THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

May 13, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: A Recruiter’s Stress Reduction Program

Stress is the silent killer of retention in a growing number of organizations, including those devoted to recruiting. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s not far off the mark. According to the 2007/2008 Global Strategic Rewards report from Watson Wyatt and WorldatWork, almost 40% of employees cited stress as the number one reason for leaving their last employer. Even more disturbing, when their employers were asked to identify the leading source of employee attrition, they ranked stress at number five. That’s why I call it “the silent killer”-no one’s paying much attention to stress on-the-job.

What causes stress in a recruiting organization? Well today, of course, all you need to do is look out the window. There’s a large and growing number of people now on the pavement looking for work. Not only does that mean that many organizations are reducing their workforce, it suggests that recruiters have nothing to do. Their employers are simply not recruiting or have substantially curtailed their new hiring activity. And that’s a position that’s way too close to the door for anyone’s comfort.

Now, obviously, there’s nothing a recruiting team can do to change the economy. Accepting the reality of our situation, however, doesn’t mean that we should simply throw in the towel and let the hard times overwhelm us. In my view, recruiters have what it takes to be more resilient than that. What should we do? I think we should use the slower pace of recruiting to embark on a “recruiter’s stress reduction program.” Here’s what it entails.

If you’re the recruitment leader in your organization, pull together a group of your best performers to implement the following three step process. If you’re not the leader, get that person to form such a group and put it to work on the process. Why should you (and the recruiting team) bother? There are at least several reasons:

  • First, stress is a killer, literally. It undermines your psychological and ultimately your physical health.
  • Second, stress also degrades your performance which, in turn, undermines your job security.
  • And third, stress on-the-job seeps into your family and social life and undermines your ability to enjoy them, as well.
  • A Recruiter’s Stress Reduction Program

    Step 1: Conduct a stress test among your recruiting team. Use this blind survey among your colleagues to determine what’s currently causing any pressure or anxiety they may feel. Nothing is off limits, but the goal is to identify the fixable sources of stress within your organization. While there may be some harrumphing about leadership or culture or compensation policies, what we’re looking for are the irritants that collectively begin to add the plaque of stress to a recruiter’s perceived ability to succeed on-the-job. These might be any (or all) of the following:

  • An inadequate budget to do the job right;
  • Not enough training to be properly skilled for the job;
  • Unrealistic workloads or expectations of results;
  • Unpleasant or counterproductive physical working conditions; and
  • Unrealistic or unnecessarily demanding meeting or work schedules.
  • Step: 2: Identify the stress reduction resources you have at your disposal. Survey the availability of three kinds of resources in your organization:

  • Nonconventional resources internal to the staffing group. While budgets may be tight during a difficult economic period, the situation may actually make another valuable resource among recruiters even more available: time. That “free” time, in turn, may also free up another resource that’s normally committed elsewhere: recruiter talent.
  • Conventional resources internal to the staffing group. Oddly enough, it is possible that “normal” resources might be more available in an abnormal recruiting environment. For example, the slower pace of recruitment advertising may free up funds for other potential (stress reducing) investments. Similarly, staff reductions elsewhere in the organization may make computers or other equipment available.
  • Resources that can be acquired outside the staffing group. Those outside the recruiting group may also have some of the same resources available and be willing to invest them on your behalf if asked. For example, a reduction in workload in the finance department may enable someone on that staff to invest some time in tutoring recruiters on building the business case for corporate investments.
  • What’s available to each recruiting team is idiosyncratic to its organization. Use the survey to build a list of the resources you have and, as best you can, quantify them. For example, you might determine that you have two hours per week of recruiter expertise that you could invest in training or in a task force to search for and identify the best recruitment advertising sites for your organization.

    Step 3: Allocate the resources you have to address the sources of stress that you’ve identified. Determine which of the stressors you identified in Step 1 are most susceptible to being reduced successfully through an investment of the resources you identified in Step 2. For example, while there may not be the funds to hire an outside consultant, you may be able to draw on the talents of your own colleagues (and/or those in the IR department) to remediate a stressful skill shortfall in using the full functionality of your applicant tracking system. With that analysis as your start point:

  • Build and prioritize a list of specific stress-reduction actions;
  • Brief the entire recruiting team so they understand and appreciate what’s being done; and then
  • Execute the steps and lower the stress you and other members of the team feel.
  • This process won’t completely reduce the stress in recruiting teams-it won’t affect the stress induced by the difficult economy, of course-but it will address those sources of stress that can be self-corrected. No less important, it demonstrates to the recruiting team that the organization (or at least its recruitment leader) cares about their well being, and it shows the organization at large and its senior leaders that the recruiting team has the initiative and savvy to preserve the talent for which it is directly responsible.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the WEDDLE’s newsletter.

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Books

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Public Training Programs and its 2008 Spring-Summer Series which is now underway. Think of it as Training That’s Right Even During a Downturn!

    WEDDLE’s 2008 Spring-Summer Series provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you. All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for online sourcing and recruiting.

    The 2008 Spring-Summer series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • Completed: Online Networking: More Than a Pretty Face & an Address
  • Completed: Data Mining for Rare & Valuable Talent
  • Completed: eBranding: the Key to Attracting Passive Prospects
  • May 21, 2008: Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield
  • June 10, 2008: “Precruitment” Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • June 18, 2008: Transforming Supervisors into CROs: Chief Retention Officers
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    As noted above, the next course is Peter Weddle’s highly popular session on “Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield.” Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Some years ago, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada conducted a study to determine how perceptions are communicated during interviews. The goal was to understand how interviewers made up their minds about prospective hires. They found that:

  • 55% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from visual clues, such as body language and facial expressions;
  • 37% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from the manner in which the message was conveyed, including the speed at which a person spoke and their tone of voice; and
  • just 8% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from the actual information that was presented.
  • That may be why hiring managers are just 4% better than flipping a coin-they get it right 54% of the time-when it comes to selecting the best prospect for an opening. What does that have to do with recruiters? When hiring managers make bad selections, they don’t blame themselves; they blame us. It’s important, therefore, that we lobby for interview training for hiring managers on an ongoing basis. I recognize that’s especially hard to sell in a difficult economy (although the data above are hard to refute), but that economy will get better and when it does, hiring will pick up. Unlike in previous downturns, however, employers won’t return to a surplus labor market. Shortages among hard-to-find skills and top performers will still exist. And hiring mistakes will have a profound impact on the organization’s ability to accelerate into the recovery. For that reason, now’s the time to make the investment in interviewing skills development.

    Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business released the findings of its global survey of Chief Financial Officers to determine their “top concerns for business.” In Europe, the “skilled labor shortage” was the #2 concern. In Asia (excluding China), the “skilled labor shortage” was also the #2 concern. Even in China with its enormous population, the “skilled labor shortage” was the #5 concern. What was it in the U.S.? Among CFOs in the United States, the “skilled labor shortage” wasn’t even on their radar. It didn’t make it into the top five business concerns. These folks need to adjust their green eyeshades. They’re so far out of touch they’re dangerous. So, start today to marshal the data you will need to defend yourself. However, don’t compile labor forecasts that depict the War for Talent in 2015; instead, collect the growing body of evidence that defines the War for the Best Talent we have right now. Then, get ready for the attack by the Unenlightened American CFO. In a difficult economy, they will inevitably resort to 1950’s thinking and argue for deep labor cuts based on the assumption that a labor surplus will make recruiting talent easy once business bounces back. The only way to parry such a threat is to beat them at their own game. Have the quantitative evidence to show the CEO that the world has changed and the CFO is out of touch with the new reality.

    In 2006, Right Management conducted a survey of over 400 North American employers to determine the average cost of a bad hire. There have, of course, been all sorts of efforts at producing this figure over the years. The Saratoga Institute, for example, has published a benchmark of one times the person’s salary. And that may have been true ten years ago when it was first calculated. Today, however, the high level of competition and the diminished margin for error in unforgiving global markets have made the financial impact of a hiring mistake much more costly. What did Right find in its survey? The average cost of a bad hire is now 2.5 times a person’s salary. This figure includes the costs of additional recruiting to replace them, the training required to bring their replacement up to speed, and the lost productivity of a poor performer and/or a vacant position. The next time hiring managers whine about the preparation they must do for an interview or the CFO whines about the cost of recruitment advertising, tell them that. They cannot meet their fiduciary responsibility to the company and ignore the bottom line impact of such a cost.

    WEDDLE’s publications are the references of choice for recruiters seeking to maximize their return on the Internet and win the War for the Best Talent. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Postcards from Space: Being the Best in Online Recruitment & HR Management. A compilation of Peter Weddle’s columns for The Wall Street Journal, it provides a complete introduction to the Best Practices for sourcing, recruiting and retaining talent online.
  • Generalship: HR Leadership in a Time of War. The only primer on leadership that focuses on the unique challenges of the HR professional waging both a War for Relevancy in the modern corporation and a War for Talent in the 21st Century labor market.
  • So make sure you’re at the top of your game, get your WEDDLE’s books today. Click on the link to your left or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    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:

    mediabistro

    http://www.mediabistro.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Part time, Contract

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $125-$299/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: No

    Number of resumes: N/A

    Source of resumes: N/A

    Top occupations among visitors: Media, Publishing

    Other services for employers: Discussion forum, Banner advertising, Status report on advertising.

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Please Support Our Sponosr: WEDDLE’s Books

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Public Training Programs and its 2008 Spring-Summer Series which is now underway. Think of it as Training That’s Right Even During a Downturn!

    WEDDLE’s 2008 Spring-Summer Series provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you. All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for online sourcing and recruiting.

    The 2008 Spring-Summer series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • Completed: Online Networking: More Than a Pretty Face & an Address
  • Completed: Data Mining for Rare & Valuable Talent
  • Completed: eBranding: the Key to Attracting Passive Prospects
  • May 21, 2008: Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield
  • June 10, 2008: “Precruitment” Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • June 18, 2008: Transforming Supervisors into CROs: Chief Retention Officers
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    As noted above, the next course is Peter Weddle’s highly popular session on “Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield.” Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.