If you expect to win “The War to Keep Your Employees,” you must continually assure that the best offer that a top performing employee receives comes from inside your own firm.
In order to assure that, management must periodically approach top talent and recruit them again (re-recruit) just as if they were a new external prospect. Although I coined the term “re-recruit” more than 20 years ago, it is still an effective retention tool today. keep reading…
You’ve just locked down the perfect candidate. You sourced and screened him; your client interviewed and loved him; you extended him an offer and he accepted — time to run a victory lap!
Not so fast. keep reading…
Enough years in the recruiting business and enough missed placement opportunities by mishandling the offer scenario has taught me to be patient making job offers.
In a tight market for talent, companies want to move top candidates through the hiring process quickly and try to lock the candidate down before competitors do. But first in this race is often times a losing position, as candidates use a hybrid practical/emotional decision-making process when selecting a new job opportunity.
Psychology plays a major factor when it comes to choosing a job, and we as recruiters need to first be aware of it, understand it, then master it to achieve high closing rates on the most promising candidates. We can start down this path by exploring the different job seeker profiles we as recruiters come across.
After years of unsuccessfully courting two of the world’s preeminent neuroscientists with offers of more money, bigger and better facilities, a larger budget, and almost anything else they wanted, the University of Southern California finally closed the deal last month when its top recruiters sold them on lifestyle.
Poaching Arthur Toga and Paul Thompson and practically the entire staff of their Laboratory of Neuro Imaging from crosstown rival University of California/Los Angeles came down to things as hard to predict as a senior school official greeting janitors and doctors alike, and as hard to control as a commute.
How USC finally lured Toga and Thompson is a case study in recruiting world-class talent, showing the importance of every part of the process; from building and maintaining a relationship, to encouraging employee networking, involving the most senior people, and creating a culture where deans know janitors as well as they know their medical school faculty. keep reading…
The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you’re playing by somebody else’s rules, while quietly playing by your own. –Michael Korda
Losing a great candidate is a painful and disheartening experience. I for one, beat myself and wonder what I could have done differently as I do a cerebral post mortem. Sadly, it is the occupational hazard with which we live daily and it is a part of the game of recruiting. With that in mind, we all need to learn from our mistakes and do our best not to repeat them.
Losing great candidates will never go away completely. But we can look to some ideas and insights that will help that event to become less frequent. Please consider the following points and know that if you do lose a candidate, you played the game as well as possible. keep reading…
Anyone who has been recruiting for the last five-plus years has likely experienced the holiday candidate snatch-up. Most veteran recruiters understand that recruiting, unlike other professions, doesn’t take a break over the holidays as candidates and hiring managers are both unique and unpredictable.
Some hiring managers have an abundance of down time during this period, making it the perfect opportunity to interview and maybe even hire while a competitor is on vacation.
Though everyone needs some time off and has family obligations throughout the holiday, if prepared ahead of time, every recruiter has the opportunity to block an opponent snatcher, if not to be a snatcher themselves. Losing a candidate to another recruiter over the holidays can be avoided if certain precautions are set in place. 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…
(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.)
For the sake of this article I’m going to assume you know how to qualify your candidates regarding opportunities from the moment you first speak to them until they’ve signed the offer letter and started their new job. I’m going to assume you’ve been communicating effectively throughout every step of the interview process and have been asking quality, qualifying questions to ensure you’re not getting “sunshine blown up your skirt” regarding their interest in moving on to a new company.
There’s nothing 100% foolproof and guaranteed, but good methods of pre-qualifying candidates regarding counteroffers will make your life less stressful and more financially rewarding. In addition, if you are straightforward and authentic in your qualifying methods you may even weed out any candidates who would accept a counteroffer and possibly leave you and your client/company hanging.
Step Away From the Counteroffer!
First, let me say that I know the word “never” is a strong one. It’s absolute and I don’t use it lightly or without substantial consideration because the world I live in, both personally and professionally, is gray. That said, when it comes to considering whether or not to accept a counteroffer, remember that accepting a counteroffer only works out positively in a fraction of the cases; it’s just not worth the risk. I have known people who accepted counteroffers and in the vast majority of situations they regretted it.
Does this sound familiar? You are having a great conversation with a “rock star” candidate who has applied for one of your positions. You share the details about the position and your candidate seems genuinely excited. You might even be getting lots of “buying signals.” You assume that you are both in “violent agreement” that this is the perfect position!
So you move your rock star forward — setting up an appointment with the hiring manager. Your candidate sounds excited, and you are looking forward to one more “fill” on your scorecard for the month. Life is good!
But not so fast. keep reading…
There is no more valuable recruit than a “Purple Squirrel.” In fact, a single Purple Squirrel recruit may be more impactful than all of your other hires combined during a single year. If you’re not familiar with the term, a Purple Squirrel is the moniker that denotes an extremely rare and talented recruiting target. Purple Squirrels are valuable because they are extreme innovators. Once hired, they can change your firm’s capabilities, direction, and marketplace success almost instantly.
The benchmark Purple Squirrel was Tony Fadell, who conceived of the concept of the MP3 player while he was at Philips. But Apple recruited him away, allowing them to dominate and make billions in a product area (the iPod) where they had little expertise before recruiting him. This single Purple Squirrel acquisition made Apple billions and set the expectation for future market dominating innovations at Apple!
The most stunning thing, however, about Purple Squirrel recruiting is the fact that there is literally a zero chance that these valuable game-changers and pioneers can be recruited using the existing recruiting process at 99.5% of the world’s major corporations. For example, everyone would agree that Steve Jobs, even in his youth, was a Purple Squirrel, but the fact is that he was rejected by the recruiting process at HP, despite all his talent, simply because he had no college degree.
These purple squirrels are true pioneers with the capability of not only coming up with original ideas but also in successfully implementing them. Purple Squirrels are generally not senior executives, but instead, they are often mid-level employees in product development, technology, mathematics, social media, or the monetization of products and services. Each of these areas are essential for market domination.
Why You Should Develop a Process for Recruiting Purple Squirrels keep reading…
In Part 1, we looked at the importance of “knowing your numbers.” To be successful in meeting demand from hiring managers, great recruiters need to know how to move “suspects” (think: passive candidates) through a sales funnel, or pipeline, quickly, and effectively. And they need to know their conversion rates throughout the process.
In this article, we turn our focus away from the recruiter’s activities and look more closely at the passive candidate’s activities. In order to be effective at moving people through a sales funnel or pipeline, know the key factors that affect whether a person is open to moving forward or not.
So what makes a person even want to move from being a “suspect” to a “prospect”? From “prospect” to “candidate”? There are three key decisions that your suspects, prospects, and candidates need to make in this “change process.” Let’s look at each of these.
Key Decision #1: Is This Worth My Time? keep reading…
If you have a current or upcoming major retention problem at your firm, review your probably “rusty” current program in order to identify where it needs improvement. If you consider retention to be a major business problem, you need to decide if you’re willing to go the extra steps necessary to develop a true world-class retention program.
After over two decades of researching and implementing retention programs, I have found that there is a significant difference between the average program and an excellent or world-class one. Most HR executives don’t seem to have the time or interest in moving beyond the simple answer “yes, we have a retention program.” But if you need dramatic improvement in yours, you will find this easy-to-scan checklist to be a valuable tool in assessing where you are and where you need to be in retention. keep reading…
I’m concerned that most corporate recruiters don’t understand what it really takes to recruit passive candidates. In three minutes, I think you’ll agree. If you’re looking for candidates where the demand for talent outstrips supply, the ability to recruit top passive candidates will now be more difficult than ever. Those people with good jobs will hang on even tighter, and recruiters will need to use every technique in the book to pry them loose.
In the first article in this series I defined six skills that a recruiter must possess in order to effectively recruit passive candidates. Collectively, they’re called the 6Cs. While all are important, some are more critical than others. Here are the results of a recent poll we took of corporate and third-party recruiters asking them to define the most important of the six skills. Here’s the link to the poll so you can participate yourself. You might want to do this before you read the rest of this article. This way your responses won’t be biased.
The top three vote getters in this poll were the need to articulate a Compelling message, the ability to quickly convert your job opening into a Career move, and the Conviction that you won’t give up despite candidate reluctance to move ahead. The least important — at least according to the poll participants — were the need to Control the conversation, the ability to develop deep Connections, and Closing the deal, without money being the primary driver. If you’re a third-party recruiter you know this is upside down. Controlling, Connecting, and Closing are the most important. Without these, Compelling messages, Career opportunities, and Conviction won’t get you any more hires.
I’ll give the corporate recruiters who took the poll a break here since I didn’t define the 6Cs other than using the description shown on the chart. So let me better define and demonstrate why Controlling, Connecting, and Closing are the most important.
Why Control is #1 on the 6Cs Hit Parade
When first approached by a recruiter, passive candidates make a quick decision to engage in a conversation based on a few core pieces of information. keep reading…
All new hires have the potential of bringing with them game-changing thoughts and ideas, but no matter how rare the talent found, seldom are major business successes ever attributed to recruiting, except in the case of “lift-outs.” While not for everyone (few recruiters have the cojones or the planning skills to attempt a “lift-out”), a lift-out is the pinnacle of recruiting because it has the potential to provide an organization with all of the capability of another organization but without the expense and hassle of a corporate acquisition. It’s a powerful approach. keep reading…
Every action has an opposite and equal reaction — Newton’s Third Law of Motion
There is a dark side to a company’s ability to identify and recruit high-potential fully-employed passive candidates. The problem: the fully employed people they’re identifying, recruiting, and hiring now work for your company.
So as LinkedIn’s “auto-connect your employees with every job posting” feature becomes more pervasive, and Doug Berg at Jobs2Web figures out how to get everyone in the world into your talent community, and Monster makes sure your employees see that your competitor’s opportunities are better than what they’re doing now, expect some ugly consequences.
Here’s what I consider the domino effect of what on the surface appears to be a good thing — identifying great people and offering them what appears to be better career opportunities: keep reading…
How much would you pay to keep a superstar who has another offer? How much if the employee was just a star?
Before answering that you might want to take a look at the collection of posts talking about counteroffers. For sure, read Dr. John Sullivan’s advice on recruiting a game-changer. He wrote that shortly this summer’s remarkably chronicled — and dissected — campaign to recruit NBA star LeBron James. He announced his decision (in a one-hour TV special no less!) to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat and fellow NBA standouts Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Money was not the driving force. Winning a title was.
Back now to the original question. What would you do to keep your star from bolting? keep reading…
On the face of it, this title makes no sense. First, how could a passive candidate have multiple offers? Second, who cares? In today’s troubled economic times, when we make an offer, it’s accepted, no negotiations, no counteroffers, no competing offers. It’s just accepted. Period.
So I could leave it at that, and make this officially the shortest article I’ve ever written on ERE in 10 years. But what’s the point then? Under the low probability chance the market for top talent is finally starting to heat up a bit, recruiters might soon be faced again with the challenge of recruiting candidates with multiple offers. And, if not, they can bookmark this article for that exciting day.
So for recruiters who don’t remember what it’s like, and for those recruiters who are too young to remember the golden olden days when top candidate supply was less than demand, a little history is in order. Whenever the economy is expanding more than a few percentage points, labor shortages in certain job categories frequently occur. Under these circumstances, companies aggressively compete for this scarce talent by bidding up prices (i.e., salaries and signing bonuses) and increasing the speed of decision-making. In this hyper-heated market, mistakes are made, recently hired candidates are pursued by ultra-competitive recruiters who are paid for making placements, and hiring managers are pulling out their hair. For third-party recruiters this is what’s referred to as “the good old days.” keep reading…
Recruiting history was made this month. You may not be aware that last week marked the culmination of the most sophisticated recruiting effort executed in this century, one that will go down in history as a case study on how to recruit “game-changers.” The approaches used and the lessons to be learned are almost without comparison. If you want to recruit the best to your organization, don’t miss this opportunity to learn how “game changer” recruiting differs dramatically from typical recruiting.
“Game Changer Recruiting” Is Needed in All Organizations
You do not have to be a sports nut to realize that for the last two months numerous NBA teams have been pulling out all the stops and spending unlimited amounts of money to recruit basketball star LeBron James to their team. Simultaneously, almost-as-intensive recruiting efforts have targeted other game-changing stars including Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chris Bosh.
Sports teams and corporations alike need all the game-changers (individuals who can change the entire direction of an organization) they can get. While you might think that sports recruiting is not comparable to corporate recruiting, that notion would be erroneous. This sports-superstar recruiting effort is ultimately an illustration of world-class “game-changer recruiting.” keep reading…
Closing — the art of getting a candidate to accept an offer and begin work — is every recruiter’s primary goal. And the strongest closers share several attributes:
They craft powerful employment value propositions that lay out the selling points of the company, group, and position — as well as the present and future opportunities for growth.
They communicate clearly, asking direct and purposeful questions, listening critically to responses (spoken and implied), and remaining nimble enough to respond to unexpected issues as they arise.
They set clear expectations for candidates and hiring managers on process steps, compensation issues, and potential roadblocks such as counteroffers.
They are persistent, consistently reconfirming the primary issues throughout the process with candidate and hiring manager, and continue sourcing efforts even when a good candidate is in play.
They have a keen sense of timing, knowing when to move quickly and — just as important — when to slow the pace to accommodate a candidate’s decision-making.
Unfortunately, too many recruiters view closing as a standalone process that kicks into gear only after the interview team identifies its front-runner. In fact, the opposite is true: successful closing begins before a candidate has even been identified, and it touches every step of the process.
Let’s examine (and I’ll go into more depth at my breakout session this September) some of the ways you can bring a closer’s mindset to each step of recruiting: keep reading…
Are we rusty as corporate recruiters? We haven’t had the amount of positions to fill as we have in the past. Volume is lower. Search assignments are scarce. I almost believe we are sharper when the volume is high. With only a few searches to work on, we may forget some of the steps we need to cover, when we haven’t been working at the capacity we once were, like it was just last year.
Our skills need to be sharp — even sharper than ever. It’s more important now that we bring in the best candidates possible, and actually get the candidate to accept the offer. No room for errors. We need to go through our recruiting process and make it perfect.
It takes all you know now, when that important search comes up and once again, you kick into high gear, ready to fill it with the best this market has to offer. What we used to do with 60 jobs on our plate at once is all different, now with only a few key positions to fill. Being in “auto pilot” is something that went away last fall. Now it’s a new game, and we need all the expertise we have to pull it off.