Weekly Update: Onboarding, Work/Life Balance, and the Economy

Jul 15, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Last week I posted a summary of the most relevant, thought-provoking discussions of the week, and after hearing from several of you, I thought I would make this a weekly tradition. I picked out six of the top discussions and wanted to ask what you think #7 should be. What discussion should I add to the list? Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.

Preventing Applicants from Bypassing HR. The shaky relationship between the recruiter and hiring manager has always been an interesting topic of debate on ERE discussion boards.

Coral Blankenship wants to know if there is a “diplomatic way to inform candidates in a posting not to contact the hiring manager or any other person other than the representative listed in the posting.”

Amanda Blazo and Rob Levin were realistic, saying that unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent someone from contacting a hiring manager, especially with the amount of information available through the Internet.

Amanda advises corporate recruiters and TPRs to respond to every applicant “qualified or not” and Rob added that many people pass over HR because “they know it will get them nowhere.” Mike Johnson included some helpful language to include in job postings while Jeff Altman wrote about the benefits an applicant might see in going directly to HR and included an example. He also sympathized with Coral’s situation since he agreed that most applicants can’t do an “adequate job of presenting themselves on a call.”

Monday’s Question of the Day. Work/life balance has become part of our everyday vernacular. We hear about it on the news, read about it in studies, and discuss it during interviews, but I couldn’t help wondering: Do most companies really want their employees to balance both and possibly leave work early for dinner plans and yoga classes? Elizabeth DeLouise feels that “It still seems the person who is willing to put in the longer hours are the people who get ahead.” David Rees questions the phrase “work/life balance” and asks, “does that mean that work is not part of life?” He also believes that work-life balance does not affect TPRs as much, since they are “evaluated on effectiveness not hours worked”? Anyone disagree? I wonder if work-life balance is truly a question about generational differences. Is this workplace philosophy accepted for younger generations and not Boomers? Maureen Sharib included some interesting data from a Monster survey conducted in 2007 that you might want to check out.

Paperless New Hire Process. Rob Levin wants to automate the entire hiring process and wants advice on best practices. Manoj Tiwari’s company, a small company with a homegrown applicant management system, has successfully gone paperless for everything except the interviewing process. Melissa Chacinski simply stated “look at your ATS.” Her company uses ATS, email, and Internet. For interview notes, she recommends faxing the notes in an email PDF and attaching that document in the ATS. Rob was impressed with the comments but what he really wants to know is how to automate the onboarding process, everyone’s favorite buzzword. Joann Starks uses an ATS with an onboarding function including electronic signatures. Her only challenge is when legal changes a form and they need to use paper until that form can be automated. I have a short research paper on automating onboarding. If you are interested, you can email me at

What Tools Are Sourcers using Today? Maureen Sharib is using Hoovers, the Net, and the phone and wants to know where others spend their time. Tino Thomas wants advice on portals or search strings. I recommend listening to Glenn Gutmacher’s sourcing webinar. Richard Stack uses phone-based efforts for 75% of the sourcing as well as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, alumni lists, and directories, local associations, and business group websites. Paul Davenport spends one-third of his day on the Internet and two-thirds on the phone. He recommends using Vonage phone service thanks to advice from Shally Steckerl. Mike Johnson uses the Internet — Google, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Jigsaw — but the key to his success lies in their homegrown CRM tool. He can help you out if you want more information.

Is the Slow Down Affecting You? Scott Weaver wants to know how the economy is affecting the construction industry. “Specifically, has anyone’s recruitment department been downsized?” both corporate and TPRs? Anne Kutsher is feeling the effects and her company is not doing much hiring these days. So far, no layoffs in HR, but this will not last long. Suzanne Hucko says her hiring has not slowed down with the exception of hiring in Florida. She attributes this success to the fact that they are not hiring for residential projects and they are nationwide. Craig Bromfield brings us insight into the Polish and Eastern European markets and things are looking good. He predicts that residential developments will begin to slow-down while retail development will continue to thrive. The hotel and infrastructure industries are especially busy these days.

Tuesday’s Question of the Day. I read a few comments recently predicting that blogs will replace resumes. I thought I would throw it out there. David Rees sums it up best by stating that it “depends on how you blog and what you blog about. Sincerity, honesty, and transparency are what it’s all about, but not everyone is wired to blog like that.” Mark Nelson feels that blogs are more of a reference than a resume but recommends that job seekers take advantage of niche blogs. He wants to know if video resumes will replace traditional resumes. I personally think video resumes are a fad but can be very beneficial for branding purposes.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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