While I recruit for almost anything, over the years I’ve done a lot of software engineering recruiting. I’ve learned that software engineers in startups typically have short time frames to develop, modify, and test their software, and to do it effectively, there is a formal method called “agile software development.”
Since I usually like to understand what it is I’m recruiting for, I did some research about agile software development, and found out the the principles behind it were formulated in 2001 in a document called The Agile Manifesto. There seemed to be a great deal that could also apply to recruiting. I decided to “sample” — aka, steal it — and substitute some appropriate recruiting terms for the software terms, and about three years ago I sent it out. Here it is again: keep reading…
A lot of recruitment leaders we work with are about to launch big initiatives. They’re evaluating new systems, pulling together cross-functional teams to improve their processes, focusing on new or better metrics, or looking for ways to help their hiring managers hire better. All project-y stuff, and the good news is that they all have the budget they need to deliver what’s needed, and they’re really well resourced, with a dedicated project manager and team that is freed up to really focus on the heavy lifting required to create something great.
Right? I mean, talent is a company’s No. 1 priority, so once you make a good business case, you’ll get everything you need to execute flawlessly, right?
Wrong. keep reading…
I’m a planner; I have to juggle a career and a family, so my home calendar is my family “book of reference.” It helps us all to know who is where, doing what, at what time, and which parent is responsible.
I am a planner financially too because I have responsibilities and I also have dreams. I have a responsibility to create a financial nest-egg for retirement, my children’s education, and maybe … just maybe … the country house I dream of buying someday.
To help me plan, I engage with a financial planner who works with me on my portfolio, the degree of risk, future plans and responsibilities, as well as current needs. Granted, none of us know how the stock market will look in 20-plus years, but I feel comfortable knowing my current financial plan, and my path.
I am not a financial expert. I work in the business of talent, specifically talent acquisition. It is a domain I enjoy continue to learn in an ever-changing environment where it can be difficult to plan. But it recently dawned on me that how I plan my future financially could also apply to how my organization looks at its talent. After all, without your talent, products and services as well as new ideas and innovation would not exist. If talent is your equity, then (to quote a branded credit card company in the United States) “Do you know what’s in your wallet?” keep reading…
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” –Howard Beale, Network
I’m making a late introduction – I started writing last week after not doing so since 2009. Though it’s much easier and more enjoyable to tear apart other peoples articles, I decided to start writing some of my own.
My madness is because much of what I read as “professional wisdom from “recruiting thought leaders” is: keep reading…
Last month, I wrote a post called “Recruiters: Your Days Are Numbered” for which I was lynched in the comments thread for disparaging the recruiting profession and forecasting its demise. Even Josh Bersin — a leading authority on HR — chimed in to describe the article as “a bit of a joke.” keep reading…
You’re at a social event, catching up with an old friend or meeting someone for the first time, and the conversation turns to your career. You say “I’m a recruiter.” Their response is likely, “Oh, like a headhunter?”
If you are a headhunter, then the conversation moves on and everyone understands each other. But if you are a corporate recruiter, your response is typically “Well, not exactly; I am a recruiter for (Insert Company Name Here). This is typically followed by a quizzical look in the other person’s eye (especially if you don’t work for a company with a household name).
If your initial response was “I’m a sourcer” or “I’m a contract recruiter” or “I’m a recruiting manager,” or something along those lines, then you’ve likely just confused the other person even more.
Sound familiar? keep reading…
Recruitment, Recruitment Group, Talent Acquisition, Talent Acquisition Group, Executive Recruiters, Recruiter, Corporate Recruiters, Internet Recruiters, Sourcing Specialists, Talent Acquisition Specialist, and I am sure I am missing some monikers associated with recruiting.
I had a colleague in one of my 2012 meetings describe the job of the recruiters as being sourcing specialists. She went on to explain that recruiters don’t sit at a desk; they get out and they actively meet people. They don’t just post positions and do the administrative stuff. Sourcing specialists, on the other hand, use keywords and methodology to find key professionals to fill open vacancies … that was her way of explaining our recruiter role to some non-HR staff. In her mind, she believes that recruiters who aren’t out and about actively recruiting are sourcers.
While I spent most of my time in that meeting biting my tongue, her description caused me to think about recruitment as a profession and whether or not we are misunderstood or having an identity crisis. keep reading…
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. – Mark Twain
See if you can place this current staffing model without skipping to the end.
You are responsible for an organization that has thousands of openings to fill.
For you, big data is an everyday part of your operational initiative. Everyone (and we do mean everyone) who could possibly join your organization is known to you. Access to the details about them has been cost effective (about $.35 per) for some time.
More than just a qualified lead with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience, you also have access to other demographic characteristics (biodata) about each and every lead that relates to your organization’s “fit” and it all can be uploaded into your tracking system.
In fact not only are all (100 percent) of the potential pool of candidates known but your analysis of the factors that predict success for any one of these individuals can be calculated. So, without you ever meeting them, without their having ever heard of you, selection and assessment is moot for most. It is like finding a mine with the entire world’s supply of a given metal in a ready-to-use state … as long as you can acquire it. keep reading…
There’s no better way to start out a new year than to take one or more strategic actions. On the surface, selecting a new strategic area may seem to be difficult because at established firms, it would seem as though all of the important talent management areas would have already been addressed (i.e. with a full-time leader, a written plan, a permanent team, a yearly budget, and a set of metrics for assessing its strategic impact).
However, I have still been able to identify 10 potentially high business impact strategic areas in talent management where almost no firm has a permanent company-wide strategy, plan, and team. The fact that almost no firms do these things isn’t because they lack a potential impact (most agree it could be high), so the lack of action must be because either no one has been trained in the area or because the strategic area is highly complex or highly political. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to take action in any of these areas, review the list to see if you see the potential for a high business impact.
The Top 10 Strategic Talent Management Areas That Firms Ignore keep reading…
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. –Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
As we emerge from the strains and exertions of 2012 and look to manage our recruiting efforts in the New Year, we are all sure to suffer one ongoing problem: distractions that will eat away at our time and our productivity. Too many things both online and off scream for our attention and too many people want a piece of our day. This is not good.
I believe that the time to clear off your desk and start afresh is now, and even more then the physical aspects of cleaning house are the mental aspects of knowing that if you have a job of any significant responsibility, the watchword for renewed success will be productivity. One’s ability to get their recruiting done despite the madness and the noise that puts us in the zone Stephen Covey referred to as “the thick of thin things” is an ongoing effort with which we all struggle. (If you have not read Covey’s seminal book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People yet, I can’t imagine a better way to kickstart the year off in your favor.)
With this in mind, I offer 10 insights that will surely contribute to enhanced success as a recruiter in the year all of us are about to enter. keep reading…
bust of Socrates
I’ve always thought corporate recruiters could learn a lot from “headhunters” — not because I’m biased due to years spent in third-party recruitment (both as a recruiter and manager). It’s just that when I came to the “other side” I noticed one glaring weakness.
Corporate recruiters are very “process driven” and not very good, well, “hunters”; at least that tends to be the case for corporate recruiters newer to the profession. They get the procedures down quickly but they just haven’t been exposed to the world of recruiting and closing higher-level talent. More senior corporate recruiters, on average, have been exposed to both sides and may already use some of the principles I’ll discuss.
A few quick facts about recruiting top talent in the U.S. Currently in the U.S. unemployment is hovering around 8%, yet, more than 52% of employers (according to the Wall Street Journal) say they cannot fill their positions. How can this be? How can we have, in this economy, a jobs gap of nearly 4 million? keep reading…
If you are going to be strategic, you must be forward looking. Obviously forward-looking people stay aware of current trends. I’ve written extensively on recruiting trends, but the definition of “a trend” means that a significant group of firms have already implemented the practice. And that means that if you merely identify and copy current trends, by the time your firm implements them, you will have fallen behind the benchmark firms that would have continued to develop new approaches. If you are tired of simply playing catch-up and you want to “get ahead” of your talent competition, you need to move beyond current trends and instead identify “next year’s” upcoming practices long before they gain wide acceptance.
If you want to prepare for what’s next on the horizon, here is my list of “next year’s recruiting headlines” or “next practices” that will soon be adopted by leading edge firms. Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with some of these “next practices” because they are seldom written about and they are even less frequently implemented.
A List of the Top 20 Recruiting Headlines That You Can Expect to Read Next Year keep reading…
Deming, around 1980, in Japan
I was training a group of hiring managers in New York City a few weeks ago on the fine points of Performance-based Hiring. The conversation quickly focused to quality of hire: how to both measure and maximize it. One of the sales directors in the room was quite frustrated with his recruiting team, and suggested the way he controlled quality of hire was by rejecting 9 of 10 candidates their recruiters presented. The rest of the hiring managers then chimed by saying how disappointed they were with the quality of the candidates sent by their recruiters.
They attributed the primary cause to their recruiters’ lack of understanding of real job requirements. I suggested the problem was more likely a quality-control issue: using inspection at the end of the process to control quality of hire, rather than defining and controlling it at the beginning. keep reading…
Talent management and recruitment, or really any of HR’s core functions, can be one of the most rewarding professions out there. It comes ready with excitement, positive challenges, and constant opportunities to learn. It is this sense of fast-paced, interesting work (with people, you do enjoy working with people, right?) that appeals to so many young professionals and is a contributing factor as to why the field can often be a difficult career to break into. However, as with any profession, those already entrenched in the war for talent have their own share of difficulties.
Within the ranks, it can often seem that opportunities to advance are rare. Outside forces dictate the how and why of advancement and everything from market demands to internal perception of the function to closed-door politics can come into play. Outside of building a strong resume and giving the proverbial 110 percent, moving up the corporate ladder is an undertaking that falls outside most talent professional’s locus of control.
As difficult as it may be for established employees, those trying to break into the field are too often left with the feeling that they are just butting their head against a wall, looking for the well-kept secret that has prevented them from landing that first all-important gig. Establishing, building, and maintaining a career in the talent management arena can be without a doubt a frustrating endeavor.
A quick tete-a-tete over drinks, on a professional message board or at a networking event, will often show that talent management professionals, often reserved in the workplace, hold no qualms about airing their grievances off site amongst their peers. Whether in a classroom setting working toward a graduate degree, attending a professional certification prep class, or simply kicking back after a long day — those working in field, the people listening to and fixing problems all day long, have their own fair share of issues.
Some of the more commons complaints I’ve heard over the years from talent pros (and others in the HR field) include: keep reading…
It’s not the big that eat the small. It’s the fast that eat the slow! --Author Jason Jennings
If the rate of change inside your firm is slower than the rate of change occurring outside your firm, your end is in sight. --Jack Welch’s philosophy
Even the most optimistic business leaders have begun to realize that the incredible business turbulence that we have been undergoing for the last decade isn’t going to end. In fact, turbulence, volatility, and continuous rapid change are likely to become the “new normal.” Recently an excellent research study by the leading consulting firm BCG effectively identified and then quantified this high level of turbulence. A summary of some of their key findings include:
- Turbulence strikes more often than in the past — More than ½ of the most turbulent quarters over the past 30 years have been in the past decade.
- Turbulence has increased in intensity – Volatility in revenue growth, in revenue ranking, and in operating margins have all more than doubled since the 1960s.
- Turbulence today persists much longer than in preceding periods – The average duration of periods of high turbulence has quadrupled over the past three decades.
- Turbulence in key business results – key business areas including revenue growth, profitability, and industry rank have all shown triple-digit percentage increases over the last few decades.
The Goal Is to Become an “Adaptive Firm” and Function keep reading…
Corporate recruiting is a field where there are distinct and measurable differences between the average and elite functions. In short, what that means is that “elite” recruiting functions (defined as the top 1%) produce superior results and act in ways that are totally different from the average function.
I am frequently asked during corporate presentations to cite the difference between “good and great” recruiting functions. Well, as a former chief talent officer and someone who has spent years devoted to identifying what makes the handful of elite recruiting functions unique, I’ve come up with an assessment tool. It is a checklist that can be used by recruiting leaders as a self-assessment tool in order to determine how they compare “side-by-side” to the few firms that have reached this elite status. The 40 defining characteristics are broken into seven distinct categories and they are listed in a numbered format for easy scanning.
The 40 Defining Characteristics of an “Elite Recruiting Function” in 2012 keep reading…
In this webinar, Chris Havrilla and Ben Gotkin talk about the top 3 mistakes made when evaluating and implementing recruiting technology. Listen in to this fascinating episode.
When you are battling for talent in a highly competitive environment, you are likely to encounter more than your share of failures. In fact, because underperformance in recruiting is so common, I am constantly surprised when corporate recruiting leaders have no formal process for identifying specifically why their current recruiting efforts don’t produce their desired level of results. The formal method for identifying the factors that cause a process to fail is known as “failure analysis.” But unfortunately, even though it is used throughout business, failure analysis is seldom applied to the recruiting process.
I was recently reminded of the need for failure analysis while researching the extensive recruiting problems of oil and gas firms in the booming area around Alberta, Canada. I’ll be presenting my recruiting solutions at the Talent Hub Conference, Metropolitan Centre in Calgary, on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. But if you’re not involved in the petroleum industry, don’t worry because the same failure identification and prospect research processes can and should be used in any industry. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “prospect research” it is a form of market research which involves the use of surveys and interviews to identify what worked and what didn’t work during the recruiting process and precisely what factors attract and turn off top prospects.
Prospect Market Research Is Required keep reading…
Within most corporate HR functions, the atmosphere is simply too politically charged to even consider raising this powerful question:“Which HR function ranks No. 1 with the highest impact on two critical business success measures — revenue growth and profit margins?” Well, the data is in, and we now definitively know that the answer is … recruiting is the most impactful HR function!
In my many years of working with corporations, I have come across only a handful of HR leaders who have taken the time to quantify the business impacts of recruiting (Google and Apple are the best). But if you shift industries and look at the sports and entertainment industries, you will find that it is well established that recruiting is the most impactful people management function.
In pro basketball for example, you could take an average individual player and attempt to develop them over time into a “LeBron James.” However, if you wanted immediate results with a low risk of failure, you would simply recruit LeBron away from his current team. But fortunately, in the corporate world there has now been a breakthrough global study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group that reveals the relative value produced by each of the different HR functions.
From the Best to the Worst
If you’re curious as to whether a particular HR function produces a high or low business impact, this section will reveal their ranking. keep reading…
In recent years issues with the RPO model have been well documented. It’s not so much the model itself because the theory is sound, on paper. It’s the execution of the model and competition driving cost-saving promises which can’t be met unless corners are cut or high volumes of lesser-experienced RPO recruiters are hired to fulfill demand.
Whether it’s an RPO model or simply an in-house direct recruiter model, the same conundrum exists. keep reading…