Fall 2014 ERE Conference Think Tank Session Recap
Good conferences always offer great opportunities to stay on top of challenges, best practices, and future trends. The best conferences also offer new take-away ideas to implement within our own organizations. The recent ERE conference held in Chicago in late September delivered the goods on both fronts. As the moderator of an almost-two-hour-long Think Tank session on “Challenges and Future Trends in Talent Acquisition,” I was blown away (the conference was held in the Windy City, after all!) by the sheer number of issues — and solutions — that were discussed.
This post is too limited to include all of the great ideas that this group of very experienced HR and talent acquisition professionals discussed. So we picked the best of the best for the following list of “Top 10 Overall Best Practices” currently being applied to address the No. 1 challenge determined by the session participants: “finding and engaging qualified candidates.”
Again — a big thanks to all the in-house recruiting & HR professionals in attendance at this session who focused specifically on the key challenges and opportunities that will present themselves in 2014 and going into 2015.
Overall Top 10 Best Recruitment Practices (in no particular order) keep reading…
Everyone loves a trip down memory lane. That’s why VH1 made those retrospectives about the 1980s, 1990s, etc. Admit it: once you caught five minutes of one of those shows, the next four hours of your life were forfeited.
A few years ago, when I was an IT recruiter back in Washington, D.C. (see what I did there? Clever, right?), one of my favorite parts of the job was getting to know each candidate and figuring out what their “story” was. What were their unique aspirations and hot buttons? How did they get to this point in their career? What were they passionate about in their lives? Being able to get to know someone, then matching them up with a company that matched their professional and personal ambitions was, to me, one of the best and most rewarding parts of the job. It was always a delight to follow up with them six months later and learn that they were indeed happy with the new direction in their career.
Any recruiter worth their salt will tell you that their ability to sell a candidate on a company or a job is their “raison d’etre” (for those of you who slept through French or Philosophy 101: reason they exist). Now, with skill set requirements and qualifications that rapidly evolve with each new technology and regulatory change, creating specialized pockets of highly competitive positions, this ability to differentiate an opportunity from the rest of the landscape has become more important than ever.
So how exactly, beyond sheer luck, do you ensure that “just right” fit? Let’s take a cue from VH1 and fire up a couple of classics for some help: keep reading…
An in-depth analysis on how the right timing can dramatically improve recruiting
In my experience, the hardest-to-recruit exceptional targets are those who I label as “no, and stop calling me” passive top prospects who simply won’t accept a recruiter’s call. Even though most recruiters will tell you that their lack of interest in changing jobs is unwavering, my research has found that there are exceptions that may occur once or twice during each year, and I call them “their angry hours.”
During this brief time period the prospect is open to a recruiting discussion because something has recently occurred that makes them angry about their job, their manager, or their company. And for at least a few hours … that anger makes them suddenly receptive to recruiter calls and to new job opportunities.
Timing Is Everything in Sales and Recruiting keep reading…
The Holy Grail in recruiting has always been the passive candidate: someone not actively searching for a job.
A LinkedIn survey of 18,000 full-time employees across all industries and 26 countries found what attracts these people. The results aren’t particularly shocking: passive candidates want more money. Either that, or they want a better work/life balance or a greater opportunity for advancement.
But the survey revealed more than just that. It also showed the surprising number of workers who consider themselves passive candidates, what active applicants want, and what motivates people to change jobs the least.
Most strategic recruiters seek to optimize the three most important factors in talent acquisition — cost, time, and quality. However, that objective is often impossible to accomplish because recruiters continue to use outdated talent processes which were designed back in the 1980s.
Stephen Covey, in his ground-breaking best seller — 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – introduces timeless principles that form the framework of the changes that individuals must adopt to become more effective. But, before one can embrace the seven habits, Covey proposes adopting of a “paradigm shift”– a change in perception and interpretation of how the world really works. Similarly, recruiters must be willing to adopt a paradigm shift in how they view the world of talent acquisition — if they hope to be successful in sourcing, recruiting, and hiring the very best talent in today’s war for talent.
For example, it has been my experience that “average” to “good” recruiters follow similarly dated talent strategies: keep reading…
Recruiting leaders are constantly looking for strategic opportunities, which admittedly are rare in this progressive field. There is only one big missed opportunity in strategic recruiting and that is … keep reading…
I’ve been missing from these pages for awhile, but I asked if I could return and request the help of some real recruiters. I heard some of the best hang out here at ERE.
Here’s the idea. I’m working with a bunch of people and companies putting together a comprehensive batting average for recruiters that combines all the critical factors, metrics, and competencies into one useful statistic. This will become known as the RBA — the Recruiter’s Batting Average.
Please look this first list over, suggest other factors that should be included, why some shouldn’t be considered, and which ones you think should be weighted more heavily than others. keep reading…
A candidate from a well-known benchmark firm dropped out of our search for a General Manager position because the hiring manager took a week to respond to his interest. He said…
It’s not like I need their job. If it takes them a week to respond to a resume like mine for a job of this importance, they’re not the kind of company I want to work for. I move fast, and I can already see that my style wouldn’t fit their culture. –Wind River Associates
As a corporate recruiting leader, know that in a highly competitive college marketplace, there may be nothing that damages corporate recruiting results more than slow hiring.
Many firms now go the first step and track some variation of the “time-to-fill” metric. But despite that metric, not only are firms still almost universally guilty of painfully slow hiring, but to compound the problem, few recruiting leaders truly understand the many negative business and recruiting impacts that result from slow hiring. I estimate that the impact at most corporations exceeds tens of millions of dollars each year. And the dollar loss from this factor may be as much as 10 times higher than losses resulting from low recruiting efficiency related to the more popular “cost-per-hire” metric.
It’s not enough to be conscious and aware of slow hiring. Identify and then quantify in dollars each of the negative impacts of slow hiring, so that everyone from the CEO on down will support the streamlining of the process. After several decades of work on “speed hiring,” I have put together an extensive list of the negative consequences associated with taking too long to hire. The top 12 most damaging factors are listed below.
The Top 12 Reasons Why “Slow Hiring” Damages Recruiting and Your Business Results keep reading…
Round up the usual suspects. - Claude Rains, Casablanca, 1942
Movie buffs will recognize this classic line from the closing scene in the film Casablanca when the police captain issues an order and saves the hero, played by Humphrey Bogart, from arrest. The quote also accurately and, in our view, unfortunately, describes a common recruitment scenario. Organizations often will dip into the same pool of “usual” candidates, time and time again, rather than make the effort to engage highly desirable passive candidates.
It’s not that recruiters don’t want to engage the passive candidates that, by some estimates comprise 75 percent of the workforce … it’s that they often really don’t know how OR don’t have the time. By definition, highly desirable passive candidates aren’t interested in switching jobs, so getting them interested in your organization and eventually building an interactive relationship via social media with your recruiters is challenging, to say the least.
While there are literally hundreds of social networking tools available, using them to craft a solid strategy to precisely pinpoint and truly engage passive candidates requires persistence, patience, and an understanding of six classic rules of engagement, described in more detail below: keep reading…
We recently completed our largest survey to date on job seeking (more than 18,000 professionals in 26 countries) to shed light on the workforce’s attitude toward job satisfaction, new opportunities, and career evaluation. We discovered that while 75 percent of professionals identify themselves as passive candidates, only 15 percent are “super passives,” or folks who are happily employed and unwilling to consider changing jobs. That’s down 25 percent from 2012.
Why the decline? One of the reasons is that social/professional networks and other online resources have increased transparency — giving professionals and recruiters immediate access to jobs and prospects. But other forces are at play as well: some economies are improving, causing companies to open reqs and gainfully employed professionals to weigh their options.
Regardless of the causes, super-passive candidates declining means opportunity is knocking for recruiters like you and me. Here are the most important things my team has done and is doing to capitalize on the growing pool of what I like to call “approachable candidates”: keep reading…
For most recruiters, changing your recruiting strategies is a major transition. You see, we recruiters seek endlessly after the holy grail of recruiting: superior quality of hire. Most recruiters use boring, generic, job description-based postings that attract a high volume of applicants, and then we must take additional time to weed out the bad candidates. The expectation is always that maybe, just maybe, a few good people remain at the end.
Mercedes Benz would quickly be out of business if it manufactured its automobiles this way. A better recruitment strategy would be to build quality in every step of the process, rather than at the end. keep reading…
Let me repeat that: Don’t bother with employment branding. Don’t waste your time or resources uncovering and articulating your brand. At least … don’t bother unless you commit to changing your mindset about active and passive candidates. keep reading…
Everyone I know feels harassed by email which has invaded their waking and sleeping hours. –Margaret Heffernan
The ease of finding profiles on LinkedIn has made connecting with new candidates the Mount Everest of recruiting. In-demand candidates find themselves inundated with InMails from recruiters, causing many to create junk email addresses just for InMails. In other words, most are never read. Reaching out via email is tough too but can be way more effective, if done right.
When using email as your first point of contact, the onus is on you to make sure every recruiting email you send, whether to one or one hundred recipients, is well edited, straightforward, honest, polite, and relevant to the recipient; before you hit send.
How to develop a recruiter scorecard for assessing individual corporate recruiter performance
Champions insist that you keep score. If you understand that concept, you will ensure that in addition to function-wide metrics, you will supplement them with a scorecard for assessing the performance of each individual recruiter. Everyone knows that corporations are measurement crazy, so I have found that by not measuring something (in this case recruiters), you are inadvertently sending a message to executives and employees that whatever you are doing is not strategic or even important (because if it was, we would measure it).
So unless you want to purposely send a message that “having top performing recruiters doesn’t matter,” you have no choice but to develop an individual recruiter scorecard. In order to do that effectively, you first need to understand the foundation design principles for individual scorecards and then you must select the actual measures that you will use in your scorecard. In part one, I introduced the concept and provided three examples of what a scorecard might look like. In this part two, I will cover the design details and a list of the measure to consider for your scorecard. keep reading…
Recruiters have nailed the big three of social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but going beyond the big three is the next step. Some of us were dragged into the social media world kicking and screaming. It has been derided and called a passing fad, but it has become apparent that social media in recruiting is effective, inexpensive, and … fun? Expanding your company’s reach via these newer social networks is the next natural step.
Think bigger … or smaller, whichever way you want to look at it. You’re expanding your reach through smaller outlets like Quora, Dribble, Github, Foursquare, and Instagram. keep reading…
The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of anxiety. — John Preston, Boston College
When I started my sales career, I did not fully understand how to “plan for success.” My overall excitement level when it came to planning probably fell somewhere below my excitement for root canals and colonoscopies. Safe to say, I preferred doing — not planning.
Recruiting is a unique field because it has no entry barriers. Unlike most professions, you can become a corporate recruiter without any formal certification, registration, recruiting experience, or even a college degree in the discipline. Because becoming a recruiter requires no formal qualifications, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that in practice, there is a wide variation in the capabilities of individuals who hold the corporate title of “recruiter.” Many corporate recruiters are truly outstanding, but unfortunately in some corporations, many other recruiters can only be classified as what I call a “Recruiter In Name Only” or a RINO (pronounced as rhino). keep reading…
Who are the fattest workers?
Yes, yes, I know. That is so politically incorrect, but CareerBuilder started it. In 2005 the careers company did a weight gain survey discovering 47 percent of workers admitted to gaining weight on the job.
That percentage hasn’t much changed over the years, though this year only 41 percent admitted to putting on the pounds. Before you go buying into that statistic, look up “social desirability bias,” which may also explain why CareerBuilder’s polltakers reported that 59 percent of the 3,690 workers taking the online survey claim they work out regularly; 45 percent said they go to the gym three times a week. keep reading…
What did your company spend on hiring last year? If you’re really not sure, you’ve got plenty of company. Given the decentralized talent acquisition model that many companies use, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the actual spending — and the true return on that investment. This is just one rather startling finding that we confirmed last year when we conducted our first annual Corporate Recruitment Benchmark Survey.
Survey participants included both executives and candidates, and they shared a number of eye-opening facts including:
- There are strong disconnects between hiring concerns and priorities
- Only 9 percent of the candidates were happy and not looking
- IT had an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent
- Most companies have fewer than two recruiters
- 36 percent of companies either do not know how they track hiring or do not track at all
To illustrate some of these key findings, and other common corporate talent acquisition challenges, we invite you to meet Eleanor. Her story is fictional, but the challenges she faces are anything but. keep reading…
I decided to ask 1,582 U.S. company employees how they go their last job. I gave them four choices:
- Internal move or promotion
- Some type of proactive networking activity, or referred by someone within the company
- Contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager who found their resume or LinkedIn profile
- Responded to a job posting
I also asked if they were actively looking for a job at the time, or not. The results of this survey are shown in the graphic. Here’s a link to the survey itself if you’d like to take it and/or pass it on, and the preliminary analysis. Even though the data is not perfect, here are some obvious conclusions: keep reading…