Over the last 20 years I have mentored and developed a lot of people both formally and informally. At some point the same question comes up around how do I become the head of talent acquisition?
So with an article like this, I have to write a disclaimer up front:
It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to climb the corporate ladder in a talent leadership role.
You are not less of an asset to a company if you are perfectly content being a specialized individual contributor.
Being an agency recruiter, consultant, or contractor can be just as rewarding (maybe even more so) versus running a recruitment department.
It’s OK to use a recruiting role as a stepping stone to something else in HR, the business, or a totally different line of work.
And finally, my journey is mine alone, so what you might read not everything might resonate with you, but I am hoping that if you just pull one helpful nugget out of this article, then that is the reward I was personally after.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way let’s get started. This might be one of those long articles, but heck, this is nearly 20 years of experience below. :)
I have not prioritized these into a stack ranked order of importance, but rather let’s call this a list of things that in my opinion have come up as foundational common themes over my career: keep reading…
Recruiting questions from hell that most recruiting leaders can’t answer
May I suggest that this may be the most thought-provoking recruiting article that you read this year. It is thought provoking because it covers mind-numbing questions that you are likely to get covering the business impacts of recruiting.
Answering tough questions is becoming more critical, because as the business world becomes more highly competitive and thus data driven, it has become increasingly more common for senior executives to literally grill functional leaders who are requesting continuing budget support with scary and difficult-to-answer questions. I call these inquiries “questions from hell” and in recruiting they include questions like “Show me the ROI of recruiting?” or “Show me how recruiting provides us with a competitive advantage?”
Some also call them “bone-chilling questions” because they can create instant panic in leaders when making budget or new program presentations. Executives from finance, marketing, customer service, and supply chain routinely come prepared with great answers to these tough questions. However, during my many years of researching and practicing recruiting, I have been continually disappointed in the level of business acumen and the ability of many recruiting leaders to answer these “questions from hell,” when they are posed by their CEO, the COO, or the toughest questioner of all, the CFO.
What CEOs, COOs, and CFOs Want to Know About Recruiting And Its Impacts keep reading…
A Case Study Compilation of the Amazing HR Practices That Make Google the Benchmark to Learn From
Using any set of assessment criteria, Laszlo Bock of Google has been in the vanguard in creating revolutionary change in the profession of HR to the point where he has earned the title of “HR professional of the decade.” Under his leadership, Google has literally led the way in innovation in all aspects of HR and it has become the world’s only data-driven HR function. Its willingness to continuously try completely unique approaches has resulted in Google being rated the No. 1 best place to work by numerous independent groups (Fortune six times, Fast Company, Glassdoor, Universum, and LinkedIn).
Working at Google has such a powerful employer brand draw that it receives an unparalleled 3 million applications a year, even though applicants only have an estimated 0.2 percent percent chance of getting hired.
But it’s more than just image that Mr. Bock has helped to create, because Google’s workforce productivity is simply amazing at $1.23 million per employee each year.
Not only has he molded the HR function at Google in nine short years into the benchmark model that everyone admires, but he has been extraordinary in his willingness to share his knowledge with both HR professionals and potential job applicants. Even though I have been writing and speaking in the HR field for three decades, I have never come across a leader who deserved the title of HR professional for an entire decade. HR is a unique field where very few corporate HR leaders are known by name throughout the profession but Laszlo Bock is clearly the exception, primarily because he openly shares what he has learned, even when it runs counter to standard HR thinking.
An Overview of the Amazing People Management Practices at Google keep reading…
If you ask most CEOs who don’t work for a non-profit what is most important to them, they will reply, “whatever makes the company money (revenue) or whatever saves the company money (margin/profit).” The primary marching orders from most CHROs for HR and recruiting functions will be about continuous improvement to reduce cost.
I know most recruiting leaders are nodding their heads as they read that statement.
Don’t worry. This is not another dull dry article about cost per hire.
As we should all know by now, from an acquiring talent perspective, as an industry we generally focus on two other major KPIs: speed and quality — beyond just cost.
The funny thing is when you really boil down these and other major KPIs, they all relate back to money anyway. Hold on, I will explain. keep reading…
I hire non-recruiters who hire more than 1,000 people a year.
Do I have your attention?
If you’re reading this, and you’re a talent acquisition professional, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘what in the world?’ How does it work? keep reading…
When you think of the word agility, you might conjure images of an elite athlete sprinting to the finish line, or a Cheetah pursuing prey on the African plains, or a lawyer in cross examination in a court room. But have you considered what agility looks like in talent acquisition?
The foundation of talent acquisition is to align resources to business needs to fill positions. Sounds simple enough, right? Most talent acquisition leaders would agree that on paper this statement does appear simple, but many variables come into play that can complicate even the simplest of tasks. keep reading…
In the next two to five years the top employers of choice will be the organizations that consistently communicate an authentic employer brand story and value proposition that wins the attention of highly specialized talent and compels them to follow, engage, and ultimately join (and stay) on their teams.
To tell the right story and deliver on their employer brand promise, chief human resources officers and talent acquisition leaders must evolve their recruitment marketing strategy with a tighter focus on building longer-term relationships with the right candidates. To do this, talent acquisition leaders will need strong marketing competencies within the talent acquisition function, a measurable process, and purpose-built technology. In this piece, I focus on the urgency to strengthen marketing competencies within the talent acquisition function and offer my tips for how to get started. keep reading…
More requisitions and projects than you do recruiters. Would you believe it’s a talent acquisition opportunity?
Who hasn’t been in a situation where you have the day-to-day tasks of recruiting, and then being “awarded” the wonderful task of managing talent projects? keep reading…
Based on my experience, both as a former HR executive and as an agency owner, I believe corporate recruitment can be enhanced by borrowing strategies from well-managed agencies (and vice versa). For example, during my time at Dendrite, our recruiting staff was highly effective and engaged. Their success was a result of an agency-inspired, detailed, bonus structure, measured through hard and soft data that was tied to quarterly performance.
Detractors of this model have their concerns: ill-conceived benchmarks and fluctuations in business cycles can cause morale problems for those whose compensation is tied to performance. Others contend that it is impossible to set hiring metrics that fairly measure performance since there are so many players responsible for the ultimate outcome of hiring. Our winning process at Dendrite addressed these concerns. keep reading…
Millennials: What do you consider most attractive in a manager/ leader role?
For the last decade or so, it seems that just about everyone has been talking about the millennial generation. They’re spoiled, they’re lazy. They shirk responsibility while also demanding rapid career advancement. They’re idealists, they have unrealistic expectations about work, they never grow up. They want work/life balance, they crave feedback, they quickly jump from job to job.
There is a lot of information out there, as well as a lot of stereotypes — and for many of you who recruit, hire, and work alongside millennials, you’ve probably experienced some of this first hand. You’ve probably also experienced another side of millennials — one that is eager, quick thinking, passionate, and ambitious.
In an effort to get to the root of this generation, Universum, INSEAD, and the HEAD Foundation recently partnered to conduct the largest global survey of millennials. Some of the results confirmed what we already knew to be true — millennials do want work/life balance! — while others revealed some real surprises. keep reading…
Notwithstanding Yahoo’s end to telecommuting, the global trend toward virtual workplaces is accelerating. Surveys vary widely on the percentage of companies with remote workers — from about 30 percent to SHRM’s 46 percent of all companies have at least some contractors, freelancers, or remote workers who rarely, if ever, come into the office. Another estimate predicts that in a year, 40 percent of the global workforce will be virtual.
Whatever is correct, it’s undeniable that more and more workers are working remotely. And this is creating a challenge for recruiters. But it’s not in finding and hiring workers. It’s in hiring and finding the managers with the special skills and talent it takes to successfully manage a virtual workforce. keep reading…
Employees can be a very big recruiting resource
A recent report by PR firm Weber Shandwick — Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism – has a lot to say about the potential for tapping employees as a recruitment resource.
The report is based on a global survey done by the firm. The survey found that engaged employees can become activists for their employers. They can be an employer’s best advocates, promoting the company as a great place to work. Many employees actively defend the reputations of their employers. More than half of all employees surveyed reported defending their employer to family or friends or in a public form like a website or a blog.
But they can also be its worst opponents. Just read the reviews on Glassdoor for proof of both.
None of this should be a surprise, but what’s most interesting in the report is that employee advocacy is a largely untapped resource. keep reading…
With a self-assigned grade of B, and an even lower C+ from the hiring managers whose jobs they fill, recruiting leaders from companies large and small heard the news there’s much to do to improve those scores, and that the road is not going to get easier in the year ahead.
Speaking to the opening session of the ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo here in San Diego, ERE’s CEO Ron Mester told the hundreds of talent acquisition leaders in direct language that “You have a lot of work to do to improve … No one should be satisfied with a C+ or a B.” At another point in his hour-long presentation of a broad and extensive ERE survey of recruiters, their leaders, their bosses, CEOs and hiring managers, Mester said it will take a rethinking of the process to get to an A. “Rethink it,” he urged. “Challenge everything that you’re doing today.”
Unveiling some of the findings of the late March survey completed by more than 1,300 during his State of Recruiting presentation, Mester turned a spotlight on the disconnect between what the respondents agree should be the key measures of recruiting’s performance and what recruiting leaders and their teams believe is where the actual emphasis lies. keep reading…
Those who follow my articles know that I frequently write on the positive trends and the big ideas that recruiting leaders need to be aware of. However, I have not often written about the biggest strategic challenges or problems that corporate recruiting leaders face. Of course no one wants to dwell on the negative. But since I am predicting that during the next few years we will all encounter a completely transformed world of recruiting, it only makes sense to at least be aware of our largest current and upcoming challenges. If you don’t act proactively to mitigate these major challenges, they unfortunately may grow out of control, causing exponential damage to your firm.
The Top 10 Highest-impact Strategic Recruiting Challenges keep reading…
A think piece designed to stimulate your thinking on competing against the top 1 percent firms for top talent
If you’re an executive interested in recruiting, here is a scary thought to consider. For the first time in your lifetime: As a result of their compelling approach to managing talent, the elite 1 percent of firms now have a powerful recruiting brand advantage. The resulting “recruiting brand gap” between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of firms is now so wide … that most firms have given up trying to match the talent approach of the 1 percent.
The Top 1 Percent of Firms Have Unique Talent Differentiators keep reading…
Forward-looking executives seeking truly big ideas understand the value of the Davos World Economic Forum, where only thought leaders and the most senior executives at top global firms are invited to attend. If there were to be a Davos-type “big-idea session” covering strategic recruiting, this article covers the big idea topics that I would propose for the agenda.
The hectic world of day-to-day recruiting is often dominated by having to solve tactical functional problems like cutting cost per hire or identifying the correct recruiter req load. However if you are a recruiting leader who wants to make quantum improvements of more than 25 percent in your results, step back and focus exclusively on a few big ideas. Big ideas by definition are potentially high-impact strategic actions that are barely emerging, that are extremely difficult to implement, and that may become essential as the business or recruiting environment evolves and changes. Also because they require a dramatic change in thinking, almost all big ideas are instantly rejected by shortsighted individuals in recruiting.
The Top 15 Future-focused Big Ideas for Recruiting Leaders to Contemplate keep reading…
The New Year is the perfect time to reexamine and refocus your talent efforts. The coming year will see a surge in economic growth, but it will occur in a business environment with continued volatility. Succeeding in this environment will require a new approach. So before all of the activity that accompanies any new year begins, take at least an afternoon off for some “strategic thinking and planning time.” In order to guide your thinking, I propose 10 talent resolutions or focus areas which are likely to have high strategic and business impacts.
10 Strategic Action Areas in Talent Management keep reading…
Hiring is like meeting a new guy or girl you like for the first time. This wonderful person walks into your office and the two of you make a perfect connection right off the bat. You like the other person’s vibe, how the person looks, and he or she seems to fit all your necessary requirements. You know how many business owners and hiring managers say, “I just really like the candidate, I think he (or she) will do great!” (I am pretty sure you have all either said or heard someone say something exactly like this before.)
In relationships, it’s called the infatuation stage; in hiring, I call it the hiring by gut stage. keep reading…
I’ve had many recruiting bosses, sometimes in large organizations, sometimes in small. I’ve been privileged to have had a few who have been exceptionally good. Here’s what the good ones had in common, and the sorts of things they would and wouldn’t do. keep reading…
During the newly reinvigorated and exciting ERE conference, two attendees posed related but powerful questions to me. The first was “What advanced topics should be on the agenda of recruiting leaders at elite firms?” Or as another put it “What should Google be planning to do next in recruiting?”
At least to me, future agenda items are an important topic. Because after visiting well over 100 firms, I have found a dramatic difference between the agenda items that are found on 95% of the firms (cost per hire, ATS issues, req loads, etc.) and the truly advanced subjects that only elite recruiting firms like Google, DaVita, Sodexo, etc. would even attempt to tackle.
So if you have the responsibility for setting agendas or recruiting goals, here is my list of truly advanced recruiting topics that elite leaders would find compelling but that most others would simply find to be out of their reach. If you want to be among the elite, you should select a handful for implementation. However, even if you are currently overwhelmed by your current agenda, you might still find them to be interesting reading.
25 Advanced Recruiting Topics for Bold Corporate Recruiting Leaders keep reading…