In a past life at a company that shall remain nameless, an employee made the mistake of hitting "reply all" to a corporate announcement instead of forward. Her reply went, not to her close friend as she intended, but to the whole company. While embarrassing, this would not have been a career-limiting move except for the fact that the reply detailed her job search and her urgent desire to get out of her current (insert uncomplimentary adjective here) job.
This led to her dismissal, a highly controversial move, since she was well liked and very good at her job. The point of this article is not to debate the decision, but to simply say: we ain't seen nothing yet. The plethora of social media tools now available, from Facebook to MySpace to Twitter, has led to an extraordinary blending of personal and professional lives in a very public forum which too many people seem to think is private. The latest casualty of this trend is the unfortunate "Cisco Fatty," a candidate who left her interview at Cisco and sent out the following tweet: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."
Times are tough. Even those companies that are doing reasonably well are cutting their recruiting teams by a minimum of 30% to a maximum of 90%, and tightening up expenses to the absolute barest minimum.
Consider this as a basic truth: in tough economic times every job looks better, especially the one you already have.
LinkedIn is a great tool for finding passive candidates who want to be found. This is its little-discussed power. No one would publish their profiles otherwise. While some recruiters are still reluctant to jump on board, others have been making placements since day one. Here are some ideas on how to get started right away to take full advantage of this remarkable networking tool:
We're currently conducting a major research project on how top people look for new jobs. This research will offer great insight into what companies need to do to better align their current sourcing efforts with market realities. If you'd like to take part, just send this survey link to all of your best candidates and those you've recently placed.
Top performers are different than average performers both on the job and how they look for a new one. Simply defined, a top performer is a person who consistently exceeds expectations. While you might be able to determine a person's potential to be a top performer in 30 days or so, it takes at least a few months to determine if a person is a top performer. This has to do with motivation, team skills, and the consistent achievement of results. For a variety of reasons, just because a person can do the work, it doesn't mean the person will do the work. Generally speaking, if a top person takes a great job that perfectly fits his or her needs and aspirations, it's unlikely the person would even consider changing jobs in the first year or so. The person is typically on a steep learning curve, making an impact, and highly satisfied with the current work and the potential future opportunities.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
This past quarter, I conducted two senior-level management searches. Each one stands out as a shining example of what to do and what not to do. Understanding the differences can double your monthly placement rate in about half the time. Before reading the details, you should benchmark your own recruiting skills using this 10-Factor Recruiter diagnostic assessment to get a sense of what it takes to be a great recruiter.
If you want to generate one great candidate day after day after day, follow my 12 golden rules for sourcing the best. These are this year's stocking stuffers whether you're hiring active or passive candidates.
There are two huge problems when hiring is viewed as an end-to-end process. The first one involves sourcing. Most companies are terrible when it comes to advertising, recruiting, and attracting the best. Of course, as a recruiter, how I make my money is by finding top people that others can't. And, in today's Internet age, this is actually quite easy. However, this is a big waste of time if you or your hiring managers don't know how to accurately assess candidate competency.
College recruiting, like all recruiting, continues to evolve as the demographics in the US shift. Generation Y, also known as "Millenniums," have some distinct preferences in the way they look for work and the way they approach their careers. Even those companies that don't recruit entry-level people need to pay attention to these preferences. Gen Y, those folks born after 1980, make up close to 25% of the current and potential workforce. As the Baby Boomers begin to retire, this group and their attitudes toward employment will increase in importance to employers.
Today I'll share with you the inside scoop on Sodexho's first foray into using Virtual Job Fairs in Second Life. I recently interviewed Anthony Scarpino, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for Sodexho, and Amy Brooks, one of Sodexho's recruiters who participated in their first ever virtual job fair. Amy recently attended our online Recruiter Boot Camp and graciously volunteered to share her experiences using Second Life to attract candidates.
Last week I met with a Director of Recruiting from a major Fortune 200 company in the Midwest. In a recent meeting with one of her top corporate executives, the executive made the comment that he finally considered the recruiting department "fixed." The Recruiting Director was so taken back by the comment that she didn't really know how to respond. She was genuinely troubled by his comment. What does he mean by "fixed"? Perhaps it was a backhanded compliment or maybe he meant "fixed" in the sense that he's crossed it off his to-do listâ€”he's no longer worried about it. Perhaps he believes that because they recently installed a new ATS system, added two or three additional recruiters, and restructured their sourcing department, he doesn't really need to worry about it any more.
You've just placed a top performer in a new job. It's a great fit right off the bat. The job is as advertised, job expectations were clear, the person is making an impact, doing work she enjoys, working with a great team, and working for a top-notch manager who is a true mentor.
Let's start by identifying some of the biggest yield losses in the recruiting process and begin improving these. Starting with the worst, here are just basic metrics you might want to consider to achieve our goal:
Depending on which survey you read, 40 to 60 percent of the workforce is just waiting for you to call them with a great job. The number of people who are dissatisfied with their current job seems to climb with every new report. CareerBuilder's "Dream Job" Survey in January 2007 revealed that 84% of US workers are not in their dream job. No, these are not the jobs we dreamed of as children (in case you were wondering, the most popular are firefighter, princess, dancer, and cowboy). The definition of a dream job for us "grown-ups" is far more prosaic that that. According to CareerBuilder, "Workers said they want to enjoy their work experience, apply their talents and feel like they're making an impact. Having fun at work was the most important attribute of a dream job for 39 percent of workers, which heavily outweighed the 12 percent who said salary was most important."
A piece of data worthy of note: some old friends just told us that their daughter - a very talented Gen Xer - has just joined a professional business network weeks after landing a new job. The only thing unusual about this was that she told her parents she was using this network to plant the seeds for her next job.
Last year, in 2006, a momentous event occurred - the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup (yeah!). In addition, however, and more to the point, the demand for labor statistically exceeded the supply. The long-predicted labor shortage arrived in fact. The timing and severity of the shortage over the next 50 years is subject to debate, but its existence is not. In the two decades between 1980 and 2000, the U.S. workforce grew by 54%. From 2000 to 2020, it is predicted to grow by only 3%, due primarily to the retiring of the baby boom generation. For those of us in the recruiting and hiring field, this makes a difficult job even more difficult. Given a projected gap of 14 million skilled workers by 2020, it's only going to get harder.
Jim is the best recruiter at LNM, a division of a Fortune 500 company. Karen is a strong marketing manager who is not looking for a job. Jim found Karen's name on ZoomInfo, and he is now cold calling her to explore the possibility of considering her for the position.
"This is deja vu all over again!"
-Yogi Berra, circa 1965
A few years ago I wrote an article on the importance of using networking as a primary sourcing tool. The essence of the article can be boiled down into the following key principles:
This is the third week of our search for a VP Operations for an East Coast healthcare organization. We're now heavily into the sourcing, networking, and candidate presentation process. This article describes in detail the semi-sourcing and networking phase of the recruiting.
We've just finished the first week of our search for a Director/VP Operations for a $300 million medical services company. I'll be documenting the results of this search over the next few weeks. The overall project plan and how we got the business and prepared the performance profile were summarized in the kick-off article. This week, we prepared the sourcing plan and began our advertising and networking program.
This is a reality article series. Over the next few weeks, I'll document an actual retained search we've just received for a VP of operations for a $300 million medical services company. Our goal is to start presenting candidates within two weeks.
Over the past few years I've made some pretty wild assertions on these pages about how to hire better people. While they have caused quite a stir, and despite the inevitable nay-saying, they've all proved out to be extremely effective. Here are my choices for the top 10 wackiest ideas on how to hire better people.
The best candidates always require more information as they move through the hiring process. It has been my observation that when a candidate decides they're no longer interested in a job it's because they don't have enough of the right information. The recruiter is responsible for getting it to them.
The best active and passive candidates always have multiple opportunities. As a result they need more convincing that the job you're offering is better than the other opportunities they're considering. Recruiting is not about finding and hiring candidates who need another job. Anybody can do this. Recruiting is about influencing top candidates who don't need your job to consider it anyway, and then keeping them involved at every subsequent step in the hiring process.
The best active and passive candidates always have multiple opportunities. As a result they need more convincing that the job you're offering is better than the other opportunities they're considering. For passive candidates, they need to be convinced that your job is even worth evaluating. Convincing these top candidates to proceed in the hiring process and then to accept a fair offer is what recruiters need to do to be successful. Recruiting is not about finding and hiring candidates who need another job. Anybody can do this. These candidates will do whatever you suggest.
If you want to make Performance-based Hiring a reality, having a steady source of top candidates is essential. Networking is the key to pulling this off. To me, networking represents the difference between good and great recruiting. I don't look at job boards as a primary source of top candidates. Every now and then you'll find one, but not frequently enough to count on this source. However, networking, when properly done, can be the prime source of all your best people. How to do it well is the key. This will be the topic of this edition of the Science of Recruiting. And as you'll soon discover, it most certainly is a science.
Welcome to our new series of articles, The Science of Recruiting. Over the next ten editions, we'll look at every skill and technique necessary to be a great recruiter. At the end of it all, you'll have a sense of what you need to do to take your performance and success as a recruiter up another notch or two, or maybe more.
Hiring 2.0 is the operating system for the next generation of hiring tools. The objective of Hiring 2.0 is to establish the standards for making hiring top talent a systematic business process.
As many of you know, I advocate (and use) a policy of sourcing that emphasizes semi-candidates. Semi-candidates are either semi-active candidates who look on the job boards infrequently; or semi-passive candidates who don't look at all, but want a recruiter to call.
If everybody knows that one thing is true, why do so many people try something else?
Most companies will tell you that their employee referral program is the best way to find top talent. Most recruiters, including me, will tell you that networking with former and current candidates is the best way to find top talent.
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