THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

July 12, 2006   view past issues

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Feature: Blink Recruiting

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Blink, extols the virtue of what he calls “rapid cognition,” the power of thinking at the speed of light. In essence, he is both acknowledging that many of us make decisions without complete information and celebrating that seemingly illogical behavior. We may live in an era of omnipresent news feeds and online access to all of the world’s knowledge, but more often than not, we go with first impressions and limited facts, even when we are making judgments about very important aspects of our lives. Gladwell thinks we can harness our reliance on rapid cognition to make better strategic decisions; I think we can use it to improve our yield. I call it a strategy of blink recruiting.

Blink recruiting is all about:

  • proximity
  • and

  • impact.
  • It stimulates an emotional response by candidates, but one that is guided by a carefully crafted message. Blink recruiting influences a candidate’s rapid cognition by leading with your organization’s strengths as an employer. Said another way, it front loads the candidate’s experience to increase the likelihood that they will-in the blink of an eye-decide that your organization’s value proposition is just right for them.

    How does blink recruiting work?

    The first step is to identify the initial touch points your organization has with candidates. You must determine where in your recruiting process you can most quickly reach and influence the best talent. While these touch points may be different from organization-to-organization, I suggest that you include at least the following:

  • the first four lines of every job posting,
  • the first three minutes of every meeting you set up with networking,
  • the first two minutes of every telephone interview, and
  • the first page of the Career area on your corporate Web-site.
  • Ensuring your proximity to candidates is important for several reasons:

  • First, our research here at WEDDLE’s indicates that the best talent has the attention span of a gnat. If you don’t “sell” them quickly, you won’t sell them at all.
  • Second, early impressions often have more impact on a candidate than those formed later when the clutter of information can diffuse or dilute them. And, only a strong, clear impression can move a passive prospect to an active applicant.
  • Third, what happens to a candidate first often has a very long shelf life in their mind. As a result, it becomes the only impression you will ever form with them and the one they pass on forever to their friends and colleagues.
  • The second step in blink recruiting is to redesign the initial touch points so as to optimize their impact on candidates. The goal is to stack the deck in your employer’s favor by providing the best possible cues to candidate decision-making at the earliest point in the organization’s interaction with them. In essence, you want to seed their rapid cognition in favor of the judgment you want them to make.

    To do that, you must first know what cues to emphasize. You must identify the factors that will give the best talent such a positive first impression that they will:

  • ignore the security of acquiring more information and considering other possibilities and focus on your opportunity alone, and
  • rapidly conclude that they should immediately apply for it.
  • Acquiring that insight is most efficiently accomplished by surveying a select group of your own employees. Convene a focus group of top performers in the skills for which you are recruiting and find out what induced them to accept your organization’s employment offer. Push them to get beyond “feel good” platitudes and articulate the specific attributes of your organization that sold it to them.

    In a sense, you’re looking for organizational qualities that carry a punch. You may be stimulating cognition, but your stimulant is emotion. Blink decisions are impulse purchases that matter. Unlike the Zagat at a cash register that you see and decide to buy on the spur of the moment, these decisions occur when a candidate receives just enough of the right information to arouse them to act counter-intuitively-to make an important decision without all of the facts.

    To achieve that kind of impact, the information you provide must meet three tests:

  • It must be real. The information must be believable to the high performers within your own organization in order to be credible to those outside it.
  • It must be relevant. The information must be important to the high performers within your own organization in order to influence the decision-making of those outside it.
  • It must be recognizable. The information must differentiate your organization in the minds of your organization’s high performers in order to set it apart in the minds of those outside it.
  • Gladwell’s Blink recognizes that all of us make quick decisions, and that those decisions often yield very satisfactory results. Blink recruiting puts that tendency for rapid cognition to work in your recruiting. It puts your value proposition in close proximity to every candidate’s first experience with your organization and tailors that message to influence the best of those candidates to make the right decision right away.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. 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: The OnRec Global Summit for Online Recruitment

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the OnRec Global Summit for Online Recruitment.

    Onrec.com/Online Recruitment Magazine, a publication based in the United Kingdom, is holding its first U.S.-based conference in Chicago, IL on September 12-13, 2006. Called its Global Summit for Online Recruitment, the conference will feature well known U.S.-based speakers, such as

  • Peter Weddle,
  • John Sumser,
  • Shally Steckerl,
  • Tony Lee, and
  • Joel Cheesman.
  • Unique to this conference, however, it will also offer an array of speakers from around the globe, presenting a fascinating new perspective on Best Practices in online recruitment. You’ll hear from:

  • Jerome Ternynck, the CEO of MrTed;
  • John Benson, CEO of eFinancialCareers.com;
  • Matt Parker, Managing Director of StepStone Solutions; and
  • Patrick Sullivan, the President of Workopolis.com, among others.
  • For more details, click on the link above.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Business 2.0 recently published an article entitled Why Companies Overlook Their Own Talent. The piece focused on the perception (by many Boards of Directors) that outside leaders possess some sort of magic talent that cannot be found within the ranks of an organization’s incumbent leaders. Exactly the opposite is true, however. According to a 2004 study of 2,500 large companies by Booz Allen Hamilton, CEOs recruited from the outside delivered shareholder returns that were lower than those produced by CEOs selected from within. And, I think that lesson applies to every other position in the enterprise. Of course, most companies think that they do hire from within. They’re careful to look at current employees first when filling positions, but that’s where they stop. And when they stop, they overlook another population of potentially qualified “insiders” to whom they have also access: the people represented by the resumes in their applicant tracking system database. Of course, if these prospects have been ignored since their first application, they may not be as receptive as they might. However, with a little attention (call it relationship building), you can not only get to know them better-and thereby make them “safer” candidates than outsiders-you can also improve the likelihood that they will give serious consideration to your opening.

    LatPro.com announced the addition of new online tools designed to assist recruiting professionals with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The feature, called its OFCCP Compliance Management Center, integrates a range of tools and a recordkeeping system to enable recruiters to adhere to the latest OFCCP requirements without disrupting or adding to their workflow. There is no charge to generate the basic reports.

    Monster.com released the results of a survey with global implications. It found that, while the Italians may have won the World Cup, it’s the British who are the world’s best celebrators. According to the poll, 62% of British workers refuse to let a little hangover stand in the way of a full day’s work. In fact, 49% say they have come to work hung over from partying, and more than 24% admit that they have done so multiple times. Now, that’s world class play! Seriously, though, partying hard is fine if it doesn’t interfere with working hard, and the British calculate that they lose almost $12 billion from lost productivity due to hangovers. Whether it’s in the U.K., Italy or the U.S., therefore, we need to make sure our culture (as well as our policy) does not condone or excuse such behavior.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve concluded a study which should help you deal with the dinosaurs who still think there is no War for Talent. It found that just two-thirds (66%) of the U.S. working-age population is either working or looking for employment, a figure that is well below the 67.3% recorded just over five years ago. Describing this situation as “nearly unprecedented in the post-war experience,” the Fed opines that the drop is due to the large number of people who have given up looking for work, the growing number of Baby Boomers who are leaving the workforce, and the slower pace of adult women who are entering or reentering the workplace. Whatever the causes, however, it’s clear that the pool of talent is not getting any larger, even as employers are adding 1 million or more new jobs every year. In that kind of environment, there can only be two kinds of employers: winners and losers. And, that’s why we call it a War for Talent.

    WatsonWyatt published its Human Capital Index. Among the findings from companies surveyed between 2002 and 2004:

  • those that took an average of two weeks to fill openings provided a 59% total return to shareholders (Total return to shareholders is the appreciation of a share’s price plus any dividends paid during a given period of time divided by the share’s price at the beginning of that time.)
  • those that took seven weeks or more to fill openings generated a total return to shareholders of just 11%.
  • The next time the CFO starts to whine about the “overhead” being spent on recruiting, show him (and the CEO) that finding. Then, ask him to calculate the shareholder’s return on getting the financial statements out on time. Let’s see who’s really adding to the bottom line.

    Errata In my June 8th column entitled Employment Brand Management, I incorrectly described a former GE advertising slogan as “We bring good things to light.” The correct phrase was “We bring good things to life.” My thanks to the reader who brought this error to my attention and my apologies for any misunderstanding it may have caused.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. Demand is soaring at your sun screen manufacturing facility, and you need to hire another production supervisor right away. Which of the following sites would optimize your supply chain of candidates?

  • ProductionHub.com
  • ManufacturingJobs.com
  • JobsinManufacturing.com
  • CareerBuilder.com
  • 2. Growing concern about global warming has increased sales at your environmentally friendly home construction company. Where could you go online to build solid relationships with high caliber construction engineer candidates?

  • EngCen.com
  • ConstructionExecutives.com
  • Construction.com
  • HomeBuilders.com
  • 3. Your CEO is worried about the security of your data systems and wants to add a senior systems security analyst to the staff. Which of the following sites would enable you to tap into candidate networks online?

  • CISSP.com
  • ISACA.org
  • SCES.org
  • ISSA.org
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    Everything Oregon

    http://www.OregonLive.com

    Advance Internet, Inc.

    Post full time jobs: Yes

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

    Distribution of jobs: Regional/USA – Oregon

    Fee to post a job: $195/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 183,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among visitors: Wide range

    Other services for employers: Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status reports: Banners/postings

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but ProductionHub.com, a site for jobs in TV and movie production.

    2. All but HomeBuilders.com, a site that links home buyers and builders.

    3. All but SCES.org, the site of the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.


    Support Our Sponsor: The OnRec Global Summit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the OnRec Global Summit for Online Recruitment.

    Onrec.com/Online Recruitment Magazine, a publication based in the United Kingdom, is holding its first U.S.-based conference in Chicago, IL on September 12-13, 2006. Called its Global Summit for Online Recruitment, the conference will feature well known U.S.-based speakers, such as

  • Peter Weddle,
  • John Sumser,
  • Shally Steckerl,
  • Tony Lee, and
  • Joel Cheesman.
  • Unique to this conference, however, it will also offer an array of speakers from around the globe, presenting a fascinating new perspective on Best Practices in online recruitment. You’ll hear from:

  • Jerome Ternynck, the CEO of MrTed;
  • John Benson, CEO of eFinancialCareers.com;
  • Matt Parker, Managing Director of StepStone Solutions; and
  • Patrick Sullivan, the President of Workopolis.com, among others.
  • For more details, click on the link above.