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.
Recruiting is finally moving away from transactional thinking and beginning to understand how to better connect and engage with relevant candidates. We are not there yet, and I may be too optimistic, but many recruiters are making the transition to engage candidates and improve their experience and are therefore making more hires, increasing candidate satisfaction, and bringing in people who become productive faster and stay longer. An exemplar here is Google that has dropped many of its previous job requirements and adopted ones based on data and results.
We are moving slowly through the hype of technology into the deeper waters of understanding candidate psychology and motivation. Over the next five years I expect to see much less focus on tools and technology, and much more use of them to really engage candidates and improve the experience they have in finding the right use of their skills.
Here are the four trends I see unfolding. They will not all be competed in 2014 but they will certainly be well underway in many organizations. I’d love your comments and feedback.
Engagement/Experience 2.0 keep reading…
What could be more important than having everyone on your team focused and on the same page? Unfortunately, in my interactions with corporate recruiting leaders, I am frequently surprised to find that they don’t have a formal set of strategic goals for their talent acquisition function. That’s a major problem because you certainly can’t be strategic unless you have a formal written strategy (most don’t) and a corresponding set of goals to make it clear to everyone what you’re trying to accomplish. Not having clearly defined, measurable, and communicated strategic goals can add to the confusion about “what is important” and “what is less important.”
While having goals provides focus and direction, their absence can cause team members to wander and to waste time and resources in low-value areas. So if you want your team to be laser focused on the important things, have clear goals that clarify your purpose and that specify what you’re trying to accomplish and what great results would look like.
In that light, this article provides a list of the strategic goals that truly effective corporate recruiting leaders can choose from. Reaching many of these recruiting goals is more complicated because the factors involved in reaching them are not 100 percent controlled by your team. However, it’s time for recruiting leaders to learn to follow the standard business practice of assuming the captain-of-the-ship role which assumes responsibility for meeting goals that you don’t have 100 percent control over.
The Possible Strategic Goals for the Recruiting Function 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…
I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.
For many marketers — and recruiters — that famous statement attributed to 19th century department store merchant John Wanamaker is still true, even with all the technology and measurement tools available in the early 21st century. How many recruiters can say they are getting the most out of the opportunities to drive new efficiencies through technology available today?
It is never easy to change old methodologies. However, recruiters have a significant opportunity to adopt best practices from another function that was forced to reinvent its core strategies in the face of technology disruption and changing consumer behavior: marketing. keep reading…
On Wednesday, Facebook announced its nearly $19 billion purchase of the instant-messaging firm WhatsApp. But the real news about the acquisition relates to the colossal recruiting failure that occurred a handful of years earlier (as reported by Forbes) when both WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook and were rejected (Acton was also rejected by Twitter).
As Brian Acton put it ,“We’re part of the Facebook reject club.” You could easily argue that this colossal “hiring miss” cost Facebook billions, and as a result, this hiring error has to rank near the top “not hired” errors, only rivaled by HP’s rejection of Steve Jobs for not having a college degree. If you are a corporate talent manager, this and similar errors should now become a critical part of your business case for fully funding an effective recruiting team and flawless hiring process.
The Top Eight “Billion-dollar Hiring Miss Lessons” for Talent Leaders keep reading…
A couple years back I was asked to outline “the future of talent management” in a talk at Google headquarters. Then as now, I predicted the future of talent management will follow the “professional sports model,” which many of you undoubtedly witnessed during yesterday’s Super Bowl.
Some in HR carelessly make the mistake of instantly dismissing sports analogies as irrelevant, but those individuals fail to understand that the NFL and its teams are multibillion-dollar businesses with the same economic bottom line and the need to dominate competitors as any other corporate businesses. So if you want some talent creds, tell your boss that you watched the Super Bowl not just for enjoyment, but also in order to learn some valuable talent management lessons. My top eight talent management takeaways from the Super Bowl are listed below. keep reading…
What could be more important than having everyone on your team focused and on the same page?
Unfortunately, in my interactions with corporate recruiting leaders, I am frequently surprised to find that they don’t have a formal set of strategic goals for their talent acquisition function. That’s a major problem because you certainly can’t be strategic unless you have a formal written strategy (most don’t) and a corresponding set of goals to make it clear to everyone what you’re trying to accomplish.
Not having clearly defined, measurable, and communicated strategic goals can add to the confusion about what is important and what is less important. While having goals provides focus and direction, their absence can cause team members to “wander” and to waste time and resources in low-value areas. So if you want your team to be laser focused on the important things, have clear goals that clarify your purpose and that specify what you’re trying to accomplish and what great results would look like.
In that light, this article provides a list of the strategic goals that truly effective corporate recruiting leaders can choose from. keep reading…
Almost every manager, when asked, readily agrees that weak employees underperform average employees by a significant amount. We certainly know from sports teams, where performance is easily measured, that there is a huge performance differential (often double or triple) between the below average, average, and top performers in the same position.
From a talent management perspective, if the “performance differential” between the average employee and the worst employee is small (less than 5 percent), it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money on performance management programs. However, when weak performers produce more than 33 percent below the average, it makes clear business sense to invest in great performance management and recruiting in order to fix or replace weak performers.
And when your calculations reveal that employee actions can have a multimillion-dollar impact (in the negative direction, with the Edward Snowden NSA document leaking case, or in the positive direction, with the US Airways Sully Sullenberger safe landing on the Hudson River), you quickly realize the need to quantify the dollar impact of these bottom- and top-performing employees.
Begin Working With the King of Metrics keep reading…
I recently led a session at a recruiting conference in which I asked how many of the talent acquisition professionals present had to give an account of or provide a forecast for their budget– which was on average between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. Almost no one raised their hand!
Surely there are some organizations that are more ROI-focused and demand more from their recruiters, but this is clearly not the norm. The norm is comprised of vague projections, with little to no accounting for the return on those budget dolloars.
Can you imagine any other department in a business having zero accountability for how it spends its money? How would it go over if, for instance, the sales department said, “We don’t think it’s necessary to explain what we spent our budget on. We spent it, and we need more next year. Thanks.”? It would go over about as well as a lead balloon. The typical budgetary process does not support dart-throwing.
So, why is this allowed in the recruiting function? There are several culprits behind these low expectations. 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…
The combination of the popular “Despicable Me” movies and the Christmas season made me think about who in the recruiting process should get “a lump of coal” in their stockings for their naughty behavior. Obviously any list like this that identifies problem-causers involves some generalizations, because there are always some individual exceptions. However, in any field there are individuals who hold certain job titles that all-too-often remind me of the lead character Gru in the Despicable Me movies.
Those who qualify for the Despicable Me label on my list include recruiters, other individuals who impact recruiting, and even a few recruiting tools. I’d like to open what I hope is a continuing discussion with my personal “Despicable Me top 10+ list”. The list is broken into two categories: recruiters and those who contribute to the recruiting effort.
You May Be a Despicable Me Recruiter If You Are … keep reading…
Data analytics are getting more important. Companies are using data to better understand and improve their customer relationships, operational, business, and workforce outcomes, and competitive positioning.
This is no different for HR and even more specifically talent acquisition. Quality of hire is the critical decision-support metric that can help HR and hiring leaders determine if they are bringing the right workforce into your organizations to drive business results.
There are two fundamental issues with the current quality of hire measures: the timing of the assessment and the definition itself as it relates to mid-senior level hiring.
For these more senior hires, it’s astonishing to observe that companies wait for six months or more to take a retrospective look at how well they have performed, and then define this as the “quality of hire.” What if the quality of hire turned out to be poor? keep reading…
I’ve been espousing the need for predictive metrics in HR for over 20 years, so I am pleased that more talent leaders are now beginning to realize their value. Unfortunately, most of what is written on the subject tends to be very general and instead what is really needed are some how-tos and some implementation tips.
In my first article on the subject, I covered the benefits of predictive metrics and the need to add actionable components, so that predictive metrics drive action and actually improve people-management decisions. In this article I will outline those actionable components and highlight the specific areas where you might need predictive metrics. keep reading…
Every leader wants to know what is the “next big thing” in talent management? Well in my book, it is the forward-looking talent management approach known as predictive analytics. If you are unfamiliar with the term, predictive analytics are simply a set of decision-making metrics or statistics that alert or warn decision-makers about upcoming problems and opportunities in talent areas like recruiting and retention. Predictive analytics are clearly superior to traditional HR metrics, which simply tell you what happened last year.
What happened last year is unlikely to be an accurate indicator of what will likely happen this or next year. For example, last year with high unemployment rates and a weak economy, turnover rates were low. But it would be a fatal assumption to assume that those low turnover rates would continue in an improving economy.
Without Action, Big Data Is a Big Waste keep reading…
Many in business and most in talent management fail to realize that as soon as you open your mouth, it’s immediately obvious to almost all leaders and executives whether you are “strategic” and “know the business.”
If you have ever been a CEO or senior executive (as I have), you already know that strategic individuals use a completely different language than the tactical “doers” who populate the lower levels of the organization. If you are satisfied with being a tactical person, that’s okay, but if you expect to get promoted and to quickly take a leadership position in management, at some point you have to learn how to think and talk strategically.
Talking strategically means using language from each of the seven strategic business “dialects.” These dialects or components of strategic speech can be labeled as…
- Dollars to show impact
- Corporate goals focused
- Knowing with data
- Building a competitive advantage
- Being forward-looking
- Being customer focused
- Emphasizing innovation
I will highlight the focus of each of these dialects, as well as the key strategic words to use under each of them in order to come across as strategic. keep reading…
College recruiting has been in the doldrums during most of the economic downturn, and as a result there have been few strategic changes in it, even though the rest of the recruiting function has undergone major shifts during the downturn. And just in case you haven’t seen it yourself, I am predicting that college recruiting demand is about to explode and the competition will soon reach previous “war for college talent” levels.
This resurgence of interest in college hires is due to a reviving economy but also because of the urgent need in a VUCA world for employees who are creative, innovative, fast-moving and who are comfortable with new technology.
If you are one of the corporate talent leaders who want to get and stay ahead of the competition, the time is ripe for re-examining your college program to see what needs to be done to update it. Start with the college recruiting staff. Make sure that it is staffed with data-driven, experienced recruiting professionals prepared for real change, rather than simply enthusiastic young people whose primary qualification is that they themselves are recent college grads. I’ve put together a list of the top 10 categories of strategic change that could literally propel your program into dominance. They are listed with the most impactful strategic changes appearing first.
Action Steps to Win “the War for College Talent” in 2014 keep reading…
What Have You Done for Me Lately? Entrance to the C-suite Requires Data on the Economic Impact of Job Performance
If I hear one more speech about how HR needs to be strategic, I may lose it. Of course, we all want and need to make a difference, get noticed, and help our companies be successful. I’m not trying to suggest that we avoid the idea of thinking strategically, but there is only one true way to be strategic when in front of business leadership: show them the money!
Until we HR, talent acquisition, and talent management professionals have the tools and know-how needed to directly quantify the economic impact of our efforts to hire people who will perform effectively, it will be hard for us to be truly strategic and triumph in our quest to be taken seriously by the C suite. While there is no doubt that the tools used to predict which applicants will be the best performers provide an important contribution, the only way to gain insight into the value of these tools is to tie their effectiveness directly to financial metrics of job performance. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a major challenge.
Below is a short list of the major roadblocks to HR (specifically talent acquisition and talent management) being truly strategic when it comes to measuring the economic impact of the hiring process. Since the value of the hiring process hinges on the ability to show the impact on the bottom line through the people who are contributing to it, these issues all center around problems related to translating insight about workplace performance into financial metrics. This is a data problem and thus it is no surprise that all of these roadblocks are related to the data used to measure job performance. These issues include: keep reading…
Recruiting is full of practices that seem to last forever. Unfortunately, many practices endure for years despite the fact that they add no value to the hiring process. I call these well-established practices “sacred cows” because many lon-gtime recruiters and hiring managers vigorously defend them even though both company and academic data shows that they should be discarded.
The need to identify and then kill these sacred cows was reinforced recently by some compelling research data revealed by Google’s head of HR, Laszlo Bock. For example, extensive data from Google demonstrated that five extremely common recruiting practices (brainteaser interview questions, unstructured interviews, student GPAs or test scores, and conducting more than four interviews) all had zero or minimal value for successfully predicting the on-the-job performance of candidates. But despite this hard data, practices like brainteaser interview questions will likely continue for years.