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Consolidation in SMB Market as Bullhorn Acquires Two Competitors

John Zappe
Nov 28, 2012, 1:30 pm ET

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.

Describing it as “an incredible moment for Bullhorn customers,” company CEO Art Papas announced the acquisition of both MaxHire and Sendouts.

“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…

3 Things You Need to Do to Close the Prize Hire (Confessions of a Recovering Headhunter)

Adem Tahiri
Nov 28, 2012, 6:21 am ET

bust of Socrates

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…

You’re Right, They Are Faking It. Now Go SaaS Them

John Zappe and Todd Raphael
Aug 31, 2012, 4:27 am ET

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…

Forget About the Cost — Modeling the Real ROI of In-house Headhunting

Fraser Hill
Aug 28, 2012, 5:18 am ET

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…

OFCCP Clarifies Rules to Make Clear It’s All Up to You

John Zappe
Aug 23, 2012, 4:46 pm ET

If your employer does business with the federal government, you already know — or should know — the rules about Internet hiring.

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…

What Drives Me Nuts About Staffing Agencies (and How They Can Work as a Better Partner)

Matt Lowney
Aug 2, 2012, 5:26 am ET

(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…

IT Watchdog Group Says Staffing Firms Discriminate Against Americans

John Zappe
Jul 9, 2012, 8:44 am ET

An IT recruiting watchdog group says some staffing companies are abusing the U.S. visa program, advertising jobs that may not even exist, and limiting applicants to non-citizens.

“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, 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…

How Having as Many LinkedIn Connections as Possible Will Increase Your Revenues by 42%

Carol Schultz
Jul 3, 2012, 5:56 am ET

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:


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…

Hire Like Google … Or Should You?

Carol Schultz
Jun 27, 2012, 5:57 am ET

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…

Recruiting Software Company Bullhorn Acquired

John Zappe
Jun 14, 2012, 12:29 pm ET

Bullhorn, the software company that powers much of the staffing and SMB recruiting market, has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners. The Boston-based tech firm announced the deal this morning.

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…

Blip or Omen? Divining the Significance of the March Jobs Numbers

John Zappe
Apr 12, 2012, 11:07 am ET

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…

5+1 Best Practices of Top-performing Recruiters

Jorg Stegemann
Apr 10, 2012, 6:44 am ET

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…

No Fences!

Chuck Hutsell
Mar 28, 2012, 5:54 am ET

“I used to work that side of the fence.”

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…

New Contract Has Tech Staffing Firm Quickly Bringing on Employees, Recruiters

Todd Raphael
Feb 17, 2012, 2:36 pm ET

An IT staffing company you probably haven’t heard of is quickly hiring employees and recruiters after it won some new business that it probably hadn’t dreamed it would.

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…

25 Ways That “No-recruit” Secret Agreements Can Damage Your Firm

Dr. John Sullivan
Feb 6, 2012, 5:36 am ET

This “think piece” is part of a series of articles I wrote to expand your thinking about strategic HR.

If you haven’t seen it in the news lately, there has been an uproar over the practice of secret “no-recruit” agreements between major corporations. A significant number of notable firms including Google, Apple, Intel, and Pixar have been accused of restraining the movement of employees between firms. But don’t be misdirected by all of the legal issues.

The real damage that these agreements can have is on your firm’s business results, and at a large firm, these damages could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. If you work in HR or recruiting, you need to be able to advise senior managers of the unintended consequences related to these agreements. If you currently use no-recruit agreements or you are considering one, this article covers the numerous potential business problems and impacts associated with them.

Potential Problems and Issues Related to Using “No-recruit” Agreements

The 25 problems are broken into two categories, 1) ways that these agreements can hurt your firm and 2) reasons why the agreement may not even work. keep reading…

Executive Search and the Hero’s Journey

Krista Bradford
Dec 27, 2011, 5:29 am ET

The holiday season is so very counterintuitive. Its many traditions demand that we rush around to get everything done in time, yet it also calls upon us to pause and reflect. Whenever I stop for a moment to examine the deeper meaning in our shared purpose as recruiters, I am humbled by the random acts of courage we witness every day in the candidates that we serve. The bravery may be stark and obvious as they endure the loss of a job, a home, or a loved one. Or it may be subtle and just as poignant as they suffer the slights and indignities that are simply part of being a job applicant today. The very act of becoming a candidate tests one’s mettle in profound ways. So, this holiday season let us remember the Hero’s Journey.

Within each of us, in the collective unconscious, there lies a hero — an archetype that Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed lies dormant until called to action. Studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell built upon Jung’s work, discovering that no matter what the myth, a hero’s journey remains the same. All heroes must leave what is familiar, venture forth, do battle, and then return, forever changed, with new talents and gifts to share. For those of us in talent acquisition, that means we deal with something far more important than recruiting metrics and candidate tracking systems: with each and every recruiting engagement, we bear witness to the hero’s journey.

Each senior executive, each technologist, each professional in some way is forever changed by his or her search for a new opportunity. If that involves unemployment, and even homelessness, the bravery and determination required of our hero is the stuff of which legends (and movies) are made. keep reading…

Third Party Placement VS Corporate Recruiting: Competitors or Partners?

Brendan Shields
Nov 18, 2011, 5:09 pm ET

Corporations increasingly place a premium on hiring recruiters who have had 3rd party placement experience. And yet, a widening gap exists between internal vs external recruiting models…as if they could not co-exist, or prosper as partners and are fated to always compete.

This diverse and highly experienced virtual panel will debate the causes and solutions, the trends and gaps while opening the phone lines to the audience members. Register and join in the conversation.

For more podcasts, webinars, and articles on recruiting be sure to check out!


Are There Too Many Staffing Agencies?

Matt Lowney
Nov 16, 2011, 5:59 am ET

Staffing agencies struggle to differentiate their brand message and uniqueness in a sea of competition. In my dealings with staffing agencies, their pitches all begin to sound the same, but they also recognize that the sheer volume of competitors makes it difficult to sound different, if they truly are. In most local markets there are a handful of solid players and a larger number of peripheral staffing firms that tend to create the “noise” (read: sales calls). Here are some thoughts on being a top staffing agency player in your market. keep reading…

Headhunting Gets Its Own Simon Cowell

John Zappe
Nov 14, 2011, 4:14 pm ET

Bravo is airing a one-hour special tonight that may do for executive headhunting what Simon Cowell did for talent shows.

In the space of 60 minutes (commercials included), Wendy Doulton dispenses such bits of advice to her six-figure job candidates as “You need to lose the cleavage,” and “You make me feel like taking a nap.”

Born in the U.S., educated in London, Doulton’s blunt, unvarnished advice is delivered, in a clipped British accent. “A résumé should be like a skirt,” she declares. “Long enough to cover the basics, short enough to keep them interested.” keep reading…

Stranger in a Strange Land: Agency Skills in a Corporate World

J.P. Winker
Nov 9, 2011, 2:55 pm ET

Despite a slow economy, recruiting has picked up over the past year. Talent is hard to find in some segments, and corporate leaders talk about bringing “agency skills” to their recruiting teams. What they mean is they’d like to add the executive recruiting skill set to their existing staff. So, they hire a recruiter with an agency background.

On its face, this would seem to make sense. But it rarely works. After a while, it becomes clear that things aren’t working out as planned. The new hire either does what the other staff are doing (abandoning their agency skill set), or they quietly leave.

It’s an old story: the agency recruiter comes into an established department overseen by HR, replete with processes, advertising budgets, and clear lines of authority. Internal company recruiters, especially those working for larger employers, are adept at marketing jobs designed around the company’s brand and managed through an ATS. There are teams, matrixed relationships, and lots of processes governing recruiters. The goal here is to create reliable, repeatable service levels.

Square Pegs in Round Holes

Agency recruiters find themselves wedged into an environment which is the exact opposite of the agency model — it relies on advertising, has much higher req loads, and is a place where process trumps results. They quickly realize they have to get with the program to fill so many requisitions. This is a situation where the agency skills are not much use. The agency recruiter who wants to stay in a corporate role learns they cannot afford to use agency skills unless they have a shorter requisition list, so they can work them intensely.

Recruiters who learned their trade at a company with a strong brand never really learned to recruit. The brand does the heavy lifting. The corporate recruiter runs a different game, emphasizing ads, job distribution, and SEO, instead of digging for candidates, because its the most efficient way to meet their needs. Anyone wanting to stay will do the same. So the agency skill set falls by the wayside.

Others take a different path. keep reading…