While working in-house as a headhunter (the real market-mapping and cold-call headhunting “headhunter”) I often got asked the question about the ethics of direct headhunting from competitors. When I was giving a talk on the value of in-house headhunting at the 2012 Fall ERE conference in Miami, someone in the audience actually asked me this very question, “Do you think it’s ethical to headhunt from competitors?” keep reading…
The war for technical talent is so intense that a handful of firms like Google, Facebook, Cisco, Apple, Twitter, and Zynga have shifted to a powerful but rare recruiting sub-strategy known as acqui-hiring. It involves established firms acquiring startup firms not for their products (only Facebook admits it) but instead primarily to capture an entire team of talented engineers and designers at once.
If in the past after reading about an announcement of an acquisition you’ve wondered to yourself why a technical giant was bothering to buy a startup with no profit, a seemingly unrelated product, and a product that was in a completely different field, now you know why. The strategy has recently received some added publicity because Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer recently announced that she was going to adopt the strategy used by her former employer Google, a king of acqui-hires. Mark Zuckerberg has boasted that “Facebook has not once bought a company for the company itself. We buy companies to get excellent people” (“Engineers are worth half a million to one million” — V Smith).
Acqui-hiring (acquisition hiring) is in direct contrast to most traditional corporate hiring, which simply doesn’t work when you are recruiting innovators who prefer startups over what they consider to be onerous “corporate jobs.”
The Benefits of an Acqui-hire Strategy keep reading…
If you work in an office, you realize that many times the Christmas season can be a less hectic and even a slack period. In most cases everyone, including recruiters, gear down and change their work patterns for the holidays. But if you’re a corporate recruiting leader, December should be viewed instead as a golden opportunity. It is a prime recruiting month (along with January and June) because many employed prospects have free time to consider a new job due to their own reduced workloads.
The end of the year is also a time where many individuals are reevaluating their current work and life situation and planning for the future. You may be skeptical but in this article I provide more than 20 reasons why corporate recruiting leaders should actually ramp up recruiting during the holiday season.
The Top 20 Reasons Why December Is a Powerful Time to Recruit keep reading…
There was that Kixeye-Zynga battle I mentioned this week. Now, the U.S. government is suing Ebay, saying it agreed with Intuit not to hire from each other.
More on that here.
For its part, you may remember Intuit has been part of a legal case like this before.
Remember that cover-your-kids-ears video I mentioned back in August? That was from the gaming company Kixeye, who’s apparently involved in a countersuit against Zynga, involving a Zynga lawsuit against Kixeye.
More about the case where “Kixeye is asking the court to prohibit Zynga from interfering in its right to recruit, among other things” here.
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…
If you’re going to be an effective recruiter, you need to continually change your mix of recruiting tools in order to stay ahead of the competition. Adopting new tools is critical because once any tool is used by everyone, it loses its effectiveness. In part one of this article, I provided a list of bold sourcing, referral, event, and college recruiting tools. In the second part, I continue the toolkit with advanced recruiting tools for the most aggressive recruiters, and bold closing tools for getting difficult to land candidates to say “yes.”
Advanced recruiting tools and approaches 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…
It’s no secret to any of us that the appetite and shift to more direct sourcing is driven to a large extent by the focus on cost savings. Agency margins have been driven down to within an inch of their life over the years and so the next natural step was always going to be to “do it ourselves.” Internal recruiters have been around now for years, some under the guise of the RPO model.
Internal headhunters (I differentiate from internal “recruiters”), taking time to do full market mapping and cold call headhunting, are still very rare though. Mapping out competitors and building market intelligence takes time, and time is of course expensive. Whereas an internal recruiter may work on upwards of 100 vacancies per year (the numbers hugely fluctuate from company to company influenced by seniority of role, etc.), an internal headhunter doing the full lifecycle process may work on as little as 15 to 20 searches per year.
There’s also the issue of skillset required to do both roles. It’s very different asking a recruiter to sift through 100 resumes received in an inbox from a job posting than it is to ask a headhunter to start with a blank sheet of paper and map out the firm’s top six competitors and cold-headhunt call everyone at those firms who may have a relevant skillset. In my time spent heading up an executive search function at J.P Morgan, I never once posted a job advertisement. My role was purely to headhunt top talent in the market.
An internal headhunter is of course a role that should be used only for particular vacancies. It may be the most senior roles, or for niche roles, where typical channels to market aren’t satisfying the requirement.
So how do you convince the budget holders to invest in an internal headhunter who costs more than a typical internal recruiter, but who works on far fewer roles? 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…
If you haven’t seen it in the news lately, there has been an uproar over the practice of secret “no-recruit” agreements between major corporations. A significant number of notable firms including Google, Apple, Intel, and Pixar have been accused of restraining the movement of employees between firms. But don’t be misdirected by all of the legal issues.
The real damage that these agreements can have is on your firm’s business results, and at a large firm, these damages could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. If you work in HR or recruiting, you need to be able to advise senior managers of the unintended consequences related to these agreements. If you currently use no-recruit agreements or you are considering one, this article covers the numerous potential business problems and impacts associated with them.
Potential Problems and Issues Related to Using “No-recruit” Agreements
The 25 problems are broken into two categories, 1) ways that these agreements can hurt your firm and 2) reasons why the agreement may not even work. keep reading…
Few roles could be more important in an organization with deteriorating performance than the roles responsible for crafting a new strategy and the roles responsible for securing the talent that will make that strategy successful.
Firms that have successfully overcome negative momentum and turned their performance around often select new leadership with a proven ability to operationalize a much narrower strategy. They also accept that the talent that was with the organization going into decline may not be the best talent to help pull the organization back up.
Turning around an organization is a tremendous feat, one that involves numerous cultural battles. It’s illogical to assume that any organization in a state of decline could transform itself into the next Apple, Google, or Facebook without dramatic changes to every aspect of its culture. keep reading…
@ValentinoBenito guested on the Recruiting @Animal Radio Show on Wednesday, June 15 and he was regaling the crowd with tales of his past recruiting successes.
Early in the interview he made the broad statement that “Recruiting is pretty straight-forward.”
“Uh-oh,” I thought. “He’s going to rile some up in this crowd.”
What I didn’t expect was for him to explain what he meant so succinctly.
Usually, guests who come on the show and blither on and on about how successful they are get ripped to shreds and given low scores in the one half hour AfterShow that @Jerry_Albright hosts.
That didn’t happen with “Tino.”
It seems a ways back he was tasked to hire engineers on an historically large defense project and one of the companies the customer wanted to see lots of engineers out of was Boeing.
The great need meant that he couldn’t be too picky — he was grabbing engineers with generally correct experience by the bushel.
The customer knew the correct experience resided at Boeing.
They were smart because they were competing for people with other firms who were working on the same huge defense project and they recognized that they were in the midst of a war for talent in which speed was essential to beat the competition.
He was given the green light to offer people (from Boeing) jobs ON THE SPOT. keep reading…
The other shoe is dropping in last year’s anti-poaching case the U.S. Department of Justice brought against six big-name tech firms, and it is falling most heavily on Apple.
The six firms — and a seventh, Lucasfilm — are facing a class action suit claiming their agreement not to pursue each other’s employees depressed wages and was a violation of California antitrust law.
According to the suit filed Wednesday, Google, Adobe, Intel, Apple, Pixar, and Intuit (the six firms, which were sued and settled with the DoJ), and Lucasfilm agreed not to cold-call each other’s skilled workers. Doing so, the lawsuit alleges, denied workers information about job opportunities, pay scales, and reduced their ability to negotiate.
That much the Justice Department claimed when it settled with the six companies it sued. But it alleged then that the conspiracy was a series of interconnected agreements negotiated between companies. Now, the suit suggests Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs was behind the scheme. Claims the suit:
Defendants’ conspiracy consisted of an interconnected web of express agreements, each with the active involvement and participation of a company under the control of Steve Jobs (currently CEO of Apple) and/or a company that shared at least one member of Apple’s board of directors.
Recruiting leaders tend to be a pretty conservative group, sticking with tried-and-true approaches, tools, and methods. Because they are almost always managing from the weeds, there is little time invested in identifying, testing, and refining new solutions, but that doesn’t mean such solutions don’t emerge.
The inventory of available approaches is quite large, with many solutions existing under the radar. 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…
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement in Washington a few hours ago and simultaneously filed a civil antitrust action. Brought against Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar, the lawsuit details the alleged hiring arrangements. Accompanying the civil complaint was a proposed settlement in which the firms agree not to engage in anti-competitive no solicitation agreements.
The DOJ says the settlement “prohibits the companies from entering, maintaining or enforcing any agreement that in any way prevents any person from soliciting, cold calling, recruiting, or otherwise competing for employees. The companies will also implement compliance measures tailored to these practices.” keep reading…
You won’t read it in the newspaper, but it’s a fact that the New York Yankees were the world champions of recruiting long before they were declared the world champions of Major League Baseball.
The Yankees are perennial winners (many call them a dynasty) not because of their superior equipment, IT processes, or their financial or marketing prowess, but rather their extraordinary recruiting and talent management strategy.
Hiring salespeople from the competition always seems like a no-brainer, but there are many pitfalls with this hiring strategy.
Life would be grand if we could sprinkle a few seeds in the ground, fertilize, add water … and a great salesperson would sprout. This is truly a pipedream, but one often pursued by small business owners and sales management executives in their quest to find great sales talent. Rather than grow their own, they attempt to steal the crops from their competitors. Why not — their competitor is much better at growing a sales organization than they are. They will grab some magic from their competitor’s land and they too can enjoy great success.
When did the competition begin building a better sales organization than your company? Before you harvest their crop, consider these five myths when hiring your competitor’s salespeople. keep reading…
(the chart in this story was updated February 23)
Once again referrals have turned out to be the leading source of external hires in the annual CareerXroads source of hire survey. In 2008, 27.3 percent of the external hires made by the 45 large employers who completed the survey came from referrals made primarily by employees, but also by alumni, vendors, and others.
Corporate web sites — a destination and not an actual “source,” insists the report — was second with 20.1 percent of the external hires coming from there. Rounding out the top three were job boards, which accounted for 12.3 percent of the hires.
No big news in those results. For the last several years the survey that CareerXroads principals Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler conduct every January has consistently found referrals accounting for about 3 of every 10 external hires made by the participating companies.
What is different this year is that 38.8 percent of all openings were filled by internal transfers and promotions.
“We found that very interesting, ” says Crispin. “That’s the highest number since we started this survey eight years ago.”
His explanation is that despite hiring freezes, critical openings still have to be filled. But, now that’s being done internally and the jobs the transfers leave are simply being absorbed by the remaining staff.