Recruitment, at times, can seem a lot like a poker game. The client is the dealer, and every candidate is a player. At prescribed stages in the game, all cards are hidden, and bit by bit, each individual reveals his or her hand. Each show of cards is a risk. Sometimes the dealer wins, which is good because that means the game can remain solvent for other players to enjoy. At other times the players win, which is also positive, since a losing game draws no players. As long as the odds are relatively even and everyone abides by the rules, the game can go on. But what happens when a player steps up who doesn’t play by the rules? keep reading…
The No. 1 sweetener, as might be expected, is more money. But flexible working arrangements, including telecommuting, and commitments to new technologies, also rank high as talent attractors.
“Money is important,” says Tom Silver, senior VP/North America for Dice. But other incentives can be compelling, he adds, especially to those candidates who live in metro areas, where telecommuting might be worth more than a few extra dollars.
Workplace flexibility “is a big deal,” says Silver.
Dice released the results of a late August survey of 1,357 recruiters, consultants, and staffing firms who look for IT professionals on Dice.com.
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…
Maximizing your use of time is the key to hiring more top performers. In a recent webinar with Jobs2Web, I described the sourcing sweet-spot. This is the point just before and just after a fully employed person decides to consider looking for another position. This time-frame represents the window of opportunity to hire the best passive candidates and early-birds with less effort and salary premiums than any other point.
If you get to these top people first, you’ll have no competition, and they’ll be much easier to recruit since they’ve already made the decision to pursue a new job. However, it’s what you do when you first connect that will determine whether you’re successful or not in hiring them. This involves a number of critical recruiting key skills. These are described below.
If you’re a recruiting manager, evaluate your current crop of recruiters and any new hires to determine whether they have these skills or the ability to learn them. If you’re a recruiter and you want to hire more top performers, you need to be exceptional in these areas. As you’ll see, hiring top performers without paying unnecessary compensation premiums requires great recruiters, great opportunities, and great hiring managers. Without these, it just becomes a numbers game. But as Chicken Little, or some other similar authority, once said, “the early bird catches the worm, as long as you have a good fishing pole.”
Passive candidates and those just entering the job market — the early-birds — are a different breed of prospect. For one thing, they’re not desperate. This changes the game entirely from those who have been looking for more extended periods of time. More important, if they’re good, they’ll be very choosy and they will get multiple offers. But since you’re first, and if you play your cards well, you should be able to reel in these top performers in greater numbers than those recruiters who find them after you do. In this case, your competition has to play catch-up. This is a great position to be in. But to pull it off you have to be an exceptional recruiter. Here are the key recruiting skills needed to turn these top candidates and prospects into great hires.
Recruiting Skills Required to Turn Hot Prospects Into Great Employees keep reading…
I have officially lost control of the remote on Sundays, Saturdays, and Mondays. In 15 years of love and marriage with a football fanatic, I haven’t learned a whole lot about the whole pastime, but I have learned that most men know a lot about football and care about it a lot more than recruiting. I also have noticed that most men use football to talk to each other on holidays, campouts, and soccer games. I would imagine it accounts for about 70% of all guy small talk. So I started thinking about using football as a metaphor for getting managers to do what I want, which is help me sell the company, the candidate, and get me hires. I didn’t come up with this idea, and it isn’t very original, but by golly, it works. Here’s how to do it. keep reading…
How do you convince cynical executives to fund a social network recruiting effort?
It’s hard to argue against the statement that social networking (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) is an extremely hot topic in business. But I have yet to find a single CFO or senior executive willing to fully fund a comprehensive social network recruiting strategy based merely on the fact that it’s a hot concept.
Even when budget is made available, most organizations need to develop measures to help direct spending into the right efforts that will provide them with the highest recruiting impact and ROI. There is no escaping it: making a compelling business case must become a priority for social network recruiting champions.
In this article, I’ll provide an outline of the four basic business case steps covering how to secure funding during these tight economic times.
Business Case Step #1: Identify the Potential Benefits of Social Network Recruiting
Provide targeted executives with a list of potential benefits and then simply have them select the ones that (if proven) would be compelling enough to positively influence their decision. Have them eliminate benefits that, whether true or not, wouldn’t influence their decision.
With that guidance in hand, design a process that focuses on proving only those benefits that were selected as highly compelling.
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…
Last week, Part 1 of this series introduced a number of pain points that render most corporate approaches to managing internal movement for development, retention, and talent ROI purposes ineffective.
In reality, most current approaches are relics from years of tradition, loosely defined, poorly integrated, and barely managed.
During this installment, I will build upon the goals and key elements of more effective second-generation programs discussed in Part 1 by focusing on the benefits of adopting second-generation approaches and methods to increase program participation rates. keep reading…
More often than not, it is the simplest things in life and in business that produce the biggest impacts. Having spent more than 30 years analyzing corporate recruiting practices and strategy, I have noticed there are some rather basic questions that, if only posed, would have a profound impact on the effectiveness of most recruiting endeavors.
Unfortunately, the questions are rarely asked, resulting in inefficient, ineffective practices.
Do not pose these questions periodically; incorporate them into your approach to build an engaging candidate experience, a more compelling offer presentation, and ultimately, a more productive hire.
As the economy tumbles, and companies right-size their recruiting departments, the bottom-half is the first to go. Under this scenario, those formerly in the relatively secure 2nd quartile are now in the bottom-half. So be wary or get better.
With this sobering news in mind, I offer those of you in all quartiles this short, 10-point personal evaluation guide. While some of them are a bit crazy, they’re based on comparing your performance to the best in the business. It will tell you quickly whether you’re in the top 25% and how to stay there.
Fortunately, if you have the courage to shift your approach you can still produce significant results using recruiting approaches that require little or no money. I am sure you are probably thinking that the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true, but I am sure you also realize that there are exceptions to every rule (after all, ERE.net is free!).
Over the course of my career, I have compiled hundreds of innovative steps that recruiters and line managers have taken to reach top talent when other solutions simply were not working or they didn’t have the money to fund them.
I recently put pen to paper and completed a new book entitled 1,000 Ways to Recruit Top Talent, which as the name implies, offers numerous recruiting ideas, all of which have been used successfully.
The following is a checklist of some of those ideas that require little or no budget to implement. These approaches also work during strong economic times but they are especially appropriate during a major business downturn.
An interview with Rich Kenny of Northwest, who talks about the company’s combo with Delta; reducing time-to-hire; background checks; on-the-spot hires; recruitment advertising; and improving the candidate experience.
During tough economic times there is intense pressure on all functions within the business to re-think their current approach in an effort to become more competitive and aggressive all while containing cost.
Unfortunately, many recruiters and recruiting leaders choose an opposite path, becoming more conservative in their approach. When markets head south and fear about economic issues grip the populace, consider a counter-cyclical recruiting strategy that sends a clear message to everyone inside and outside your organization that talent truly means something to your organization.
One controversial yet extremely public, effective outside-the-box recruiting approach you might consider is “proximity recruiting.”
You Must Do Internet and Physical Recruiting
Even with the tremendous growth of Internet recruiting, not everyone is actively surfing the Internet looking for a job or combing through their email in anticipation of your generic form letter introduction.
Reaching a greater percentage of the population relevant to your job searches often requires using at least three channels to reach them, one of which should be physical. The underlying concept of physical recruiting is a simple one, just as robbers target banks because that’s where the money is! Recruiters need to target physical locations where a large number of potential hires can be found.
While nearly everyone in recruiting is familiar with the dreaded job fair, there are numerous other approaches to physical recruiting that are far more effective and fun. One such approach is “proximity” or event recruiting. Proximity recruiting at professional events (tradeshows and seminars) is clearly becoming more mainstream, but one location in particular really elevates the visibility of your efforts and qualifies as “outrageous.” The location? Across the street or in the parking lot of talent-competing firms in trouble.
Proximity Recruiting with a Taco Truck
If you have been paying attention to the business press lately, you are probably aware that Internet giant Yahoo! was planning to lay off approximately 1,000 employees worldwide, the greatest percentage of which would come from its Silicon Valley headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
What you may not know is that despite a multi-year trend of notable voluntary exits by key employees, Yahoo! is still considered by many to employ some of the greatest engineering talent in the industry. This talent is extremely valuable to hundreds of upstarts working on next-generation technologies.
Yahoo!, like many organizations planning a reduction in force, kept its plans secret until the day when the axe actually swung. Because employees knew pink slips were coming, but no real guidance was offered as to who would be impacted, more people were concerned than would actually be cut.
Seizing on that fear and the actual swinging of the axe, Tokbox, an upstart enabling free voice and video calling over the Internet without any software download, engaged a proximity recruiting strategy that some may consider outrageous.
While pink slips were being handed out, Tokbox executives were setting up a taco truck across the street from Yahoo’s corporate campus, offering employees affected (and anyone else that wanted to chat) a hot lunch and information about employment opportunities.
ESPN’s Bruce Feldman’s new book “Meat Market” chronicles the business of recruiting in big-time college football, with a focus on Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron. In his talk with ERE, you may get ideas (including when he discusses “negative recruiting”) that can work in the corporate America.
After a lengthy screening process, the hiring committee feels it has found the right candidate for the company. Now comes the tricky part: how do you design an offer and go through the offer stage of the process without damaging the relationship with the candidate?
Many companies are not prepared to go through the offer step of the process. As a result, they damage the relationship with the candidate. This leads to one of two unfortunate conclusions. Either they lose the candidate or the candidate comes on board, but with scar tissue. Applying some of the best practices from the sales world into a sales talent screening program helps to avoid that scenario.
The offer stage of the hiring process parallels the proposal phase of sales. Best practices in sales say that you don’t present a proposal until a thorough needs analysis has been completed. If a sales person is presenting a proposal to a prospect, he has acquired the information needed to design a solution, has discussed budget, has a full understanding of their solution requirements, and has set an expectation on pricing. This is certainly the case if the salesperson is going to be successful in winning the account.
Looking at this process in relation to the offer stage of the sales talent screening program, many of the same best practices from sales hold true. During the screening program, information needs to be gathered from the candidate to determine their financial requirements. Unfortunately, many sales talent screening programs focus exclusively on screening the candidate for fit, but do not consider the needs for the offer phase of the process. This leads to a last-minute scurry to mine the information from the candidate, or they design the offer blindly. Neither of those are best practices for the offer stage.
In sales, it is said that if you are going to lose, lose early. This prevents you from making a huge investment in a relationship that will not generate revenue. The parallel to screening sales talent is understanding the financial requirements of the candidate early enough to stop the process before over-investing in the relationship. There is no point in continuing a process with a candidate who requires a compensation level 25% above what you can offer. This probably seems logical, but hiring executives rarely focus on this as a de-selection element early in the process.
Just like discussing pricing with a prospect, the financial-needs discussion requires finesse. The candidate knows that you are asking questions about their financials, just like a prospect knows a sales person is fishing for budget information. The better-skilled salespeople tell their prospects, “I don’t want to waste your time by getting you excited about a solution that will not fit in your budget constraints…”
In much the same way, this discussion can be had with the candidate, “I don’t want to excite you about an opportunity that might not be a match for your financial needs. As you look at making a change in position, what thoughts have you given to your compensation requirements?”
I’ve been around a lot of years, and I can’t remember a time when recruiters, recruiting managers, hiring managers, HR executives, and company leaders didn’t complain about the lack of good candidates. When the Internet and job boards came along, we were promised the solution was at hand.
But more than a dozen years later, the problems in finding talent have gotten worse, not better. I’m going to suggest that sourcing is not the problem, and that much of the solution has nothing to do with seeing more candidates.
I equate hiring top performers as a business process similar to manufacturing. My early industry background was in high-volume consumer electronics and automotive components, so this comparison is easy for me to make. In a factory when you have excessive scrap you need to either buy extra raw materials or reduce the scrap rate. This is not rocket science, but somehow the obvious seems to be overlooked when it comes to hiring.
(Note: in this article substitute prospects or candidates whenever you read the term “raw materials.”)
When sourcing is viewed as a factory, with prospects coming in at the receiving dock and accepted offers coming out of shipping, you quickly notice two problems. One, the raw material is incorrectly specified or over-specified, and two, the process used to convert the raw material into accepted offers is based more on emotion than science.
In a factory, excessive scrap is usually due to a combination of bad material specs, inconsistent processes, and weak controls. In hiring, these are equivalent to weak job descriptions, managers who evaluate the wrong things incorrectly, and the lack of metrics.
This requires recruiters to find more raw materials than necessary. This becomes problematic when recruiters over-rely on boring advertising and unsophisticated selling techniques to attract a diminishing supply of coveted raw materials.
For most recruiters the make or break moment comes at the end of the process, when it’s time to negotiate the offer. A successful negotiation means that the process concludes with a hire, and the recruiter rides off into the sunset.
But a successful negotiation doesn’t mean coming out on top with a low-ball offer that gets accepted. That can cause the candidate to get turned off and in the worst-case result in the candidate walking away. Even if accepted, it could leave the candidate with a sour taste in the mouth and essentially starting off with a negative attitude toward the employer. An overly generous offer on the other hand is a waste of the employer’s resources and can upset internal equity. Getting it right is not easy as few recruiters are trained in negotiating.
The number of books that have been written on negotiating can fill a large room — several thousand are in print. But an easier approach can be discerned from recent research at Northwestern University. A study by Prof. Adam Galinsky and his colleagues suggests that a powerful way to influence the outcome to be closer to a win-win situation is to view the situation from the candidate’s perspective — also know as the perspective-taking approach.
What this means and how it works is explained below, but the research has demonstrated that recruiters using such an approach consistently achieve the highest level of economic efficiency, without sacriﬁcing their own material interests. They produce a better overall outcome for both sides.
Getting Inside the Candidate’s Head
The perspective approach means try to get inside the candidate’s head. To achieve an understanding of the candidate — their motives and likely behaviors — consider the world from their viewpoint. Basically, put yourself on their side of the table. This is not as ridiculous as it may appear. The research demonstrates that recruiters adopting such an approach achieve the best possible outcome close to half the time.
To be able to do this well recruiters need to do their homework before arriving at the negotiation. First, have an understanding of the likely issues. These always fall into three categories.
The best recruiters I know execute the fundamentals of recruiting well and have developed good “habits” within each step of the recruitment process.
One simple, but powerful referral sourcing technique is closing each recruitment cold call with the question: “Can you do me a favor?”
As we all know, much has been much written about overcoming the objection “I am not interested…” or “I am happy; thanks, but no thanks…”
But in reality, you will not be able to turn a “no” into a “yes” in many (if not most) of these situations.
Yes, they might listen to your message (or pitch) but in the majority of cases, they won’t be interested or, they won’t be qualified.
Of course, when this happens, it is your job to network with this person to get referrals. Your ability to extract referrals and/or leads to help you with your search depends on many factors; including (among others):
A great recruiter should have the same skill sets and qualifications of a great salesperson. All of the great sales visionaries including Zig Ziglar and Tom Hopkins have taught these steps to sales professionals around the world, yet few recruiters today understand or use any of these available resources.
So much emphasis has been placed on prospecting or sourcing potential candidates that recruiters are not taught the basics of the sales process that follows the sourcing function. Having listened to thousands of third-party and corporate recruiters over the past 15 years, my sense is that less than 10% of recruiters understand basic sales principles.
Although the terminology may differ, the following are the critical steps to every successful sales professional or recruiting professional.