THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

June 7, 2007   view past issues

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Feature: A Chocolate on Their Pillow Isn’t Enough

Jonathan Tisch, the Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, has a book out called Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough. It’s a study of organizational behavior from the luxury hotel perspective. Tisch believes the key to success–whether your company is a hotelier, a clothing retailer or a fast food chain–is to turn customers into guests. That involves learning “the art of welcome,” a set of principles for delivering the extraordinary customer experience. It’s a concept that I believe holds equally as much promise for recruiters.

Tisch profiles a number of companies in the book, but his description of clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is particularly revealing. According to Tisch, the company is better than most when it comes to harnessing “the power of welcome to attract customers” into its stores. Attraction, of course, is a challenge for us, as well. We need the Career area on our corporate sites to attract a generous stream of great talent because alternative forms of sourcing are both expensive and time-consuming.

So, what does Urban Outfitters do to transform their stores into customer magnets? Simple as it sounds, they work hard at keeping people fascinated with the look of their stores. The company changes their clothing displays every day and executes full store redesigns twice a month. They believe they must not only attract customers, but give them a reason to come back over and over and over again. In essence, the Urban Outfitters definition of a guest is a repeat visitor.

It’s also the way we should define the perfect guest in the Career area on our corporate sites. Our goal should be to get the best customers–the passive, high caliber prospects we most want to “buy” our organization’s value proposition as an employer–to come back to our site over and over and over again. The way to do that, Tisch explains, is to invest the time and effort necessary to make our “store” virtually irresistible by creating “a moment of unexpected satisfaction.” If Urban Outfitters can do that to sell a $65 pair of jeans, we can certainly do it to sell a $65,000 high performing prospect.

How do we create an “unexpected moment of satisfaction” in our Career areas? I think it involves four discrete steps:

  • Step 1: Create channels of tailored content. No guest thinks of themselves as a generic visitor, so it’s important that our online experience provide a way for them to identify personally with the information and features we provide. The best channels, therefore, are those that offer tailored content by career path so that sales professionals visit a separate part of the store and are sold with a different vocabulary and set of facts than finance and accounting or information technology or operations professionals. Equally as important, as the Urban Outfitters example makes clear, the content in each tailored channel must change regularly–at least monthly–if you want the best and brightest to return to your site frequently enough for you to sell them.
  • Step 2: Offer content that builds relationships. Active job seekers are in a hurry; they’ll buy quickly. Passive prospects take their time; they want to get to know your employer. They aren’t looking for a job; they’re looking for a career advancement opportunity. You can’t, therefore, induce them to make a purchase with a traditional transactional experience. You have to build a relationship with them. That’s an over-used term, to be sure, but it accurately describes the content creation process for an effective Career area online. As we all know from our own experience in life, successful relationships take both time and hard work. Convincing top talent that they should devote their career to our employer is no less of a challenge. It requires constant creativity, sensitivity and commitment. To infuse your content with those attributes, shape it so that it always answers a passive prospect’s most important question: What’s in it for them?.
  • Step 3: Communicate with a dialogue not a soliloquy. Clear and continuous communication is the foundation of successful relationships. Without it, customers simply can’t be sold effectively: It’s much more difficult to persuade them to buy our employer’s value proposition and much more likely that a misunderstanding–what you and I call a poor person-job fit–will occur. Communication, however, is not a one-way street. And, in the best Career areas on corporate Web-sites, it’s actually two two-ways streets, running in parallel. The first is the dialogue the site provides between prospects and recruiters. That two-way interaction can occur via a blog, a Q&A feature or direct e-mail. The second is the dialogue the site promotes between and among its customers. Peer-to-peer interaction can occur via a discussion forum, listserv or bulletin board. In both cases, the goal is to make visitors feel like welcomed guests by adding a personal touch to what all too frequently seems like an impersonal experience.
  • Step 4: Deliver evidence that matters. The best talent are savvy consumers. They take employers’ claims–about their employment brand, open positions and opportunities–with a healthy dose of skepticism. As most of us do when considering any important purchase, they look for proof that their expectation about an organization will come true once they’re hired. What evidence matters most to them? The words of their peers. The single most powerful element of proof a company can offer on its site is the testimonials of its employees that describe their day-to-day work experience. As with every other form of content on the site, however, these vignettes should change frequently. Once a quarter is best as that pace ensures the evidence always seems fresh and covers more of the career fields for which your company recruits.
  • Recruiting departments are almost always understaffed and overworked, so it’s easy to fall into corner-cutting behaviors. Putting a chocolate on someone’s pillow–creating a Career area that provides a small, but tasty morsel of information about your company–ought to be enough to convince a customer that they’re welcome. In the War for the Best Talent, however, it’s not. The competition is doing more to sell the visitors to their site, and that means we must too. We must transform our candidates into guests by providing a moment of unexpected satisfaction over and over and over again.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!


    This Issue’s Sponsor: RES

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of RES.

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    There are five (5) cornerstones of Human Resources and Staffing that when fully optimized will create a world class staffing organization.

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    By analyzing the results from this scorecard, you will see what areas your company performs well and where initial focus is needed to drive the organization towards becoming world class.

    To request your complimentary staffing scorecard, click on RES.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    HR Magazine from the Society for Human Resource Management profiled a 2006 court decision (Rafi v. Thompson, D.C. Cir., No. 02-2356) that should give all of us pause. Its basic conclusion: Volunteer jobs, no less than permanent positions, are subject to federal antidiscrimination statues, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Why should we worry? Because while most employers have robust safeguards in place against conscious or unconscious bias in their “normal” recruiting activities, far fewer are as vigilant when it comes to filling volunteer positions, or what many employers call internships. This case reminds us that all hiring–whether it leads to a paycheck or a pat on the back–is subject to the country’s laws and regulations governing equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. And the best way to keep your employer out of trouble (and the courts) is to make sure your recruiters, your hiring managers and your senior executives know that.

    Money Magazine released a startling set of statistics that deserve our attention as the summer vacation season begins. According to the magazine, the average American earns 14 days of vacation, but takes only 11. Germans use 25 of their 26 days off, the British use 21 of their 24 vacation days and the French … well, the French use all but 3 of the 36 days they are provided. In addition, according to an AP-Ipsos poll released last week, even when Americans go on holiday, they’re never far from the office. Two-out-ten work while on vacation, two out-of-ten check messages and actually call in to the office, and four-out-of-ten check their e-mail every day. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting employee health, yet we condone behavior (on the part of employees and their supervisors) that provokes stress, saps restorative rest and, ultimately, undermines performance. With appropriate planning and discipline any and everyone can and should take all of the vacation time to which they are entitled, and that time should be devoted to the relaxation that reinforces one’s physical health and redoubles their contribution when they return to work.

    ORC Worldwide published the results of its Annual HR Priorities Survey based on a poll of senior Human Resource executives. Happily, it found that the top strategic issue for HR leaders in 2007 was talent management. Almost two-thirds (61.7%) of the respondents cited it as their most important initiative for the year. What are they going to do? Well, that’s where the news isn’t so good. Their tactics were variously described as:

  • Development of talent, including leadership and top talent;
  • Strengthening leadership and talent bench strength;
  • Succession planning and ‘talent management’ for all levels;
  • Attracting and acquiring talent;
  • Hiring and retaining talent;
  • Sadly, not a single leaders mentioned the single most important precondition to executing such activities: Increasing the budget for and the staffing and development of the recruiting team. CEOs may not yet have figured it out, but HR executives should know better. You can’t squeeze blood out of a rock. There is no strategic priority for talent management if you don’t first put your money where your plans are.

    WEDDLE’s announced its private training programs for corporate and third-party recruiting trams. These programs can be delivered on-site in your own facility or in a toll-free audio format similar to WEDDLE’s public programs. You can select a single 75-minute program, pick two programs for a combined 2.5-hour seminar or three programs for a half-day workshop. All programs are delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, one of the industry’s most highly rated trainers. WEDDLE’s training programs include:

  • A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • Blink Recruiting: Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • Leadership for Everyone: the Secret Weapon of Successful Companies
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Key to Recruiting Top Talent
  • Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • For more information and to schedule your private, in-house WEDDLE’s training program, please call us at 203.964.1888.

    “The WEDDLE’s Seminar has been held in cities around the country to rave reviews; in fact, more than 95% have said they found the seminars to be both very informative and very helpful.” The Wall Street Journal


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite & from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to recruiting top talent online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for each of your requirements. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the optimum yield for you. For example:

    JobStreet.com

    http://www.jobstreet.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes–All

    Distribution of jobs: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam

    Fee to post a job: $100-200/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 3.5 million

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Engineering, Information Technology, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Discussion forum for e-networking, Assessment instruments, Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status report: postings and banners

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Please Support Our Sponsor: RES

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of RES.

    Request Your Complimentary Staffing Scorecard

    Do you have a World Class Staffing Function?

    There are five (5) cornerstones of Human Resources and Staffing that when fully optimized will create a world class staffing organization.

    RES has developed a unique scorecard that will enable you to see where your strengths and areas of opportunities exist.

    By analyzing the results from this scorecard, you will see what areas your company performs well and where initial focus is needed to drive the organization towards becoming world class.

    To request your complimentary staffing scorecard, click on RES.