typically a U.S.-centric perspective at a time when we are moving increasingly toward a global community. Internationally, the practice of recruiting isn’t nearly as individualistic and its many forms are often deeply embedded in the culture of the country.

It is here, at the edge, that some forms of recruiting include practices so egregious (when considering the desperation of those seeking work) — practices we could never imagine being associated with what we love doing. keep reading…

Employer Branding: Don’t Get Taken in By the Waffle

by Dec 26, 2013, 6:35 am ET

bpEvery few years our business lexicon gets invaded by a new cliche. Management speak like “big data” and “social hiring” … vague terms that no one can really define but are liberally trotted out typically by vendors, consultants, and conference speakers trying to impress you. The king of the management cliches at present and one that makes my skin crawl is employer branding. There. I said it — well wrote it — but I was cringing when I did.

If you ever hear someone wittering on about employer branding I dare you to interrupt them and say, “define employer branding.”

I bet most won’t give you a very good definition and will be suitably aghast that you even questioned one of recruitment’s current sacred cows, but challenge it you must. Prick the pomposity bubble that we get sucked into. I read one article recently that urged all companies to create a “compelling employer value proposition.” There were few details on what that meant or how to implement it. In short it was just waffle. Companies spend fortunes and waste thousands of hours (I know, I was part of one) designing internal value propositions to allow company recruiters to become “front-line brand ambassadors.” This is nonsense. Stop wasting your time and money.

Let’s examine what exactly people are referring to when they talk about employer branding. Let’s cut through the waffle and look at some specifics that you can actually do to boost your organization’s perception among job seekers. keep reading…

Recruiting Belongs Under The CEO

by Dec 24, 2013, 6:14 am ET

Dear Mr. CEO,

It’s come to my attention that many of you now believe recruiting key talent is the No. 1 priority nowadays.

If you really believe this — and those of you with the sense God gave mules should — then you’re probably wondering how in the world are you going to do that. keep reading…

2014 — The Year of Social HR

by Dec 6, 2013, 5:55 am ET

Work42012 was the year of social recruiting and 2013 was supposed to be the year of social HR. How far have we moved forward? Quite a bit, but not as much as I would have thought. Gamification has certainly not become mainstream and the death of the resume has been greatly exaggerated. keep reading…

How to Write a Rocking Job Description for Recruitment

by Nov 29, 2013, 6:29 am ET

The best and most effective job descriptions give people a sense of what it’s like to be a part of the company. Don’t assume that everyone knows about your company. A small blurb describing the company is good practice and helps potential candidates build a mental image of what it might be like e to work there. Personality and culture should either be directly described or be reflected in the structure and wording of the description.

Airbnb does this in a really nice simplistic way: keep reading…

Helicopter Employers

by Nov 26, 2013, 6:33 am ET

helicopterAnother recent article popped up in my email asking how well we, the employers, are measuring up to the expectations of the millennial generation. You know what my answer is to that? Enough already!

Please give me a moment to breathe, and then the rant will continue.

Ready? Yes? So am I. keep reading…

Going Once. Going Twice. Sold: Internships on the Auction Block

by Oct 31, 2013, 6:31 am ET

With the recent headlines shining a light on the corporate exploitation of interns, it’s shocking to me that some firms are auctioning off internships in the name of philanthropy. Imagine, a wealthy family of a college student or recent grad actually “making a donation” to get their kid’s foot in the door.

It’s true. Big name movie studios, glamorous fashion houses, private academic institutions, and highbrow publishing companies are just some of the many organization that have auctioned off internships — paid or unpaid — via Charitybuzz.com, the online auction house.

According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, internship auctions have “… brought in big money. In fact, one posting billed as the ‘ultimate intern experience’ gave one bidder a 12-week-long internship … for $85,000, making it the most expensive internship ever sold on the site.”

Some of these internships are really job-shadow experiences while others are actual hands-on work. Regardless, these internships are appearing on the resumes of those wealthy enough to afford steep donations, which are generally $1,500-$5,000 in value.

The first question that comes to mind: When they interview for their first “real jobs,” do these privileged students reveal the fact that their internships were unearned? The answer: Of course not!

Here are five other questions to ponder with regard to internship auctions: keep reading…

What I Learned About Assessments From a Human Resources Technology Conference

by Oct 23, 2013, 5:28 am ET

For those who love technology and value it as an essential asset to the people side of business strategy, a conference held this near in Las Vegas, the HR Technology Conference, never disappoints. This year was no exception. It  seemed to be the biggest edition yet with a dizzying array of companies offering a wide range of solutions across the entire HR landscape.

I saw the major themes permeating the trade show floor as: unprecedented levels of individual accessibility and control over information of all types; social connectivity and easy integration of everything; data and analytics attached to most things; on-demand learning everywhere one turns; and technology as a means to support personal, corporate, and social responsibility.

I’ll leave the details of the big picture views to other analysts whom I feel have offered great insights, and drill down to my specialty areas: talent acquisition and specifically talent assessments. keep reading…

Why Cold Outreach Will Always Prevail Over the ATS

by Oct 18, 2013, 6:45 am ET

response time - dials to leads.jpgApplicant tracking systems are wonderful. They help you post a job to your own site and to many job boards, track submissions, and bring up those candidates again for new job searches. They also allow you to figure out who is where in the hiring pipeline, and keep things neat and organized. Some of them even intelligently pick the most relevant resumes that are submitted directly to the company or from third-party job boards such as Monster or CareerBuilder. However, when it comes to finding real talent that is a perfect match for the position, the ATS falls short compared to the good old-fashioned sourcing and recruiting process.

When filling a position using an internal ATS, it comes down to one of these two scenarios: keep reading…