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…
There is nothing like a good controversy to stir up one’s feelings and subsequently a fierce debate. One of my favorite things about reading articles on ERE is how some of its contributors have a wonderful ability to write articles that generate comments a mile long because of controversial subjects covered. We were barely into 2013 when Adrian Kinnersley wrote an article entitled, “Why LinkedIn will never kill the professional recruitment industry,” which was very on point.
People are so polarized around this issue, but the comments section was what really made it an interesting read for me. If I didn’t know better I would have expected a fistfight to break out. One commenter even suggested that commission-only salespeople are unable to provide independent advice to candidates, and candidates know this. This inspired me to pick up my pen (figuratively, that is) and write, which I haven’t done lately.
The Demise of the Agency Recruiter keep reading…
This week, I thought I’d throw out a bunch of recruiting related questions that I’m curious about. Some may be easy to answer (and I’m just to lazy to do so), some hard, and some may have to be re-stated/re-defined.
Do you have any answers? keep reading…
As an in-house recruiter or HR professional, have you ever been in a meeting with a recruitment supplier and been very impressed with their pitch and excited about the results that are going to follow, only to be completely let down by their performance? It won’t surprise you to read that you’re not the only one.
We all know that for every good recruiter who walks the earth, there are others who don’t quite make the grade. Many sell a value proposition that isn’t being followed up with action — recruiters who purport to headhunt and cold-call top people in the market, but actually only advertise their clients’ vacancies. As a client of these external recruiters you need to be in a position to make an accurate assessment of their worth — not just by what they tell you, but what they actually prove.
Many contingency-level recruitment firms haven’t evolved their value proposition as technology has evolved over the past 10 years. As in-house recruiters have been able to catch up with doing direct sourcing through job boards and social media, external suppliers should be getting more sophisticated in their approach to maintain a value proposition worthy of the fees that are charged — mapping out competitors, gathering referrals, building expertise and relationships in their chosen niche, for example. Too many contingency firms are still charging 15% to 25% for doing nothing more than advertising a poorly written or cut and pasted job spec, and it’s just not good enough.
So here are some questions to ask your suppliers next time you invite them in for an update or suppler appraisal. keep reading…
Last month, I wrote a post called “Recruiters: Your Days Are Numbered” for which I was lynched in the comments thread for disparaging the recruiting profession and forecasting its demise. Even Josh Bersin — a leading authority on HR — chimed in to describe the article as “a bit of a joke.” keep reading…
How LinkedIn is eating the recruitment industry suggested that LinkedIn, an essential tool in a recruiter’s arsenal, is actually going to devour the recruitment sector like an aggressive parasite. This is a very popular viewpoint — and an understandable one given the state of the jobs market, the focus on reducing recruitment spending, and the undeniably impressive growth of LinkedIn’s revenues and share price.
There is undeniably a shift in behavior with regard to LinkedIn, and it has impacted the recruitment industry — but in a different way than the article suggests. LinkedIn needs recruitment to survive. Despite views to the contrary, recruitment companies still contribute the lion’s share of its revenue. LinkedIn is undoubtedly negatively impacting parts of the recruitment market. But it’s not the third-party agencies. It’s the job boards. keep reading…
At once swooping up two of its largest competitors, Bullhorn today became one of the largest, if not the largest, technology providers to staffing and independent recruiting firms in the world.
“We’re acquiring two extremely talented teams, both of whom have succeeded in delighting their large customer bases with a combination of product innovation and excellent service,” Papas said in a news release. “These acquisitions dramatically increase our ability to execute on our vision of helping recruiters be more successful, develop new products, and serve our exponentially expanding user base.”
Details of the sale weren’t disclosed, however both MaxHire and Sendouts will operate under the Bullhorn brand. MaxHire’s CEO Peter Blitz, who founded the company in 1995, will become Bullhorn’s product innovation officer. Sendouts’ CEO Brian Hopcroft will become general manager.
Customers of each company will continue to use the existing software and will be supported as they always have, assured Andrew Hally, Bullhorn’s vice president of product and marketing. “Both products (MaxHire and Sendouts) are staying… We are not shutting down the products,” Hally explained, though the individual companies will immediately be folded into Bullhorn. keep reading…
I’ve always thought corporate recruiters could learn a lot from “headhunters” — not because I’m biased due to years spent in third-party recruitment (both as a recruiter and manager). It’s just that when I came to the “other side” I noticed one glaring weakness.
Corporate recruiters are very “process driven” and not very good, well, “hunters”; at least that tends to be the case for corporate recruiters newer to the profession. They get the procedures down quickly but they just haven’t been exposed to the world of recruiting and closing higher-level talent. More senior corporate recruiters, on average, have been exposed to both sides and may already use some of the principles I’ll discuss.
A few quick facts about recruiting top talent in the U.S. Currently in the U.S. unemployment is hovering around 8%, yet, more than 52% of employers (according to the Wall Street Journal) say they cannot fill their positions. How can this be? How can we have, in this economy, a jobs gap of nearly 4 million? keep reading…
There’s a better-than-even chance you don’t know what the cloud is. Fluffy white things in the sky is not correct. And the bad news is that if you polled the audience, that’s about what you would have heard.
Seems a majority of Americans think “the cloud” has something to do with weather, and about half of you think rainy weather interferes with your cloud computing.
Now this little survey from Citrix isn’t recruiting specific, but we’d guess that a big percentage of you are in the cloud on a regular basis. All those SaaS systems out there are cloud-connected. 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…
You know the four criteria for defining an Internet applicant are:
- An expression of interest (as in sending in an application);
- Meets the basic qualifications (education, years of experience, geography, etc.);
- You “considered” the individual for a job;
- The person never withdraws from consideration.
And you know about the recordkeeping requirements.
Now comes clarifications of these rules from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that won’t make life any easier, but which do, at least, make it clearer what records to keep and who is responsible for keeping them. keep reading…
(Editor’s note: With so many new ERE members coming on all the time, we thought that each week we’d republish one popular classic post. Here’s one, below.)
Over the last several years I’ve sat through no less than 100 staffing agency “pitches” in person or over the phone. At this point these meetings have begun to all sound very similar, so I’ll bucket agency sales pitches in to these three areas.
“We’re Different.” Almost every agency says they have a special/unique process for reviewing resumes, sourcing candidates, and access to candidates that sets them apart from their competitors. From my experience I’ve not really seen the impact of their “unique” process in the candidates they’ve submitted. Additionally, most agencies don’t appear to have a thorough understanding of their competition. At some point in almost every vendor meeting someone says that they don’t push paper like “everyone else.” I would encourage vendors to have a much more in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape before they make such broad sweeping indictments of their competitors.
“We Build Relationships.” Every vendor I’ve ever sat down with has said they build meaningful relationships with managers and they “get” our business unlike any other vendor in town. As a result they tell me they have the ability to make a cultural fit for our organization. To this statement I like to ask: “Give me an example as to how you screen for cultural fit.” I’ve been underwhelmed by all responses to this point.
“We Have a Proprietary Database.” I’ve heard this one a million times. Vendor ABC has a database of millions of qualified/ interested candidates at their beck and call to fill contract needs. I don’t doubt they have a long list of former contractors they’ve placed, but in my experience most contractors don’t feel the same level of loyalty to their staffing agency. Most contractors are more interested in the type of work, the end client, and compensation. And before you rebuke, I will concede there are notable exceptions to this point, but overall, it’s correct.
Overall my experience is that candidate screening is indeed not that different; that staffing agencies do not have a special candidate database (why, then do I get the same candidate submitted by different vendors all the time?); and your partnership with me is not that strong. In fact, too many vendors treat me as someone to work around than to work with.
Here are my suggestions. keep reading…
“The public is led to believe that companies can’t find Americans to fill high-tech jobs when, in fact, they are not searching for Americans — as these ads show,” said Donna Conroy, a founder of Bright Future Jobs and author of “No Americans Need Apply.”
Her report details an analysis of 100 IT ads, posted on tech job board Dice.com, which all include language referencing various visa programs, and which, Conroy said in an interview, are phrased as “code for foreign workers only.”
The Bright Future Jobs analysis of the ads found 37 percent of them made no mention of IT job terms or skills in the ad title. Instead, they contained only references to visa types, says Conroy’s report. “These 37 ads also repeated these USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) terms in the skills section,” says the report.
The balance of the ads all included visa terms, with many restricting applicants to those with H1-B visas (work visas) or with work permits granted to foreign students attending U.S. colleges and universities. keep reading…
As an early adopter of LinkedIn (member 554,000-ish) I’d like to think I have a bit of experience and insight into this business network. I am not a LinkedIn expert, but I do know enough about it to understand the value from the viewpoint of a candidate, recruiter, salesperson, and business owner. When it comes to expanding my network and invitations to connect, I have some strong opinions.
The Business Network
When LinkedIn first started, its “suggestion” regarding invitations to connect read:
Carol Schultz wants to be your connection on LinkedIn. We recommend that you only connect with professionals you know well and who you are generally willing to recommend to your other business contacts.
Now, LinkedIn invitations read:
WHY MIGHT CONNECTING WITH CAROL SCHULTZ BE A GOOD IDEA?
Carol Schultz’s connections could be useful to you
After accepting Carol Schultz’s invitation, check Carol Schultz’s connections to see who else you may know and who you might want an introduction to. Building these connections can create opportunities in the future.
These are two very different guidelines. keep reading…
Sometimes I’m asked about the graphic of sheep on my website. Sheep will follow other sheep — regardless of the danger — and the flash analogizes the importance of breaking the herd mentality. A great example of herd mentality is an event at many rodeos called Mutton Bustin. There is a sheep held in the middle of the arena whose sole purpose is to get the other sheep to run to it. This is one of the best examples of herd behavior I know.
When it comes to recruiting and hiring processes many recruiting leaders look at the hiring practices of successful companies and assume the same will work for them. We often hear about successful companies like Google that are able to attract great talent. Many of us hear this and immediately want to emulate their hiring process. Is this an effective strategy?
Will Deep Pockets Get You the Best Recruiters? keep reading…
The financial terms were not made public; however, sources, including TechCrunch, said the sales price was in the “low nine-figures.” That would be a near tripling of the company’s valuation since 2008 when it got a $26 million VC fund investment.
“It’s a big day here,” CEO and founder Art Papas said. “The employees are really pumped up.” There are two reasons for the excitement, Papas said. Because of stock options, many employees will see a financial windfall, but as important, he added, is that Bullhorn will remain independent and growing.
“I work with some incredible people. And with this acquisition, no one is leaving. Just the contrary, we’ll be growing.” keep reading…
While all eyes last week were focused on the disappointing March job numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report contained a curious blip that might be nothing more than a statistical aberration. Or it could be an early signal of employment trouble ahead.
The usually robust growth in temp jobs took a breather in March. Temp jobs dipped by 7,500 during the month, the first time since June the monthly employment report registered a decline. Out of a temp workforce of some 2.5 million, the drop is practically unnoticeable. But considering that staffing jobs grew by 91,300 in January and February, a reduction of any size is significant.
Recent history is also a factor. Looking at April 2011, the monthly jobs report said 251,000 jobs were created, the biggest rise since the census hiring of 12 months earlier. But that same report also showed the first decline in temp jobs in 19 months. Then in May, the economy added a mere 54,000 jobs. It was months before the pace of hiring returned to what it was in the first quarter of the year when 662,000 jobs were created.
Cautious employers can be forgiven therefore if they react as if last week’s Labor Department report were an omen. keep reading…
In more 10 years in the staffing industry in various operational, managerial, and corporate roles and in different countries, I have interviewed, coached, and trained hundreds of recruitment consultants from all over the world. Though local differences must be taken into consideration, the characteristics that make you a top performer in Salt Lake City also work in Singapore or in Paris. Based on what I saw, heard, and learned, here is my quintessential list of the 5+1 habits that make a top-performer in any economic cycle or market: keep reading…
I get that comment at least three or four times a day when I am making my business development calls. It is consistently one of the things someone in the corporate recruiting or talent acquisition group seems compelled to say. Why? What does it mean, really?
Perhaps they are trying to “identify” with my world. You know, let me know that “they’ve been there.” The positive side of this comment (and there often is a positive side!) is that the individual will go on to let me know that they truly appreciate the level of effort required to be successful as a professional recruiter. In this regard, the comment is and should be taken as one of respect for the value we had in the overall recruiting (or talent acquisition) equation.
And then there is the negative side to this comment. keep reading…
XpertTech has already grown about 400% in six months money-wise, and in terms of employee size, from 12 employees to 61 employees in six months. Now it’s hiring 30 people in 30 days in the San Francisco Bay area for a mobile phone application project. It’s looking for designers, coders, and others. Joe Budzienski, the company’s executive vice president, is telling candidates, “Whether you have just graduated college and have been developing in your dorm room between classes, or have worked as a senior engineer who realized app development was your true calling, we want to speak with you. The only thing we ask is you live, breathe, and eat APPS!”
“To be trusted with this project is an honor,” says Budzienski. “It’s a very very prominent company, global.” One job listing on LinkedIn suggests the client is a banking company, as do some other posts.
The 30-day hiring blitz started Monday, and XpertTech has hired 12 of the 30 already. keep reading…