THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

February 8, 2007   view past issues

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Feature: Crowdcasting a Corporate Recruiting Strategy

There are all sorts of buzzwords that crop up in the business lexicon every year. Most have their 15 seconds of fame, only to be replaced by yet another “big idea” with an equally brief hold on our attention. One recent addition to the vocabulary of business, however, offers not only genuine value, but could have long term consequences for our recruiting success.

What is this extraordinary term? Crowdcasting. It is the meme of the moment, at least among those who set strategy for business enterprises. It’s a simple idea, really-a contemporary term for a long established concept: If you want a fresh perspective on a problem, talk to a fresh group of people.

Crowdcasting involves tapping the insights of a select group of MBA students to get their ideas on how best to tackle a specific challenge facing an organization. Companies ranging from General Electric and American Express to Mars, DuPont and Boeing are paying the big bucks to hear what these future business leaders have to say on everything from how to position a new product in its market to how to extend a company’s brand into new lines of business.

Can crowdcasting help with our recruiting challenge? You bet, but only after we’ve tailored the concept to the unique aspects of today’s War for Talent. That involves making two changes:

  • First, we need to see it as a contemporary term for a long established concept, but one that’s different from that used by strategy mavens. For us, crowdcasting is a modern way of saying If you want to know what your customers will buy, check with them. In other words, we should use crowdcasting to figure out what will position our employers with a unique and compelling value proposition in the job market.
  • Second, we must redefine the population whose advice we will seek. Corporate leaders may want the counsel of MBA students-although I’m not convinced they’re the best source of original ideas-but we need the views of a very different group of people: The top talent we most want to recruit. In other words, we too want to tap into the insights of a select group; they are the workers who are superior performers their field and/or have the hardest-to-find skills in the workplace.
  • Crowdcasting in recruitment, therefore, involves tapping into the preferences and concerns of the highest caliber prospects we want to “buy” our organization’s value proposition as an employer.

    How can you do that? As old fashioned as it may seem, the best way is to ask them. I suggest that you survey a group of individuals who will provide you with two very different, but equally revealing points of view:

  • Highly talented workers who recently accepted an offer of employment and joined your organization;
  • and

  • Highly talented workers who were offered a position with your organization and turned it down.
  • Surveying these “employment customers” isn’t free, of course. It requires an investment of time (among the recruiting staff and, possibly, your IT department) and/or money (for the use of a commercial online survey program). As the size of your investment will be determined by the number of individuals you survey, you may have to resist some pressure to limit your outreach. While minimizing costs is always appropriate, it’s critical that you touch a large enough population to produce a sufficient number of returned surveys for meaningful results.

    What questions should you ask?

  • For those who accepted your organization’s employment offer, ask them why they said yes. What was it about the offer, the position, the organization’s culture or its leadership that tipped the scale toward acceptance? And, of all of those factors, which one or two were most important in their decision-making?
  • For those who did not accept your organization’s offer of employment, ask them what was missing or out of tolerance. What was it about the offer, the position, the organization’s culture or its leadership that didn’t measure up to their expectations or needs? And, of all of those factors, which one or two had the greatest impact on their decision to say no?
  • While some organizations view such cause- or motivation-based surveys as a breach of privacy, they are actually no more intrusive than the focus groups routinely conducted by our colleagues in sales and marketing. Indeed, a person who is respectfully asked about the factors behind a decision they’ve made is often flattered by the request and more than willing to offer candid, if anonymous feedback.

    Finally, crowdcasting is only useful if the information that’s collected is actually put to work. So, what should you do with the insights you gain from your survey? I suggest you take two steps:

  • First, share the results with your recruiters, hiring managers, business unit leaders, CFO and CEO. Use the results to educate them on what’s working and what’s not when it comes to recruiting the top talent your organization needs to succeed.
  • Second, use the results to reinforce the strengths and repair the weaknesses in all of the following areas: your organization’s value proposition as an employer, its brand positioning and promotion, its recruiting process and practices, and in the individual performance of everyone involved in accessing talent for the organization.

    Sure, crowdcasting is a new buzzword, but if it’s properly applied, it can also be the rare buzzword that actually works. I think it’s worth a try.

    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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    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Computer Takeback Campaign launched its Web-site to provide better answers to that perennial question: What should we do with all those out-of-date computers, scanners, cell phones and other electronic equipment that we no longer need or want? Most of this stuff contains toxic chemicals, so it’s important to dispose of it properly, and the Computer Takeback site can help you do that. You’ll have to wade through a bit of proselytizing, but it also provides such helpful features as a state-by-state list of recyclers that will accept electronics (and if there is none in your state, the site notes that Dell will, for a $10 fee, accept old computers from any manufacturer). For cell phone disposal, the site recommends that you use Collective Good, an organization that will even provide a pre-paid mailing label for sending them off. What do good electronics recycling habits have to do with recruiting? As the site makes clear, they are an increasingly important aspect of good corporate citizenship. And, good corporate citizenship is fast becoming a key employment brand differentiator for the best and brightest in the workforce. My suggestion, then, is that you recycle electronics responsibly (because it’s the right thing to do) and then brag about it in the Career area on your corporate Web-site (because it’s the kind of small difference that will have a big impact on top talent).

    ExecuNet, an executive career management and recruiting network, announced the results of its survey of job satisfaction among currently employed senior level workers. Although the respondents were well compensated-the average annual salary of the survey population was $192,000-an astonishing 73% were either “somewhat unsatisfied” or “not satisfied” with their employment situation. What was causing their angst? The principal reasons cited were:

  • Lack of challenge-14.2%
  • Limited opportunity for advancement-13.9%
  • Unfavorable company prospects-11.4%.
  • For a number of years, employees have also been expressing similar levels of unhappiness, yet there’s been no tidal wave of attrition among that group. So, it’s appropriate to ask: Are these executives simply venting or will they actually act on their dissatisfaction? While it certainly takes some courage to move from the devil you know to the devil you don’t, I think executives may now be more ready to step out. Why? Because, there’s more opportunity to do so. Openings at senior levels are on the rise as CEOs are shuffled in and out by proactive Boards of Directors and shareholder expectations require companies to look for new ideas and talent outside their current ranks. How can you protect your employer? Make sure the boss is aware of the danger; most CEOs understand the threat attrition poses in the ranks, but many are oblivious to the risk that it creates in the executive suite, as well.

    Google introduced a new feature that can be helpful to both small and large employers seeking to tap into the passive talent population. Lots of prospects who aren’t looking for a job will search, from time-to-time, for information related to their profession, craft or trade. When they do, the odds are that they will visit Yahoo! or Google. Savvy employers can reach this population by “buying” the keywords the prospects are likely to use when conducting their searches. On Google, however, there’s been a problem. In order to participate in their program (called AdWords), an organization had to have a Web-site. Until now. Google has recently introduced landing pages for its new AdWord customers. These mini-Web-sites enable you to describe your business and provide contact information for interested prospects. They’re easy to set up and, best of all, they’re free. In fact, even large employers might want to use the landing pages for select staffing initiatives. For example, rather than driving all prospects to the Career area on your corporate Web-site, you might want to use the landing pages to focus on those who might qualify for a special project or a new facility location or to deliver a special message to a hard-to-recruit subset of the candidate population. This special treatment will signal that you are aware of their extraordinary status as passive prospects, and that’s the first step in selling them on employment with your organization.

    WEDDLE’s announced its Spring/Summer Training Series for 2007. The individual programs and dates are:

  • April 3, 2007: Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • April 24, 2007: Building a Corporate Career Site that Will Attract Top Talent
  • May 15, 2007: The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • May 29, 2007: Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • June 11, 2007: Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • June 21, 2007: A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • All programs are delivered by WEDDLE’s publisher, Peter Weddle, 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. But, wait, there’s more:

  • Sign up by March 1, 2007, you get an early bird discount.
  • Sign up for two programs, you get a bigger discount.
  • Sign up for four or more programs, you get our biggest discount.
  • Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.916.9424.

    “WOW!! I had the opportunity to listen to Peter Weddle speak last week at a conference and ‘WOW!!’ does NOT do justice to how I felt after listening to him!”


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. With all of the cold weather around, the phone at your heating and air conditioning company is ringing off the hook. Where could you go online to fire up your search for additional experienced technicians?

  • MEPatWork.com
  • HotJobs.com
  • HVACagent.com
  • HotWorkers.com
  • 2. Early birds are getting their income tax filings ready, so business at your accounting firm is really picking up. Which of the following Web-sites would help you add professional staff without overpaying?

  • JobsintheMoney.com
  • CountOnUs.com
  • CareerBank.com
  • BankingBoard.com
  • 3. Colds and the flu have overwhelmed the staff in your outpatient clinic, and you need to hire several physician’s assistants fast. Where could you go online to find a cure for your staffing ills?

  • PAworld.net
  • HealthJobsUSA.com
  • AAPA.org
  • HealthCareerWeb.com
  • (answers below)

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

    IEEE Job Site

    Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers

    http://www.ieee.org/jobs

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: No

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $205/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 32,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Engineer, IT professional

    Other services for employers: Resume agent, Banner advertising, Status report: banners and postings

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but HotWorkers.com, a pornographic site.

    2. All but CountOnUs.com, the site of a biotech company.

    3. All of them.


    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.