THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

August 17, 2004   view past issues

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Feature: A Talent Management Strategy

A recent survey by Yahoo! HotJobs provided some interesting food for thought. When asked “Which tool do you believe can best help you meet your [recruiting] goals over the next year,” 20% of the respondents cited better screening tools, 17% pointed to improved candidate tracking, and a whopping 63% said that what they needed most was a clear talent management strategy. That’s a pretty strong consensus (at least, in our field!), but what exactly is “a clear talent management strategy?” What are its components and, no less important, how do they influence the success of a recruiter? The answers to those questions, it seems to me, are absolutely essential if our faith in such a strategy is to be vindicated by a larger yield of superior candidates.

So, what exactly is a talent management strategy? Webster’s Dictionary defines strategy as “the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions.” Said another way, a strategy can be effective only if it has the following two components:

  • an objective that benefits a group, and
  • an inherent competitive advantage.
  • The objective in war is victory; the advantage can come from a larger fighting force, better technology, superior leadership, or even the weather. In recruiting, the objective is also victory, in the War for Talent; the advantage we recruiters need is whatever differentiates and strengthens our organization’s value proposition as an employer.

    A talent management strategy, then, involves “defining and promoting an employer so that it can acquire an unfair share of the best talent in the workforce.” As I’ve noted in previous columns, the best talent is comprised of two cohorts:

  • Those rare individuals who possess skills that are critical to business operations and are in critically short supply; and
  • Those rare individuals whose contribution to the enterprise significantly exceeds the norm and raises others to that same high level of performance.
  • Every employer wants to hire such workers, but the supply is insufficient. There simply aren’t enough rare skill holders and rare performers to go around. That isn’t a future dilemma; it’s a present day reality. It is the here-and-right-now labor shortage that has turned the labor market into a war zone. In such an environment, employers have only two possible outcomes: they can either be winners or they can be losers. There is no middle ground. Either they hire all of the best talent they need, or they don’t. And if they do, some other employer will not be able to. Therefore, the only talent management strategy that makes any sense is the one that positions an organization for victory, and victory can only be achieved by recruiting more of the best talent than the competition.

    If that’s the objective of a talent management strategy, how is it achieved? What gives an organization a competitive advantage in the race for an unfair share of the best talent? In my view, the one element that provides such an edge is knowledge of the client. In other words, the most effective talent management strategies are “client centric.” They are shaped by those whom the strategy is supposed to serve: the hiring managers whose positions we are trying to fill and the high caliber candidates with which we are trying to fill them.

    To ensure that a talent management strategy serves hiring managers, we must develop the strategy with (gasp) hiring managers, themselves. In other words, the talent management strategy doesn’t belong to recruiters or to the Human Resource Department, but to the enterprise. It is what the enterprise must do to capture an unfair share of the best talent. To achieve that objective takes a team effort, so we must meet with the hiring managers, engage them in a dialogue, and ultimately achieve agreement with them on three key issues:

    (1) The definition of a “quality worker” (i.e., the best talent),

    (2) The role each party (i.e., recruiters and hiring managers) will play in recruiting such workers, and

    (3) The metrics that will be used to measure the enterprise’s collective performance in doing so.

    To ensure that a talent management strategy serves the top talent an enterprise seeks to hire, it must also be devised in conjunction with those workers. Obviously, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get their direct input, so we must use surrogates to acquire this perspective. Who are those surrogates? The top talent an organization already employs. We must meet with them and ask for their insights and counsel on three key questions:

    (1) What methods and venues work best in reaching people just like them, the top prospects in their field?

    (2) What factors in the organization’s value proposition as an employer motivated them to accept its offer and, therefore, will likely motivate other top prospects, as well?

    (3) How might they help the organization reach out to and sell other rare skill holders and rare performers on joining the organization?

    A talent management strategy is not a silver bullet in the War for Talent. Having one doesn’t ensure victory. Not having one, however, almost certainly undercuts your performance. And, having a good strategy-one that has a clear goal and provides a real edge-is probably the single best way to achieve success.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    A Final Note I hope you’re finding your WEDDLE’s newsletter to be thought-provoking, helpful and informative. If that’s the case, please tell a colleague about it and encourage them to subscribe, as well. I’d be very grateful for your support.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Yahoo! HotJobs

    Find the right candidate right now.

    Combine Yahoo!’s reach and cutting edge search technology with HotJobs’ career expertise and let Yahoo! HotJobs go to work for you.

  • Post Jobs,
  • Search Resumes, or
  • Post and Search with a custom solution.
  • To speak with a representative, call 1-877-HOTJOBS (468-5627).


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Boxwood Technologies, Inc. announced the launch of AssociationJobBoards.com. The portal provides access to niche job boards operated by professional societies and trade organizations.

    CareerBuilder.com announced the results of a survey entitled “The Boss: 2004.” Among its findings: a third of the respondents are dissatisfied with the on-the-job performance of their boss, citing everything from theft by the boss to public belittling and sexual harassment. Not surprisingly, of those who were dissatisfied, 43% plan to change jobs this year. What can be done about such situations? Obviously, there are no pat solutions, but a helpful place to start is at the upper-middle and senior levels of management. Educate them on the potential harm that mismanagement behavior can cause (e.g., litigation, higher attrition, substandard performance, increased health insurance claims) and then encourage them to pass that education along to and monitor the performance of their direct reports. Also remind them to walk the talk in their own behavior and in their performance appraisals of those direct reports. Once they feel they have built a culture of understanding and compliance at that level, urge them to repeat the process at the next level of management and so on until they have covered their entire chain of command.

    CareerJournal.com released the findings from its survey of Employee Trust and Organizational Loyalty, conducted with theSociety for Human Resource Management. A total of 370 HR professionals and 407 employees responded to the poll. The good news is that 70% of the employees and 72% of the HR professionals rated their leadership as either extremely or moderately trustworthy. The bad news is that just 27% of the employees and fewer than half of the HR professionals (45%) thought their organization’s leadership is ethical. While I suppose it’s a good thing that leaders can be trusted to do what they say or promise, I don’t think that compensates for their lack of ethics in leading their organizations. For example, the fact that the leaders of Enron always paid out bonuses on time (i.e., they were trustworthy) doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t go to jail for breaking the law (i.e., they were unethical). At the end of the day, therefore, we need and deserve leaders who are both, and fostering that view should be the unflinching goal of every Human Resource Department.

    Privacy & American Business conducted a survey of consumer concerns about privacy. Not surprisingly, in these days of identify theft and intrusive marketers, it found that privacy concerns can seriously undercut business results. A hefty 60% of their respondents said they had decided not to purchase a company’s goods or services because they weren’t sure about how their personal information would be used. What does that have to do with recruiting? High caliber candidates are our consumers; we’re trying to sell them on our employers. And, they are just as concerned about the way we attend to their privacy as they are about the way catalog companies and online stores do so. What steps can we take? First, of course, we need a privacy policy which should then be posted on our corporate site. Research shows, however, that only 25% of a site’s visitors ever read such policies, so it’s important to take an additional step. We should add a short, but hard-hitting “privacy commitment statement” to every one of our job postings and classified ads. In other words, we must make our commitment to protecting candidate privacy a part of our organization’s value proposition as an employer. That will do a lot to turn candidates into consumers.

    WEDDLE’s tallied the votes cast, to date, for its annual User’s Choice Awards. Unlike selections made by pundits, these awards recognize job seekers’ and recruiters’ picks for the 30 best job boards on the Internet. Leading the pack at the half-way mark in the year are A/E/C Job Bank, Absolutely Healthcare, America’s Job Bank, Best Jobs USA, CareerBank.com, CareerBuilder.com, CareerExchange.com, CareerJournal.com, ccJobsOnline.com, ComputerJobs.com, ConstructionJobs.com, Craigslist, DICE, EmploymentGuide.com, FlipDog.com, HealthCareerWeb.com, HotJobs.com, Legal Career Center Network, LocalCareers.com, Monster.com, NationJob.com, Net-Temps, RegionalHelpWanted.com, The Blue Line, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Career Network Site, TopUSAJobs.com, TrueCareers.com, Vets4Hire.com, VetJobs.com, and Workopolis. To cast your vote, click here.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If your bank was looking for experienced customer relationship managers, which of the following sites could you count on?

  • CareerBank.com
  • jobsinthemoney.com
  • MoneyMakers.com
  • GreenPeople.com
  • 2. If one of the trail guides at your ranch resort has made the Olympic equestrian team and you need a replacement fast, which of the following sites would likely throw you off your search?

  • CoolWorks.com
  • ResortJobs.com
  • DudeRanchJobs.com
  • SaddleUp.com
  • 3. Your company is racing to create the next generation of personal entertainment systems, and you need to hire an experienced systems engineer fast. Which of the following sites would cause a malfunction in your sourcing?

  • engen.com
  • SystemsEngineer.com
  • DICE
  • SystemsPeople.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories

    FlipDog.com

    www.flipdog.com

    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

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

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Fee to post a job: Less than $100/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 2,200,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates, Resume distribution companies

    Top occupations among resumes: Engineering, Information systems/technology, Management

    Other services for employers: Auto notification of resume-job match, Banner advertising, Status reports: postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. Neither MoneyMakers.com, the site of a multilevel marketing company, or GreenPeople.com, the site of an environmental products company, would be helpful.

    2. SaddleUp.com, the site of a western apparel company.

    3. SystemsPeople.com, the site of an IT services company.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

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

    Find the right candidate right now.

    Combine Yahoo!’s reach and cutting edge search technology with HotJobs’ career expertise and let Yahoo! HotJobs go to work for you.

  • Post Jobs,
  • Search Resumes, or
  • Post and Search with a custom solution.
  • To speak with a representative, call 1-877-HOTJOBS (468-5627).