THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

October 5, 2004   view past issues

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Feature: Cutting Corners to the Best Candidates

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of Chief Executive Officers, two-thirds of corporate executives now use a planning cycle of one year or less. Such nearsightedness virtually guarantees that recruiting will be an ad hoc, reactive and often crisis-driven process. Requirements will come in without warning or even adequate information, and be declared mission-critical the moment they arrive. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the CEOs who responded to the survey also said that their greatest business risk (after an economic downturn) was their ability to acquire the talent they needed to accomplish their mission.

Ironically, their own approach to leadership is exacerbating the risk. Without advance notice of staffing requirements, recruiters do not have the time to source prospects from among the passive job seeker population. Without the lead time necessary to build relationships with those prospects, they are often unable to sell them on the value proposition of working for their employer. With a planning cycle only a gnat could love, recruiters have no choice but to limit their candidates to those they can find among active job seekers.

Why does that add to the risk facing corporations today? Because it decreases the range of talent an organization can potentially hire, and it increases the competition for that talent.

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, active job seekers make up just 16% of the American workforce. Even if you believe that “A” level performers are as well represented in that group as they are among passive job seekers (and not everyone accepts that view), limiting an organization’s recruiting to fewer than one-out-of-every-five workers will inevitably depress its performance over the long run.
  • Further, as the majority of employers are now using the shorter planning cycle that forces recruiters to focus on active job seekers, the competition for the best among them has significantly intensified. In essence, 67% of corporate recruiters are now trying to meet their requirements from among just 16% of the workforce population. The demand has remained constant, but the supply has been artificially limited, producing what is now accurately described as a War for Talent.
  • Yes, I know that sounds a bit hyperbolic. For many organizations, the problem isn’t finding talent; it’s staying on top of the tsunami of resumes that crashes into corporate e-mailboxes these days. This happy plethora of applicants would seem to belie any limitation on available talent. Unfortunately, however, the resume surplus is not evidence of a robust pool of candidates, but rather, the natural byproduct of the ease with which resumes are now submitted online. Full e-mailboxes mean that your employer is hearing from more of the 16% of the workforce who are actively looking for a job, not that it is reaching the other 84% of the workforce who are not.

    What can we recruiters do to mitigate the risk this situation poses for our organizations? How can we cut corners to sourcing the best candidates? Consider the following steps:

  • Build, communicate with and recruit from an alumni database. As long as a former employee left your organization on good terms, hiring them back provides two key advantages. First, you get someone about whom you know a great deal. They have a track record with your organization that eliminates much of the uncertainty associated with recruiting a new hire, and they can often be hired more quickly because much of your “due diligence” has already been accomplished (the first time you recruited them). Second, you get a “new” employee who has strengthened their potential ability to contribute to your organization by acquiring additional skills and/or experience elsewhere. If effect, their previous employer subsidized their development, and your organization can put that enhanced capability to its advantage.
  • Build a database of prospects and establish relationships with them. Prospects are not past or current applicants. They are individuals with whom you have made contact (normally, through networking and employment branding) who may be superior candidates in the future. More often than not, prospects are already employed, and are not looking for a new job. They are the quintessential passive job seeker. They do not make snap decisions about their career, nor do they listen to strangers. To recruit them, therefore, you must first earn their trust and confidence. You may not know exactly when your organization will have an appropriate opening, but if you regularly recruit for top talent in their field, start communicating with them now. It takes time and effort to provide the information, persuasion and reassurance necessary to convince passive candidates to leave the devil they know (their current employer) and join the devil they don’t (your organization).
  • Reinvigorate your applicant database. Your applicant database represents a population of job seekers who have already expressed an interest in your employer and about whom you know a great deal. You have a resume or application form on file and, for those who made it beyond the initial screen, you are likely also to have interview notes, assessment test scores and other data. Moreover, since these candidates were not selected to fill the opening for which they originally applied, they have probably gone on to other employment situations where they may have acquired new skills and/or gained additional experience. In effect, they are likely to have become stronger candidates, but the only way for you to know that is to stay in touch with them. Treat your applicant database not as a repository of dead data files, but as a reservoir of living contacts, and nurture those connections with continuous communications. To speed your sourcing, these messages should be both helpful (to pre-sell the recipient) and inquisitive (to keep their record up-to-date in your database).
  • Short planning cycles in the corporate headquarters can be a problem for recruiters, but only if we let them. There are ways to get ready today for almost any requirement that may arise tomorrow, and now is the time to get started.

    Thanks for Reading,

    Peter

    A Final Request Please tell a friend or colleague (or two) about WEDDLE’s newsletter. Each time they receive an issue, they’ll be reminded that you were thinking of them.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

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

    Get the resource that helps you recruit smarter – the Guidebook to Online Recruiting. It’s yours FREE, courtesy of Yahoo! HotJobs.

    The Guidebook to Online Recruiting can help you:

  • Target qualified candidates
  • Maximize your recruiting dollar
  • Evaluate online vs. newspaper job advertising
  • Write effective online job descriptions
  • This comprehensive resource provides information a business needs to make recruiting more cost effective, targeted and efficient.

    Click here to get your free Guidebook.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Accountemps polled 150 executives from some of the largest companies in the U.S. and found that employee vacations help, not hurt the bottom line. Respondents were asked when employees were most productive, before or after a vacation. Despite the large number of employees who have foregone vacations in recent years (either because their unit was understaffed or because they feared what might happen while they were away), a majority (51%) of the executives said that employees worked best after a vacation, while just 31% said before. The remainder either saw no difference or couldn’t figure it out. While this finding probably comes as no surprise to HR professionals, it is clearly not understood by many supervisors and managers. What should you do? Get the facts out, but be careful how you do it. Position yourself not as an outsider criticizing past behavior, but as a partner helping to enhance current and future performance.

    Dice, an IT and engineering recruitment site and WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award winner, announced its acquisition of ClearanceJobs.com. The acquired site will operate as a stand-alone entity that is linked to Dice. ClearanceJobs.com pre-screens both candidates and hiring companies in order to provide a restricted-access Web-site where employers can source candidates with active U.S. government security clearances. In addition, it allows authorized government contractors and qualified recruiters to search the candidate pool by specific clearance and polygraph level and displays clearance information on each candidate’s resume.

    HundredK.com is apparently copying job postings from other sites and posting them on its site as if they had been provided by the employer or recruiter who originally listed them. HundredK.com does appear in WEDDLE’s 2004 Recruiter’s Guide to Employment Web Sites. The postings were allegedly pilfered from ExecuNet, RiteSite.com, and Netshare.com, all of which provide job opportunities and career management services for senior level workers. ExecuNet has asked the FBI to investigate.

    Morgan Howard Worldwide, an executive search firm, compiled a list of companies where they find executives most susceptible to new job offers. Interestingly enough, several of these “make-me-an-offer magnets” are on one or more of the annual “Best Places to Work” lists. Seems the executives are more than happy to jump ship even as they urge workers to stick around … figures. Anyway, the companies on the list are Wal-Mart, Dell, General Electric, Home Depot. Intel, McKesson, Cisco Systems, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Kroger. Where is it the most difficult to lure away executives? According to the search firm, those companies are Fannie Mae, American International Group, Merck, Verizon Communications, Hewlett-Packard, Citigroup, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, AT&T, and Motorola.

    OfficeTeam, a staffing agency specializing in administrative professionals, released the results of a survey on the causes of poor employee morale. The poll questioned both executives and men and women in the workforce at large and found startling agreement: both cited lack of open and honest communications and failure to recognize employee achievements as the principal sources of employee disaffection in the workplace. What lesson should we learn? Take a look at virtually any organization’s intranet and there’s usually at least some written, business-like communication with employees and some bland, out-of-date acknowledgement of outstanding employee performance. This checkmark-in-the-box approach ensures that we’re doing the right things, but it does not ensure that we’re doing them right. Treat your employee communications as a dialogue within the family and your recognition of employees as team celebrations. Don’t post press releases or formal memos on your intranet and leave it at that; instead, use chats so employees can hear as well as read the explanation for corporate decisions and policies and ask whatever questions they may have about them. Don’t wait for the next monthly or (worse) quarterly newsletter to announce important news and accomplishments; instead, use broadcast e-mail to make announcements immediately, whether it’s about new contracts awarded or softball team victories.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. Your company has a contract to monitor the seismic activity on Mount St. Helens, and you need to hire an experienced geologist fast. Which of the following sites would blow a hole in your sourcing effort?

  • MineJob.com
  • GeoTop.com
  • Earthworks-jobs.com
  • OilCareers.com
  • 2. You’re looking for a quality control supervisor to work on the second shift of your company’s production line as it gears up for the big holiday push. Which of the following sites would likely provide candidates who are out of tolerance with your requirements?

  • ManufacturingJobs.com
  • NationJob.com
  • QPeople.com
  • ASQ.org
  • 3. It will soon be time to figure year-end bonuses, and your company’s compensation and benefits manager has just quit. Which of the following sites will give you access to candidates in the top quartile?

  • IFEBP.org
  • CompJobs.com
  • BestBenefits.com
  • BenefitsPeople.com
  • (answers below)

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

    IEEE Job Site

    The Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers

    www.ieee.org/jobs

    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: No

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $101-200/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 17,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Engineering, Information Technology/Systems

    Other services for employers: Auto notification of resume-job matches, Banner advertising, Special area for HR professionals/recruiters, Status reports: banners, postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. GeoTop.com, the site of a company that provides positioning instruments.

    2. QPeople.com, the site of a company that provides HR solutions to the printing and copying industry.

    3. IFEBP.org, the site of the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

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

    Get the resource that helps you recruit smarter – the Guidebook to Online Recruiting. It’s yours FREE, courtesy of Yahoo! HotJobs.

    The Guidebook to Online Recruiting can help you:

  • Target qualified candidates
  • Maximize your recruiting dollar
  • Evaluate online vs. newspaper job advertising
  • Write effective online job descriptions
  • This comprehensive resource provides information a business needs to make recruiting more cost effective, targeted and efficient.

    Click here to get your free Guidebook.